Review of A MILLION DREAMS by Dani Atkins

I knew from looking at the cover that I would need a tissue or two. Actually, I needed almost a whole box! This is an absolutely gut-wrenching novel, with a premise that has no winners. Izzy, Pete and eight-year old Noah are a family. Pete and Izzy are separated, but that makes them no less a family, a unit that loves and cares for each other. One day, they get a devastating phone call from the fertility center that they used for IVF; Noah may be someone else’s child because the center “made a mistake.” Beth and Tim were deeply in love and had tried for years to have a child, but the IVF procedures never ended up with pregnancy for Beth. When the book opens, Tim has succumbed to cancer and Beth, all alone, wants to try to keep a part of him by having his child with their one remaining embryo. Unfortunately, her embryo is gone, given to another woman and that woman has her child. Although eight years have passed, Beth wants to legally pursue whatever recourse she has to get her child back. What would justice look like for Izzy, Pete, Noah and Beth? Is is possible to have a winner in a court case like this? My heart was torn into pieces because I wanted Izzy to have the son she had raised, but I also wanted Beth to have the son that was a living part of Tim. This was a book that was hard to put down but it was equally difficult to pick up. I cannot say that I was delighted to read it; rather, I was compelled to find out what happened in this lose-lose situation. Fans of contemporary fiction and women’s fiction will enjoy this book, but bring the tissues with you! Disclaimer Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

The reason for my four star rating is that I enjoyed the book, but I cried each time I picked it up. There are no winners inside its cover!

Available now online and at your local bookseller!

Review of SUNRISE ON HALF MOON BAY by Robyn Carr

The story of Justine and Adele is just delicious! Justine has been married for over two decades when she discovers that her husband Scott is a cheat. As a lawyer, she knows just what to do legally, but then she has to pick up the pieces of her life and try to hold together the sanity of herself and their two teen daughters. Adele has been caring for their ailing parents for almost a decade and now she is at loose ends because their mom has died. Does she stay in the old home where she was raised, continue her education, find a job…what does she do with her life now that she is free? I enjoyed how the plot unfolded slowly and with lots of layers to the lives of both women. Their discovery of how to start a new life as well as a new relationship with each other made for a wonderful read. I wanted to know more about Justine, more about Adele, more about the teens, more about their love interests. I just wanted to know more, and in the time I set aside each day to read, this was the first book that drew me in regularly. I loved the setting and the symbolism of having a sunrise, which is like a new start. My favorite part was seeing the sisters discover what they had in common and how much they could help each other out of their dilemmas. There are many sub-plots that I am not mentioning, but I am certain that fans of romance will devour this book. It is so good! This is the first book that I have read by this author, but I will definitely look for more by her since I have read that she is a prolific author. I need more of uplifting books with lots of conflict but a fairy tale ending! This book definitely fit that bill!
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

My review is based on how entertaining the book was for me. There is extramarital sex in it, but the scenes are not graphically described. I think this book would be suitable for a PG audience.

Robyn Carr is an award-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than sixty novels, including highly praised women’s fiction such as Four Friends and The View From Alameda Island and the critically acclaimed Virgin River, Thunder Point and Sullivan’s Crossing series. Virgin River is now a Netflix Original series. Robyn lives in Las Vegas, Nevada. Visit her website at


Author: Robyn Carr

ISBN: 9780778309482

Publication Date: 4/14/2020

Publisher: MIRA Books

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 “Has it ever occurred to Scott to get a serious job?” Adele asked. “I mean, forgive me, since I haven’t had a serious job in my life.”

Justine smiled patiently. “Your jobs have all been serious, and without you we’d have been lost. If you hadn’t dedicated yourself to Mom’s care, it would have cost our whole family a fortune. We’re indebted to you. And I agree it would help if Scott worked more than part-time, but I think that ship sailed years ago. He’s only worked part-time since Amber and Olivia came along.”

Adele adored her nieces, ages sixteen and seventeen. She was much closer to them than she was to Justine.

“I’m sorry you’re going through this,” Adele said. “I wish there was something I could do.”

“Well, the thing is, the future is looking very uncertain. I might need your help,” Justine said.

“What could I do?” she asked.

“Adele, I don’t like to push you, but you have to get it to­gether. We have to make some decisions about what you’re going to do, what we’ll do with the house. I realize what I’ve given you for your hard work hasn’t been much, but I don’t know how long I can keep it up—paying for the maintenance on this house, the taxes, a modest income for you… I don’t want to panic prematurely,” Justine said. “Maybe I’ll be able to work everything out without too much hassle, but if I run into trou­ble… Money could get very tight, Addie. All those promises I made—that I’d help financially while you fix up the house, that I’d give you my half of the proceeds when and if you sold it… I might not be able to come through. I know, I know, I promised you it would be yours after all of your sacrifice, but you wouldn’t want me to ignore the girls’ tuition or not be able to make the mortgage…”

“But Justine!” Adele said. “That’s all I have! And I was con­sidering finishing school myself!” Though if she was honest, she had no plans of any kind.

Justine reached out to her, squeezing her hand. “We’re a long way from me needing money. I just felt it was only fair to tell you what’s going on. If we’re in this together, we can both make it. I swear, I will make this all work out. I’ll make it right.”

But as Adele knew, they had never really been “in it together” in the past, and they wouldn’t be for very long in the future. Addie’s dedication to their parents allowed Justine to devote herself to her career. For that matter, it should be Justine and Scott shoring each other up. At least until Justine had a better idea. But where was Scott today? Golfing? Biking? Bowling?

Adele realized she had some difficult realities to face. When she dropped out of school to help her mother care for her fa­ther, she wasn’t being completely altruistic. She’d needed a place to run away to, hiding an unplanned pregnancy and covering her tattered heart. She’d never told her family that her married lover—her psychology professor—had broken down in tears when he explained he couldn’t leave his wife to marry Adele, that the college would probably fire him for having an affair with a student. For her, going home was the only option.

At the time Justine and Scott had been riding the big wave and didn’t lust after the small, old house in Half Moon Bay. That house was chump change to them. So, they worked out a deal. Adele had become her mother’s guardian with a power of attorney. But the will had never been adjusted to ref lect just one beneficiary rather than two. In the case of the death of both parents, Adele and Justine would inherit equal equity in the eighty-year-old house and anything left of the life insur­ance. At the time, of course, neither Adele nor Justine had ever considered the idea that Adele would be needed for very long. But before Adele knew it, eight years had been gobbled up. She was thirty-two and had been caring for her parents since she was twenty-four.

Adele, as guardian, could have escaped by turning over the house, pension, social security to a care facility for her mother and gone out on her own, finding herself a better job and her own place to live. She wasn’t sure if it was her conscience or just inertia that held her in place for so long.

“I just wanted to make sure you understood the circumstances before anything more happens,” Justine said. “And since you don’t have any immediate plans, please don’t list the house for sale or anything. Give me a chance to figure out what’s next. I have children. I’ll do whatever I can to protect them and you. They’re your nieces! They love you so much. I’m sure you want them to get a good education as much as I do.”

Does anyone want me to have a real chance to start over? Adele asked herself. This conversation sounded like Justine was pull­ing out of their deal.

“I’ll think about this, but Scott has responsibilities, too,” she pointed out.

“He’s been out of the full-time workforce for so long…” Jus­tine said.

“Just the same, we all have to live up to our adult commit­ments and responsibilities. And you’ve had a highfalutin job for a long time. You’ve made a lot of money. You can recover. I haven’t even begun.”

“I need your help, Addie,” Justine said. “You need to come up with a plan, something we can put in motion. Make plans for your next step, put a little energy into this old house, make suggestions of what we should do with it, everything. Let’s fig­ure out what to do before I find myself short and unable to help. I’m sorry, but we have to move forward.”

Excerpted from Sunrise on Half Moon Bay, Copyright © 2020 by Robyn Carr. Published by MIRA Books.

Praying During Hard Times

Times in America are hard. There are so many who are now unemployed and have families to feed. I pray for God’s provision for them. There are many who are sick or who have family members who are ill from this deadly virus. I pray for God’s healing for them and comfort as well. There are families that are separated because one of them is a health care worker and does not want to go home and infect the other family members. I pray that God will be with them and strengthen them. There are health care workers who are exhausted and discouraged. I pray for God to show Himself to them so that they know that they are not in this battle alone. There are children who are afraid but cannot express their fears of this great unknown thing that has changed their lives. I pray for the gentle hand of the Lord to uphold them and to let them know that all will be okay. There are teachers who are working long hours at home, trying to fulfill their job requirements and also take care of their families. I pray for God to give them wisdom about how to get everything done and to put God first so that priorities are straight. There are people working in the stores, stocking shelves and delivering groceries to cars. I pray for them and their families, that the Lord will provide for them and put a protective angel around them so that they stay safe and well. There are elderly people who are in nursing homes and ill, dying without a family member’s touch. There are elderly people alone in their own homes, alone and fearful. I pray that God will be close to these cherished ones and let them know that they are never alone since He is always with them.

I could go on and on with all the people who need our prayers. I’m sure you can think of others and hope that you will dedicate some time today praying for these. Yes, these are hard times. But nothing surprises the Lord and He can use this global pandemic for His glory, if we just acknowledge His presence and power in our lives. God is still on His throne and awaits our prayers so He can answer. Stop what you are doing and talk to God. He is never too busy to listen, and when we pray in His will, He answers with mercy and grace and with an answer that makes sense for all mankind, not just one person. God is eternal, so we need to remember to give Him the praise and honor Him for each day that we are here to praise and pray to Him.

God’s promises are true! Spend some time in God’s Word today and stand on the promises that you find there. I’m praying Psalm 91 every day and hope that you will join me. Blessings to each of you, no matter where this sickness finds you. God is still there for each of us!


Note that this is NOT a book that I would choose to read for pleasure. The incidents depicted in the book are R rated, in my opinion, making the book not suitable for general audiences.

First, I have to admit that I could not finish this book quickly enough and it wasn’t because it was so absorbing. I just wanted it to end and for me to find out the resolution. The story centers around the family dynamics of a teacher Ed, his wife Connie and their teen daughters Ann and Poppy. Add in their adopted teen son Michael and the family is complete. They all live in Milwaukee, but every summer they travel to their house on Cape Cod to spend the summer. The summer featured in the novel is one of many changes for the family and some really poor decisions. The mom and dad seemed very detached, not really caring or paying attention to what their children were doing. The result of their negligence and one terrible night is a teen pregnancy and a family torn apart. Many years later when the parents are killed in a car accident, Ann and Poppy have to do something about the summer house that they have not returned to for years. Poppy is a free, troubled spirit who really needs some help. Ann is finding success in her career. Neither of them has the funds to keep the house, so they want to sell it. Then Michael returns and wants to keep the house as well as restore his lost reputation, the reason he fled fifteen years before. I absolutely hated the way the plot was developed, with a hint here and there of what had happened. There were no redeeming characters, but if I have to pick one to like, I choose Michael. He made his life by himself, without help from his adopted family that spurned him. I didn’t like Ann and her weaknesses nor Poppy and all of her drug trips. That being said, the book was okay, but I would not consider it a good beach read since it includes all the reasons not to have a beach house and none of the real fun of having one. Just my opinion, of course, but I would put this in the category of a family drama rather than a beach read. Fans of that genre may like this book, but I did find it slow-paced at times and very frustrating to read.
Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher via Netgalley. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255, “Guides Concerning the Use of Testimonials and Endorsements in Advertising.”

I chose this rating because the family dynamics was somewhat entertaining, but I was not at all happy about how the parents were there physically but had no idea what their teens were doing during their summer vacation. That was totally unrealistic to me since I always knew where my children were and what they were doing until they moved out of my house. Those details really killed my interest in the book…that and the definite adult content. And the adults who read it will have to tolerate some really disturbing scenes.
This is a debut by this author and is available for purchase on June 2, 2020.