Carpe Bead ‘Em by Tonya Kappes. Publisher: Tonya Kappes, May 2011

Orphaned at a young age, Hallie Mediate was raised by her (slightly) crazy Great Aunt Grace on the wrong side of the tracks in Cincinnati. Hallie dreamed of escaping her hometown and never looking back. After putting herself through college, landing her dream job in Chicago, and starting a romance with her handsome running partner Bo Pompillio, life is finally exactly as she wants it.

That is, until she’s transferred back to the hometown. Not wanting her past to cross paths with her future, Hallie puts her relationship with Bo on hold.

When she arrives in town, Hallie finds crazy Aunt Grace rummaging through a dumpster looking for the “perfect” welcome home gift for her niece. That’s just the beginning. After that, Aunt Grace stays busy by dying her stolen poodle’s hair pink and leaving the dog on her apartment roof to pee, throwing bricks out the window at passing neighbors, and climbing every flag pole to kiss the ornamental eagle.

Hallie finds some sanity at a local jewelry-making class where she uncovers a hidden talent for beading. When her talent is discovered by a major department store jewelry buyer, Hallie realizes that what she had in Chicago might not have been her dream life after all.

When faced with the choice of moving back to Chicago and Bo or taking a leap of faith to start her own jewelry company (with Aunt Grace in tow), Hallie has to make a decision. Will she let her past and her future collide, or will she or keep searching for the happiness she may already have found?

The words can’t describe how much I LOVE this book They say you can never go back home, but Hallie does and something wonderful happened; she discovered her meaning in life and embraced it from her friendships, her career-path to her crazy Aunt Grace. There are several laugh-out-loud moments that will tickle your funny bone as well as some tender moments, that had me grabbing a box of tissues. This is an endearing story that will capture your heart.

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