Review: Close to Home

ABOUT THE BOOK

Title: Close to Home
Author: Lily Everett
Publisher: St. Martin’s Paperbacks
Release Date: February 2017
Length: 288 pages
Series?: Sanctuary Island #5
Genre: Contemporary Romance

The best journeys take us home….

When Tessa Alexander came to Sanctuary Island, she left behind a marriage to a man who didn’t love her the way she loved him. When she finally found the strength to set them both free, she discovered friendship and self-acceptance in her adopted hometown. Now she’s settled into a quiet life on her own—never expecting to see her husband again.

Johnny spent almost two years deep undercover, unable to let his wife into his cold, dangerous world. He’s shaken to the core when he comes home to find her gone. It’s painfully clear that Tessa is no longer the timid young woman he married—she’s become a force of nature, a brave and determined beauty. Johnny can’t let her go without a fight so he sets out to seduce his own wife. But will passion alone be enough to convince Tessa that her new life should include a second chance at happiness with a man who must learn to believe in love?

Find the book: Goodreads | Amazon

 

my review

The Skinny

Johnny is a hot mess after coming off his two-year undercover assignment with the ATF. He has PTSD-like tendencies and paranoia, seeing danger everywhere. He is on high alert and suspects anyone and everyone of anything. Upon returning home he finds a “Dear John” letter and divorce papers left by his wife of eight years.

Tessa has spent a year making a life for herself on Sanctuary Island and is happy with her physical, emotional, and mental transformation. She is no longer the weak, timid girl she was before, but Johnny is determined to convince her to come back home. Tessa never dreamed he’d come looking for her, let alone want her back, so they agree to work on their marriage in the meantime and see if it is salvageable.

The Players

Tessa – formerly Amish and timid girl whose found a new life

Johnny – an ATF officer and husband-protector of Tessa

Patty – the local bakery owner and Tessa’s boss and friend; she’s wise and friendly and reminds me of Patty from Gilmore Girls

Quinn – a local girl who hops from one thing to another, her parents and everyone around town consider her flighty and incapable of committing to anything; she sets her sights on Marcus

Marcus – the prodigal son returned to town working on restoring and opening his own bar, agrees to let Johnny board upstairs and tries fending off Quinn

The Quote

“How did you get to be so wise, Miss Patty?”

A nostalgic smile flickered across the wrinkled visage. “My mother was a wonderful woman. Ahead of her time in many ways, and one of those ways was that she hated how many of her women friends didn’t enjoy sex. She told me that I deserved to someday have a ‘healthy marital relation,’ as she called it. I know she hoped I’d find it with a husband, but well, that’s another story.

The Highs and Lows

  • Tessa. She is a different kind of character with an interesting and sad history. Her early life is what landed Tessa on Johnny’s property and led to their “marriage of convenience” of sorts. Johnny was able to protect her and that was the role he played in their marriage. Terri changed her name to Tessa, found solace on Sanctuary Island, and started developing her own life independent of her husband, his protection, and his lack of love. If Johnny can’t love her the way a man should love his wife, she’ll let him go so they can hopefully both find the love they deserve.
  • Johnny. He has a hero complex. It’s why he rescued and married Tessa. He can’t accept that Tessa has moved forward with her life, discovered independence, and no longer needs him to protect her and look after her. He’s a little dumbfounded at what he finds in Sanctuary Island and that she is leading a life without him. What happened to his wife? He wants her back. He’s kept his feelings successfully hidden all these years. He can keep denying how he feels to Tessa and himself or risk losing her forever.
  • Johnny’s Paranoia. Due to his work in the seedy underbelly, Johnny suspects everyone. Especially the new guy in town opening a bar. He wants a buddy at the ATF to do some digging on Marcus. Johnny keeps pushing his friend to help him out. He’s convinced Tessa is still in trouble and in danger.
  • Setting. Sanctuary Island is so idyllic! The way it was described with being able to see certain aspects of town from different corners and Main Street reminded me of the little town of Cabot Cove (which is actually Mendocino, California)  in Murder, She Wrote. I loved how Johnny observed the town and its goings on, and how the gentleman would sit out and play checkers and gossip. I enjoyed the cast of characters and the town very much. It helped “sell” Sanctuary Island and why Tessa chose to settle here.
  • Plot. While the main story was about Johnny and Tessa working on their marriage – which was a great thing to see and I totally believe in and support equine therapy and there should be more of it in our country – Marcus and Quinn’s storyline also played a large part in this installment. The way Tessa would describe her loveless marriage and what she yearned for were heart-wrenching and understandable. It made her character so much more believable and relatable. When a ghost from Tessa’s past wreaks havoc on the town, Johnny’s paranoia is right on the money.

Overall this was a sweet rekindling romance set in a quaint and beautiful town. I enjoyed seeing aspects of Dr. Voss’s equine therapy and Tessa and Johnny working through their marriage and the roadblocks there. Quinn also showed growth as an individual and seems to be finding her way.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lily Everett grew up in a small town in central Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Although she’s lived many other places since, from college in Philadelphia to her first publishing job in New York City and her current home in Austin, Texas, she never forgot the beauty and warmth of her little hometown. She is thrilled to be writing the Sanctuary Island series full time because it allows her to combine her longstanding love of romance with the memories of her childhood home.

Lily’s alter ego is Louisa Edwards. Under that name, she is the author of the Recipe for Love series, sexy contemporary romances with hot chef heroes set in the high-stakes, fast-paced world of professional restaurants.

Find the author: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Cover Characteristics: Cars

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This is a new meme hosted by Sugar & Snark. It came about when Sugar was wondering which cover to use for her #70 Cover of the Week post. Sugar kept on thinking of more than one, and they all seemed to have a theme/characteristic. So she decided to switch things up a bit!

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the week’s particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit). You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

Cars

Read More »

Sunday Post ~ Grandpa Visits

0abf9b9e-b7ac-4d59-b451-7eb7c64ea1b9_zps47hi5hueThe Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news, a post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things received, and share news about what is coming up on the blog for the week ahead. To get in on the Sunday funday, see the rules here: Suday Post Meme.


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I had another interview on Monday morning. The interview was probably the best I’ve had. It was cozy and the principal and the team were great. We got into a really good discussion about reading and vocabulary and goals for the new year. I was so hopeful that I would get THIS teaching job. Then as the principal walked me out she asked about my contract with my current district and I felt all my hopes flush down the toilet.

In Texas, you have 45 days before the start of school (teachers’ first day, not students’) to resign. After that, the district does not have to accept your resignation and has fucked up ways to hold you to your contract and cripple your career. So nice, right? My 45 day was July 3, and the school districts around The Man have just hit their 45 day recently. They don’t start back until two weeks after my district, so the contract is a very sticky thing that is now shooting me in the foot. At this point, I’m pretty resigned that I am stuck where I am for another year, and will be on the road and living out of a suitcase for the next year and paying crazy rent for a place I only reside at 3 days a week. I want to cry about the entire thing.

I won these three books in giveaways. I don’t even know exactly where they came from, and I’ve had them awhile now but I brought them from my house to The Man’s house with the rest of my books. I know one came from Goodreads, but I have no clue who the other two came from. I’m so bad at remembering and tracking stuff like this.

I struggled through my book Tumble Creek. I thought it was going to be very different than it was. I realized on Sunday/Monday that I just could not relate to the MC in any way besides the fact that we are both women. She was overly emotional and cutting everyone off in conversations, getting her hackles up with her sister and daughter whom she adored. It just didn’t make sense….and then there were some scenarios that would never happen. Ever. What mother, whose house has been ransacked and is aware that a recently disappeared friend was being targeted and clearly needs some law enforcement monitoring for safety’s sake, would just gallivant off and live with the sheriff and leave her daughter with her sister across town? That would never happen. I tried to get through it as quickly as I could, but the pacing was all over the place.

I also went to see a chiropractor in The Man’s town. It was phenomenal. I feel like my regular chiropractor is gypping me. He did electromagnetic heat shock therapy on my back. It felt wonderful and amazing. Seriously, find a chiropractor near you that does this! I took Baby to the vet and paid FOUR TIMES the cost of our old vet, two hours away. I will be using Emancipet from now on.

The Man’s dad did arrive on Tuesday morning. His flight was late and when he walked up he had a plane “girlfriend.” She lives in the same town as him, only a half mile from his house! They’d never met; he’d never seen her before around town even though she lived so close and went to the cafe at the end of his street every morning. She was flying down for a week of meetings at Dell. Her kid also goes to the same school as his niece and nephew. What are the odds, right?  Throughout the week we…

Throughout the week we…

  • experienced the sudden death of The Man’s TV (thankfully I’d already moved one of mine to his house!)
  • braved Costco during peak hours
  • traveled 2ish hours away to Ft. Croghun (the third U.S. fort built to protect civilians from Native Americans – ahem, Comanche – in Texas)
  • cooked huge batches of drumsticks (seriously, who is going to eat this!?)
  • and spent Saturday morning on the glass bottom boat tours at Texas State.

Before his dad arrived, I braved the conversation with The Man about what was what last Sunday night. The essence of it was this may be the last time his dad gets to spend time with him while he’s still as healthy as he is. Biopsies were being done. It didn’t sound good, but it sounded like there were some options available and this was just a complex thing because there are multiple in a couple locations. To make matters worse, the stepson (who is my age) is being a complete ass and enraging everyone, making everything worse.

Friday morning as we were about to start preparing to leave for Ft. Croghun, The Man’s stepmom called. The biopsies came back and the definitive answer is it will kill him – it’s just a matter of when. I watched as his dad fell apart. It was surreal; I felt I was having an out-of-body experience, watching down on all of us from above. I couldn’t reconcile with the reality that was unfolding in front of me. That morning was so hard and I am so scared about losing his dad and so worried about The Man. His dad is all he has left. Whatever you believe in, please send the good our way. We need mountains of it.

 

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@sissybearla

 

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  • Monday
    • Cover Characteristics ~ Cars
    • Review ~ Close to Home
  • Tuesday
    • Top Ten Tuesday ~
    • Teaser Tuesday & Intro ~ Blue Like Elvis
  • Wednesday
    • WWW Wednesday
    • My Favorite… ~ Love Story
  • Thursday
  •  Friday
    • Book Blogger Hop ~ 8.4.17

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Book Blogger Hop ~ 7.28.17

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The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer. Each week poses a book-related question. The hop starts on Friday and ends on Thursday. The purpose is to give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers.


Do you read tie-in novels to movies or television series? If so, which ones? (submitted by Billy @ Coffee Addicted Writer)

 

Nope. I’ve only read books later turned into films or shows, like Harry Potter and Pretty Little Liars.

I don’t feel like I’m missing out. There are so many great books out there with such originality and imagination that I want to read, so tie-ins don’t really attract me all that much.

My Favorite…Book as a Child

My Favorite.. is a weekly meme hosted by Maureen’s Books. In this meme we share every week something we love with each other. Because let’s face it.. The world can be a dark place and it’s time to share something positive.


Favorite Book as a Child

My favorite book as a child was a series most known and commonly misnamed after the second book in the series (perhaps the most popular) Little House on the Prairie. The series is simply the Little House series, and the first book is Little House in the Big Woods.

I would read the series each year from about 3rd grade through 7th grade or so. Sometimes I’d read more than once in a year! I loved the simplicity of life, the feeling of family and familiarity, and the adventure! I’m not going to lie: I wanted to BE Laura Ingalls. From there I went on to read The Rocky Ridge Years series and The Rose Years.

I do not like the newer covers, though. I prefer the older covers of the Little House series, and even the ones with the plaid border which the other series covers were later styled after. There are even more series. Each of the girls has their own series. These will be my next big book spend.

 

Which book(s) did you love as a child?

My Bullet Journal: Recent Work

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This is one post in a series of posts about My Bullet Journal Journey. I’ve sequenced the posts so that they chronicle my journey and are step-by-step guides for those of you considering starting your own. 


I have about five-ish solid months of bullet journaling under my belt now. I took a month-long hiatus from mid-April to mid-May. While this is my first year of the journal, I’m learning. A lot. Learning how to do things better and things maybe not to do again…like these spreads. I’ll be sharing my worst ideas and designs to date.

Recent Work

 

Just Some Updating

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I came back from my hiatus, I decided to start back over from the beginning and comb through my bullet journal. I decided I didn’t like the dots, and I wanted to fill in the squares. I actually think it looks much better with just that small change.

 

Alphabet Soup Challenge

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I was able to mark off several new titles on my Alphabet Soup Challenge page and update my progress. I wasn’t too impressed to realize I had the wrong color when updating the bar at the bottom. I think I’ll go back and use my magic wand (ahem, White Out) to clean things up a bit.

I did decide to mark the date with my new progress so I can see the milestones throughout the year. I’ve participated in this series since 2014 and I still have not yet completed the challenge. I don’t purposefully seek out books, either, so I’m going to try to work on that for the latter part of the year.

 

Brush Colors

I got tired of not knowing what my brush marker colors were. This took a bit of time, but what took longer was painstakingly color matching to Crayola’s color palettes. These damn markers don’t have any color names on them! I realized after doing this that it didn’t really help me that much. I’m going to have to go back with a permanent marker and label each and every one of them so I quit picking up the wrong shade.

 

Things I Need To Do MORE

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I’ve been wanting to do one of these for a while, but I just never got around to figuring it out and how I would do it and what I would put on it. I’ve only used half the page so far, but I am so impressed with what I’ve done. All of the lettering is freehand and I’m pretty proud of it.

I’ve definitely been taking care of that reading task lately. 🙂

 

 

Brithdays

Birthdays 5

This one took A LOT of time to just set up. There were a few of the drawing and shading I had trouble with, August in particular. You may notice that some names have a heart following them. These are relatives who have passed away. I started doing that in college, and I don’t know why, but I’ve continued it since. I love the color and the variety of this spread. Although I think for next year I’m going to have to make May all rainy, too. We are infamous for our Memorial Day floods and storms.

 

May Calendar 

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I am pretty proud of my flag on Memorial Day. I set up my monthly layout in advance and I didn’t really think about what I wanted. I’m still working on it because I don’t like it. And then I actually ran out of space on May for my books. I read two more after Misty Lake. This is one I’ve got to rethink.

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How do you fill in when you’ve taken a break from everything? The classic child’s mimicry, of course!

 

June Calendar

I saw something that inspired me to do a dreamcatcher for June. I ended up not liking the browns so much, but I do like it overall. The dreamcatcher took a significant part of a day to get drawn and colored.

20170527_201530I decided to change things up a bit with my June calendar and trackers. I made a full spread calendar with a task bar to the right. I like that a lot.  It might entirely take over the calendar companion that has my monthly goals and to-do so I won’t need them anymore. Then I’ll just have to figure out a “what I’m reading” thing.

I also decided to do something new in June. I was tired of feeling tired about my 20170527_201600mood tracker and only having one mood for the entire day. I saw someone who used this type of system, and I’m going to try it out for June and see how it goes.

 

 

 

 

Travel Destinations

Travel 5

I was inspired by one of my students for this one. I spruced mine up quite a bit.

One of my biggest fears in life (still) is that I will never get to travel anywhere. Vacations were a foreign thing for my family. When I was halfway through college we took our first “vacation” for a couple of days to Corpus Christi. First family vacation.

I am excited though because next summer my family is going on a cruise for my mother’s class reunion. Her 35th isn’t until 2019, but all the classes from the 80s got together and came up with this idea for their reunions. So I’ll get to add a Latin American country to my list!! 😀

 

Dr. Seuss

Dr Seuss 1I don’t even recall what specifically it was, but something that happened at work (with coworkers, not the kids) really upset me a while back. And it drove me back to this Dr. Seuss quote. In college, a friend wrote this my BFF’s minifridge. She didn’t realize it was in permanent marker and not in Expo until October. I remember Kat living and embodying this quote so much. She was judged a lot and this quote meant a lot to her.

It has since come to mean a lot to me, too. I spent hours and hours working on this spread, and I don’t regret it. It was time well spent.

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I drew everything free-hand. I almost wish I had left it in pencil, but I did end up adding color. I’ll share the full thing colored version in an upcoming post. This is the spread I am most proud of in my entire journal. It is like the holy grail of my journal at this point. I also think it took all of the creative juices I had for the next four months.


See? It’s OK to make mistakes in your bullet journal. 

Look for the next post in the series about some of my most recent work. 

WWW Wednesdays (July 26)

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This is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World of Words. To join in answer the following three questions and hop over to Sam’s and leave your link.


What are you currently reading?

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So…Tumble Creek is not what I expected. It’s…weird. I can’t relate to Sofie at all. She is a highly emotional woman at the smallest of things and has to keep forcing herself to not spiral into a panic attack. She keeps grabbing onto people to mentally steady herself. The character interaction is also strange. It’s like everyone is having their own private thoughts and say something and someone else jumps to conclusions and the conversation goes into a tailspin and you don’t know what is really going on. Then there’s the whole choosing to go live with the sheriff and leave her daughter at her sister’s. This book is weird but I want to finish it.


 What did you just finish reading?


What do you think you’ll read next?

I still have to write up my review of Blue Steal, and I’m sitting at 8% for NetGalley. Continuing on with some summery-looking NG reads. While I probably won’t meet my goal of 50 NG books by the end of the year, I’m thinking I have a good chance of being at 12% by the end of the year. If anyone knows how to remove approved books that you never downloaded, I’d love to know (if that’s even possible). It’s progress!


 How about you? What are you reading this week?

Leave a comment with your answers! Share the link to your WWW Wednesday post OR leave your answers in the comments if you don’t have a blog. Happy Reading! 🙂