Friday, December 6, 2019

Spotlight Review and Giveaway - - MEG & JO

Meg & Jo
by Virginia Kantra
Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: December 3, 2019
Reviewed by PJ

The timeless classic Little Women inspired this heartwarming modern tale of four sisters from New York Times bestselling author Virginia Kantra.

The March sisters—reliable Meg, independent Jo, stylish Amy, and shy Beth—have grown up to pursue their separate dreams. When Jo followed her ambitions to New York City, she never thought her career in journalism would come crashing down, leaving her struggling to stay afloat in a gig economy as a prep cook and secret food blogger.

Meg appears to have the life she always planned—the handsome husband, the adorable toddlers, the house in a charming subdivision. But sometimes getting everything you’ve ever wanted isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

When their mother’s illness forces the sisters home to North Carolina for the holidays, they’ll rediscover what really matters.

One thing’s for sure—they’ll need the strength of family and the power of sisterhood to remake their lives and reimagine their dreams.

PJ's thoughts:

I've been a fan of Virginia Kantra's writing for years, following her from romantic suspense, to paranormal romance, to contemporary romance, and, now, to women's fiction. In all those years, through all those books, she's never failed to engage my emotions, fully immerse me in the worlds of her imagination, and leave me happily craving her next book. Such is the case with her newest novel, Meg & Jo.

Inspired by Louisa May Alcott's Little Women (inspired, not a re-telling), Meg & Jo begins the journey of four present-day March sisters from North Carolina. Fans of the original will see nods to Alcott's characters in the modern-day sisters, as well as some secondary characters, but while Kantra's love of the original is apparent, her Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy are very much modern women of their own making and Meg & Jo, a story of Kantra's creation that I thoroughly enjoyed. Also, for the romance readers among us, fear not. Meg's and Jo's love lives are very much a part of this book and happy endings are assured. 

Whether you have sisters or not, I think we can all relate to the sometimes messy and complicated relationships that are part and parcel of families and how those relationships mold and change us as we go through life. Told by Jo and Meg, in alternating chapters, Kantra skillfully unveils the dynamics of the March family's past, present, and future while guiding the two oldest sisters through their own trials of life. The revelations are emotional, sometimes painful, but remind us that change can be good, can be empowering, can strengthen not only us but our relationships as well. Once again, Kantra fully immersed me in the lives of her characters, giving me a stake in their happiness. I celebrated their triumphs, shared their fears, fell in love with Meg's and Jo's heroes (both of them, for different reasons), and fell in love with this family. For all its dysfunctional parts, all the complicated, competitive relationships, in the end, these people, these sisters, are family and while their bonds of love may be tested, while they may bend and stretch, they never break. 

Beth and Amy are next to have their stories told and I cannot wait to discover what Kantra has in store for them. I mean, how could I not be excited about a story that begins with this line: "It's always a mistake to sleep with a man who's in love with your sister." 


Several years ago, I had the opportunity to meet Virginia Kantra at a romance conference and have enjoyed visiting with her at subsequent conferences since then. She's somewhat of a local author for me (three hours is local, right?) so earlier this week, I made the drive to Raleigh to attend her launch party for Meg & Jo. What a wonderful evening! Quail Ridge Books hosted the launch, more than 40 people attended, I enjoyed meeting readers of all types, and copies of Meg & Jo sold out...but not before I nabbed a copy for me...and one for one of you! But first, here are a few photos from the Meg & Jo launch.

Virginia, sharing her love of Louisa May Alcott and her reasons for paying homage to Little Women with her contemporary novel, Meg & Jo

She not only writes books, she bakes cookies too. Aren't those book cookies awesome? 

Virginia's very own hero (her husband) kept us entertained and well fed (isn't that a fabulous cake?). The champagne was delicious and put to good use when Virginia invited all of us to join her in a toast to Louisa May Alcott. 

PJ and Virginia. Happy to add another book to my Virginia Kantra keeper shelf. Also, had a blast at my very first book launch party!

If you're ever in the Raleigh area, check out Rosewater Kitchen & Bar. It's a warm and welcoming new restaurant in the North Hills area with a delicious menu, comfortable vibe, and impeccable service. Our server, Heather, effortlessly kept our post-launch group of eleven well-fed and happy. She's a server extraordinaire! 

I have two giveaways today so tell me...

Have you read Little Women?

Which March sister was your favorite? Why?

Have you read any of Virginia Kantra's books?

Do you have a favorite book or series of hers?

Do you have sisters?

Giveaway #1: One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 7, will receive a signed copy of Meg & Jo from me. 

Giveaway #2: One randomly chosen person who comments before 11:00 PM, December 7, will receive a Meg & Jo mug from Virginia Kantra. 

*Winners must be 18 or older.
*Open to U.S. addresses only.


  1. I read and loved Little Women when I was a young girl. The classics were important and meaningful and this book was a real treasure for me. My favorite sister was Jo. I read the Carolina series which was enjoyable. I do have a sister but we no longer communicate nor have anything to do with each other which is sad.

  2. I have read and reread Little Women, a favorite book to me. I was named after two of the sisters in the book, so makes it more of a treasure to me.
    Have not read any of Virginia Kantra’s books but have been looking at them for a while.
    Do not have any sisters.

  3. Have you read Little Women? A long time ago

    Which March sister was your favorite? Jo

    Have you read any of Virginia Kantra's books? Yes, several

    Do you have a favorite book or series of hers? Children of the Sea

    Do you have sisters? no

  4. THIS BOOK SOUNDS AMAZING! YES, I want to go and read this now! I didn't read the original Little Women (much to my aunt Helen's distress) but I always enjoyed the movies, especially the 1994 one with Wynona Ryder. I identified with Jo (the writer bit) but actually I liked Amy's character (she was the art one, right, who married the hot neighbor?)--THAT's the character I liked. *LOL*

    I do have a sister, 15 years older so the dynamic is different than I think with the March sisters. We don't talk much right now (her husband is abusive) but when we are able to get together, it's always good.

  5. I've read Little Women; it's one of my favorite novels. Jo is my favorite sister--so headstrong and responsible, she always strives to achieve for the greater good. I have one sister and though we live in different states, we are very close. Thanks for the post and giveaway. Virginia's book is on my TBR list.

  6. I have read and love her books!!
    And it's been years since I read Little women.
    And I have one sister
    Fingers crossed

  7. Little Women is one of my favorite books. Jo is my favorite as the heroine of the book, but I admire Beth as well. She was a kind and gentle soul and does not get to live long.

  8. Little Women is so special and beautiful. My mother introduced me to this novel and this book is a favorite. Jo is the sister who is wonderful. I have one sister whom I rarely see.

  9. I've never read Little Women. I have read her books before. I have read her Dare Island series. I have one sister

  10. Unfortunately, I have to answer NO to all of those questions. I've never read Little Women. I've never read Virginia's books and I don't have sisters. I always wanted a sister and the closed I had was a sister-in-law. And again, unfortunately, we were not the best of friends. Not enemies, but not friends either. Sad, I know.

  11. I have read books by Ms Alcott. I liked Little Men as much as Little Women. I wanted to write so I wanted to be Jo.

    Have not read any books by Ms Kantra's books, but as usual you have made me want to do exactly that.

    I have a sister. Right now, she is dealing with a Big Illness. I have hopes it will go into remission soon.

    Those book cookies look lovely.

  12. I've never read Little Women, sad isn't it?
    I've never read Virginia's books but I've been trying to get to the Dare Island series!
    I have two sisters who I no longer talk to(long story)
    The cookies look amazing! I want them now!!💜

  13. I have read Little Women and my favorite of the sisters is Jo. She just seemed so independent. I do not recall reading a Virginia Kantra book but remember eyeing her paranormal titles. It was before I read ebooks and we were living abroad. Sadly, the cost of books in English were prohibitively expensive at that time. The photos you shared of the book launch made me smile. Loved the book cookies, and the Meg & Jo cake.

  14. Don't think I've ever read Little Women! I have read and loved Virginia's books. The pictures of the cake and the cookies were awesome. Thanks for the chance to win this one, it looks great!

  15. I read Little Woman when I was quite young (junior high-ish) and loved it!! I think Jo was my favorite. I own a number of Virginia's books and couldn't pick a favorite. I had a younger sister who unexpectedly passed 5 years ago. I miss her dearly.

  16. Yes I've read Little Women. My favorite was Meg as a kid but I think Beth would have been mine as an adult. I could relate to being the peacemaker. Yes I've read several of Virginia's books. Favorite series were the MacNeils. I have no sisters. I have 4 brother so you'd think I would get some sister-in-laws. Nope. They all got divorced.

  17. Jo is my favorite, probably because I am very much like her. I have the complete set of books but have not yet finished them all. I have the CHILDREN OF THE SEA series and the DARE ISLAND series. SEA LORD is my favorite in the first series and CAROLINA BLUES is my favorite from the second.
    I am the oldest of 6 and have 2 sisters. I do find that we are closer now that we are older, much older.

  18. Meg will always be my favorite because she exudes an emotional strength at that time was not "popular". I've read this book, in fact own a 1939 copy. I have seen 3 movie adaptations of the book. I'm the eldest of 3 sister's and I'm so eexcited because the last movie we saw was in 1997, and now my niece will join us when the new movie comes out. After reading your blog, I now have to add Virginia to my TBR!!!! Thank you PJ!

  19. I have no sisters, I have read Little Women more than once, and Jo is my favorite.


  20. I read it once when I was very young and honestly don't remember who my favorite was. The upcoming movie does look interesting!

  21. I have read and low Little Women. No was my favorite. I haven't read any of her books, I don't think. I have 2 sisters. One has severe dementia and my other sister & I haven't talked in a few years. Both situations are heartbreaking for me.
    Carol on
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  22. I loved Little Women and read it when I was in my 20s rather than a younger age for some reason. Never read any of Virginia's books yet. I have one sister who's almost 5 years older than me. Thank for the chance to win the mug. I already won the book from your FB page.

  23. I haven't read Little Woman yet but I will. I have never read Virginia's books yet, looking forward to. I have three older sisters, sadly my oldest sister is deceased. Thank you

  24. I HAVE read Little Women, but it's been ages, LOL! I'm not sure I recall who my favorite was...

    I have definitely read some of Virginia's books--my faves are still her paranormal series, Children of the Sea :)

    And I have one sister, who I'm blessed to say is also my best friend, as well as friends whom I would consider as dear as sisters.