Category Archives: Alcove Press

Review: Return to Sweetheart Lake by Evelyn Jordan

Title: Return to Sweetheart Lake by Evelyn Jordan
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Romance
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


A sure hit for fans of Jill Shalvis, this complex novel illuminates how the secrets of our past can break us…or make us.

They were from opposite sides of the tracks: the wealthy Nortons and the working-class Michaels family. Yet Gray Norton and Charlie Michaels had become the unlikeliest of best friends, thick as thieves and utterly inseparable.

Consumed with guilt after Charlie’s untimely death, Gray fled his hometown to work as a doctor in a war zone. But Charlie’s demise isn’t the only thing that haunts Gray.

For years, Gray and Romey, Charlie’s sister, had been lovers–and Charlie never knew. Now a single mom, Romey has moved on from her painful relationship with Gray to work on her business, The Crusty Petal bakery. But when Gray returns to reconnect with the family he left behind–and the girl whose heart he broke–Romey’s world comes apart.

Romey has no intention of giving Gray the time of day, much less one of her famous pies. But can she resist the plan Gray has set in motion to make amends and win her back? Both have secrets and painful memories they’ve been harboring for years–but the past always has a way of catching up.

Food, family, and the search for self-acceptance come together in a richly drawn novel of exceptional emotional resonance.


Return to Sweetheart Lake by Evelyn Jordan is a heartfelt second chance at love romance.

Romey Michaels has not it easy the past few years but she is finally at a good place in her life. She is a single mother to an adorable baby girl and she has opened her own business. Romey works long hours and her hard work is paying off. So, the last thing she needs is the unexpected reappearance of her friend (with benefits) Gray Norton. He disappeared without a word almost two years ago and a lot in her life has changed since then. Romey has no intention of getting involved with him again but will Gray change her mind?

Gray is the only son of wealthy parents who were always too busy for him. After becoming best friends with Romey’s brother Charlie, he spent more time at their house than his. Gray and Romey became fast friends but their attraction has always been too strong to ignore. But their relationship never moved out of the friends with benefit stage nor did they ever take it public. Gray abruptly left to work for Doctors without Borders in order to escape his problems and when he returns, will Romey be willing to give him a second chance?

Return to Sweetheart Lake is a compelling romance with a peaceful setting. The characters are well-rounded and a bit eclectic. The storyline is quite engaging and moves at steady pace. Sweetheart Lake is a small town and some of its residents are small-minded. Romey is initially unwilling to offer much forgiveness after Gray’s return. But circumstances bring them together in unanticipated ways. Lack of communication becomes an issue between them and threatens to derail the progress they have made. Evelyn Jordan brings this marvelous romance to an absolutely heartwarming conclusion.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Evelyn Jordan, Rated B, Return to Sweetheart Lake, Review, Romance

Review: What We Carry by Kalyn Fogarty

Title: What We Carry by Kalyn Fogarty
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 336 pages
Book Rating: A

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley

Fans of Caroline Leavitt will relish this rich, complex novel born of the author’s own loss and grief, about how one can overcome tragedy through bravery and self-discovery.

Cassidy Morgan’s life has always followed a carefully laid track: top education, fulfilling career, and marriage to the love of her life, Owen. The next logical step was starting a family. But when a late-term miscarriage threatens to derail everything she’s worked so hard for, she finds herself questioning her identity, particularly what it means to be a mother. Unable to move past her guilt and shame, she realizes there’s more to fix than a broken heart. Grief illuminates the weaknesses in her marriage and forces her to deal with her tumultuous relationship with her own mother.

Cassidy hopes her work as a veterinarian specializing in equine reproduction will distract her from the pain but instead finds that one of the cases she’s working on shines a spotlight on the memory of her unborn son. For once in her life, Cassidy is left untethered and wondering why she wanted to become a mother in the first place.

Then the unexpected happens when Cassidy becomes pregnant again. But the joy over her baby is tempered by her fear of another loss as well as her increasingly troubled marriage. Now, she must decide whether to let her pain hold her back or trust that there’s still something to live for.

What We Carry is a thought-provoking response to the author’s own miscarriage and lack of fiction surrounding the topic, that she and other women in her situation crave.

What We Carry by Kalyn Fogarty an emotional novel about loss, grief and ultimately, healing.

Cassidy Morgan and her husband Owen have been trying to get pregnant for several months without success. Like many women dealing with fertility issues, Cassidy is completely focused on finally getting a positive pregnancy test. As a consequence, her marriage is suffering as Owen grows tired of their intimate life revolving around the optimal time for conception. Finally he finally decides to it is time to speak up, the couple put baby-making on hold for a few months to reconnect with each other. And as sometimes happens when conception is put on the back burner, Cassidy finally gets pregnant. Happily planning for their growing family, Cassidy and Owen are devastated by a late term miscarriage.

Cassidy is a large animal veterinarian who is close to her sister Claire. Her relationship with her mother is tumultuous but Cassidy and her dad share a tight bond. She is a bit of a tomboy who is happiest when taking care of horses. Cassidy is a bit closed off and pulls away during stressful situations. After her miscarriage, she clings tightly to her grief and mostly shuts Owen out.

Owen deeply loves his wife but he is frustrated by how much getting pregnant dominates their life. He is slowly building his business which is poised to take off after winning a prestigious contract. Owen has difficulty expressing his feelings and desires to Cassidy who uses any excuse to continue to push him away. After their loss, Owen must deal with his grief on his own because Cassidy is lost in her own pain and grief.

After undergoing testing to find out a possible cause for the late-term miscarriage, Cassidy and Owen are soon pregnant again. But having dealt with such a heartrending loss, Cassidy is plagued with worry that her body might again betray her. With such complicated feelings, she continues attempting to overcome her fears and fully celebrate the impending birth of their longed-for child.

What We Carry is a multi-layered novel with a deeply affecting storyline. Cassidy is multi-faceted character whose pain after her miscarriage is palpable. Owen is a wonderful man who must change his approach to his wife if they are to move through their grief and save their marriage. Cassidy’s struggles with fertility issues and subsequent heartbreaking pregnancy loss with resonate with readers. Based on her personal experience, Kalyn Fogarty’s debut novel is a thoroughly captivating story that does not shy away from a painful, yet rarely discussed, issue that affects ten to twenty percent of known pregnancies.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Kalyn Fogarty, Rated A, Review, What We Carry, Women's Fiction

Review: A Song for the Road by Kathleen Basi

Title: A Song for the Road by Kathleen Basi
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 352 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Cheryl Strayed’s Wild meets Katherine Center’s How to Walk Away in Kathleen Basi’s debut novel about an unconventional road trip and what it means to honor the ones we love.

It’s one year after the death of her husband and twin teenagers, and Miriam Tedesco has lost faith in humanity and herself. When a bouquet of flowers that her husband always sends on their anniversary shows up at her workplace, she completely unravels. With the help of her best friend, she realizes that it’s time to pick up the pieces and begin to move on. Step one is not even cleaning out her family’s possessions, but just taking inventory starting with her daughter’s room. But when she opens her daughter’s computer, she stumbles across a program her daughter has created detailing an automated cross-country road trip, for her and her husband to take as soon-to-be empty nesters.

Seeing and hearing the video clips of her kids embedded in the program, Miriam is determined to take this trip for her children. Armed with her husband’s guitar, her daughter’s cello, and her son’s unfinished piano sonata, she embarks on a musical pilgrimage to grieve the family she fears she never loved enough. Along the way she meets a young, pregnant hitchhiker named Dicey, whose boisterous and spunky attitude reminds Miriam of her own daughter.

Tornadoes, impromptu concerts, and an unlikely friendship…whether she’s prepared for it or not, Miriam’s world is coming back to life. But as she struggles to keep her focus on the reason she set out on this journey, she has to confront the possibility that the best way to honor her family may be to accept the truths she never wanted to face.

Hopeful, honest, and tender, A Song for the Road is about courage, vulnerability, and forgiveness, even of yourself, when it really matters.


A Song for the Road by Kathleen Basi is a moving novel of healing and friendship.

Miriam Tedesco is mired in grief following the tragic loss of her husband Teo and twins Talia and Blaise. With the one-year anniversary approaching, her best friend Becky Lindon convinces her to go on the road trip the twins designed for her and Teo.  At her first stop, Miriam meets a Dicey Smith, a young pregnant woman traveling to California. By mutual agreement, they continue their journey together. Miriam is surprised by how much she enjoys Dicey’s company and they form an unlikely friendship. Together, they weather a few challenges but when a serious crisis occurs, how will Miriam react?

The past year has not just been difficult because of Miriam’s losses; she is crushed under the weight of rethinking her own decisions. Looking back over the years, she is tormented by the choices she made. Miriam also desperately misses Teo whose love for her helped keep her life on an even keel. During their travels, Miriam’s discussions with Dicey are unexpectedly helpful since her new friend offers a fresh perspective about the issues troubling her.

Dicey is a vibrant young woman who wants the very best in life for her unborn baby. She is a steadying force for Miriam who is easily crushed under the weight of her grief.  Dicey is upbeat and positive and her enthusiasm is beneficial for Miriam who needs encouragement to continue on their journey.

A Song for the Road is an emotionally compelling novel with a heartfelt storyline. Miriam is consumed with self-doubts and it takes a few days for her to settle into the journey. Dicey is a self-sufficient young woman who is rather tight-lipped about her own problems. Their unorthodox friendship is incredibly heartwarming and uplifting. The various places they visit are quite interesting. With heart-dropping plot twist, Kathleen Basi brings this marvelous novel to a gratifying conclusion.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Kathleen Basi, Rated B+, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: Minus Me by Mameve Medwed

Title: Minus Me by Mameve Medwed
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 331 pages
Book Rating: B

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


Her life turned upside down by a grim diagnosis, a small-town Maine woman sets about writing a “How To” life manual for her handsome yet hapless husband in a novel Elinor Lipman (Good Riddance, On Turpentine Lane) calls “smart, funny-quirky, and so very satisfying.”

Annie and her devoted but comically incompetent childhood sweetheart Sam are the owners and operators of Annie’s, a gourmet sandwich shop, home to the legendary Paul Bunyan Special Sandwich–their “nutritionally challenged continual source of income and marital harmony and local fame.”

But into their mostly charmed marriage comes the scary medical diagnosis for Annie–and the overwhelming challenge of finding a way to help Sam go on without her. Annie decides to leave Sam step-by-step instructions for a future without her, and considers her own replacement in his heart and their bed.Her best-laid plans grind to a halt with the unexpected appearance of Ursula, Annie’s Manhattan diva of a mother, who brings her own brand of chaos and disruption into their lives.

Minus Me is a poignant and hilarious novel about the bonds of marriage, the burdens of maternal love, and the courage to face mortality, “with an ending readers will cherish (Caroline Leavitt, Pictures of You).”


Minus Me by Mameve Medwed is a charming novel that is poignant and surprisingly uplifting.

Annie Stevens-Strauss receives a diagnosis that she tries but fails to tries to tell her husband of seventeen years Sam. Since he is pretty hopeless with household tasks, she writes a manual full of helpful hints that range from the everyday to finding love again. Meanwhile, Annie puts off further testing until her self-absorbed mother, Ursula, makes a rare appearance in their small town in Maine. When Annie is swept off to New York for a doctor’s appointment by Ursula, will their unexpected time together be the best or worst thing for their fractured relationship? And what effect will her extended time away from Sam have on their marriage?

Annie and Sam own a  very popular sandwich shop so they spend most of their time together. Despite their almost magically happy relationship, they have experienced heartbreaking losses. Annie has always brushed off her best friend Rachel and Ursula’s observations that she spoils Sam too much. It is not until she receives her diagnosis that she realizes that Sam might not be equipped for the next stage in life.  In addition to writing the manual, Annie decides to not worry him until she receives confirmation of her doctor’s diagnosis.

Minus Me is a well-written novel with an engaging storyline and entertaining characters. Annie’s unexpected health crisis proves to be a surprising journey of self-discovery and healing. Mameve Medwed  concludes this winsome novel with a heartwarming a epilogue that is sure to delight readers. 

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Mameve Medwed, Minus Me, Rated B, Review, Women's Fiction

Review: The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny

Title: The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Women’s Fiction
Length: 328 pages
Book Rating: B+

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


“A warm, winning debut from a talented new Midwestern voice.” –J. Ryan Stradal, New York Times bestselling author of Kitchens of the Great Midwest

A Man Called Ove meets The Rosie Project in this “delightfully off-kilter” (Rachel Yoder, Nightbitch) tale of a grumpy introvert, her astonishing lack of social skills and empirical data-driven approach to people and relationships.

Is there such a thing as an anti-social butterfly? If there were, Greta Oto would know about it–and totally relate. An entomologist, Greta far prefers the company of bugs to humans, and that’s okay, because people don’t seem to like her all that much anyway, with the exception of her twin brother, Danny, though they’ve recently had a falling out. So when she lands a research gig in the rainforest, she leaves it all behind.

But when Greta learns that Danny has suffered an aneurysm and is now hospitalized, she abandons her research and hurries home to the middle of nowhere America to be there for her brother. But there’s only so much she can do, and unfortunately just like insects, humans don’t stay cooped up in their hives either–they buzz about and… socialize. Coming home means confronting all that she left behind, including her lousy soon-to-be sister-in-law, her estranged mother, and her ex-boyfriend Brandon who has conveniently found a new non-lab-exclusive partner with shiny hair, perfect teeth, and can actually remember the names of the people she meets right away. Being that Brandon runs the only butterfly conservatory in town, and her dissertation is now in jeopardy, taking that job, being back home, it’s all creating chaos of Greta’s perfectly catalogued and compartmentalized world. But real life is messy, and Greta will have to ask herself if she has the courage to open up for the people she loves, and for those who want to love her.

The Butterfly Effect is an unconventional tale of self-discovery, navigating relationships, and how sometimes it takes stepping outside of our comfort zone to find what we need the most.


The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny is a captivating novel of family, love and self-discovery.

Greta Oto is slightly estranged from her twin brother Danny, but she does not hesitate to fly home from Costa Rica when she learns he is in serious condition at the hospital.  But returning home is not easy since she sublet her apartment, she does not like Danny’s girlfriend Meg and she is now working for her ex. Greta is also shocked to discover Danny has been in contact with a very unexpected person.  While stumbling through a new subject for her thesis, Greta is also struggling to maintain her friendship with Max who is suddenly not as accepting of her faults as he was before. With Danny’s life changing so drastically in the aftermath of the aneurysm,  what will Greta do about her own future?

Greta is more comfortable with bugs than people and she is somewhat prickly. She is also socially awkward out of the laboratory so she is not exactly warm and fuzzy.  Greta is not at all comfortable talking about her feelings but she knows she needs to express her regrets to Danny about her behavior. She also makes no effort to hide her dislike for  Meg but she does set aside her disdain for Danny’s sake. Greta is also at a loss as cracks begin to appear in her friendship with Max. Having completely messed up her life, will Greta figure out how to fix her mistakes before it is too late?

The Butterfly Effect is a heartfelt novel with an engaging storyline and interesting characters.  Greta is flawed and imperfect, but it is easy to root for her as she gradually realizes she needs to make changes in both her life and herself. Danny’s situation is heartrending and his struggles are realistically depicted.  Rachel Mans McKenny brings this charming novel to a heartwarming and uplifting conclusion.  I greatly enjoyed and highly recommend this wonderful debut to fans of the genre.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Contemporary, Rachel McKenny, Rated B+, Review, The Butterfly Effect, Women's Fiction

Review: Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope

Title: Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genre: Contemporary, Time Travel, Women’s Fiction
Length: 242 pages
Book Rating: B+/b>

Complimentary Review Copy Provided by Publisher Through NetGalley


An imaginative, emotional debut novel for fans of Ann Patchett about one woman’s fight to save her daughter from repeating a deadly fate.

What if you had one chance to save someone you lost?

Isolated in the aftermath of tragedy, Erin Fullarton has felt barely alive since the loss of her young daughter, Korrie. She tries to mark the milestones her therapist suggests–like today, the 500th day without Korrie–but moving through grief is like swimming against a dark current.

Her estranged husband, Zac, a brilliant astrophysicist, seems to be coping better. Lost in his work, he’s perfecting his model of a stunning cosmological phenomenon, one he predicts will occur today–an event so rare, it keeps him from being able to acknowledge Erin’s coinciding milestone.

But when Erin receives a phone call from her daughter’s school, the same call she received five hundred days earlier when Korrie was still alive, Erin realizes something is happening. Or happening again. Struggling to understand the sudden shifts in time, she pieces together that the phenomenon Zac is tracking may have presented her with the gift of a lifetime: the chance to save her daughter.

Unable to reach Zac or convince the authorities of what is happening, Erin is forced to find the answer on her own, Erin must battle to keep the past from repeating–or risk losing her daughter for good.


Once Again by Catherine Wallace Hope is a poignant time travel novel.

Erin Fullarton is still grieving the loss of her six year old daughter Korrie.  Athough they still love each other, she asked her husband Zac to move out but they communicate daily. At her therapist suggestion, Erin is trying to stop looking back so she is marking a sad milestone.  She would like Zac to be with her  but he is an astrophysicist working on a project that cannot be delayed. When she receives a shocking phone call from her daughter’s school, Erin believes a cruel prank is being played on her. But when she notices the date and time on her phone, she is stunned to realize she has gone back in time to the date of Korrie’s death.  Will this inexplicable trip back in time provide Erin the opportunity to save her daughter?

Erin is shaken by the realization that she might be able to have a second chance with Korrie. Unbeknownst to her, the time slips only last for a certain period of time. After she realizes this important detail, Erin tries to predict when the next time slip with occur so she can know where she needs to be at that exact time.  Much to her frustration, she is unable to arrive in time to stop the pivotal event from occurring. As the day wears on, Erin begins to despair she will be able to save her daughter, but she refuses to give up trying.

Zac and his co-workers are amazed at how well their project is going. But they soon notice little blips they cannot account for. Zac works on his formula in attempt to understand why they are happening. What impact will it have in the real world if they make alterations to their project’s coding?

Once Again is a captivating novel with an clever storyline. The plot is quite unique and the time travel aspect is well executed. Erin’s race to save her daughter is quite riveting. With plenty of tension, Catherine Wallace Hope brings this suspenseful novel to an edge of the seat conclusion.  I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this incredible debut.

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Filed under Alcove Press, Catherine Wallace Hope, Contemporary, Once and Again, Rated B+, Review, Time Travel