Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Review & Giveaway - - The Carousel

The Carousel
by J.A. Stone
Publisher: Juliana Stone Publishing
Release Date: January 28, 2020
Reviewed by PJ

An emotional journey of four women joined by blood, love, loss and time.

Pruett Fontaine is at a crossroads. Divorced, she’s lost herself and is struggling to find her place. When her estranged mother dies unexpectedly, she’s drawn back to Louisiana, to a family and town she left behind twenty years ago.

With no choice but to deal with her mother’s estate, a father she doesn’t know anymore, and the woman her mother left them for, she brings her teenage daughter to Sweetwater and collides with a past she’s been running from since she was eighteen.

Her mother’s journals open her eyes to a woman she barely knew, and she can’t outrun the sins of the past. Secrets are exposed, tragedies are revealed, and temptation rears its head over the course of one long, hot Louisiana summer.

PJ's Thoughts:

J.A. Stone didn't just tell me a story; she dropped me smack-dab in the middle of Sweetwater, Louisiana, and Prue Fontaine's broken family, both guarding painful secrets of the past, and the fragile hope of forgiveness and redemption in the present. Stone's descriptions of Sweetwater were so vivid that I convinced myself I could smell the sweet aroma of backyard gardens, feel the dense humidity trickle across my skin, and hear the faint strains of a Johnny Cash song intermingled with the sounds of the bayou on a warm, summer night. I could feel the soothing relief of ice-cold beer as it slides down a parched throat, lick the sweet tang of slow-cooked barbecue from sticky fingers, and relive the joys of youth as long-separated friends are reunited and long-ago damaged fences, delicately mended. 

Stone's characters are so realistic, so fully formed, that as I accompanied them on their journey, I felt like I was experiencing it with friends rather than reading about fictional characters on a page. Dysfunctional relationships are fully explored and, based on Prue's relationship with her daughter, I'm very confident the author has mothered a teen-age girl at some point in her life. But it's the character of Lila, Prue's deceased mother, who held me most spellbound. Told through her journal entries, as well as personal recollections of other characters, we all - especially Prue - begin to know the full scope of this character and the impact certain events had on who she was as a girl and who she became as a woman. It was fascinating, heartbreaking, and, in the end, healing. 

I read this book in one day. Once I began reading, the story refused to let go. The characters drew me in, engaging both my interest and my emotions from beginning to end and the mystery of Lila kept me guessing right up to the reveal. It's the kind of story I'd love to see played out on screen. In fact, the experience of reading this book was so immersive that at times I felt like I was watching a movie. I hope that Stone will venture into this type of storytelling again. She has a clear talent for it.


Because I enjoyed this book so much, I'd like to share the experience with one of you, so tell me...

What was the last book you read that you'd love to see on screen?

Have you read any of Juliana (a/k/a J.A.) Stone's contemporary romances? 

One randomly chosen person posting a comment before 11:00 PM, January 29, 2020, will receive a Kindle copy of The Carousel

*Must be 18 or older 


  1. I don’t think I’ve read any of Stone’s books. This one sounds very good. The last book I read (earlier this month) that I think would make a great movie is Mia Vincy’s “A Wicked Kind of Husband,” an historical romance with lots of humor. For a thriller, I’d recommend J.T. Ellison’s “Good Girls Lie.” Thanks for the giveaway.

    1. I've heard good things about Mia Vincy. I need to add her to my reading list.

  2. I have read most of Juliana Stone's contemporary books. I loved them. I have been looking forward to her newest venture. I dont watch many movies or TV, so I'm not sure which book would be a good movie. I guess maybe a Rom-Com like Jill Shalvis writes. Something that makes me smile.

    1. The Carousel brings the same rich characterization and emotion that I've always enjoyed in her contemporary romances.

  3. Eighteen Winters by Joanne DeMaio. A down home Christmas story that I would love to see On the big screen. I've never read J.A. Stone before and this book sounds amazing!

  4. I haven't read J.A. Stone's books before, but I like how this sounds.
    I'd love to see a good PNR or UF series turned to a TV show, like Nalini Singh's series.

    1. I imagine that are thousands of readers who would agree with you on Singh's series!

  5. I haven't read any of her books. I just read Cartier's Hope by M.J. Rose. I could see this book on the big screen. The storytelling of different diamonds, rich people, women's rights and so many other things.

    1. Oh, that sounds interesting. Off to check it out!

  6. I have not read any books by Ms Stone. For me, I have always thought I would love to see Susan Elizabeth Phillips (Like Heaven Texas or It Had To Be You)books or early Julie Garwood books (like The Bride or The Wedding). Yes, I know they are older books, but when I want to laugh I get them out and reread.

    1. I love Garwood's historicals! Saving Grace is my go-to comfort read.

  7. This is a new author to me. I have no idea which book I'd want to see on the big screen. I always believe the books better.

  8. I have read Julianna Stones books! Not a movie or tv watcher so I have no idea what book to recommend.

    This one sounds awesome and I'd love to win it. Thanks for the chance.

  9. It is sad that people do not journal anymore. It is good for the person who writes to be able to review their day and go back and review their life. They also make excellent windows into history - of the person and sometimes the time.
    I have never read any books by her.
    The several series written by Katie Ruggle set in the contemporary Rockies and the historical western series (Men Of Legend and Outlaw Mail Order Brides) by Linda Broday would both make good TV series.

    1. Several years ago, I had a gentleman customer in his 80's who bought one large journal at the beginning of every year and wrote in it daily, recording the weather, world events, local events, and his life and thoughts. He had been doing this since he was a teenager and had never missed a year. I've often thought of what a wonderful legacy he was leaving behind for his family.

  10. I've never read any of Ms. Stone's books. But your review did it for me, I'll be reading this one for sure. I'm usually disappointed by the big screen remakes of books. They never measure up to the story. For me anyway. I would love to see just one of US Robb's (Nora Roberts) In Death stories on the big screen.
    Carol Luciano
    Lucky4750 at aol dot com

  11. I have Read Juliana Stone's books and loved them. I would like to see anything by Devney Perry made into a movie.

  12. I would love to see The Scent Keeper by Erica Bauermeister as a movie. It really moved me in a very visceral way, and I can't say that for many books I've read.
    I haven't read any of Ms. Stone's books, but judging from your review, she sounds like an amazing writer! Thanks for the rec!

    1. I adore Erica Bauermeister's writing. Have you read her other books?

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