Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish

Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA by Kris Radish
Publisher/Year: Bantam Dell, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 343
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

From the bestselling author of The Sunday List of Dreams and Annie Freeman’s Fabulous Traveling Funeral comes a poignant, funny, and uplifting novel of a woman at midlife whose search for happiness within her marriage–and within herself–turns a whole town upside down.

After twenty-eight years of marriage to her husband Lucky, Addy Lipton feels anything but happily married. In fact, just thinking of their garage, crammed with Lucky’s useless junk collection, drives Addy dangerously close to plowing her car through it. But when Lucky wins a trip to paradise–aka Costa Rica–Addy has a faint hope they may turn things around. Or maybe they won’t. Either way, Addy never gets the chance to find out.

On the morning of their departure, Lucky fractures his back tossing their luggage into his truck. Now, with the man she feels she barely knows anymore parked indefinitely on her couch, Addy can’t see their already shaky relationship surviving much longer. It’s time to make some big changes–and some drastic choices.

With the love and support of her devoutly single sister Hell and her workout friends, the Sweat-hers, Addy begins a crusade to revive her dreams–and she takes the women of Parker along for the ride. Soon the men will realize they’ll have to step up to the plate to keep their wives and lovers happy. And Addy will have to decide if the paradise she’s creating in Parker is big enough for two…

Filled with small-town characters and big-time soul-searching, this sparkling and inspirational tale will hit you where you live–and show you that just as happiness can get buried beneath the jumble of years, it can be rediscovered…if you look hard enough for it within your heart.

What I thought

This was my second Kris Radish book, and I am so glad–I loved it! Kris Radish has a very unique writing style, and it’s not for everyone. I’m not even sure how to describe it. All I know is that it works for me, and I definitely consider myself a fan of hers now! Her writing is just witty and hilarious and biting and totally honest. It’s great.

Here I am, nearing the end of my 20s, and I was able to laugh, cry, and get angry with a group of women who are a generation ahead of me. If that doesn’t speak well for Radish as a writer, then I don’t know what will. And as frustrated as I got with Addy at times, I also know that it’s hard to stand back and objectively make decisions about our own lives. And we all tend to be a little self-focused at times, like it or not. If anything, Addy’s flaws just made her that much more relatable.

Again, Kris Radish’s writing takes some getting used to (it’s just her style, it’s different–in a good way), but if you are looking for a hilarious, heartfelt female-centric look at the relationships and differences between men and women, then I highly recommend Searching for Paradise in Parker, PA.

The Trail to You by Lindsay Detwiler

The Trail to You by Lindsay Detwiler
Publisher/Year: Hot Tree Publishing, 2019
Format: E-book
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Goodreads

Summary

An independent blonde seeking a fresh start.

Orphaned and unhappy, Ally Hunter makes a life-changing decision to move across the country to a small town that once felt like home. As she reinvents herself, she realizes there’s one part of the equation missing–love. However, a tragedy from the past makes her hesitate when it comes to giving up her heart.

A betrayed man looking for a sense of pride. 

Abandoned by his first love and family, Ronan has one friend he can truly count on–his two-hundred-pound mastiff, Henry. When he returns home from service in the National Guard, though, he find his entire life catapulted in a different direction with the disappearance of his beloved dog.

A loyal four-legged friend who will unexpectedly bring them together. 

When Henry, Ronan’s brindle mastiff, finds himself far from home, Ronan sets out on a journey to bring him back. However, as the trail to Henry leads Ronan to Ridgewood, Virginia, and an interior designer with a big heart, he’ll realize some hardships lead to beautiful discoveries.

What I thought

So, before I get into my review of this, I’d like to offer a little bit of background on how I came to read this wonderful book. Let me preface this by saying that I love the area of central PA where I’m from, so much so that I moved back home after college. However, one of my very few complaints is that there’s not much here for readers in terms of local authors, author events, or even bookstores (we have a local Barnes & Nobel and a Bradley’s Used Books, and that’s about it). So, when I happened to go past Bradley’s on a day in 2017 and saw that they were set up for a local author event, I made a beeline into the store. I met Lindsay, as well as her husband and Henry (who is ADORABLE), and we talked about her upcoming release. You guys, she is SO friendly! And her books sounded right up my alley. So, when she contacted me about reviewing her newest upcoming release that has the most adorable premise, I jumped at the opportunity!

And I loved it! I’m so glad I’ve finally read a book by Lindsay, and this definitely has me interested in reading her other works.

The Trail to You is one of those feel-good reads that you want to curl up on the couch with, leaving you feeling all warm and fuzzy inside. That’s not to say that this book is empty fluff, though! Our two main characters both have to deal with some of life’s harder “stuff,” which I felt added some extra depth to their story. And let’s face it–with these kinds of stories, you know the guy and the girl will end up together in the end, so I was touched by how beautiful Ronan and Ally’s tale turned out to be. As a dog lover myself, it brought tears to my eyes to watch the mutual love of a dog bring two people together.

Besides that, I have to say that I was very impressed by Lindsay’s writing, as a whole. The story flowed with an ease that made me forget that I was reading, and the character development was spot-on. “Insta-love” was nowhere to be found, and I truly appreciated watching a love story progress naturally. Through all of the “Will they? Won’t they?” I couldn’t help but root for Ronan and Ally. Not to mention, the star of this book (Henry, of course!) had me at work constantly counting down the minutes until I could see my own pup.

I know that sometimes, readers are hesitant to try a book from a self-published or, in this case, an indie-published author, but let me assure you, you’ll be missing out if you don’t read Lindsay Detwiler’s books. The Trail to You is a great place to start! It releases on March 14, 2019, and I’d highly recommend pre-ordering this one, friends!

**Disclaimer: I received a free e-ARC of this book thanks to the author, Lindsay Detwiler, and her publisher, Hot Tree Publishing, in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion or this review.