Friday, May 10, 2013

Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn Series by Evangeline Kelley

 Disclosure of Material Connection: I received both books free from the publisher through the Litfuse Publicity Group book  blogger campaign. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have 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 Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Seaside Harmony (Book #1)              
 When Caroline Marris joins her sisters, Gracie Gold and Sam Carter for a Nantucket Island getaway, she has no idea how it will change her life. The sisters stumble upon Misty Harbor Inn, the place their late mother loved so much, and Caroline talks her sisters into buying the beautiful but dilapidated inn. But can free-spirited Caroline stay focused enough to make opening the inn a reality? Hand-drawn old postcards draw the sisters into the mystery of Hannah Montague, the young widow of the original owner. Can the sisters uncover the fate of this woman who disappeared in 1880? As Caroline and her sisters work together to make their mom’s dream a reality, they bond in ways they never expected. (Synopsis taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Promotion page.)

  Sunflower Summer (Book #2) 

 Misty Harbor Inn officially opens, and Gracie Gold, the middle Marris sister, wrestles with an overwhelming decision. As the sisters learn the day-to-day workings of running an inn, Gracie counsels its first guests, newlyweds whose honeymoon seems to be ending before it begins. Meanwhile, Sam’s discovery of a clue in a secret room sheds unflattering light on Hannah Montague, who vanished from the house more than one hundred years ago. And as Gracie and Caroline welcome guests to the inn, they are delighted to see how God uses it — and them — to deepen relationships and transform lives. (Synopsis taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Promotion page.)

Author: Evangeline Kelley   (Information taken directly from LitFuse Publicity's Promotions page.)

Evangeline Kelley is the pen name for the writing team of Patti Berg, Pam Hanson & Barbara Andrews, and Camy Tang, the four authors who collaborated to create Postcards from Misty Harbor Inn. Each of them has published novels individually, but this is their first series together.

Format: trade paperbacks

Genre: Christian, Cozy Mystery, Light Romance, Fiction

Source: Litfuse Publicity Group book blogger campaign 

Published: Guideposts Books / $13.99 / 2013

Buy the Books:  Amazon / Publisher / Christianbook 

Why I Read these Books:  I originally learned about this series through Camy Tang, one of the contributing authors, and  I'm familiar with Guideposts because I used to subscribe to their magazine.  At first I wasn't sure if I would enjoy the books because the three characters are closer to my mother's/grandmother's ages and I wasn't sure I would be able to relate.  However, when I learned that there was a mystery involved, and it was about a bed and breakfast, I decided to give them a try.  I haven't been disappointed yet! :)

What I Liked:   In Seaside Harmony, the first book in the series, we meet the Marris sisters as they are on a family vacation, commemorating the trips their recently deceased mother used to take them on when they were little.  Their favorite vacation spot was in the quaint little sea town of Nantucket, where the beaches were perfect for playing and the local bed and breakfast held high-teas.  Unfortunately, the bed and breakfast was no longer in business and even had a for sale sign posted out front.  It was their mother's wish to one day own a bed and breakfast, and after MUCH debating and shenanigans, the three sisters decide to purchase the property and restore it to its former glory.  Along the way, we get to meet more of the townspeople and discover just what makes Nantucket so special.  We also get a glimpse into each sister's life and some of the struggles they face, as well as get involved in an unsolved mystery regarding the original owners of the place.

In Sunflower Summer, we find that the Inn is almost ready to be opened and the sisters are still trying to work out the kinks of owning and running a bed and breakfast.  Over the course of several months, they meet many interesting characters (in more way than one) from a honeymooning couple, a former screen and stage actress writing her memoirs,  to locals who help uncover clues with the increasing mystery about the former owners of the inn.  Not to mention there's "drama" amongst the sisters and their life issues.  (It's so nice to know that I'm not the only one with problems--even if theirs are fictional.)

Reading these first two books made me realize that you're never too old to make a dream come true .  They also made me remember that I shouldn't take my friends and family for granted because I never know when I will see them for the last time.  I also enjoyed learning more of the Nantucket history and meeting the quirky characters that came for visits.  Each sister has different talents and were able to use them for the good of the inn and their customers and friends.  It makes me nostalgic for the vacations that I've taken at the beach or even a bed and breakfast because I love to travel and learn about new places.

What I Didn't Like:  Sometimes the character's speech and actions didn't match their life experiences, and sometimes certain aspects of the character's lives were reiterated a little too much for my liking. (It may not bother you at all.)  I attribute these minor details to the fact that more than one author's voice has been added to the novels, which makes a completely seamless story almost impossible.  As I mentioned, these are just minor details that I'm nitpicking.  They probably wouldn't even pop up on anyone else's "radar," it just happened to stick out to me during this first reading of the novels.

Overall Impression:  I really enjoyed getting to know the characters in this series and living through their daily struggles with them.  As I learned more about each of the sisters and their individuals struggles with family/friend relationships, I found that I wanted to learn even more.  I'm pre-ordering book #3 in the series ( Whispers on the Dock) and can't wait to find out more.  Despite what the publishers show, I'm hoping more books are published about the Inn and their guests because I love reading about the quirks of others.  (Yes, I'm that person.) 

Rating: 4 out of 5
Let me know what you think!  Happy Reading! 

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