The One You’re With by Lauren K Denton ~ 4⭐

Genre: Southern Fiction ~ Released: July 6, 2021

REVIEW: If you love the work of Lauren K Denton like I do, you will likely love her new book The One You’re With. It was a satisfying read that wasn’t straight forward. It taught the lesson that marriage is a commitment and a lot of hard work. 

I really love the message of this book. It talked of making your choices, standing behind them, working through problems and not giving up. I have to hand it to the characters in this book because they all lived with their choices. Your choices are not always right and sometimes the consequences of those choices are hard to live with. These characters are so rich in depth and love. They are tested many times over the years. 

From my point of view, one of the characters is taking what she considers a betrayal and a couple of lies and blowing them out of shape. It takes her a while to settle in her mind a couple situations and to decide on the direction of her life. This character was my main reason for the one star deduction. Otherwise, I loved the book and the lesson it was trying to teach. 

I received a copy of this book from the publisher/#Netgalley for a fair and honest review. Thank you!

SYNOPSIS: Written in Lauren K. Denton’s signature Southern style, The One You’re With tells a story of marriage, choices, and what a good life really looks like.

High-school sweethearts Mac and Edie Swan lead a seemingly picture-perfect life in the sleepy-sweet community of Oak Hill, near Mobile, Alabama. Edie is a respected interior designer, Mac is a beloved pediatrician, and they have two great kids and a historic home on tree-lined Linden Avenue. From the outside, the Swan family is the definition of “the good life.” And life is good—mostly. Until a young woman walks into Mac’s office one day. A young woman whose very existence threatens all Mac and Edie have built and all they think they know about each other.

Nineteen years after a summer apart, with a family and established lives and careers, the past that Mac and Edie thought they left behind has come back to greet them. For the first time, constants in their lives are called into question: their roles as parents, their reputation as upstanding members of the community, and the very foundations of their marriage. As they wade through the upheaval in both their family and professional lives, they must each examine choices they made long ago and chart a new course for their future.

Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy ~ 5⭐

Genres: Coming of Age & Historical Fiction ~ Releases: July 6, 2021

REVIEW: Outstanding! I’m blown away by the new novel Shoulder Season by Christina Clancy. Don’t get me wrong, her first novel Second Home was great but this new novel was even better. I am astounded. I enjoyed immersing myself in this story and I didn’t want it to end. It was that good. 

A large portion of the book has to do with a young girl named Sherri who applies for and becomes a Playboy Bunny. We learn what life was like at the resort for Sherri and we find out what the training and expectations were for these women. Although most of the Playboy clubs are closed, a few still exist.   

Her research was excellent. It was a big part of what made this book so good. The clubs were considered family friendly and I enjoyed the behind the scenes peek. I think you will too!

Her writing flowed like butter and her character development was excellent. There were parts that were hard to read especially the ones we see mistakes in judgement being made. You care for Sherri enough you want to reach out and tap her on the shoulder and tell her to think twice. I enjoyed getting to know her and all the pieces that make her who she was.

If you liked Second Home, you’ll love Shoulder Season even though it is so totally different. I highly recommend this book! 

I received a copy of this book from #St.MartinsPublishingGroup and #Netgalley. Thank you! 

SYNOPSIS: A dazzling portrait of a young woman coming into her own, the youthful allure of sex, drugs, and rock and roll, and what we loseand gainwhen we leave home.

ONCE IN A LIFETIME, YOU CAN HAVE THE TIME OF YOUR LIFE

The small town of Lake Geneva, Wisconsin is an unlikely location for a Playboy Resort, and nineteen-year old Sherri Taylor is an unlikely bunny. Growing up in neighboring East Troy, Sherri plays the organ at the local church and has never felt comfortable in her own skin. But when her parents die in quick succession, she leaves the only home she’s ever known for the chance to be part of a glamorous slice of history. In the winter of 1981, in a costume two sizes too small, her toes pinched by stilettos, Sherri joins the daughters of dairy farmers and factory workers for the defining experience of her life.

Living in the “bunny hutch”—Playboy’s version of a college dorm—Sherri gets her education in the joys of sisterhood, the thrill of financial independence, the magic of first love, and the heady effects of sex, drugs, and rock and roll. But as spring gives way to summer, Sherri finds herself caught in a romantic triangle—and the tragedy that ensues will haunt her for the next forty years.

From the Midwestern prairie to the California desert, from Wisconsin lakes to the Pacific Ocean, this is a story of what happens when small town life is sprinkled with stardust, and what we lose—and gain—when we leave home. With a heroine to root for and a narrative to get lost in, Christina Clancy’s Shoulder Season is a sexy, evocative tale, drenched in longing and desire, that captures a fleeting moment in American history with nostalgia and heart.