The Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart

The Long Way Home: The Chesapeake DiariesThe Long Way Home by Mariah Stewart

  • ISBN-13: 9780345538413
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 1/29/2013
  • Source: Netgalley


New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart presents a captivating contemporary romance novel in the tradition of Robyn Carr, Susan Mallery, and Barbara Freethy.

As the only child of a wealthy investment manager, Ellie Chapman has never known anything besides a life of perfect privilege. But her years of good fortune come to an abrupt end when her father is exposed for swindling billions of dollars from innocent investors in a massive Ponzi scheme. And just like that, Ellie loses everything: money, job, home—even her fiancé, who’s jailed as her father’s partner in crime. With no job prospects on the horizon, no cash, and her family name in tatters, Ellie has only one place to go.
Sleepy St. Dennis, Maryland, is hardly where Ellie intends to stay, however. Keeping her identity a secret, she plans to sell the house her late mother left her in the small town and use the proceeds to move on with her life. Unfortunately, her ticket to a new beginning is in dire need of a laundry list of pricey improvements, many of which she’ll have to do herself. And until the house on Bay View Road is fit to be sold, the sole place Ellie will be traveling is the hardware store. But as the many charms of St. Dennis—not to mention Cameron O’Connor, the handsome local contractor who has secrets of his own—begin to work their magic, what begins as a lesson in do-it-yourself renovations might just end up as Ellie’s very own rejuvenation.

My Thoughts:

The Long Way Home was one of those books that I was drawn to and could not place my finger on why for quite a while.  It took some sitting back and reflecting to collect my thoughts into something that I found to be somewhat valuable.  I find Mariah Stewart great at weaving multiple story lines together in a way that sucks me in and makes me wonder why I did not see how the different story lines were overlapping and creating new one altogether.  Her simple yet emotion filled writing rivals so many of my favorite romance writers.  

Ellie Chapman, has moved to a small town far from the big city she is used to, she was forced to flee after her father and the man she loved  are jailed after taking the money of many people in a scam.  Ellie, who is used to living a life that includes anything and everything she needs, is left with nothing but a name she is ashamed of and a home in St. Dennis, Maryland that her mother left her years ago.  Ellie has decided to keep her real name hidden and pretend that she is just an investor looking to flip the old house that needs so many repairs.  She has to stay in the home for 6 months by the will or she will lose it just like the rest of her life.  Luckily, there is a fund set up to take care of the home.  Ellie soon realizes that a local contractor, Cameron O’Conner, has he eye on the house and was really hoping to purchase it.  She can’t admit the truth of who she is but realize that there is more to Cameron and his reason for wanting to purchase the house.  All Ellie wants is to restart her life but St. Dennis and it’s people seem to have something else in mind altogether.  This little town and her new life surprise her time and time again.

I really enjoyed that there were numerous story lines going on in The Long Way Home there is Ellie’s story, Cameron’s story, the town’s story and how all of these meet together and there there is a huge surprise that I never saw coming towards the end of the story.  Every time I thought I had a good grasp on the story something would change up and I would end up being wrong.  This doesn’t happen very often with romance books so it was a welcome change.  

My Rating:

4 Penguin


A 4 penguin read

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Grace Doll Blog Tour

Good Day Readers!  I am very happy to welcome Author Jennifer Laurens with her new book Grace Doll.  I have a lot to share today about this book starting with giving Jennifer an opportunity to chat with you about connecting with all of you!

Connecting With Readers = Making Friends

I admit, balancing writing, family life, life’s responsibilities and connecting with readers is a lot of work. But some of the most gratifying experiences I’ve had have been because I’ve extended myself to readers who’ve enjoyed my books.

I write because I want to, first. Second, I hope my stories will enrich the person who connects with them. When that reader reaches out to me, I appreciate the effort. Writing is so solitary, that one of the joys of writing is having a reader tell you how much your book touched them or made them laugh, or changed their thinking, or caused them to ponder something they hadn’t thought of before.

I used to send Heavenly out to all of my Facebook friends when it was their birthday. This was a great introduction to the series, but came at a serious cost to me. It didn’t matter. I could afford to do it, so I did – I met thousands of readers this way. One was a girl in in New York City. She started messaging me about how much she loved Heavenly and we started to chat regularly–one highlight was a birthday phone conversation we recently had. Someday, we hope to meet face to face. But until then, we email and text and keep in touch on a weekly basis. I’m so grateful to know her. She’s an outstanding young woman with direction and values that I admire.

Another dear friend/reader lives in Australia. I would never have met her if I hadn’t sent her a copy of Heavenly for her birthday. She fell in love with the book and after reading it, she reached out to me with a desire to get to know the person behind the book. ( Heavenly seems to illicit a lot of questions about autism, life after death, angels, etc. — which I’m happy to talk about with readers ) Since then, she has become someone I look forward to hearing from via messages and texts every day. We talk about EVERYTHING. I marvel that technology has brought special relationships into my life and am, once again, grateful.

I’ve had many readers tell me they appreciate that I take the time to connect with them. I hope my readers feel that I genuinely care about them because I do. It makes my day better when I think about my ‘friends’ all around the world, and how I’ve been a small part in bringing a bit of joy or magic or romance or light into their lives. That’s one of the reasons I write. There’s no substitute for friends, whether they are next door or around the globe–they’re important. I consider myself blessed to do what I do and have the opportunity to get to know a vast variety of people.

Is it worth it? Taking a few minutes to answer an email, to message a reader on Facebook, to tweet a “hello”, to respond to a blog post— definitely is. Connecting with readers can be an author’s way of acknowledging a reader’s ‘experience’ with their work.

Grace Doll by Jennifer Laurens

Grace Doll had everything a girl could want: Fame. Fortune. Beauty.

Everything except, of course, her freedom. So when a powerful movie producer forces an experimental treatment on Grace–one that’s purported to make beauty immortal–she stages her own death to escape him.

With the help of trusted friends, Grace slips into hiding. She’s forever flawless, forever young and forever pursued by her past.

But when a stranger arrives on her doorstep, holding the key to a life she thought she’d left behind, Grace must decide between the safety she’s known… and embracing the role she was born to play.



 Excerpt from Grace Doll

My cell phone rings. Solomon. He wants more? Bring it on.


            “You have something I want.”

            “Good skin maybe?”


            “Your father had something to do with Grace’s disappearance. I’ve spent the last sixty years putting pieces together and—”

            “Look, if you want to spend your time chasing ghosts, go for it. My dad is dead. So is Grace. If you want to see her so bad, go walk into another fire.” I click off the phone, toss it into the empty seat next to me.

            My hands shake. I’ve just thrown a log onto a blaze.

My Review

I have read numerous books by Jennifer Laurens and I have to say that this was by far my very favorite.  It was just a different that anything I have read by her before.  Grace Doll starts in a very Hollywood Glam way in 1949.  Grace Doll is at the height of her career but she is crazy unhappy and trapped exactly where she is.  From the very start of the book it was evident that there was something haunting wrong and I really wanted to know what it was.  It seemed as though Grace was acting through every moment of her life.  Rufus B. Solomon is seemingly Grace’s protector, keeping all of the crazy fans far from her, what the crowd doesn’t see is the abuse he deals her as they move along, he is controlling her every movement.  And it is not just the movement but the words he says that no one else can hear.  This is the first look at what is wrong in Grace’s life.  This is after Rufus had discovered her as just a 13 year old girl on the boardwalk and swept her parents off their feet and changed everything about Grace down to her birth date.  The abuse just continues and he subjects her to an experimental medication that will give her the ability to keep her beauty forever.  As a rescue attempt to free her from Rufus goes horribly wrong, and everyone believes that Grace Doll is dead.  That is everyone but Rufus Solomon, who will continue to search for Grace Doll.  With the help of Grace’s makeup artist’s son the mystery of what happened to Grace Doll will be unraveled and her secrets will be revealed. 

This was a powerful book full of pain and loss.  I was haunted by Grace Doll’s pain and just the unraveling of all of the details of this story.  It was a great read and I didn’t want to put it down.


About the Author:

I write YA books. Whatever my heart desires, I write. I don’t have someone over my shoulder, in some office somewhere telling me what I can and cannot write. Or should and shouldn’t write. I listen to my heart, the center of my muse, and trust my instincts.

I’ve written since junior high school. An only child, I grew up writing big stories about big families. I also write YA under the name of JM Warwick. My hometown of Palos Verdes, California figures in much of my work, as does my current home of Pleasant Grove, Utah and other favorite places. I love to travel.

They say “write what you know” and I do. I am a mother, I have six children, five cats and a huge doberman/dane dog. I have a supportive husband and we’ve been married 25 years. Our lives, though challenging with a handicapped child who has autism, are centered in our family.

My life experiences have worked into all of my novels. Some more heavily than others, but parts of me are in each story. I love stories rich in family drama, where family members overcome obstacles through love and miracles.



Tour Giveaway:
$10 Amazon Gift Card + Copy of Grace Doll & Swag
Copy of Grace Doll
(Paperback open to US only, Ebook Internationally)
Ends 11/15/12

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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Review: The Hands of Tarot by SM Blooding

The Hands of Tarot
SM Blooding
Available: August 7, 2012
Format: E-book & Paperback
She killed his father.
She imprisoned and beat him.
And now she thinks he’s her trophy.
Synn El’Asim will do almost anything to prove her wrong. But he’s only proving her right.
Queen Nix awakened his Mark of power and inducted him into the House of Wands. She knew what she was doing. The son of the two most powerful Families standing against her is the ultimate prize.
What she didn’t take into consideration was that maybe he was too strong for her.
But the Families aren’t. They’ve been weakened and it’ll take a lot more than one young man with a powerful Mark to take on the Hands of Tarot.
At first, this book took me a while to adjust to and really get into.  I was not sure for a little bit, but once I got adjusted to the world it was very hard to put down.  One thing I can say about SM Blooding is she is outstanding at world building.  I could really picture the airships and the cities in which the story took place.  I think that the other things that took me a while to adjust to was the darkness of the book, this one is very violent in my opinion and while it was not a deal breaker for me it was something that took some time to get used to.  I have bee reading much lighter books so in the end this was a welcome change.    
Synn, our main character, with the help of his support system, realizes that he must face his fears and stop Queen Nix or she take out all of the families.  His biggest worry is that no one will stand with him when he takes his stand because he certainly looks much weaker that his foe.  Synn is written with excellent attention to detail and the plot of this story is done well giving you enough room to get caught up just at the right times.  This story is very intense at time and the author realized that sometimes the reader needs a moment to catch up and she gave us that through out the book.  
Overall, I feel like I have a hard time putting my thoughts on this story into words for a review.  I think that the author did a fantastic job and while this book doesn’t fit into the normal group of books I would normally read, I am really glad that I gave it shot because I enjoyed the change.
About the Author:
SM Blooding lives in Colorado with her pet rock, Rockie, their new addition, Mr. Bird, who’s a real bird. She likes to hike the beautiful Rocky Mountains, and is learning to play the piano and guitar. Currently, she’s trying to MURDER them both. Friends call her Frankie.
She’s dated vampires, werewolves, sorcerers, weapons smugglers and US Government assassins. Yes. She has stories.

She’s also an investigator with a 
Find out more about her at:

Amazon – Kindle   

Amazon – Paperback    

B&N – Paperback   

Autographed copy  

Additional information




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