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The Island House by Posie Graeme-Evans
 
Book Club Recommended
The Island House

Singy and Freya are living parallel lives on the Scottish Island of Findnar, but during different times in history. Singy lived on Findnar during the time of a Viking raid where her entire family was murdered and Freya living in present day came from Australia to her dead father's Island House to finish her PhD in archaeology and to complete his research and to find the many historical, hidden treasures on Findnar.

It was exciting to be with Freya as she uncovered items noted on her father's research cards and items that had been used and left by Singy when she had lived on the island. On the other hand, it was heartbreaking to see the harsh life Singy had lived with the nuns and monks.

Ms. Graeme-Evans did an outstanding job of blending the two stories together. When Freya discovers something from Singy's era, you will be excited because you actually know the real story of the find and want to let Freya know. History buffs will go crazy with the archeological finds Freya uncovers.

The author described the two main characters in detail and as equivalent to each other with their likeness being the island they lived on and the people in their lives. There is even a parallel between their two love stories. The secondary characters are just as fascinating and are vital to the book's awe and storyline and are appealing in terms of their uniqueness.

The cover in itself is intriguing, and once I started reading, it was easy to get absorbed. The storyline and writing style are perfect in all respects, and the lives of Singy and Freya keep you looking for more. The interesting detail on the author’s part and such a marvelous blending of the two eras along with the flawless, captivating storyline that moved from one era to the next will keep you turning the pages and wanting to see more of what was to come.

As the chapters flowed from one character and one era to the other, you will see the similarities in the setting and lifestyle, but of course one is more primitive than the other. I loved how the ending sentence or simply one single word of a chapter was the beginning of the other era in the next chapter. What a beautiful writing style as well as a magnificent book.

Don’t miss this exceptional read that brought past and present together in an unforgettable tale of love, loss, hidden treasures, and discovery. Ms. Graeme-Evans did a remarkable job in this compelling read that will be in my list of favorites because of the history, the mystery, and the added flare of Scotland's magic and its legends and myths. 5/5

I received a free copy of this book from Simon & Schuster in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
The Secret Keeper

To be sixteen, to witness a murder, and to keep it a secret your entire life? When would Laurel find out the "real" reason for the murder. After fifty years, she needed to ask, but could she really find the answer? She had to. Time was running out.

Set in England and moving from the 1930's to 2011, you will follow Laurel as she continues to keep this secret and attempts to find out why her mother stabbed a visitor on her brother's birthday. Did the baby see or remember anything? Could that be possible? What if he did remember? Laurel, her father, and her mother were the only ones that were supposed to know, but were they?

The storyline is intriguing and the descriptions are amazing as you go back and forth in time to see what Laurel's mother's life was like as a child and also as a young adult and what life was like for Laurel, her sisters, and her brother as they grew up on a quaint farm in a loving family. Dorothy, Laurel's mother, lead a very significant life and had interesting people in her life that shaped her and her decisions.

The book seamlessly moves between time periods giving creative details of each era in the characters' lives and has you wanting to know more. An amazing storyline that keeps you guessing about the real reason for the murder and one that makes you want to be a part of the story in order to be part of the life the characters lead in each decade of their lives.

Finding out about her mother's motives and life before she was married was a goal Laurel was determined to solve before her mother died, and her mother is the only one who could give the answers to many questions, but could their dying mother tell all? Once clues about Dorothy's past begin to surface, you will be as anxious as Laurel was to find out other secrets her mother kept to herself all her life and secrets that caused her mother to commit murder.

This book was marvelous and captivating as all of Kate Morton's books, and the ending is absolutely SUPERB.

I thoroughly enjoyed the walk through Laurel's life and the flashbacks to her mother's life. Don't miss this book or any book Kate Morton has written...you will be taken away with her exceptional writing and fantastic storytelling skills as she weaves lives and situations together into incredible books. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Sweetest Hallelujah by Elaine Hussey
 
Book Club Recommended
The Sweetest Hallelujah

They lived on opposite sides of the tracks, Betty Jewel apparently on the wrong side and Cassie on the right side. Betty Jewel had a secret that she kept for ten years. A secret unknown to Cassie and that secret being their ultimate connection.

Betty Jewel was the mother of Billie and was dying of cancer. Cassie was a reporter who found herself a widow and someone who became a part of Betty Jewel, Mama/Miss Queen, and Billie's life. Billie was a precocious child and the center of the connection between Cassie and Billie's family.

When Billie accidentally found out her mother was dying from cancer because of her constant eavesdropping, she was determined to find her father so he could make her mother well. Billie took a trip to Memphis alone to find her daddy. This trip is what brought the secret out and what made Cassie want to help even more. She wanted to be a friend to Mary Jewel even though it wasn't proper for a white person to be friends with anyone in the black community.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH had the "sweetest" characters. Mama/Miss Queen was strict, but the sweetest ever. She was portrayed so well, you could vividly see her as well as see through her. You will feel right at home with Mama/Miss Queen. She had loving arms for you no matter what. The description of her pies and their aroma will have your mouth watering, but everything about her sent out warmth and love.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is set in the deep south when the Jim Crow Laws were still a major part of everyone's life. THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

The author perfectly portrays this time in history along with the characters' feelings and fears. Every character was flawlessly portrayed from their expressions down to their clothing. The descriptions of the landscape, the houses, and even the weather was amazing.

THE SWEETEST HALLELUJAH is a story about friendship that breaks all boundaries and a story that you will not easily forget.

I truly enjoyed this book because of the bond between the women and the way the author carried it out so well. You will be right there with the characters sharing their laughter and their pain. Be sure to have some tissues on hand. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Beautiful, Brilliant
Burial Rites

Marvelous, incredible, beautifully told.

A murderess who must be housed at a farm because there is a financial problem with the prisons? How would you feel about being forced to live with someone who committed murder? Would you feel safe? Would you protest?

Agnes Magnusdóttir was brought to Margret and Jon\\\'s home until her execution date. Agnes is required to work as a farmhand in a town that embellishes her murderous deeds more and more each time the tale is told. BURIAL RITES is based on an actual historical event in Iceland.

In alternating voices and flashbacks the author masterfully lets the reader in on the secrets and the story of the murders and of Agnes\\\' life before her conviction and in her current position in the chosen household.

The author also has you questioning if Agnes has been wrongfully accused. Her flashbacks describe the actual murder, her relationship with the deceased, and her earlier life. A life lived in this same town holding her captive.

The writing and prose is exceptional. The book flows beautifully as it describes the harsh life in Iceland and the bitter weather. There is no lull in the narration.

The book\\\'s descriptions are amazing. Every minute detail is described beautifully. Even the dreary, tedious life of each character is described so well you see it clearly and are right there sharing their misery. The living conditions were described as on the poverty level but the families had servants....that was a bit confusing.

Everyone was poised to not like Agnes, but as the story unfolded the family became fond of her simply because she was a good person and a good worker. The only person who didn\\\'t like her was Lauga, the daughter of Margret and Jon. Margret became comfortable with Agnes and enjoyed having her around. Each of the characters connected well and are marvelously authentic and believable.

BURIAL RITES is a book that you do not want to miss. The book\\\'s situation and setting, the writing, and the characters are all phenomenal and come alive through the author\\\'s exquisite skill. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation at the BEA by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Tamarack County: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
 
Book Club Recommended
Tamarack County

Murders, children coming back home, folks getting run off the road, revenge for a 20-year-old murder, and many unusual things happening in the bitter cold county of Tamarack in Northern Minnesota.

What was happening in this town that usually was a quiet place to be? No one knew the answer, and the police had no clue either. Even Cork, a retired deputy sheriff, was called in for the investigation that he was more involved with than he knew.

Cork O’Connor wasn't aware that his family would be involved and that part of his family was changing. Cork is a character you would personally want as a friend. He is a great father as well as a dedicated law man.

TAMARACK COUNTY is the second book I have read by Mr. Krueger. It is quite different from ORDINARY GRACE, but still beautifully detailed and written.

Mr. Krueger's characters are always an interesting lot. I enjoyed learning about the Indian traditions and a few Indian words. The landscape descriptions were amazing, but I wouldn't want to live in that cold climate, though, which seemed to be a major theme.

TAMARACK COUNTY definitely kept my attention with a good storyline but a storyline that wasn't gripping until the last half of the book when things did heat up in those freezing temperatures as the mystery unraveled as well as the history of the characters.

The characters were well developed, authentic, and very plausible. TAMARACK COUNTY is a book about community and family all working together for the good of each other.

TAMARACK COUNTY has religious and philosophical themes as subplots.

A quote from page 205 is quite meaningful and something I believe needs to be shared:

“Anger, hate, jealousy envy, fear. Fill your pockets with these heavy stones and you spend your life trying not to drown. Throw them away, and you float."

I hope you get to read this book. It was thought provoking, introspective, and will hold your interest. I enjoyed it. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Outcasts: A Novel by Kathleen Kent
 
Dark, Adventurous, Graphic
The Outcasts

It's the Wild West with a prostitute and an inexperienced lawman running loose.

Lucinda Carter and Nate Cannon will take you on a ride through the 1870's as they try to make a new life for themselves. They both wanted to start over, but they both ended up doing the same thing they always did.

Lucinda went from being a prostitute to being a teacher, and Nate is trying his hand at being a lawman to make a better life for his family.

Lucinda isn't an upstanding character, but her profession made her that way. She stole money from her landlady who is also the owner of the brothel she escaped from. Lucinda is only interested in herself and finding something that a friend told her was in the town she moved to. Lucinda was difficult to like simply because you knew she wasn't on the up and up.

Nate is a good man trying to fit in even though he is a greenhorn. I liked him because of his innocence and loyalty.

The book took a while for me to get interested because I wasn't sure where it was heading and how these two characters and their stories were connected. Each chapter went back and forth between the two characters. When you find out the connection between the two main characters, you will be surprised.

THE OUTCASTS became a bit better as you followed Lucinda around the classroom and back to her old ways and as you followed Nate around the countryside, but it still wasn't a wow. It actually wasn’t a favorite read.

I do have to say, though, that the writing is very descriptive allowing you to clearly see the scenes and activities of both characters.

The cover definitely pulled me in, and I was hoping for a better-connected story, but I wasn't "dying" to get back to the book .

Give it a try, though, if you like the Wild West. I am rating THE OUTCASTS 3/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher at a Hachette Book Event in New York City in return for an honest review.

Once We Were Brothers by Ronald H. Balson
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Beautiful, Informative
Once We Were Brothers

“We must never allow the world to forget.\" Page 179

That quote says it all, and Ben Solomon vowed to follow through on this edict, and he definitely was following through.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS is a powerful, well-researched first novel that will have you glued to the pages as Ben tells his story of hatred, horror, and the annihilation of his and other Jewish families during WWII.

Telling the story of the horrors of the Nazi occupation of Poland was stressful for the 83-year-old main character, Ben, but he had to tell it all, and Catherine, his attorney, wanted to be the one to help arrest Elliott/Otto.

Ben knew he knew Elliott Rosenzweig was not really Elliott Rosenzweig, but Otto Piatek, his brother turned Nazi during the war, and the person who was not accused of his horrific war crimes but living in the United States as a billionaire philanthropist.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS moves from present day to WWII in Poland as Ben Solomon tells how his family had to live and survive under Nazi occupation as a Jewish family.

ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS tells how Otto, a German boy, was left with the Solomon family, a Jewish family, because his mother couldn\\\\\\\'t take care of him. Otto became part of the Jewish home and loved the Solomons like his own family until his mother showed up and insisted he join the Germans.

Mr. Balson did a fantastic job researching for his first book and detailing every scene. ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS is a beautiful way to tell a horrible historical story.

You will feel as though you are inside the pages of the book and connecting with the characters both present and past. This book was amazing.

I am always in awe of the strength of the Europeans during this time period. How did they survive and deal with all that was going on especially the Jewish population?

This compelling WWII book is one you will want to read. It is perfectly relayed, phenomenal, and a part of history that again reveals what WWII was about. I finished this book in ONE day, and that is unusual for me.

Don\\\\\\\'t miss reading ONCE WE WERE BROTHERS. I definitely needed tissues a number of times and especially at the end and definitely when they told of the freeing of Buchenwald because my father was one of the Americans that freed this concentration camp.

This book is given an unequivocal 5/5.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Bellman & Black: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
 
Gloomy, Dark
Bellman & Black

A rook was the beginning and the end for William Bellman.

Black was the color of the day for this book along with rooks, who according to the author never forget.

BELLMAN & BLACK was an unusual read with the premise of death, darkness, black birds (rooks), the color black, and black events...namely funerals and mourning goods.

William Bellman inherited a cloth mill and made it very successful, but when a deathly illness plagued and overran his town, he had another business in mind partnering with the mysterious man in a black cloak.

Who was the cloaked man who took all the light away at Will's mother's funeral? Why was this man always around when there was a funeral?

Was this cloaked man and all the deaths in Will's family the result of Will's killing a rook when he was ten? Was this man with the black cloak Bellman's inspiration, success, or his downfall? Why were these rooks always hanging around?

BELLMAN & BLACK is a bit dark, but it still held my interest. Ms. Setterfield has a way with words and dark themes, but despite holding my interest, BELLMAN & BLACK was a bit dragged out hearing about William's life and then his new-found wealth.

I didn't seem to find the "ghost" in this ghost story until the very end. The "ghost" was a subtle theme even though it was to be the main theme. You will enjoy the wrapup in the ending pages....they were very unique.

Ms. Setterfield definitely did her research when it came to rooks. The different names that a collection of rooks can be called was quite interesting.

I am going to rate BELLMAN & BLACK a 3.5/5 even though Ms. Setterfield does draw you in with her excellent writing skills, her fantastic descriptions of scenes, her brilliance, and her amazing creativity because something just seemed to be off the mark a bit in this novel.

If you like dark themes, and you don't mind being told every detail of someone's life, you will enjoy this book. So please don't let me "frighten" you away from reading BELLMAN & BLACK.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Husband's Secret by Liane Moriarty
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Husband's Secret

A simple letter, but was it really that simple? A letter written long ago. A letter indicating it was not allowed to be opened. A letter that made John Paul’s wife, Cecelia, quite curious.

What harm would be done by opening the letter? Cecelia was dying to open it, but the message John-Paul wrote on the front of the envelope said it could not be opened until his death. When Cecilia asked her husband about it, he said he had been sentimental when he wrote it, and that she should just put it away. Obediently Cecilia, the good wife, put it away without opening it.

Hints about the contents of the letter will peak your curiosity as it did Cecelia’s. When she did open the letter and found out what John-Paul had written, she couldn't believe it. How could this be true? Cecelia the perfect wife and fixer of everything couldn't fix this.

Cecelia was the perfect wife, mother, and town citizen. She knew everyone in town, and she knew everything about the city residents. She remembered Tess when she came back to her childhood town because her husband didn't love her any more. Rachel was also part of Cecelia's circle. Rachel had a few heartbreaking situations in the past. But…what Cecelia found in that letter was going to be more than a heartbreak for Rachel.

THE HUSBAND'S SECRET was focused on this letter, Tess, Rachel and Cecilia. The letter’s secret had to do with an unknown connection between Tess, Cecelia, and Rachel and something that happened in the past that linked them together and something in the present that caused more heartache and pain.

When the book begins, you will think it is going to be a book about a husband’s affair, but it is more sinister than that. It actually is a tragic secret.

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET is about more than keeping secrets, though. It deals with a parent’s love for his/her child and about the lengths parents go to in order to protect their children. It deals with right and wrong, and it deals with the thought - do we really know our spouse or significant other?

Don’t be mislead into thinking it is simply a book about secrets between a husband and his wife. It is far more than that. It is a book about secrets whether they are large or small and about our decisions to reveal the secret or to not reveal the secret.

THE HUSBAND’S SECRET is an excellent read that will keep you pondering life, pondering the decisions we make, and thinking about the secrets most of us have. What is your secret? 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
This Dark Road To Mercy

No mother, a deadbeat dad, a foster home, and then a kidnapping.

Easter and Ruby were placed in a foster home after their mother died since their father, Wade, had signed them away many years ago. But now he wanted them back. Wade was bad news all around.

Easter followed all the rules and Ruby followed whatever Easter said. Both girls will steal your heart because of their innocence and sweet ways. Their father will make you worry.

THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY is told in alternating voices with themes of a mystery to be solved, crimes that were committed, crimes that were being committed, and family dynamics. The book starts out with the main theme being the girls left in a foster home but it heats up when Wade's deeds surface.

Mr. Cash has a smooth, absorbing, detailed style of writing that pulls you in. The suspense of the book begins when Wade decides to do something stupid...well many stupid things.

All of the characters have a lot of charisma that make THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY a book you don't want to put down. It tells the tale of families, life in a small town, the town's problems, and its police force.

I really enjoyed THIS DARK ROAD TO MERCY which was filled with Southern-style emotion and suspense. Don't miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Source: http://silversolara.blogspot.com

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Inspiring
The Invention of Wings

Sarah Grimke and Handful were complete opposites in the society of the 1800's.

Sarah was the daughter of a plantation owner, and Handful was her maid. Both were strong women regardless of their station in life.

Sarah didn't want to have a maid, and Handful didn't want to be a maid. She wanted to sew just like her mother did. She wanted to be a seamstress, but in reality, she wanted to be free. Charlotte, Handful's mother, made all the clothes for the household including the slaves. She was a bit of of a handful herself.

Through the beautiful storytelling of Ms. Kidd, you will follow the Grimke family through the decades of life on the plantation. You will meet Missus who was the wife of the plantation owner and who was in charge of of the slaves. She was very cruel.

The main characters, Sarah, Handful, Charlotte, and Missus will keep you up late reading about the day's activities either covert or in plain sight and either cruel or humane. These characters and their bond as well as their differences will be pulling at your heartstrings.

Historical Fiction at its best will be yours when you pick up THE INVENTION OF WINGS. There is a lot of profound thinking and pondering in every paragraph. I wasn't aware of Sarah's role in the abolitionist movement, and was pleasantly surprised to find information about her and her sister, Angeline, as I did some research of my own.

The storyline of THE INVENTION OF WINGS flows easily and masterfully as Ms. Kidd brings to life Southern living, the horrors of slavery, and tells of the people who worked toward abolishing slavery.

Don't miss this well-written, researched book of Ms. Kidd. Ms. Kidd’s notes at the end of the book were very helpful as she explained how she took the basis of history and fictionalized key parts of it for her book. THE INVENTION OF WINGS was incredible. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Source: http://silversolara.blogspot.com

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Dramatic, Adventurous
The Wife, the Maid, and The Mistress

Who would have thought that being a maid could be this dangerous? Maria never would have guessed that.

Maria cleaned for Judge Joseph Crater who had a mistress and who was involved with gangsters. Then one day Joseph disappeared, and even his wife didn't know where he was.

Joseph’s wife, Stella, their maid, Maria, and Joseph’s mistress, Ritzi, were characters you will love and feel sorry for. Stella Crater knew about her husband's mistress, Maria saw the mistress one day when she arrived to clean and was sworn to secrecy, and Ritizi hated what she did. All three women were tied to Joseph Crater for different reasons and hated him for different reasons.

THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS is based on a true incident. Judge Joseph Crater’s disappearance has never been solved, and his body has never been found.

When I realized THE WIFE, THE MAID, AND THE MISTRESS was based on a true incident, the book pulled me in even more. The book took you back to a time when showgirls, speakeasies, proper etiquette for ladies, murders, and greasing palms was prevalent.

You will be drawn into the glitz, the glamor, and the corruption of the 1930's and into the lifestyles of the wealthy as well as the working class.

Ritzi was my favorite just because of her guts. Maria was sweet and got drawn into something way out of her league. Stella was indifferent to life and her marriage. They all had a common thread and a common interest.

If you like historical fiction and this era, don’t miss THE WIFE, THE MAID, THE MISTRESS. The surprise ending ties things up nicely.

I am wholeheartedly recommending this book. Loved it. 5/5

The Fever Tree by Jennifer McVeigh
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Epic
The Fever Tree

Beautiful, powerful, mesmerizing....

From England to South Africa. From wealth to poverty. From being happy and content to being unhappy and resentful.

Frances had no choice but to move to South Africa after her father died. She was left with nothing and definitely didn't want to live with her aunt to be a nursemaid or to be treated like help instead of family. She had to accept Edwin's proposal. Things happened in between her marriage to Edwin, though, that made her second guess her decision to marry him and to move to South Africa.

THE FEVER TREE is written in a beautiful, descriptive style. The storyline held my interest because of the lifestyle, the setting, the period in history, and definitely because of the characters. You will feel sorry for Frances and really dislike Edwin and William.

Ms. McVeigh has an elegant writing style that immediately pulled me in. THE FEVER TREE is a book about family, class distinction, making decisions, and a love that endures...find out what this enduring love is as you turn the pages in this haunting, unforgettable read.

You will be able to put yourself in Frances' shoes and feel her despair with her life, her decisions, and her surroundings simply because of the amazing way Ms. McVeigh details every sentence and situation.

You will be able to vividly see every detail because of Ms. McVeigh's amazing imagery and feel what Frances and the other characters are feeling because of her writing skill. The description of the African landscape is stunning. You will feel the dust in your clothes and the bleakness of the dry land.

THE FEVER TREE is truly a sultry book you won't want to put down and one you will remember long after you turn the last page.

THE FEVER TREE is a beautiful combination of historical fiction and a passion for life, for causes, and dreams. Don't miss this mesmerizing debut novel. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Delicious!: A Novel by Ruth Reichl
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Informative, Interesting
Delicious


Recipes, libraries, letters, books, food, authentic Italian butcher and cheese shops, aromas you can smell through the pages, and marvelous characters. What more can a reader ask for?

DELICIOUS is a reader's and a cook's paradise. DELICIOUS is one wonderful page of words after another.

The magic never stopped as Ms. Reichl introduced the reader to her believable, lovable characters and to mouthwatering food. Billie and every single character will steal your heart. The characters just had something that pulled you in.

When Billie finds letters in the library of a now defunct magazine company that were sent to a famous chef, Mr. Beard, from 13-year old Lulu during WWII, the book continues with the same mood of enjoying life, enjoying food, and discovering oneself. If you love old buildings from the 1800's, you will be in for another surprise.

These letters became the basis of DELICIOUS and also created a mystery about who Lulu was. The letters were used by a librarian as a fun game of finding clues that were very cleverly hidden and ones that led to the next clue...was the game ever over? If Lulu were still alive, Billie knew what a wonderful treat it would be to meet her.

If you want to be entertained and have your taste buds taken to the highest level, be sure to read DELICIOUS. You will also have the pleasure of learning how to face hidden fears in your life and share your life with those you should share it with.

DELICIOUS is unlike any book I have read. It grabs hold of you and takes you along for a "delicious" adventure and a very pleasurable reading ride.

Don't miss reading DELICIOUS. It is a beautiful, delightful book.?

My rating of DELICIOUS is a taste tempting, entertaining, and loving 5/5.

I received this book free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Did you read DELICIOUS and LOVE it?

Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Boring, Fun
Freud's Mistress


Out of work and no where to go, Minna had no other recourse but to ask her sister to take her in.

Minna knew the household wouldn't be calm with six children and a household staff?, but she managed. In fact, she managed very well. The children fell in love with her and so did her brother-in-law. Or did he really fall in love with her or was she simply a convenience??

Sigmund Freud ?betrayed ??his wife, ?and Minna betrayed her sister. The affair started out with ?early evening and some ?late night meetings that included flirting and drugs. Did his wife know about the affair or was she too addicted to opium to even notice?

You will definitely dislike Sigmund Freud as a person and question his thinking about why people develop psychological disorders. He was arrogant, a smooth operator, apparently quite good looking,? and he used his field of study to his advantage. He was not a kind man especially to women, but he knew how to seduce Minna. He had no regard for his wife who had six children with him.

Minna, “the mistress," was actually likable because even though she knew she couldn't stop herself about wanting to be with Freud, she did feel guilty. ? It was funny to be reminded that women of that era were so set on only finding a husband and no career per say except as domestic help, a companion for another woman, or caring for children.

FREUD’S MISTRESS was enjoyable and very well written. The book flowed nicely, and you could actually visualize everything and feel the characters' emotions and moods because of Ms. Mack’s and Ms. Kaufman’s marvelous writing skills.?

Some of the characters and some of the situations were comical. Love, infidelity, history, comedy, Freud's theories, ?and social issues were the main themes.?

It is always interesting to? look into the life of a famous person especially during the 1800's. ?If you like historical fiction, you should enjoy FREUD'S MISTRESS. 4/5

The ending notes from the authors that contained information about Sigmund Freud's life was quite interesting and helpful.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Freud's Mistress by Karen Mack, Jennifer Kaufman
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Boring, Fun
Freud's Mistress


Out of work and no where to go, Minna had no other recourse but to ask her sister to take her in.

Minna knew the household wouldn't be calm with six children and a household staff?, but she managed. In fact, she managed very well. The children fell in love with her and so did her brother-in-law. Or did he really fall in love with her or was she simply a convenience??

Sigmund Freud ?betrayed ??his wife, ?and Minna betrayed her sister. The affair started out with ?early evening and some ?late night meetings that included flirting and drugs. Did his wife know about the affair or was she too addicted to opium to even notice?

You will definitely dislike Sigmund Freud as a person and question his thinking about why people develop psychological disorders. He was arrogant, a smooth operator, apparently quite good looking,? and he used his field of study to his advantage. He was not a kind man especially to women, but he knew how to seduce Minna. He had no regard for his wife who had six children with him.

Minna, “the mistress," was actually likable because even though she knew she couldn't stop herself about wanting to be with Freud, she did feel guilty. ? It was funny to be reminded that women of that era were so set on only finding a husband and no career per say except as domestic help, a companion for another woman, or caring for children.

FREUD’S MISTRESS was enjoyable and very well written. The book flowed nicely, and you could actually visualize everything and feel the characters' emotions and moods because of Ms. Mack’s and Ms. Kaufman’s marvelous writing skills.?

Some of the characters and some of the situations were comical. Love, infidelity, history, comedy, Freud's theories, ?and social issues were the main themes.?

It is always interesting to? look into the life of a famous person especially during the 1800's. ?If you like historical fiction, you should enjoy FREUD'S MISTRESS. 4/5

The ending notes from the authors that contained information about Sigmund Freud's life was quite interesting and helpful.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Hunted (The Profiler) by Elizabeth Heiter
 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Dramatic, Dark
Hunted


Haunted, hunted, completed.

The Bakersville Burier definitely gave Evelyn Baine, an FBI profiler, a run for the money. The BAKBURY case as it was called and as he was called was a master at abducting his victims as well as avoiding the police. The Bakersville Burier had a grudge against women and a background that made him dangerous along with a background that fed his horrible desire to hurt.

HUNTED will keep you turning the pages as the "hunted" and the "hunter" keep eluding each other. HUNTED is an excellent thriller and a great debut novel for Ms. Heiter.

HUNTED kept me awake reading to find out what happened and also kept me awake with every light on because of the fright factor.

You will love Evelyn but want to tell her to lighten up and take care of her personal life as well as her professional life. Evelyn had a piece of herself in every murderer she profiled because of something that happened in her own life when she was younger.


I haven't read a thriller for a while and enjoyed the chase and the tension of HUNTED. You will be tempted to leave the lights on as you read and look behind you and around you when you are out. There is also a sweet romance hidden in all of this terror.

HUNTED is a book you will want to read if you like to delve into a criminal's past and try to figure out what caused him to want to murder and harm others.

Don't miss reading HUNTED. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

What are your thoughts? Will you read HUNTED?

That Night: A Novel by Chevy Stevens
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Dramatic, Unconvincing
That Night


Bullying and prison life were the main themes in THAT NIGHT.

The main character, Toni, had been bullied in high school because she was not in the "in" crowd. This bullying influenced her life in a negative way. Toni was very disliked by a group of girls in high school, and they kept after her for no other reason than to be mean.

Being accused of murdering her sweet sister and having the folks that bullied her testify that she always lied about things definitely didn't help her defense. She and her boyfriend were accused of the murder even though they were innocent and victims themselves and were sent to prison for 15 years.

Prison wasn't any better for Toni. Prison seemed like an extension of her high school problems.

THAT NIGHT is the second book I read by Chevy Stevens. To me it was not as good as the other book I read, but it did send a very powerful message?.

As I was reading, I was truly frightened which most likely was the author's purpose in getting across the points of the damaging and horrible aspects of bullying.

I really wasn't pulled in because of the beginning pages, but I kept coming back to learn about bullying and the repercussions of how it ruins a person's life. Stevens did a great deal of research and did a marvelous job of having the reader feel the fear caused by the bullying.

To me Ms. Steven's was unquestionably raising the awareness of bullying and excellently conveyed it in her book.

The book was very frightening as I was visualizing the scenes and thinking about what reaction I would have had in a bullying situation. If you have been bullied, you won't want to read this book; it will bring back too many unsettling memories. I never was bullied, but I was very shaken upon seeing how people act and the cruel things they do.

My rating is mainly affected by the first 200 pages that only talked of high school antics and their jealousy of each other. If you can get past the first 200 pages of high school drama and adolescent problems, the final pages are quite good.

I would have given the book a 2/5 because of the beginning pages, but I am changing the rating to a 3/5.

This rating is changed mainly because the ending pages were excellent as the true story of the murder became revealed and because bullying needs to be addressed. The public's awareness of bullying needs to be more in the open and needs to make the public realize this issue does exist and is a major social problem.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

What do you think?

Will you read Chevy Stevens' newest book?

The Qualities of Wood by Mary Vensel White
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Scary, Inspiring
The Qualities of Wood


Strange situations, strange characters, lots of secrets, and a small town.

QUALITIES OF WOOD has all of the above and more. It mainly includes a beautiful, flowing writing style ?and an interesting? storyline. The author masterfully keeps you wondering about the makeup of ?each character and the secrets that you know they are keeping.?

You will follow the main characters, Vivian and Nowell, through their present lives as well as their pasts. As Vivian and Nowell settle into a family home they are going to renovate and as they ?meet their neighbors, Vivian questions Nowell's past as well as the neighbors' pasts.

You will also get a glimpse into Vivian's teenage years as the author takes you back and forth in time. This was well done by having the flashback trigger something in Vivian's mind at the current moment and connect it to her past.?

Does this small town have secrets they keep from each other? Do the neighbors really know each other? What was it that happened years ago that has everyone suspicious of each other?

Throughout the book there is a tension that the author perfectly conveys through her amazing writing style. The characters all seem to get along, but you feel something isn't right. The way Ms.White can make you feel the fright, the tension, the distrust, the betrayal, and the sneaking, ulterior motives going on is excellent. ?

THE QUALITIES OF WOOD? is a subtle thriller and a book you won't want to read if you are alone or at night. I became complete?l?y engrossed in the characters and the storyline. I imagine you will do the same and try to figure out what’s behind each character.

The ending sort of wrapped up the plot, but there was something that didn’t satisfy me. Regardless, it was a great read and a great debut novel. 4/5
?
I received a copy of this book from the publisher free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

Have you read QUALITIES OF WOOD?

What did you think?

The Paris Architect: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
The Paris Architect


Can you trust the people you used to trust? Can your life be normal? That question was asked every single day of Lucien's life and every single day of any French citizen living in Paris during the Nazi occupation.

Life definitely was not the same as before. You had to watch everything you said and did. Lucien had to make a decision about doing something he knew was very dangerous. Lucien was an architect and was asked to design hiding places for Jewish friends of Auguste Manet, a well-known businessman in Paris.

Lucien feared for his life but couldn't pass up this offer. Lucien agreed only because he had no money, and because he would be paid a large sum.

You will feel Lucien's fear as he is doing something he loves, but also considering whether it is worth the cost of his life if he gets caught. You will grow to love Lucien as his truly caring side comes out in the uncaring society of this era.

You will become immersed in Paris's new way of life that had to be endured, and you will share the fear of the citizens as they waited for the dreaded knock on the door looking for Jewish residents or for a French citizen who was hiding a Jewish citizen.

The horrors of occupation will be with you as you read as well as become involved with the authentic characters and marvelous writing style. The characters were perfectly portrayed from the deviousness and cruelty of the Gestapo to the cowering citizens. The author has an easy style and draws you right into the story.

THE PARIS ARCHITECT is another WWII tale but with a different twist and one where the tension builds and your fear for Lucien increases as you rapidly turn the pages.

This is an excellent historical fiction book with some graphic scenes that depict the atrocities of WWII, but will hold your interest until the last word because of the characters and their stories. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Click here to enter the contest until July 15. USA ONLY.

Sweet Water: A Novel (P.S.) by Christina Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful
Sweet Water


From New York City to Tennessee?

Was Cassie making the right move? She thought so, but meeting family members she hadn't seen since she was three was frightening as well as disillusioning. She had to find out her roots, to find out what happened to her mother, to find out why her mother really didn't want to live in Sweetwater, Tennessee, and to find out why her grandfather left her the family home and 60 acres?. What could the reason possibly be when she never knew him?

Cassie is an interesting character that you will love and one that pairs up with an absorbing story that unfolds as alternating ?voices from one generation to the next tell their tale in this splendid story. SWEET WATER smoothly flows from Grandmother Clyde's narrations to Cassie's retelling, reliving, and revealing of the secrets the Clyde family held.

Ms. Kline has this time written a marvelous book about families, roots, and life-changing secrets. Every family member was good at keeping secrets especially the one that Grandmother Clyde kept for 20 years and the secret that ate at her for her entire life. Did Grandfather Clyde want Cassie to find something out? Perhaps the secret?

I really enjoyed ?SWEET WATER because of the characters and the way Ms. Kline ?just pulled you in with her terrific, creative, thought-provoking storyline.

My rating is a 4/5 because SWEET WATER is a read you won't want to stop reading once you get going.? If you have read any of Ms. Kline’s other books, you know what a treat you are in for when you read SWEET WATER.

The only thing that is holding me back from giving the book a 5/5 is that it was difficult to figure out who the one narrator was until a number of pages into the book and also because of the peculiar love story. I am not sure how this love story fits in with the storyline except perhaps to prove how dysfunctional the Clyde family was.

Don't miss reading this newest addition to Ms. Kline's already fantastic lineup.
?
I received this book free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Other Typist: A Novel by Suzanne Rindell
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Brilliant, Confusing
The Other Typist


The narration of the book was superb, the entire book was amazing, and the ending was incredible.

The characters came alive, and I could see every scene vividly. Ms. Rindell brought to the literary world a great style and an extraordinary book. Her descriptions are so lyrical and detailed you can easily and pleasantly visualize even the slightest action. The main "stage" of the book takes place in a police station, but that was not a detriment to the story. The smooth, easy flow of the novel was flawless, entertaining, and a bit mysterious.

The book focused on the lives of the two main characters, Rose and Odalie, with Odalie being "the other typist." The author was exploring relationships and human interaction....something we all have in our lives and need to deal with. Rose was the honest, unassuming one and Odalie seemed to want a friend but was manipulative, cunning, almost villian-like, and had another life separate from her typist's life at the police station. A life that Rose was not aware of but found out as their friendship progressed.

It was quite easy to get involved in the characters' lives which made the book difficult to put down. You will absolutely love how the book flowed but you will also be afraid for Rose as she enters this new relationship with Odalie. I liked Rose at the beginning but became disappointed as the book continued because of how she changed and how she was so captivated and easily swayed by Odalie. I didn't like Odalie from the minute she walked through the door at the police station on her first day of her new job. I could immediately tell what kind of person she was. Are you curious why I am saying this? :) You will have to find out when you read this impressive book.

Think of a friendship you had in your life. Was it a friendship that lasted, was it simply a friendship that you thought was a good one but one that didn't last, was it one you really shouldn't have been in, or was it one that turned out to be a friendship for life?

This book has everything a wonderful book should have: a beautiful writing style, characters you will become attached to, outstanding descriptions, an easily pulled into storyline, and a bit of secrecy and intrigue. Absolutely loved it. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Crooked River: A Novel by Valerie Geary
 
Book Club Recommended
Crooked River

Living in a meadow in a tepee with their father is how? Sam and Ollie spent their summers because it was the only way they saw him after he left them and their mother. ?Would the meadow and the tepee be their permanent home now because their mother had died?

That was the plan, but when a dead body is found floating in their swimming hole that summer, all is changed. Their father was accused of the murder, and all evidence pointed to this homeless beekeeper. His appearance and ?lifestyle made him the perfect suspect.

Both Sam and Ollie ?are endearing, quite bright, and love their father. Ollie doesn\\\\\\\'t talk when she is upset,? and she ?see?s? things that others do not. She sees things called Shimmerings that warn her about good and bad. Sam knows why Ollie doesn\\\\\\\'t talk, but she doesn\\\\\\\'t know what Ollie sees.

CROOKED RIVER has wonderful characters and a wonderful storyline. You will fall in love with both of the girls and their adopted grandparents, Franny and Zeb, but their father, Bear/Frank,? was? a bit more difficult to like.
?
Ms. Geary\\\\\\\'s writing is very descriptive, exceptionally absorbing, and keeps you glued to the pages as Sam and Ollie search for clues that could prove their father is innocent. ?As so many reviewers have said: \\\\\\\"This book is difficult to put down.\\\\\\\" I wholeheartedly agree.

Ms. Geary seamlessly and creatively takes you back and forth? in time as the story unfolds? and is told through each girl\\\\\\\'s voice in alternating chapters.?

Everything about CROOKED RIVER is warm and family oriented. CROOKED RIVER had me wanting to be there with Sam and Ollie to mother them and to tell them to be careful with their investigation of the murder and who they were befriending.

I really enjoyed this book. I will be looking for more from Ms. Geary. Don\\\\\\\'t miss reading CROOKED RIVER.

CROOKED RIVER just had a homey feel to it along with a storyline that had situations that ?could actually happen and a very suspenseful, tense ending. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Boring, Slow, Confusing
This Is The Water


The first two words in the title of the book is the way Ms. Murphy began many sentences in THIS IS THE WATER, and it seems to be her writing style. To me, it was an odd, unique style and took a bit of getting used to.

THIS IS THE WATER is about a swim team, the parents of the swimmers, and about a murder that affected the entire community.

I was looking for a mystery, but found a book mostly about swimming and the personal lives of the team's parents.

It was a bit difficult to get started because of how the book was written. ?The book did keep you guessing, though, about who the murderer was that was killing young girls at ?rest stops. When it was revealed, the scene was quite scary, and the murderer was someone you wouldn't expect.

I continued to read the book because I wanted to find out how it would end, but I did skim quite a few pages. 2/5

This book was given to me and my book club as a win in a contest on TLC. No compensation was given, and this review is my opinion.

 
Informative, Boring, Interesting
Ruth's Journey


Who can forget Scarlett O'Hara, Tara, and of course beloved Mammy. Ruth's Journey is a tale of Mammy.

Mammy was born in the Caribbean Islands, was the only survivor of an attack on her household, and made her way to Savannah with the Forniers. As their "child" she was treated well, but was sold to another family.

Mammy Ruth moves from one famous Southern family's ?home to another as we the reader follow her and find out what made Mammy the mammy she was. There are many happy situations, but there are also many sad ones.? The O'Haras are mentioned throughout the book ?and,? of course?,? that is where ?Mammy ends up.

RUTH'S JOURNEY was very well researched, but unfortunately difficult to follow and enjoy until the book was almost over.?

I loved GONE WITH THE WIND, but RUTH'S JOURNEY had something to be desired. It didn't get interesting until way into the book, and most specifically not until Mammy got to Tara with the O'Haras. Visualizing Tara and hearing chararacters' names from GONE WITH THE WIND made the wait worthwhile.

I enjoyed learning about Mammy, but RUTH'S JOURNEY wasn't a favorite read...it was a bit tedious even though the writing was outstanding.

You will love Mammy Ruth and feel sorry for her, and ?you will love learning about ?her strong will? and her love and loyalty for the people she cared for and ?kept her going on through all her many losses. Mammy Ruth was an interesting person, and a character? everyone most likely loved and will never forget especially in her dealings with Scarlett.? ? 3/5

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Insightful, Informative
The Story of Land And Sea


THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA is beautifully written with exquisite prose.?

The main character is Helen whose story is told before and after her death along with the tale of her husband, her father, her daughter, and Moll, a slave from the plantation and Helen's friend.

You will follow the characters through their lives on a plantation, on a ship, and in a regular household. The characters are an odd sort but ones with depth and with feelings that ooze through the pages simply because of Ms. Smith’s elegant writing style.

THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA takes the reader through complex situations with the reader being put directly into the story and being carried along with the characters and feeling every emotion especially their pain of loss.

I was a bit confused at first, but Ms. Smith writes so beautifully and so poignantly that you can't help but want to continue. THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA is a book unlike any other I have read simply because of the storyline and the time in history.?

?The confusion came about because of the time frame and order of dates. The book moves back and forth from past to present day in Helen and John's life but seemed to be out of order.

Despite the confusion, the book definitely will keep your interest and will keep you reading. Ms. Smith has written a thoughtful book in a time period that I wasn't familiar with and therefore made THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA even more intriguing and interesting.

I would recommend this book solely on the premise of the marvelous writing style Ms. Smith has and the background she gave as to why she wrote the book. The beauty of the reason Ms. Smith wrote the book makes THE STORY OF LAND AND SEA a stunning debut. 4/5 (See her video below)

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Last Breath by Kimberly Belle
 
Book Club Recommended
The Last Breath



Was it her husband, her lover, or an intruder that took Ella Mae\'s last breath?

Regardless of who the guilty party was, her husband, Ray Andrews, was convicted and sent to prison for sixteen years. Ray was now on his way home but not because he had served his sentence but because he was dying of cancer. Will his children be there to greet him or have they forgotten him as they did when he was in prison?

THE LAST BREATH moves from past to present telling the story of Ella Mae\'s life before she was suffocated with Saran Wrap and her daughter\'s life as her father comes home.

While Gia Andrews struggles with coming home and having to face the shame of what happened sixteen years ago and finding out if her father really did kill her mother, you also follow her through her sexual romps. Her mother\'s romps with her lover were also part of storyline and definitely were a part of solving the mystery. These descriptions aren\'t graphic, but I had to give a warning. :)

As Gia investigates, she questions her uncle who was her father\'s attorney about his defense and if everything was truly done to prove Ray\'s innocence. Could the evidence all have been false or contrived and the real killer still be free?

Gia had to know. Would the professor writing a book about her father have the real facts or would it all be water under the bridge for now?

The book was tense and made me anxious to find out the truth and oh so good? because you can\'t figure out who the guilty party really was. You think you have it and then you change your mind.

The ending has a surprise, and it is an ending that I really liked. :) 4/5

If you read the book, please let me know what you thought.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Story Hour: A Novel by Thrity Umrigar
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dramatic
The Story Hour


Storytelling and helping others was what Lakshmi did best along with her cooking and work ethics. Her life was a story to tell, and she had Maggie to listen and to learn from her stories.

THE STORY HOUR takes the reader through the lives of Lakshmi and Maggie...one the patient and one the doctor. The women met when Lakshmi tried to commit suicide.

Maggie broke the rules of patient/client protocol, but Maggie couldn't help it because she and Lakshmi were meant to be friends and confidantes. Maggie truly helped Lakshmi feel more confident as she tried to fit into the American way of life, and at the same time Lakshmi helped Maggie as she was struggling with "demons" of her own that stemmed from her childhood.

Ms. Umrigar has written another marvelous novel about an Indian woman trying to fit into her lonely, boring life with her American husband who really didn't love her. She also touches on infidelity issues with Maggie and what damage it does.

The book smoothly moved back and forth from past to present telling about the lives of both women and how their backgrounds shaped them into the woman they were today.

You will love Lakshmi just because she was a warm, caring, genuine person that you will feel sorry for but also one that you will cheer on as she struggles to overcome her shortcomings and feelings of worthlessness. Maggie on the other hand was a bit more difficult to like because she had it all and couldn't grasp how her infidelity would change things.

The writing was beautiful as well as the storyline. I would recommend THE STORY HOUR for book clubs. It has many issues, situations, and meanings worth discussing. 4/5

You have to read THE STORY HOUR in order to feel the full impact and the power of this marvelous book.

You will be immersed in cultures, food, friendships, and determination.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Interesting
Flight of the Sparrow



Living in a structured house, living in a wetu.

Having enough food, always hungry.

Not showing love to your children, cherishing your children.

Living a strict Puritan existence, living carefree.

Never experiencing the pleasure of nature, hearing every little part of nature.

All those statements show the differences Mary Rowlandson found when comparing her Puritan life to her life in Indian captivity.

Which way would you want to live??

Mary Rowlandson and many others were captured by Indians and were forced to live within the Indian community. It was a harsh life for her as well as the entire Indian community. Despite the hardships, Mary blended in well and was protected by an Englishman.

You will follow Mary as she transforms from a Puritan English woman into an Indian woman. She loved her transformation and found the link to nature and peace that she didn't have as the wife of a strict Puritan minister.

FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW was very well researched and held my interest. At first I didn't realize FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW was based on an actual person. Once I found that out, the book became even more intriguing.

I have never read any book about this time period in American history, but want to find out more. FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW ?is a gripping account of Early America, and history buffs will not be disappointed.?

I recommend this book to anyone who loves a well-researched, historical novel.?

I can't divulge any more without telling the story, but take the time to read FLIGHT OF THE SPARROW. I thoroughly enjoyed it. 4/5?

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Lightkeeper's Wife: A Novel by Sarah Anne Johnson
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting
The LightKeeper's Wife


A seaman's life for me.

Hannah was worthy to be a seaman, and Annie/Blue turned into a seaman as well as a pirate?.

Hannah and Annie knew nothing about each other, but they had things in common: both? were headstrong for women of the 1800’s and they both loved the sea.

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S WIFE goes back and forth between Hannah's life and Annie/Blue's connecting both characters’ lives without their knowing.

THE LIGHTKEEPER'S WIFE is about enduring life and living a passion. You will feel Hannah's frustration as she tries to keep up the lighthouse after her husband has gone missing and only has Billy to help her.

The descriptions Ms. Johnson has of boat rescues and being at sea are amazing. Great detail in the telling of the story and the book's events keeps you reading.

I enjoyed THE LIGHTKEEPER'S WIFE. If you enjoy the 1800's and seafaring content, you will enjoy THE LIGHTKEEPER'S WIFE.

Gorgeous cover, fantastic writing, and great research, but my rating is going to be a 3/5 because of the disconnection with some parts of the book and for the length of time it took me to figure out what was going on and the length of time it took me to figure out who the characters were.

I received this book free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Wishing Tide by Barbara Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Fantastic, Romantic
The Wishing Tide


Mary, Lane, and Michael. Three marvelous and completely different characters when put together make the pages of THE WISHING TIDE come alive.

Lane owns a Bed & Breakfast, Mary is homeless, and Michael is the mysterious, unwanted guest who arrives during a storm for what appears to be for reasons other than not having any other place to stay for the night.

All three characters blend together with things in common that they don't know about, and they fill the pages of THE WISHING TIDE with a splendid, beautifully told story.

There is something about Mary that you can't help liking. Could it be her elusiveness, her purple bag, her ability to read a person, or just her constant presence?

Lane is a character you will feel sorry for even though she seems to have it all.

Michael seemed sinister, and is someone who appeared on the scene more than by chance and with secrets of his own to work out.?

THE WISHING TIDE is an emotional ride about life's lessons, personal secrets, and personal relationships.

The writing was beautiful, detailed, and flowed nicely. The descriptions have you hearing the sea, smelling the sea air, and feeling the sand as well as vividly visualizing the buildings, the quaint town, and every scene.

I enjoyed THE WISHING TIDE simply because it was a cozy, comforting read with outstanding characters, an intriguing storyline, and a magnificent setting.

The entire book and especially the ending wraps you up in a warm, homey cocoon. Don't miss reading THE WISHING TIDE. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Winter Guest by Pam Jenoff
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic
The Winter Guest


WWII was still going on, and Poland was suffering along with all the European countries as families struggled to survive.

Helena and Ruth were left in charge of their three younger siblings since their father was killed by a runaway wagon and their mother was put in the hospital. Both girls were hard workers but had different views about the war and safety as well as being jealous of each other for everything.?
As the book continued, something unforgivable happened between the two sisters that led to more jealousy even though the incident was not spoken about but felt by the sisters. ?

THE WINTER GUEST puts you right into the heart of the war with the fears and hardships the population was enduring. As Helena and Ruth struggle to keep themselves and their younger siblings fed and safe, Helena then finds something out about her mother's heritage that she had kept secret her entire life and a secret that puts their family in more danger because of their mother's secret.

As you follow the Nowak family through their daily routine, you learn what they had to go through worrying about the Germans storming into the town and knocking on the door or stealing what they had, worrying about hunger, worrying about the children, and worrying about staying alive.?

Ms. Jenoff has written yet another wonderful, heart wrenching account of WWI?I. The beginning pages grab your attention immediately, and the suspense and interest continues throughout the entire book.

?You will fall in love with the Norwak children. Ruth and Helena are a bit difficult to like, but they beautifully carry the story to the end with its intrigue and ?revelations. There is also a tender, sweet love story inside all of the pain and terror.

If you have never read a book by Ms. Jenoff, you need to. Ms. Jenoff perfectly depicts what happened in Europe during WWII in all of her books that I have read.

THE WINTER GUEST is no exception. Do not miss reading this book or any of her other books.

The only thing I don't understand is how the cover portrays "the winter guest" because I thought the guest was a male. :) 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Addictive
The Mill River Redemption



A bookstore, mothers, sisters, aunts, family secrets.

THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION is a wonderful, cozy, book that combines family, the love of books, and a small town and turns all of those into a book you won't want to stop reading.

Josie DiSantis had to move ?from New York ?back to her roots in Mill River, Vermont, after her husband was killed in a fire that destroyed their home. Luckily she and her daughters survived and had a loving aunt to take them in.

Mill River is a town that I would LOVE to live in. It seemed to be the perfect place to grow up, the perfect place to raise your children, and the perfect place to return to.

The only thing that wasn't perfect was the relationship between Josie's daughters, Rose and Emily. Something happened that tore their once close, sisterly relationship apart and had them estranged for years.

Josie tried to get them to reconcile all during her life and even after her death. Josie had devised a perfect plan described in her will that would hopefully bring the girls back together. Would this work? Nothing else had.

Josie was a strong character, Aunt Ivy was all the warmth anyone could ask for, and Rose and Emily were total opposites. Mill River and its residents knew everyone's business, but the town had the kindest folks ever.

I really enjoyed THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION because of the homey storyline and the beautifully described characters.

This is the first book I have read by Darcie Chan, and her writing style is inviting, descriptive, and simply superb.

I didn't want to stop reading because I wanted to see how the plan Josie devised was working out as well as wanting to be a part of that town with all those delightful residents.

Don't miss reading THE MILL RIVER REDEMPTION if you like cozy, heartwarming reads.

This is going to be one of my FAVORITE reads of this year. I didn't want it to end. I wanted to spend more time with the characters. :) Even the cover is alluring and captivating. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous
The House We Grew Up In


Four children then three, traditional chocolate-Easter-egg hunts ?where you had to save the foil wrappings, a tidy house and then a very cluttered one.

The Bird family was loving but very eccentric with Lorelei, the mother, being the oddest of all and who kept a secret that made her hold onto things.

Colin her husband re-installed the wall in their once duplex house and lived next door to his wife, Megan turned out to be a neat freak, Beth never left home until she was 30 because she thought her mother needed her, and the twins were total opposites as well as having a tragic incident happen to them.

There were a lot of strange things about the Birds, but they all loved each other. As the years went on and the children grew into adults?, Lorelei still held onto their childhood toys, clothes, blankets, ?and even drawings as she herself remained an adult? child and a compulsive shopper and hoarder. The children couldn't believe what was in their childhood home when they visited and how they had to navigate through a small path surrounded with things Lorelei just had to have and couldn't part with.

If you want to read a book that will have you shaking your head but also not wanting to put the book down because of total enjoyment, you will want to read THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN. The storyline and writing were marvelous.

I enjoyed THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN because of the unique, creative storyline with characters that kept you wanting to know how each of their lives would turn out. They all were quite unconventional, but you couldn’t help but love them.

THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN will have you thinking back to your childhood and wonder if what happened in the home you grew up in has actually shaped you into the person you are today.

We definitely can't forget the cover. It is absolutely gorgeous with the egg being the basis of the Bird family's many memories of their Easter egg hunts which kept them all connected.

Along with being a beautifully told story, THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN has a happy ending along with characters you will remember long after you turn the last page.

I don't think there will be any reader no matter what their preferred genre is who won't get caught up in this splendid story.

My rating is going to be a 4/5 simply because I was lost in the beginning pages, but the rest of the book definitely made up for my being lost.

Make THE HOUSE WE GREW UP IN a must read for yourself.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Inspiring, Informative
Little Mercies

A social worker charged with child negligence? A ten-year old left alone? What do Ellen and Jenny have in common?

The common thread has built a beautifully written story by Ms. Gudenkauf. It deals with social services from the adult and the child\\\'s side and what can easily happen both good and bad?.

?You will feel Ellen\\\'s pain as she deals with an accident she herself as a social worker deals with every day but with a situation she never thought she would have to personally deal with.

You will want to hug Jenny and take her home with you. ?How could a ten-year old have to deal with so much?

I was a bit worried LITTLE MERCIES was going to be too intense for me when I first started reading, but the author\\\'s writing style is so amazing along with the storyline that you don\\\'t want to stop. You \\\"must\\\" continue to see how things turn out.

LITTLE MERCIES allows the reader into the world of social services and lives of children that most of us don\\\'t know about and don\\\'t have to live through.
LITTLE MERCIES is a book that tears your heart apart, but has wonderful lessons about life and things to think about. The meaning of the book\\\'s title is explained as you read, and I enjoyed the meaning because it is so true. I started looking for \\\"little mercies\\\" in my own life.

I would put LITTLE MERCIES on your must read list. It is a book that will take you to a world people actually live through and make you glad you do not, but it will also make you realize that family is the most important element we have, and we should count our blessings.

My rating is a HUGE ?5/5.

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Insightful
The Orphan Train


Two women from different eras but with similar life stories. How will that friendship progress?

You will be mesmerized by this book that is based on a true part of American history. ORPHAN TRAIN has magnificent detail and a wonderful storyline. I was pulled in within five pages. The two alternating time periods telling about the lives of Vivian and Molly is beautifully told. They are two appealing and well-developed characters that you want to know more about and won't be disappointed in what you find.

This book addresses the life of orphans who arrived in the Midwest in the late 1920's on the orphan train that originated in New York and how they are treated as second class citizens by most of the adopted families. It is told with enthusiasm and genuine compassion along with the detailing of feelings.

You will feel the despair and helplessness of "Dorothy" as she moves from one household to another with the second one being worse than the first. The beautiful prose carries you along. It makes you think about what is important in life and what you should keep with you and what you should leave behind and let go.

This book will pull at your heart strings and keep you up because you won't want to stop reading. It brings two generations together each with good and bad memories to share. I thoroughly enjoyed reading about a part of history I wasn’t aware of and with the added bonus of Ms. Kline's incredible writing style.

Don’t miss this splendid book. You will fall in love with both main characters and wish you could be there with them as you learn about a not-often discussed part of American history. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Kitchen House: A Novel by Kathleen Grissom
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Insightful
The Kitchen House


I absolutely loved this book...couldn't put it down.

You will fall in love with the characters and share their joy, sadness, triumphs, and defeats...you will want to be right there with the ladies in the kitchen house preparing meals and being loved by them.

The book is during the time of plantation owners and slavery. On his boat trip back from Ireland, James Pyke brought Lavinia with him...she is a seven-year-old white child whose parents died on the boat during the return trip.

Lavinia is sent to work in the Kitchen House, and the black families learn to love her and she learns to love them as the only family she knows...her memory is gone when she arrives and remembers nothing about her parents and her childhood.

Lavinia works alongside the ladies in the Kitchen House and then learns to take care of the Mistress of house's new born baby...the Mistress begins to teach Lavinia how to read and write. Lavinia is the main character along with Belle, Mama Mae and Papa George and of course the harsh plantation owners

The book takes you through the loyalties the black families have for each other and their Master and his family. It also makes your heart ache at the truths of what really occurred on the plantations concerning the relationship between the slaves and the plantation owners.

A lot of tragedies throughout the story, a terrific account of occurrences, excellent depictions of the surroundings and people.

Through the author's wonderful descriptions, you feel you are right there......the novel is fabulously written.

If you loved THE HELP, you will love this book as well or you may like it even more.

ENJOY!!!! It is wonderful.

 
Interesting
The Wonder of All Things


Would someone really be able to heal another person and have that ability and not know it? Does love bring it to the surface? Does it happen when a dire situation closely affecting the healer happens?

Ava didn't know she had the ability to heal, and it turned her life ?upside down ?and the entire town of Stone Temple as well. Folks were flocking to this unknown town after Ava healed her friend Wash.

?Most of the people coming to Stone Temple wanted Ava to heal them or a loved one, but she became ill when she healed someone so it was a difficult decision for her parents as well as Ava.

THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS will make you think about how you would react to the situation if you were the healer or if you were a person needing to be healed. The characters in the story "grow" on you, and you become attached to them.

?Ava was sweet, but aloof. Wash was very likeable. Macon, Ava's dad, was different. Brenda, Wash's grandmother will make you want a grandmother like her. Ava's mother, Heather, who had passed away,? was different. Carmen, Ava's stepmother, was likeable and someone I felt sorry for. The Reverend was someone I wasn't too fond of.

THE WONDER OF ALL THINGS was mostly conversation and a book that had an interesting storyline like Mr. Mott's other book, but it wasn't gripping. I simply kept reading because I "had" to find out if they knew why Ava had this power of healing and what happened to this small town that was flooded with more people than it could possibly hold. I didn't find the answers out to those questions.

It was an odd-themed book, well written, but not that interesting. The ending was a bit vague, and the entire book was nothing outstanding. 3/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

An Unseemly Wife by E.B. Moore
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous
An Unseemly Wife



Giving up the only life she knew, leaving all her possessions for a new life she was ?not ?excited about, following her husband's wishes and keeping? silent. That is what Ruth's life was like as she followed the rules of her Fold?.

We follow Ruth and her family as they get ready to leave their secure community for the unknown in Idaho and follow them on their difficult, two-thousand-mile trek. A trip that was supposed to give them a better life.

The writing in AN UNSEEMLY WIFE is beautiful, and Ms. Moore smoothly and masterfully moves from one time period to the other revealing what Ruth's life was before marrying Aaron and what it was like now. As the journey west continued, Ruth realized that her life with Aaron would never be the same. She had no family close by, and the people they met were not like her Fold at home.

AN UNSEEMLY WIFE is actually an account of the author's great grandmother. I enjoyed this book because I do like historical fiction, but definitely wouldn't want to be living in the 1800's as a woman.

AN UNSEEMLY WIFE did drag a bit, though, but it was quite educational to see the difficulties of traveling in and living in a covered wagon along with the hardships of everyday life. You will feel the family's pain as sad things happen, and all the characters definitely grow on you. The children were so innocent and good. Ruth was obedient and a very good mother. Aaron was a good husband, but not one that I would want. He was kind but too strict.

If you are interested in the early days of settling America, you will enjoy this book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Cattle Kate by Jana Bommersbach
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
Cattle Kate


Westward Ho!!

Cattle Kate was a delicately raised rule follower, but she had to break away, and break away she did.

Ella Watson's story is creatively told and keeps your interest from the first page. "Taming" the west really wasn't for women was it? ?Even though it may not have been for women, homesteading is what Ella did, and what left Ella hanging from a rope at the ripe old age of 29.

I really did enjoy CATTLE KATE. Ms. Bommersbach did a great deal of research and turned ?her research into quite a fascinating?, splendid? book. The ending pages document dates and times?, and these are even categorized in an organized, unique way with wonderful detail.

Learning about the West and how the Wyoming Territory became settled will keep you turning the pages and wanting to find out how Ellla actually lived and what turned people against her and her husband.

?If you like fiction at its best, don't miss reading CATTLE KATE. You will get a little bit of everything to appreciate and delight in. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review

The Paris Winter: A Novel by Imogen Robertson
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Brilliant
The Paris Winter


Who wouldn't want to spend the winter in Paris? Maud was in Paris starving and freezing as an art student when Tanya, a wealthy woman, befriended her and helped ?Maud ?obtain a position ?in a home to take care of a young lady.

?Maud found out the accommodations brought about more than a warm place to stay and good meals. Sylvie, the young lady she was taking care of, smoked opium and stole things?, her "brother" wasn't very honest, and nothing was what it seemed. What else was going to happen, and what did she get herself into?

What was supposed to be a life-changing winter turned out to be a winter of lies, ?danger?, deceit, and murder?.

The beginning of THE PARIS WINTER was a bit slow, but as the tale unraveled, there was nothing slow?, ??nothing short of deviousness, and nothing ?short of
intrigue?. Don't give up too soon.

You will feel sorry for Maud, you will love Tanya and Yvette - they are actually comical and so loyal to Maude, you will hate Sylvie and her "brother," and you will question all that goes on with them and question their motives.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE PARIS WINTER because of the well-developed, unlikeable, devious, corrupt characters and the unpredictable, twisted plot with a marvelous, thrilling ending. This thrilling ending was set during the Paris flood of 1910 and was a perfect connection to Maud's intentions.

Don't miss reading THE PARIS WINTER. You will be pulled in just like the flood waters of Paris pulled in its citizens. THE PARIS WINTER is an alluring, captivating historical read. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
What The Lady Wants by Renee Rosen



Glamor, glitter, love, shopping, and ?famous names thrown around...what fun it was reading WHAT THE LADY WANTS.

WHAT THE LADY WANTS is set in Chicago during the 1800's when retail stores and innovations were beginning to surface. Famous industrialists such as Pullman, McCormick, Potter, Swift, Field, and Armour filled the pages. Hearing these names brought out the historical fiction aficionado in me.

Along with the business side of Chicago?,? WHAT THE LADY WANTS tells? the story of the personal life of Delia Spencer, Arthur Caton, and Marshall Field revealing ?Delia and Marshall?'s ongoing, infamous ?love ?affair. You will want to look up th?eir ?names to find ?more ?information on them and on Marshall Field & Company.

Both Delia and Marshall were captivating characters, and Ms. Rosen perfectly portrayed their life and the lifestyles of the wealthy ?during that time.

?A little bit of romance along with the history of Chicago makes WHAT THE LADY WANTS an intriguing, alluring ?read.

?You will also find out where the book's title came from. ENJOY!!? 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Bracelet by Dorothy Love
 
Book Club Recommended
Pointless, Poorly Written, Adventurous
The Bracelet


Diamond. Emerald. Amethyst. Diamond
= D. E. A. D.

A bracelet that mysteriously appeared on Celia Browning's nightstand was a bracelet she thought was from her fiancee, but once she saw what the individual jewels spelled out, she knew it wasn't good.

?Celia Browning was the daughter of a wealthy merchant and a descendant of a family member who died in their home about 20 years ago. The death was? said to be a suicide, but others believed it was a murder. Now just when she was finally going to be wed to her childhood sweetheart, nosy newspaper men began to question what happened and began causing trouble by printing articles in the paper, having people follow and frighten Celia, and leaving mysterious notes and gifts in the house.

Celia couldn't tell her father about any of these odd situations because he wasn't well. Her cousin, Ivy, was the only one who knew about the mysterious note but not the bracelet. Who should Celia tell, and when should Celia tell someone?

Could her uncle really have murdered his wife? What was this incident that happened so many years ago, and why does someone want to dredge it up again??

THE BRACELET gives the reader a glimpse into wealthy households? ?and appears to be about the Browning family and how they fit into society, but underneath all of that, ?it is a murder mystery that Celia needs to solve for her own peace of mind.

Are there family secrets and perhaps a murderer hidden within all that southern hospitality and charm? Does a red diary with clues truly exist and have the answers to the 20-year-old mystery?

?THE BRACELET was an enjoyable, clever read with just enough suspense to keep ?you guessing about who the culprit is that was sending gifts and leaving notes and who it is that wanted to ruin the Browning family but why now?

I enjoyed THE BRACELET because of the setting and the time period. Ms. Love definitely gave a perfect portrayal of wealthy, Southern life in the 1800's along with the added bonus of intrigue about the murder. The ending is definitely a surprise and quite a good one.

Don't miss reading THE BRACELET. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and pubslisher in return for an honest review.

The Silent Sister: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
The Silent Sister



Three children...and ?then there were two. All was hush, hush about how that happened, and Riley didn't find out why until after both her parents had passed away.

As Riley was cleaning out her parents' home, talking to different neighbors, and talking to folks her father had left things to in his will, she had her share of surprises and shocking revelations.

THE SILENT SISTER has twists that keep you turning the pages as you learn of secrets that had been kept for years and secrets that only a few folks knew about. How could anyone keep a secret like that? How could anyone live his/her entire life worrying that the secret might accidentally be revealed?

The characters were well developed, but a lot of them were unlikeable. Riley was a likeable character because she had to deal with everything, and she was the character that had to deal with these? secrets alone. Danny, her brother, was not likeable at all. He was too unpredictable. Riley's parents were not active characters and to me not likeable?, but they, especially her father, carried the storyline and its suspense.

I always enjoy Ms. Chamberlain's books, and this was no exception. THE SILENT SISTER is an intriguing read with a ?perfec?t ??title and a storyline filled with riveting ?incidents that were divulged.

The secrets, the betrayal, and the ending are superb. Don't miss reading THE SILENT SISTER. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Pointless, Unconvincing
The Long Way Home



Peter Morrow hadn't returned after the year he and Clara had agreed upon for his return so the search for Peter began. Of course, Armand Gamache was asked to be involved even though he had retired from the police force.

THE LONG WAY HOME has the well-known, well-loved residents of Three Pines we all are familiar with and the residents that make Louise Penny's books ones I enjoy reading.

THE LONG WAY HOME was a bit different from her other books. Instead of solving a murder, the Three Pines residents were working together to find Peter.

This book was different because of the way the investigation took place. Gamache actually was not in charge; Clara was. It discussed muses and different art terms. It was more about artists than the solving of a regular murder mystery, but the characters as always worked beautifully together.

?I can't say I didn't like THE LONG WAY HOME, but it is quite different from her other books and took a bit of getting used to. Regardless of the style and plot, though, THE LONG WAY HOME still had the pull all of her books have on you. ?

?Ms. Penny's books usually involve emotions. THE LONG WAY HOME was specifically about happiness, sadness, and finding oneself.? 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring
Passing Through Perfect


PASSING THROUGH PERFECT is another perfectly wonderful novel by Bette Lee Crosby. Ms. Crosby is a master storyteller.

Her books grab your attention, reel you in, and won't let you go. Her books are always ones that are difficult to put down. PASSING THROUGH PERFECT is no exception. Ms. Crosby's books always have a cozy feeling, always remind you of what is important in life, and always have something to ponder.

The main characters in PASSING THROUGH PERFECT, Benjamin and Delia, are hard-working farmers even though Delia thinks Benjamin can do better. We follow Benjamin and Delia from their giddy, in-love young years to their mature love and are with them as they endure the hardships of being black and living in the South in the 1940's.

Ms. Crosby's characters ooze with authenticity in this book and all of her books. The characters in PASSING THROUGH PERFECT are all lovable and warm. You will share their sorrows and their joys as they experience them. You will be drawn into their lives and into the story and will be living the story along with the characters. You will cry along with the characters, and you will also be happy for them when they are happy.

Don't miss reading yet another marvelous book by Ms. Crosby. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by Ms. Crosby in return for an honest review.

The Secret of Magic by Deborah Johnson
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Brilliant
The Secret of Magic


A year-old murder, a book paralleling events and characters, and the South in the 1940's after WWII.

The charm of the South as well as its deep-seated prejudices comes forth in THE SECRET OF MAGIC as Regina Robichard travels from New York City to Revere, Mississippi, to investigate the murder of a young black man just returning from the war.

Regina hits brick walls right from the start even though she was invited by M. P. Calhoun, a powerful woman and author of a book also titled The Secret of Magic, to investigate the murder.

THE SECRET OF MAGIC has characters that are authentic and very likeable...well most of them are likeable. Some of them are down right mean and hateful. You will LOVE Willie, Willie because of his strength and determination.

THE SECRET OF MAGIC was a bit slow at first, but once Regina got to Mississippi and started her investigation, the interest picked up as we follow her through her investigation. You will become part of her activities and part of the laws of Post-WWII South.

You will become part of finding out the ways of and the secrets of the South, the secrets of how the town of Revere, Mississippi, is run, and the secrets of powerful Southern families. They will be secrets that aren’t pleasant.

You will melt into the pages and the comfort of Southern living, but you will also need to be prepared to shed some tears and feel fear for some of the characters.

THE SECRET OF MAGIC has beautiful, descriptive writing that pulls you in and keeps you turning the pages. Ms. Johnson is a master with words.

If you like Southern fiction, you won’t want to miss THE SECRET OF MAGIC. It is a marvelous read. 4/5

 
Confusing, Slow
One Step Too Far



Leaving her husband and child both physically and emotionally? What would make Emily, a happily married woman, just leave one day without a trace and make a new life for herself?

Emily renamed herself Cat, moved into a run down house, and made new friends that really were not her style, but she didn't go back even as she second-guessed her decision especially when she thought of Ben and Charlie.

ONE STEP TOO FAR went back and forth between Emily/Cat's childhood and her current life as well as going back and forth between all of the main characters. None of the characters were likable. They all had some addiction or problem.

When you reach page 100 or so, hints about what happened to make Cat leave are introduced. The hints are usually flashbacks or simply Cat's thoughts at the time.

Just as the first hundred pages were a bit slow, the rest of the book will have you turning the pages and reading as fast as you can.

ONE STEP TOO FAR pulls you in and makes you want to find out what was going on with Cat and to find out her secret. It didn’t pull me in enough, though, to say I enjoyed the read. It was too much all over the place.

ONE STEP TOO FAR was confusing and unconventional but definitely creative in style. I was lost at times. 3/5

The Secrets of Midwives by Sally Hepworth
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Inspiring, Romantic
The Secrets of Midwives

Three women, three generations, common interests, but mostly secrets.

Floss, Grace, and Neva are grandmother, mother, and daughter. They all are midwives, and they have secrets that they have held a short time, secrets they have held for their entire lives, and most importantly secrets that they do not want to have to reveal. The secrets are personal secrets and not secrets about midwifery. These secrets bring the characters close together but also far apart.

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES is a wonderful book addressing family relationships and how the delivering of babies is something so personal and intimate that a midwife can\\\'t help but become involved with her patients.

You will love the wonderful mix of characters. All the characters are loveable and all are characters you will want to get to know better, characters you will admire, and characters you will miss once the book has ended.?

Women\\\'s fiction fans won\\\'t want to stop reading THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES for many reasons. The main reason being that you will find yourself bonding with every character and feeling as though you are sharing the pain and joy along with them.

If you are like me, you will have tears throughout the book as you become involved with the characters and enjoy the smooth, enjoyable, delightful writing style of Ms. Hepworth.

Don\\\'t miss reading THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Inspiring
A Memory of Violets


Tilly, Flora, and Rosie...three characters connected by time, London, and flowers.

Flora, crippled and in care of her little sister since their mother died, lost her younger, blind sister Rosie on the street as they were selling flowers. Flora made it her life's quest to find Rosie. Tilly, a housemother at an orphanage where Flora stayed years before, makes a connection to both Flora and Rosie through a diary Tilly finds in the closet in her room? at the orphanage.

Tilly feels she was destined to find the diary a?nd to ?find Rosie. Tilly felt Flora's presence in her room through the smell of violets and cold breezes. Could Flora really be in the room Tilly now occupied? Could she and Flora together find Rosie,? and could Tilly find what she was looking for in life and ease the sadness about her own life??

Going back and forth in time and telling Flora and Rosie's story was intriguing and beautifully told. A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is a book set in the time period and place that I thoroughly enjoy....the 1800's in London. It also has a character based on a real person.

You will ?mingle with proper Victorian ladies as well as poverty-stricken children and families. Descriptions of both ends of the economic scale make this book absolutely wonderful.

The beautiful writing and descriptions keep you glued to the pages and ?give you ?the feeling that you are sharing every situation with the characters. Tilly's story is as good as Flora's and Rosie's story and reveals a secret she finds out about herself.

The characters are warm and inviting. A MEMORY OF VIOLETS is going to be a favorite for ?2015, and the characters will remain in my "memory" long after I turn the last page.

A MEMORY OF VIOLETS has a marvelous writing style and storyline. The book's beginning and ending make a full circle of life filled with love, understanding, and compassion.

I loved A MEMORY OF VIOLETS. The ending is chilling and oh so tender and beautiful. You need to make room in your toppling TBR stacks for A MEMORY OF VIOLETS. 5/5?

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

War of the Wives by Tamar Cohen
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun
War Of The Wives


My deepest sympathies, ?M?rs. Busfield. What? I am Mrs Busfield. ?Everyone was confused, but the cat was out of the bag.
?
Mr. ?Simon Busfield ?had two lives and two wives, and he was the only one who knew. Well only he and his accountant and his financial advisor, but definitely not the two women he claimed to be in love with and married to...one for 28 years and one for 17 years.

Despite the serious situations in the book, THE WAR OF THE WIVES is entertaining and humorous. Once you think the surprises are over, another one pops up.

WAR OF THE WIVES moves back and forth between Selina and Lottie's life telling how Simon managed to lie and cheat and remain married to both women at the same time without their knowing it. He must have been some major organizer to pull that off.

?I enjoyed WAR OF THE WIVES even though some parts were a bit hard to believe. I actually didn't like ?the two wives, Selina and Lottie. They both were self-centered and if you ask me a bit naive. How could they not know? Their children were a bit odd as well.

If you need a light, entertaining read, I suggest reading WAR OF THE WIVES. The ending was heartwarming and one that had yet another surprise. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Confusing
Doctor Death

A disappearance, a dead body and then other dead bodies. What caused the deaths? Was it murder, a natural death, or something else?

It is the 1800\\\'s, and medical procedures aren\\\'t very sophisticated, but Madeleine Karno wants to learn about medical procedures even though it was not lady-like to see or to take part in the medical field.

Meanwhile, someone was murdering town folks and mutilating them with human teeth bites. Madeleine was required to help even though her father wasn\\\'t happy, but she definitely was.

DOCTOR DEATH was a bit slow at first, but once the reader is taken to the convent and other murders happen, DOCTOR DEATH unveils hidden secrets of the town and the book\\\'s characters. I love secrets, doesn\\\'t everyone, though?

DOCTOR DEATH went from learning about medical procedures to solving multiple murders to an odd ending.

The book was very different in terms of content and a bit confusing. Great characters, though. Even though the ending was odd, it did wrap things up.

I enjoyed the read, but it isn\\\'t a favorite just because of the slow beginning, confusion about who was who and what was going on, and the odd ending. 3/5

 
Confusing
Hush, Hush



Did she or didn't she?

Melisandre was found not guilty, but was the charge of insanity the correct charge? How could anyone not be guilty of forgetting her child in a hot car?

After the trial, Melisandre left the country and lost custody of her other two children.

Melisandre returned years later, but when another murder occurred and she was present, she wasn't going to be going anywhere.?

The characters in HUSH, HUSH were an interesting mix and most were not likable. Melisandre was evil and manipulative, and her ex-husband wasn't a nice person. The girls, Alanna and Ruby, were ok. They were confused and were the way they were because of their crazy mother and their sneaky father.

HUSH, HUSH was set up in an interesting way. The book started? out with an interview and had several throughout the book with people who knew Melisandre because Melisandre wanted to make a documentary about when she met her estranged daughters. I didn't understand what the documentary was going to prove or the purpose of it. HUSH, HUSH then went back and forth between Melisandre and Tess's life and actually all over the place.

?HUSH, HUSH was difficult for me to follow. Not sure if it was the way it was set up or just the storyline. I also couldn't keep the characters straight. It did get a bit better toward the end but was still confusing even though the ending pages wrapped it all up.

?I was disappointed because I always enjoy Ms. Lippman's books. 3/5
?
This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Poorly Written, Boring
Mist of Midnight

Was this woman the "real" Miss Ravenshaw or was the Miss Ravenshaw that was at Headbourne House a few weeks ago the "real" Miss Ravenshaw.

Rebecca Ravenshaw arrived with her chaperone from India after her parents were killed in an uprising and she was the only one in the family that had survived. Miss Ravenshaw had no place to go but back to her family mansion in England. When she arrived, everyone was shocked beyond belief.

How can this be Miss Ravenshaw when she committed suicide not more than a few weeks ago and is buried in the estate's cemetery. Is this Miss Ravenshaw the imposter or was the f?irst Miss Ravenshaw the imposter? Was the first Miss Ravenshaw murdered for her inheritance? Will the current Miss Ravenshaw have the same fate?

MIST OF MIDNIGHT has a hint of sinister to it. None of the characters can be trusted especially her cousin Captain Luke Whitfield. As the days go on, though, Rebecca falls in love with Luke and he seems to return the affection, but is he simply pretending to have affection for Rebecca? Is he the one who killed the imposter so he could inherit the family mansion? Will he also murder Rebecca for the family mansion?

?We the readers will be taken into English society and attend balls and mingle with the English aristocrats as we try to figure out who is genuine, who is an imposter, and who is only out for money.?

MIST OF MIDNIGHT dragged a bit at the beginning, but the mystery and intrigue kept me going. As mist covers the estate grounds at night, it adds suspense, questions, jealousy, and finally love. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Interesting, Informative
The Relutant Midwife


Babies, folks helping each other, and a difficult, but wonderful era.

Patience and Becky knew each other from years before and became reacquainted when Becky moved back to town with Dr. Blum who is now disabled.

Patience is a midwife, and Becky is a nurse. Both women deliver babies together and share what they have food wise and material wise to make ends meet and to make it through the difficult times of The Depression. You will follow Patience, Becky, Dr. Blum, Patience's husband, and all of the other delightful town folks through their days.?

THE RELUCTANT MIDWIFE is one of those books you won't want to put down because the characters are so wholesome and because the story is so homey and heartwarming. Patience and Becky are characters you would want for a friend.

ENJOY if you read THE RELUCTANT MIDWIFE....any women's fiction fan will be hooked. You will want to crawl into the pages of the book, to be one of the characters, and to share in their lives.

THE MIDWIFE OF HOPE RIVER is recommended before reading THE RELUCTANT MIDWIFE, but I am having no trouble? with following the storyline. It is a marvelous read. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Pocket Wife: A Novel by Susan Crawford
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Fun
The Pocket Wife


A dead neighbor, the last one to see her alive, and Dana can't remember anything about that afternoon she spent with Celia.

Did she handle the heavy vase that killed Celia the day she died or does she remember that from when they bought it at a garage sale? Was Celia alive when she left that afternoon? Could she have killed her neighbor?

Dana keeps questioning herself about what happened that afternoon and has herself convinced that she did kill Celia. Dana wishes she could remember. If this wasn't worry enough with her fragile state and her former mental problems, Dana had to worry about her husband who she knew was having an affair.

The writing style of Susan Crawford is exquisitely descriptive and takes you right into Dana's mind making you wonder along with her just what actually did happen.

For me Dana wasn't likeable. Peter, Dana's husband, is a sneak. Celia even in death is mysterious. Celia's husband, Ronald, seems guilty. So many suspects to choose from. You will go back and forth and be stumped until the end. Jack the policeman seems to be the only honest and likeable one.

If you enjoy psychological thrillers, a range of unlikeable, but interesting characters, and a book you don't want to put down, THE POCKET WIFE fits the bill. The ending is great. 4/5

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant
Night, Night Sleep Tight


How could coming home to help your father get the house ready to sell turn into such a nightmare?

Deirdre dutifully said she would help her father with the house, but when she arrived, she found him at the bottom of the swimming pool. When did this happen? Who could have done this? Could she have done it and not realized it considering her past that she was just finding out about?

NIGHT, NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT was quite gripping and marvelously suspenseful. All of the things that were happening made me wonder if they were really by chance or if someone had planned them to frame Deirdre. After all, Deirdre's brother was sound asleep in their childhood home when she arrived. And what was it with folks from her past coming out of the woodwork and secrets about what actually happened the night of her car accident being revealed?

The characters were quite colorful with most of them on the untrustworthy side. They all seemed likely suspects in the murder and subsequently the garage fire. Deirdre seemed to be the only honest one and the one being blamed.

I really enjoyed NIGHT, NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT. The suspense began with the first few paragraphs, and it didn't stop.

NIGHT, NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT was a mystery and character analysis all rolled into one.

If you enjoy uncertainty, excitement, and tension at its finest, don't miss reading NIGHT, NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT.

NIGHT, NIGHT SLEEP TIGHT was ohhh so good and a book I couldn't wait to get back to. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Whisper Hollow by Chris Cander
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Interesting
Whisper Hollow



WHISPER HOLLOW whispered nothing but sadness, loneliness, ?secrets, ?and isolation.

Myrthen's isolation and sadness began after the death of her twin sister and then her marriage. Alta's sadness began ?upon her marriage to the man she didn't love or have anything in common with.

Both women have desires that break rules and traditions. Myrthen and Alta are traditional on the outside, but on the inside are very strong women with very strong convictions. Tragedy brings these two women farther apart instead of closer together and leaves them both lonelier than before.

WHISPER HOLLOW is set in the coal mining town of Verra, West Virginia,? ?before, during, and after WWII ?with traditional marriages of the wife at home and the husband working.
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Ms. Cander's writing pulls you in with her marvelous descriptions of characters and scenes. The characters are very authentic with some you will feel sorry for. You will definitely not like Myrthen as the years go on, and your heart will go out to Alta and Lidia. When Lidia arrives, the strong women of Verra, West Virginia, have another woman with a secret to take into their fold.

The beginning was a bit slow, but the characters, situations, writing style, and time period kept me going. ?I would recommend this book to anyone who likes secrets and family sagas. It is historical fiction and women's fiction rolled into one.
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WHISPER HOLLOW i?s an interesting look into the lives of the characters with circumstances that are very plausible. You will become attached to the women and to their situations.

The ending is redeeming in certain ways and definitely a page turner. ENJOY if you read WHISPER HOLLOW. I think you will. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
One Mile Under


Being a white water guide ?was Dani’s dream job, but finding a dead body of a friend as she was completing a run put a whole different light on her dream job.

Was her friend's ?death an accident or was it murder? Too many things happened after she found the body to convince her that it was simply an accident.

The tension and the action escalated once Dani and her Uncle Ty decided to investigate. They became involved in an unscrupulousness scheme by environmentalists. ?Murder, corruption, and folks being paid off made ONE MILE UNDER an? action-packed thriller.

Dani and Uncle Ty were likable ?characters ?along with the folks that were being victimized by ?the ?environmental corruption. ?Most of the other characters were deadly,? frightening, dishonest, and cunning.

ONE MILE UNDER took a few pages to get interesting, but once it got going you won't want to put the book down. The ?detailed action was intense, and will have you feeling the fear and sharing the fear of the characters. The book had me on the edge of my seat.

Any reader who enjoys fast-paced, gripping, page-turning thrillers will definitely enjoy ONE MILE UNDER. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful
Last Night At The Blue Angel



Naomi and Sophia live alone as mother and daughter. Naomi is a singer and got her start i?n her ?Catholic school with Sister Idalia. Sophia loves her mother, sits at the night club when her mother sings, and sees things an eleven-year-old shouldn't be seeing.

LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL is mostly dialogue with wonderful characters who truly care for each other. Well...most characters care for each other. Naomi seems to be all about herself even though she appears to love her daughter, Sophia.

?LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL flashes back to Naomi's childhood then to her current situation that includes Sophia. ?Sophia is always worried and keeps lists of things she can improve and re-invent in case of a nuclear disaster. I loved Sophia but wasn't too fond of her mother.

Jim, the photographer, was sweet and was always put aside by Naomi, but he was so loved by Sophia.? Jim was obsessed with taking photos of buildings that were falling apart and ones he said he had to photograph before they would be gone forever.

David along with Naomi was not a favorite even though he was involved with Naomi.

LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL is about family relationships, love, and living with and loving what you have. ?For a debut novel, this book has a lot of depth and characters that will stay with you even after you have finished the book. Ms. Rotert writes beautifully and pulls you in so well that you become part of the story.

I enjoyed LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL, and enjoyed Naomi's early years a bit more than her present situation even though the early years were a bit wild.

Adorable Sophia made the present? ?very interesting and at times comical. She was so sweet and yet such a bundle of worries, but who wouldn't be worried with the life the confused but precocious child led.

There are adult situations scattered throughout the book but nothing graphic or explicit - simply insinuations.

Naomi's last night at The Blue Angel turned out for the best for her, but the last few pages are ones where you will need tissues.

ENJOY!!! 4/5

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At the end of the book, Ms. Rotert shares information about where her characters and storyline grew from. These pages were quite informative and interesting.

After reading these ending informational pages, I would say LAST NIGHT AT THE BLUE ANGEL can also be classified as historical fiction.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Romantic, Graphic
The Secret Life of Violet Grant


A suitcase full of secrets? A suitcase that opens up the proverbial can of worms which leads Vivian Schuyler to find out about her aunt who supposedly murdered her husband.

Once Vivian found out some juicy details about her aunt, she couldn't stop researching her life. This could be her big break at the magazine with this story.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT goes back and forth between Vivian's life and Aunt Violet's life. Are there parallels between their lives? Vivian wants to know about her aunt and this mysterious suitcase's contents that started it all.

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is quite entertaining. Aunt Violet is definitely something else. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the characters....well most of them. ? They range from Vivian's stuffy mother to her carefree self.

Vivian is also a "modern" woman with a mind of her own and a heart that was broken.?

Professor Grant, Violet's husband, is a bit too controlling if you ask me and a poor excuse for a husband.

Violet was a favorite. She was a self-made woman that knew what she wanted, but she also was ?a bit submissive as women were in the early 1900's. ?

?THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is thoroughly enjoyable and a book I couldn't put down because of the characters and because of the steps Vivian took to uncover the clues about her Aunt Violet.?

?I have no qualms about recommending THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT. You will be entertained by the characters and will love the secrets of the suitcase and of Aunt Violet. Who would think a suitcase could cause all this excitement, intrigue, entertainment, and of course a fantastic story?

LOVED this book. You will get caught up in all of ?Aunt Violet's and ?Vivian’s antics.? ?

THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRAND is a truly ?delightful, witty read.? ?The ending held a secret and surprise of its own.

Ms. Williams is a marvelous storyteller. THE SECRET LIFE OF VIOLET GRANT is going to be one of my favorite reads of this year. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Second Chance Friends by Jennifer Scott
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Beautiful
Second Chance Friends

An accident, three women, and then four women to complete their circle.

Could the circle be completed, though, with the fourth woman?

Karen, Melinda, and Joanna met by chance the day a school bus ran into a car waiting at a red light as they helped save the children on the crashed bus but not the husband of the fourth woman, Maddie, in the car.

All three women had personal issues, but as women are they all were there for each other. They were even there for Maddie who really didn't want any part of the three women nor any part of her family or her life now that her husband was gone.

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS is a book about women and how we bond. SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS is a very pleasant read with women you would want for friends along with sad as well as happy tears shed by the characters and you the reader.

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS will appeal to the reader who enjoys a lot of character interaction. Karen was my favorite simply because she seemed innocent, naive, and lonely. Joanna wasn't happy about anything. Melinda didn't realize what she had until it was too late. Poor Maddie had it all and lost it all and didn't care.

SECOND CHANCE FRIENDS will warm your heart and will have you looking at your friendships and at your family in a whole different light and appreciating what you have. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Life Changing, Interesting
Little Black Lies

Catrin was once a wonderful mother, wife, and friend, but once her sons died she became a totally different person.

Catrin grieved as any mother would, but she never got over the death of her sons. She had plans to take revenge against the person responsible for their deaths even though another child went missing on the island and it was swarming with authorities and islanders looking for this third missing child.

Were all the disappearances accidents or deliberate kidnappings? Were they all related and carried out by the same person?

LITTLE BLACK LIES has beautiful, descriptive writing that will pull you along and have you absorbed in the lives of the islanders and especially in the lives of Catri?n, Callum, and Rachel. Could one of them be the one responsible for the disappearances and kidnappings? They always seemed to be involved in some way.

?LITTLE BLACK LIES has you questioning those three characters in your mind. Subtle hints make you think you know the answer about who is responsible and then boom...something happens and you change your mind.? Each character has some obsession that is more deadly than innocent. The characters stay with you even when you are not reading, and they will still haunt you after you close the last page.

When one of the suspects is arrested for yet another disappearance, the tension builds and the story turns into one you won't want to put down.?

LITTLE BLACK LIES has serious situations, lies, secrets, and love all rolled into one gripping, pull-you-in plot. Ms. Bolton's writing is riveting, and as she hints at what's happening, you can't help drawing yourself into the book's drama. ?The ending is excellent.

?If I were to put LITTLE BLACK LIES into a category, I would put it in the category of a psychological thriller.

ENJOY!! A marvelous read. 5/5?

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Sound of Glass by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Inspiring
The Sound of Glass



Southern families and families with secrets.

After her husband died, Merritt le?ft their home in Maine and headed to South Carolina to Cal's grandmother's home? that she ?had inherited?. Little did ?Merritt know that ?her husband, Cal, never told anyone about her, and she didn't know anything about his family.

Grandmother Edith's home is a huge mansion where ??she ?kept secrets locked up inside herself and in the attic. The death of Edith's husband had an enormous impact on her life for more than one reason. After his death, Edith raised her only son C. J. alone, and he had a temper just like his father. C. J.'s son, Cal, married Merritt and took the temper with him to his marriage.

Merri?tt? is a bit unlikeable because she just couldn't relax and trust anyone, but who would after she knew no one even knew she existed. When her half brother?, Owen,? and ?her step-mother, Loralee, unexpectedly arrive at the house and plan on staying, secrets come out, and the story heats up with the secrets of the house and of the characters as they find clues about the house and each other's lives. Merritt became more likeable and caring as the book continued.

Loralee is a bit overbearing, but means well and is very loving. ?She definitely has a secret and a reason for moving in with Merritt. ?

Owen is precocious and a nerd, but very pleasant and sweet and tries to bring Merritt out of her shell.?

Gibbs, Cal's brother, was likable and helpful. He knew secrets about his brother and the house their grandmother lived in. The attic and its contents were the biggest secret his grandmother had and one that caused the most excitement and questions. Would Merritt find out what was meant by what was left in the attic and why Cal’s grandmother did what she did up there?

Did the house hold the family secrets, did the characters hold the family secrets, or did both the house and the characters hold the secrets that had been kept under wraps for years?? To me both the house and the characters were fragile just like Edith’s glass wind chimes.

THE SOUND OF GLASS is another remarkable, beautiful book by Karen White. Her descriptions of the characters, the scenes, and the emotions of the characters are very real. The book kept me wondering just what some of the female characters had to hide and why they were the way they were.

The characters will grow on you and grow on each other in a warm, inviting way. You will need some tissues as this wonderful story wraps up.

THE SOUND OF GLASS has suspense and mystery as well as addressing the issue of domestic violence.

I truly enjoyed THE SOUND OF GLASS, and if you have ever read one of Ms. White’s books, you know you will be in for a marvelous read. ?

I hope you get to read the book and enjoy it too.? It is oh so good. LOVED IT. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Under the Same Blue Sky: A Novel by Pamela Schoenewaldt
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative
Under The Same Blue Sky


Where did Hazel belong? Did she belong in Dogwood, Pittsburgh, or somewhere else.

Hazel Renner's mother left her and left Dogwood, and Hazel's aunt and uncle lovingly raised her in Pittsburgh. The smog of Pittsburgh and the effects of war upon the citizens also had an effect on Hazel.

Like her mother, Hazel wanted to leave and find where she really belonged. She first tried teaching in Galway, but things happened there that necessitated her leaving and coming back home. Hazel then tried Dogwood where her she was born to see if that would help her find her roots.

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY will pull you in because of the beautiful descriptions and wonderful characters. ?You will love Hazel and her parents and feel sorry for her and all the problems she encounters. ?Hazel's father was quite intense about his heritage and the war. You could vividly feel his every concern and the emotions of every character because Ms. Schoenewaldt has ?a marvelous ?knack for words and for descriptions of characters and situations.?

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY was set during the first world war when German-Americans were under attack just as they were in Europe. History and a beautiful story make up UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY.

You will enjoy UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY because of the nicely flowing storyline. The only ?complaint I have is that I was really confused at the beginning. The healing power of Hazel was a bit confusing too and not sure why it was in the story.

UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY is worth reading because of the wonderful writing style of Ms. Schoenewaldt and her marvelous research of WWI. She has a very descriptive and in-depth writing style.?

?Sadness and heaviness do prevail in UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY as we read of worries about war, the Influenza Pandemic of 1918, and the aftermath of the effects the war had on its returning soldiers. UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY is a book you will want to read but a book that will pull at your heart strings.? 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and TLC book tours in return for an honest review.

The Cake Therapist by Judith Fertig
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
The Cake Therapist

Just as ?cake and icing go together, THE CAKE THERAPIST blends generations and sweets and turns both into one heartfelt story.

THE CAKE THERAPIST? is a wonderful treat for the senses, especially your taste buds, as well as feelings.

Claire O'Neil Davis has come back home to fulfill her dream of owning a bakery because it just felt like the right thing to do since she and her husband were having problems because of his infidelity

Claire seems to have a knack to be able to "read" people and be able to match up cake batter and icing to the person's mood. That definitely is a plus when she is helping couples choose the correct batter and icing for their wedding cakes.

Her talent of being able to "read" people definitely helps her figure out that her neighbor has some connection to a wedding couple's father and grumpy Mrs. Amici next door. This is when the fun begins.

If you want a "sweet" read that has love, family, sharing, and just darn good feelings in it, read THE CAKE THERAPIST.

You won't be disappointed, and you will be running to your nearest bakery to get some sweet treats and perhaps trying to figure out if you are chocolate and raspberry or blueberry and lemon.

The only thing that was a bit confusing was the reason for the flashbacks to the 1940's, but it all comes out in the final chapters that resound with a "yeah" for cake and as Claire says: "The Power Of Cake." Page 248

ENJOY!!! 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting
Eyes On You



All eyes on you every night on your TV show can sometimes be hazardous to your health as Robin Trainer? has found out.

Was someone jealous of Robin's success or was Robin imagining all the death threats and incidents happening to her at the TV station. Hate notes, voodoo dolls, poison-laced makeup, drug-laced brownies, what else can happen?
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As you follow Robin through her days, you will feel her terror at thinking someone is following her or share her fear of wondering what is going to happen next.?
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The characters in EYES ON YOU were all a suspicious lot and pretty cut throat. You never knew who you could trust.

I was very leery of most of the characters. I thought this one was the culprit then I thought no, this one must be it. EYES ON YOU wasn't gripping, but it was good. It definitely ?kept me turning the pages and ?guessing until the end.?

This is the first book I have read by Kate White. I enjoyed EYES ON YOU, but I wouldn't call it a terrifying thriller. I would call it? an intriguing thriller.? 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and TLC Book Tours in return for an honest review.

Tiny Little Thing by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun
Tiny Little Thing



Secrets. We all have them, don’t we? But some secrets are a bit larger than others.

Tiny had a secret from her past that she definitely didn't want to be revealed especially since her husband was running for the Senate. But what ?is she going to be do with the photographs that keep appearing in her mailbox along with the blackmail notes.

Then when the ?person she thinks sent the photographs appears at a family gathering, things start to get sticky.

TINY LITTLE THING is a book that has characters that are high brow and not trustworthy. Tiny married Frank because her mother wanted her to marry him not because she loved Frank. Frank married Tiny just because of her family status. Caspian, the cousin, was at the center of it all, and the secrets Tiny held revolved around Caspian. Frank's secrets were secrets every wife dreads are true.

TINY LITTLE THING takes the reader back and forth through the years with background information that connects all the dots and keeps the reader interested simply because you want to see how these folks live in high society and when and if the secrets will be revealed.

TINY LITTLE THING has the Schu?yl?er sisters as two of the main characters, but it is not necessary to have read Ms. Williams' previous books to be able to follow the storyline.? Tiny's sister, Pepper, brings a bit of disruption to the family and especially to Tiny, but she was always like that.?

TINY LITTLE THING is for those readers who love family secrets and family dynamics. ?I enjoyed TINY LITTLE THING simply because Ms. Williams knows how to tell an intriguing story with drama as well as facts. Her writing just pulls you in.

?TINY LITTLE THING is a great summer read with an ending that is oh so good.

Don't forget to pack TINY LITTLE THING in your beach bag. 4/5

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Dollbaby: A Novel by Laura Lane McNeal
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Dramatic
Dollbaby



The 1960's, New Orleans, a matriarch, a girl without a daddy, housekeepers, families, and secrets.

Ibby was moved to her grandmother's home after her father passed away so her mother could have some time to herself. Ibby had never seen her grandmother before nor had she known about her until a week before this move. Ibby was frightened especially since she heard stories about her strict grandmother from her mother.

Ibby met Queenie and Doll before meeting her grandmother. Queenie and Doll are the staff in Grandmother Fannie's house. They are very loving and caring and huddle around Ibby and take good care of her when Fannie can’t.

The characters in DOLLBABY were ones I fell in love with along with Ibby, whose real name was Liberty Bell. Ibby was an understandably sad young lady for a twelve-year old with a heartbreaking story.

Queenie and Doll were warmhearted, Fannie was rough on the outside but loving on the inside with a past that was kept secret as well as a few other secrets that made the ending superb. Birdelia was sweet even though she was kept out of sight most of the time and had a story of her own. Well…just about every character had a story that was kept under wraps.

If you love Southern fiction with a Gone-With-The-Wind feeling, you will love DOLLBABY. We the reader follow Fannie, Ibby, Queenie, Doll, and Birdelia in their day-to-day activities during the time of The Civil Rights Movement.

DOLLBABY is an engaging, beautiful debut novel with amazing description, terrific, authentic characters, and a true-to-life storyline. The cover itself will pull you in and will keep you reading.

Historical fiction fans and fans of family sagas will not want to put DOLLBABY down and will miss the characters when the book ends. The ending was filled with revelations and proves family is everything even though they might have secrets.

Add DOLLBABY to your reading list this summer. I know you will love it too. It is going to be a favorite read for this year. The characters are what made DOLLBABY special.

I truly enjoyed this book. I hope you can read it too. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Romantic, Optimistic
Eight Hundred Grapes


Did you know it takes eight hundred grapes to make one bottle of wine?

That ?apparently is the best-kept secret of wine makers just like there were a lot of secrets the Ford family and other characters were not revealing.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES was an easy, enjoyable read. I liked the information about vineyards because we have a grape arbor, but nothing that would turn our grapes into wine. ?:)?

Georgia the main character was a bit wishy washy for an attorney, but you couldn't blame her when she found out the secret her fiance was keeping from her.

Her brothers were ?unusual, and I didn't like them. Georgia's parents and what was going on with her mother was quite strange.

As the book continued, EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES moved from one family drama to another, but the book did keep my interest. I actually was more interested in seeing what was going to happen to the winery than ?what was going to happen to all the relationship upheavals.

EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES will appeal to women's fiction fans. The writing was breezy and fun, but the plot was a bit predictable.

I would recommend EIGHT HUNDRED GRAPES for a quick, summer beach read. ?4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Scary
A Necessary End


A pregnant teenager, a couple who can't conceive, and a deal Gabe and Adrianne can't pass up. Or was it really such a good deal?

Adrianne was so desperate to have a baby that she and Gabe signed up for a birth mother site that would give them access to unwed mothers who wanted to put their baby up for adoption. They got burned on the first mother and Leah sounded too good to be true so they took the “deal.”? Leah arrived at their home within 24 hours with her flight paid for and with her own secret agenda.?

I was apprehensive about their decision ?and about Leah ?the second I read about it. Leah was going to have the baby, stay with them for a year, be paid $400 a month ?with all medical expenses covered but ?with the stipulation that she could still decide to keep the baby.

A NECESSARY END kept me on the edge of my seat as the characters interacted and as Leah continued to show her true colors? and carry out her plan. Ms. Brown addressed a social situation that could escalate to this height.

Ms. Brown does a superb job of keeping the tension of the book's situation very high.

?A NECESSARY END is a gripping psychological thriller with characters that were well developed but ones that I wanted to shake and tell to wake up and see what actually was going on. There was a good deal of betrayal as well as manipulation.

If you enjoy books with characters you d?on't trust from the start and a gut feeling that all isn't as it really seems A NECESSARY END is a book you won't want to miss. The ending revelations and the ending itself are definitely a surprise and not what I expected. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Dramatic
The Girl Who Wrote In Silk


Did Mei Lien stand on the edge of the boat's railing because she knew she had to or because she was forced to be there? Did this act begin or end Mei Lien’s life? Did this act begin or end Inara’s life?

Mei Lien lived 100 years ago?. Inara lives in the present. Their lives are unknowingly connected until Inara finds a family story on a hidden embroidered sleeve in a house that belonged to Inara's ancestors and where Mei Lien and her family had lived...the connection and the secrets begin.

The embroidered sleeve immediately catches Inara's attention and her curiosity. When she takes the sleeve to a Chinese professor at the local university, the sleeve and Inara immediately catch the professor's attention.

THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK is beautifully written and beautifully told by Ms. Estes. The characters come alive, and the storyline is quite intriguing.

THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK has secrets about a family home, a family connection, and an embroidered shirt sleeve that t?ells a story Inara just HAS to unravel. Just what were all of these secrets?

The story and the unraveling le?a?d to surprises for the characters and to a marvelous book. ? ?Ms Estes weaved a beautiful?, gripping, but sad ?tale that spanned from the 1800's to present day.

THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK was difficult to put down simply because you will want to find out? about the embroidered sleeve as well as to find out? how Inara and Daniel Chin unravel the mystery even though we already know ?the answer ?as Ms. Estes skillfully goes back and forth revealing the past a?n?d the present.

THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK is a?n ?appealing, alluring read? with charming, unforgettable characters?. You will love Mei Lien and admire her for her courage. You will also love her husband, Joseph, but despise Duncan Campbell.

The book is as captivating as the book's title and cover, and THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK becomes even more intriguing each time you turn the page and clues are revealed.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE GIRL WHO WROTE IN SILK, but have some tissues ready.

I hope you have the pleasure of reading this marvelous book. ? A spectacular debut novel. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Flame Tree Road by Shona Patel
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative
Flame Tree Road


India, the caste system, no rights for women except through marriage.

FLAME TREE ROAD addresses these issues that were prevalent in India during the 1800's.

Biren Roy is the main character. His father died at a young age, and his mother, like all Indian widows, became an outcast once their husbands were gone. Biren's mother's plight and the plight of all Indian widows gave Biren his drive to fight for equality for women in all respects - not only marriage.

Biren warmed my heart because of his goodness and his passion to help the women of India. Biren luckily was sent to an English school in India, gained entrance to a college in London where he earned his law degree, and then returned to India to achieve his goal.

We follow Biren, his family, and his career throughout the book. Biren married, and the beauty and passion of his respect for his marriage and his wife oozed through the pages.

FLAME TREE ROAD is a book that will hold your interest because of the mesmerizing aspect of India and Biren's passion for helping the women of India.

Ms. Patel's writing is beautiful with wonderful detail. Her writing flows and takes you with it.

ENJOY the depth of this book if you read it. FLAME TREE ROAD is filled with passion, love, and pain, and is a marvelous read even though it isn't always uplifting.

Ms. Patel described the lives, inequality, and caste system in India. I found the customs and culture of India extremely interesting especially the marriage proposal procedure. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Maud's Line by Margaret Verble
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative
Maud's Line


Maud's days were made of wishing and hoping, hard work, and disappointment.

Living with her father and brother in the early 1900's and being the only woman in the house left her little time for herself. Mustard, her father, was not a hard worker and was a trouble maker. Lovely, her brother, thankfully helped Maud, and they helped each other calm down their father. Maud did a lot day dreaming but also a lot of men's work.

MAUD'S LINE is set in the Cherokee Lands of Oklahoma where each family had property lines and many relatives.
I liked how relatives lived very close ?to each other and looked out for each other, but the violence between some families was difficult to fathom.

MAUD’S LINE took us through her days as her thoughts wandered and as she had to make a decision that would change her life. Most were days of non-stop working, but Maud did manage to find time to read books thanks to her mother, a wealthy neighbor, and a traveling peddler's influence.

The characters all had their own problems and ideas about things. Maud was the main character, and at times, she was "out of line" in terms of her relationships. Maud knew what she wanted and did whatever she could to get what she wanted. Maud did everything for her family even though her father was not the most loving and caring.

You couldn't help but love Maud, but you will also question some of her decisions. Maud always seemed to be the first one on the scene of something gruesome and kept secrets that were t her detriment.

Ms. Verble's descriptive, lush writing will simply pull you in along with the cover.

I enjoyed MAUD’S LINE, and I hope you decide to read it. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Fun
The Summer of Good Intentions


Ahhhhh Summer!!

Every July since they were babies, the Herington Clan gathered at their beach house. These summers were always memorable and something everyone looked forward to, but this year's family get together was turning out to not be the best.

The Herington's parents were divorced, Maggie was stressed just because she always had to be in control and organized, Jess and her husband were having trouble, and Virgie, the single sister, who had a stressful job had some bad news that was difficult to accept.

All of the characters were likeable and made you want to share the month with them even though they were not having the best summer this particular year. I liked Arthur, their father, the best. He seemed like such a terrific person.

As July drew to a close, a secret the Herington girls could never have imagined surfaced as well as a loss that was the last straw for their summer.

Despite the heartaches, THE SUMMER OF GOOD INTENTIONS is a nice, breezy read when you are in the mood for family drama, family bonding, and of course a well-written story.

Ms. Francis has a way of emotionally drawing you into the story, and her writing style keeps you interested. And speaking of emotions, you will need some tissues as you read the ending pages.

I truly enjoyed THE SUMMER OF GOOD INTENTIONS because it brought out family-related topics that we all can learn from. I would also call THE SUMMER OF GOOD INTENTIONS an uplifting read.

I loved Ms. Francis' comments about the bond of sisters and her tribute to her mother in the acknowledgements.

I now want to read her first book, THREE GOOD THINGS.

ENJOY when you read THE SUMMER OF GOOD INTENTIONS. Thanks, Ms. Francis. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Adventurous
In The Dark Places

A stolen tractor, blood in an abandoned hanger, and now dead bodies and missing suspects.

Th?is particular investigation went from looking for a stolen tractor to murder and covert activities.

IN THE DARK PLACES was quite a good mystery with terrific characters. ? I enjoyed the camaraderie among the investigators. The victims and their families were likable?, and the storyline made me not want to put the book down.

The tangled series of events made for ?an excellent, gripping read with clues that turned the investigation into other directions and into more than what the investigators first started out with.

IN THE DARK PLACES kept me guessing until the end. Mr. Robinson knows how to create drama that takes the reader to a different level and then wraps it all up with an ah ha at the end.

This is my first book by Mr. Robinson, and I thoroughly enjoyed IN THE DARK PLACES.

I would recommend IN THE DARK PLACES to any reader who likes to figure out the mystery but rarely does. :) 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Romantic
The Last Summer At Chelsea Beach

Adelia Monteforte was put on a boat alone to America in 1941 as WWII was underway. Her mother forced her into leaving Italy and living with her aunt and uncle that she had never met.

Adelia was grateful for her aunt and uncle's love, but ?she ?felt out of place with them and with her accent. When she met the Connallys, things changed. There were children her own age, children to play with?, a family she felt very comfortable with, and their son she fell in love with.

Her aunt and uncle seemed distant but very kind to Adelia. Mrs. Connally was more of a mother to Adelia than her aunt, but I think Adelia made that happen as she chose to be closer to a stranger than her own relatives. She did upset me how she was closer to the family that lived next door at the beach than her blood relatives.

We follow ?Adelia who is a very strong-willed character and who makes decisions on her own even though she is quite young. I was surprised at her quick, poorly thought-out decisions. Some were decisions I definitely would not have made.?

Adelia had become unsettled in her town after a while and also with the Connallys and left for Washington, D.C. to escape Charlie Connally. She then moved on to London when Washington, D.C. wasn't far enough away for her.

London wasn't what she expected, but Adelia was able to make new friends and continue to work at the same newspaper she worked for in the USA. Adelia never thought London would be a?s? war torn as it was?, but no matter what the circumstances or how far she went, she never could get Charlie out of her mind.

THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH is filled with loss, growing up, learning about life, and a love story.

THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH had a lesson about the importance of family and the importance of following your heart.

As always, Ms. Jenoff's books are well researched and very well written. You become part of her books and want to be one of the characters simply because of the marvelous way Ms. Jenoff tells a story.

If you haven’t read THE LAST SUMMER AT CHELSEA BEACH or any of Ms. Jenoff’s books, what are you waiting for? :)

You won't go wrong with any of her books. ENJOY....I know you will. 5/5

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Beautiful
The Promise of Home


Letters from the past that reveal hidden secrets and untold tales, a mansion being restored, and all the wonderful characters from Ms. Chan's previous novels.

Mill River is a town I would want to live in. It has its problems, but the characters are just so homey and wonderful.

THE PROMISE OF HOME moves from the 1930's to present-day Mill River. Ms. Chan skillfully takes us from one time period to the other letting us in on the daily activities of all of Mill River's current residents and Father O'Brien's life as he grew up.

Father O'Brien definitely had an interesting past.

Emily is still the same Emily...still hurt from an incident from long ago.

Her sister, Rose, has mellowed, which is good.

Ruth has a great bookstore and bakery and owns the mansion Emily is restoring.

Aunt Ivy is the sweetest thing.

Josie is still a successful real estate agent and still juggling her life between family and work.

?The reader finds out more about the familiar characters that add to the appeal of this book.

THE PROMISE OF HOME has just enough drama, enough suspense, enough secrets, enough romance, and unfortunately just enough heartache to keep you glued to the pages.

THE PROMISE OF HOME is another charming, cozy read by Ms. Chan.

You do not have to read Ms. Chan's books in order, but I would recommend that you do that so you can get the full beauty of the characters who reside in the quaint town of Mill River. 5/5?

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
Dead Money Run

Fifteen million dollars, fifteen years in prison, a murdered sister, and lots of bodies.

The day he got out of prison is when it all started.

Lou Malloy, now known as John Addams, is released from prison and goes on a killing spree as he looks for the money he hid and for his sister's killer.

Lou meets Hilary Kelly, and they team up? with both of them doing the investigating and with Lou doing the killing. We meet many unique characters.

DEAD MONEY RUN was fast-paced but a bit unbelievable how John acquired guns, found information, and always managed to get rid of people that were after him.

?I definitely wouldn't want to be on Lou Malloy's ?"?list.?"? :)? He had no qualms about maiming or killing people.? There is a lot of gore.

?As DEAD MONEY RUN continued, Lou found out that his sister may have been killed for more than the money he stole, and she may have been involved in other things.

DEAD MONEY RUN wasn't gripping, but is a read that will keep you wondering where the search will lead and who else is involved in following and trying to kill Lou ?and Hilary and what the motives of these people are. The ending was tense and quite good.

DEAD MONEY RUN needs a bit of polishing up in the believability factor, but I did enjoy ?DEAD MONEY RUN. We have to realize, though, that it is a book and not real life, right?

Mr. James knows how to tell a good tale and keep you interested. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful, Life Changing
Water From My Heart


Charlie Finn had an unusual childhood and a very unique rest of his life.

Charlie played poker, went to Harvard, had a job that ?paid well but ?was a job? that cost him the woman he loved, and then had another job that gave him a family but also danger.

WATER FROM MY HEART was a bit confusing at first because more than one story was going on. It started to come together around Page 100 or so.

?We follow Charlie as WATER FROM MY HEART goes back and forth from past to present. I liked Charlie despite some of the things he did in his life and despite the decisions he made that ruined lives as well as saved and touched lives.

WATER FROM MY HEART was a book about loss, life??, decisions, and regrets.

You will learn what the title means and see a redemption in Charlie. The ending was heartwarming.

I have read another book by Charles Martin that I thoroughly enjoyed...UNWRITTEN. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
The Secrets of Lake Road

Another summer, another tragic drowning, and a lot of awful memories.

After the tragedy of the drowning years ago, the beach community never expected another tragedy.

Jo and her family were the most affected by the tragedy that happened years ago, and that tragedy still haunted Jo. Will the awful memories ever go away, and will the real facts about the drowning perhaps be revealed?

The secrets of Lake Road were deep and haunting for those who had a secret. Ms. Katchur marvelously put together a story that will remain with you simply because it could really be a true situation.

Ms. Katchur skillfully takes the reader back years before and skillfully brings readers to the present as the storyline unfolds.

The characters in THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD were a bit difficult to like. Jo was my least favorite. She was a terrible, heartless mother. The secret she kept tucked inside most definitely affected her. Caroline her daughter seemed sweet and wise beyond her years. The other characters worked well around these two main characters.

I enjoyed the revelations at the end. One of the revelations was obvious toward the end, but the others were a surprise.

THE SECRETS OF LAKE ROAD is a murder/mystery with a bit of romance. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Summer at Hideaway Key by Barbara Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful
Summer at HIdeaway Key

An inherited beach cottage with memories of its own, a beach cottage filled with journals about the life of an unknown aunt, a job as a fashion designer in Milan, and decisions, decisions, decisions.

Lily St. Claire had no idea that her father had left her a beach cottage that once belonged to her estranged aunt or why he left it to her especially with all the secrets between her mother and her mother's sister. Lily needed to see the cottage for herself and was curious enough to head to Florida to Sand Pearl Cottage to find out what it was all about.

What Lily found was definitely not what she expected. Lily found boxes everywhere that held her aunt's possessions as well as the story about her life that no one was aware of and one that her mother would never talk about.

Lily needed to decide if she wanted to stay to uncover all she could find about her aunt or just leave the cottage and head to Milan for her dream job.

SUMMER AT HIDEAWAY KEY had a storyline that any women's fiction fan will not want to put down.

We meet a number of interesting characters, find secrets that had never been revealed, get a glimpse into her aunt's life, see the decisions Lily must make in her personal life, and see how Lily desperately tries to get her mother to shed some light on why her mother and her aunt never talked for over 30 years.

SUMMER AT HIDEAWAY KEY is another marvelous book by Ms. Davis. The characters, the setting, the atmosphere, and the storyline will keep you turning the pages and still want more. It was a glorious read up until the very last word.

Ms. Davis has a way of pulling you in and not letting go. There is always something lurking that you "must" know along with a touch of romance.

The journals made for an absolutely wonderful read....terrific book.

I always enjoy journals. When you read about journals in a book, do you ever ask yourself why you didn't do something like that or if you did leave journals what folks would think after they read them?

5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and without compensation in return for an honest review.

House of Thieves: A Novel by Charles Belfoure
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
House of Thieves


Gambling debts, robbery rings, and high society? and?? ?thugs? blending together? for a marvelous read.

HOUSE OF THIEVES takes us back to the late 1800's when women needed escorts and ?when ?men were their protectors. The men definitely? protected their wives and families and? kept secrets from them as they carried out their days.

The secret John Cross kept from his wife?, though,? was one he couldn't keep for long. When he returned home one evening with bruises and cuts, John had to tell his wife about his "deal" with Kent. The secret he kept was that their son, George, had racked up a gambling debt that he couldn't pay, and Kent came to John with ?a ?deal John wasn't able to pass up.

John wasn't able to pass it up because it was a good deal. John wasn't able to pass it up because ?it was a deal that he had to ?accept to ?keep his family safe. If he didn't go along with Kent, John saw what? Kent was capable of.

The deal took every waking minute of John's time and was something he would never dream of doing or being a part of.? If he got caught, he would ruin his family, but better to be ruined than dead.

The characters ?seemed quite authentic. John Cross made me afraid for him, Kent was despicable and ruthless, George made me angry that he would continue to ?do what he did to ?put his family? in this situation even? after his father told him he knew? of his dangerous obsession?.? Kent seemed as if he were just playing John Cross and his son's debt would never be settled, but John Cross had to keep finding homes and banks to rob so his family was safe.

You will get pulled into the time period and the storyline as you wonder how someone could be as evil and cunning as Kent and ?as your ?fear for John Cross? and his family mounts.?
.?
Mr. Belfoure has authored another intriguing, well-?written, captivating? book. Mr. Belfoure? pulls you in with his marvelous research and storyline about the life styles of the wealthy as well as the poor during this era.

?If you enjoy being treated to history, an alluring storyline, and an "oh my goodness" ending, HOUSE OF THIEVES will take you there.

One chapter after another keeps you mesmerized as unbelievable, possible events happen. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. ?

The Paris Key by Juliet Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Adventurous, Addictive
The Paris Key


Paris, memories, keys, and family secrets.

Genevieve needed to go back to Paris to her uncle's shop not only to get away from her soon-to-be ex-husband, but to take over Uncle Dave's lock and key shop? that she had loved as a child?. Little did she know that she would find family secrets as well.

Both her mother and uncle had passed, but the city held wonderful memories for Genevieve as well as for her mother as we go back and forth in time seeing Angela, Genevieve's mother, in Paris and her uncle who fell in love in Paris and stayed after the war.

Her uncle taught her a locksmith's tricks of the trade when she was twelve, and she wanted to try her hand at it again. As her uncle told her all the time, "Locksmiths Laugh At Love and Love Has Its Own Set of Burglar Keys." Genevieve wanted to re-live her times in his shop and to experience Paris as an adult as her mother had done.

When Genevieve explores a house where she is fixing locks and finds secret passages from WWII that have a connection to her mother's time in Paris, you will become totally absorbed in the storyline.

?THE PARIS KEY ??has you falling in love with the City of Lights as Ms. Blackwell describes the bakeries, the wine, the cheese, and the people. Ms. Blackwell’s writing style is so intriguing that you feel as though you are right there.

And…we can’t have a book about Paris without love. Love that held secrets about her mother and love for Genevieve.

I enjoyed THE PARIS KEY and the marvelous way Ms. Blackwell pulls you in with her descriptions and authenticity of the city.

If you have never been to Paris, THE PARIS KEY will make you want to get on the next plane. :)

ENJOY!!! I certainly did. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Stones in the Road by E.B. Moore
 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Pointless, Boring
Stones In The Road

Joshua's mother, Miriam, was forced into taking over decision making for the family after her husband, Abraham, was hurt in an accident?. This was totally out of character for a woman who was Plain.

Joshua endured his father's abuse just because that was the right thing to do when you were Plain. He completely feared his father, but had no recourse but to run away to avoid more abuse since he knew his father would blame him for the accident.

Joshua ran away to California and had to deal with and live with the English. Joshua found some good English as well as bad.

Miriam had to deal with and live with the reality that her son was gone even though she knew he was not dead, but out there somewhere even though everyone said he couldn't have survived the accident that had maimed his father.

In my opinion, Joshua endured more hardships than he had at home and more than Miriam endured even though losing a child is the worst thing in the world.

We follow Joshua as he finds work and families to live with. He was a sweet character, but felt guilty about not letting his mother know he was alive. He couldn't let her know for fear of having to face his father's wrath because he would send someone to find him?. Miriam was a dedicated wife and mother even though she lived with the hope her son was alive, but presumed dead. Abraham was a character that I did not like at all.

STONES IN THE ROAD takes us into homes and the way of living in the 1800's whether it was a Plain home or an English home. The book dragged a bit, but it was very interesting to see the different, difficult life style of both homes in the 1800's.

STONES IN THE ROAD was about family, about hardships, about survival, about choices, and about God's influence in your life.

I enjoyed the book for the historical aspect. Ms. Moore's writing style was beautiful along with wonderful description.

I would recommend STONES IN THE ROAD to those folks who want to know more about the customs of Plain people as well as see first-hand the hardships they had every day as well as the hardships of traveling across the country in a wagon train. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

The Last September by Nina de Gramont
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
The Last September

Brett, Eli, Charlie, and Ladd....all connected and all a part of each other's ?lives and decisions.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER starts out in present day and heads back to the ?past when all four friends met and events began to unfold.?

Brett was the main character. We find out about her involvement in all three of the men's lives ?both ?past and present. The murder of Charlie?, ?how Charlie affected many lives, and the mental illness of his brother? ?are ?the main focus?.?

The background of each character and their lives is marvelously detailed by Ms. De Gramont, and has you wondering if one of them murdered Charlie for personal reasons since Charlie hurt each one of them in some way.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is a deep?, emotional? read about decisions made, promises made, promises broken?, mental illness, and love??.?

?Ms. De Gramont has an exquisite writing style? ?that has the reader sharing every emotion the characters are experiencing.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is not an uplifting book, but one that is gripping simply because of the way Ms. De Gramont tells the story. It is a mystery about life as well as a mystery about finding the person who murdered Charlie.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER pulls the reader in because of how deeply involved and connected Ms. De Gramont has you become with each character.

THE LAST SEPTEMBER is a book that needs to be savored and ?one that you will think about even after the last page is turned because it won't easily leave you. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Silver's Reviews
http://silversolara.blogspot.com

Along the Infinite Sea by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Romantic, Epic
Along The Infinite Sea

Pepper is back and as usual something? is brewing. The brew is that she is pregnant and has no place to go.

Pepper did have some money, though, because she found an old Mercedes at her sister's home, ?got it in perfect working order, and sold it. Little did Pepper know that the car and Annabelle, the woman who bought the car, had a colorful and intense history of love, loss, and complications that involved the car.

What secrets do both Annabelle and Pepper have? ?Will they both reveal them after Annabelle Dommerich takes Pepper with her to her home? Will they be able to share their secrets since after one day at Annabelle's, Pepper finds that Annabelle has disappeared on one of her trips with no return date leaving Pepper at the house with Annabelle's housekeeper and dogs.

ALONG THE INFINITE SEA has beautiful descriptions, wonderful characters, secrets that everyone likes to hear, and amazing characters. Annabelle is a character you can't help but love. Pepper is fun and both Annabelle and Pepper are quite likable yet very mysterious.? When Alice arrives, the story gets even more interesting.?

ALONG THE INFINITE SEA is another book of Ms. Williams that I thoroughly enjoyed. I enjoyed the back and forth in time and the way Ms. Williams knows how to tell a story. Her way with words and the story line kept me wanting more. The story of Annabelle and the revelation of the history of the car and her marriage was very intriguing.

Women's fiction fans will have another read that will stay with them after turning the last page.? The Schuyler girls always have something fun or disastrous going on in their lives.

If you haven't read any of Ms. Williams' books, you definitely want to take a look at them. I know you won't be disappointed.? 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Tahoe Blue Fire


Three murders, a hastily scribbled note written by a dying woman, and an investigation that takes you from Tahoe all the way to Italy. ? ? Count me in on this investigation. :)

Owen McKenna has yet another ?case to solve that involves bizarre ?murders that are somehow connected to the Medici Family of Florence, Italy, and that lead Owen to Italy. Investigating in Italy was no safer than in the United States, though, especially after he visits a former member of The Cosa Nostra.

When the case seems to be nearing a solution, something else happens and Owen is back to square one along with the reader, but of course he doesn't give up.

Mr. Borg has given his readers another wonderfully researched and ?thrilling ?mystery that is difficult to put down.? You won't ?want ?to stop reading as the action heats up.

TAHOE BLUE FIRE? ?is written for historical fiction fans and especially those who love Frank Sinatra.

TAHOE BLUE FIRE also has the same wonderful characters including, Spot, appropriately named his Largeness.

Despite the terror and close calls in TAHOE BLUE FIRE, the ending is heartwarming.

If you have never read one of Mr. Borg's books, you will definitely want to so you don't miss out on fantastic story lines that generate great discussions?, include amazing locations with beautiful descriptions, and edge-of-your-seat action. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

Chance Harbor by Holly Robinson
 
Book Club Recommended
Chance Harbor

Eve, Zoe, Catherine, and Willow. Grandmother, mother, daughters, and granddaughter all caught up in family secrets.

All four women had a lot going on over the years that made today difficult for each one of them.

Join in the suspense as well as the family saga that will pull at your heart strings but make you want to be with the characters.

CHANCE HARBOR takes us through the years with Eve, Zoe, Catherine, and Willow. Willow was my favorite. She was sweet but wise. Zoe made me crazy. Eve and Catherine were characters that held the story together as secrets unraveled and brought the characters closer, made them more understanding, or simply helped them find themselves.

All four women had wonderful stories to tell and secrets to reveal. Secrets both good and bad. I couldn’t decide whose secret I liked the most. :) I think I am going to go with Eve's being the best. :)

Ms. Robinson has crafted a beautiful story with unforgettable characters and with wonderful descriptions of Prince Edward Island that take you there sharing the characters' experiences and pain as well as their little bit of the happiness.

I truly enjoyed CHANCE HARBOR, and any women's fiction fan which includes me will fall in love with this book and its characters. The setting as well as the warmth and the vividness of the characters pull you in and keep you turning the pages.

Ms. Robinson has a way with words that has you not wanting the characters' stories or the book to end.

This was my first book by this author even though this isn't her first book.

Absolutely recommend this book. Read it and ENJOY. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Darkness the Color Of Snow


What really did happen the night of the accident?

Ronny kept asking himself over and over if it was his fault or if Matt caused his own death. Ronny and Matt had been friends throughout high school but now Ronny was a police officer and Matt was still the trouble-making kid he had always been.

DARKNESS THE COLOR OF SNOW takes the reader from present day back to Ronnie and Matt's high school days letting us in on their antics and how they fell apart and where they are today.

DARKNESS THE COLOR OF SNOW also touches on the topic of small towns and the way corruption can occur with its officials.

I truly did not like Martin who was the head of the town council. He was a corrupt official who was doing illegal things but made himself appear to be the good guy to the public.

Ronny was a sweet kid who seemed to always get the short end of the deal.

Matt was not a nice person and someone who caused Ronny grief during their teenage years as well as their adult years.

DARKNESS THE COLOR OF SNOW was a tense read, but very good. I am actually going to classify it as a psychological thriller. The situation and the characters kept me glued to the pages but also had me nervous for the decisions the characters made.

I was trying to figure out the significance of the title of DARKNESS THE COLOR OF SNOW and came up with the idea that the book had dark things happening in the small town of Lydell and the snow that was always falling made it an emotionally cold place to live.

Let me know what you think of the book and the significance of the title if you read the book.

I did enjoy the read. I live in a small town, and wonder what goes on here that we don't know about. :) 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Curious Beginning

A secret past that she wasn't aware of puts Veronica Speedwell in danger after her aunt passed away.

Veronica Speedwell is now without family, and as an intruder enters her home and tries to harm her, a Baron saves her life just in time. Even though Veronica seems to be able to take care of herself, the Baron insists that he be her protector. The Baron and Veronica begin a journey to London to meet a friend the Baron believes can protect Veronica for him. During their travel time, the Baron tells Veronica he knows secrets about her past that he can't tell her just yet but will.

Veronica isn't too happy with the arrangements of having to be protected, but being interested in what the Baron will tell her makes her stay with the Baron’s friend, Stoker. Not even 24 hours after the Baron left Veronica in safe keeping with Stoker, the pair finds out that the Baron has been murdered. With that news Stoker whisks himself and Veronica away where the murderer who most likely is still after Veronica can't find them. Adventures and danger follow them.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING is the first book I have read by Ms. Raybourn and the character Miss Speedwell. The book is interesting but odd with odd characters. Miss Speedwell is very independent and Stoker is a taxidermist who once was with a traveling circus. The characters where Stoker and Veronica make their hiding place are all quite bizarre, but I guess when you are in a traveling circus, that is what you see.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING is adventure and murder investigations all rolled into one with some good twists. It was also comical at times.

A CURIOUS BEGINNING was a bit different from what I expected, but I kept reading because I wanted to find out who the murderer was as well as to find out what Veronica's secret past was. And....her past was an excellent revelation.

It wasn’t a favorite, but I did like Veronica, and the storyline picked up toward the end of the book. In fact, the ending was quite exciting and makes my rating go from my original 3/5 to 4/5.

Readers who like quirky characters, intrigue, mystery, and a bit of romance should enjoy A CURIOUS BEGINNING. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
The Lake House


Alice the author and sister of Theo and Sadie the detective.

Would these two women be able to find information about the disappearance 70 years ago of 11-month old Theo ??if they worked together on this cold case even though the police had not been able to find one clue or to find Theo?

Alice had lived the nightmare of her brother's disappearance, and Sadie wanted to investigate the years-old case after she found the sprawling, abandoned estate of the Edevane family.

I LOVED exploring the estate and finding the clues of the case with Sadie and finding things that were left by the family. I would have loved to live on the estate as well as to be a part of the investigating.

THE LAKE HOUSE goes back and forth in time and is filled with mystery, hidden passageways, intrigue, family secrets, and all of Ms. Morton's wonderful, creative writing skills, marvelous story lines, and descriptions that get better each time you turn the page and that put you right at the scene or definitely wanting to be there with the characters.

?Ms. Morton knows how to keep her readers interested and not want the book to end.? Twists and turns seem to be Ms. Morton's trademark along with marvelous, surprise endings. And what a spectacular ending THE LAKE HOUSE has. You will love it!!

Ms. Morton had me hooked on her book THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN, and THE LAKE HOUSE is going to be right up there with it as one of my all-time favorites. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
When The Devil's Idle

A murder in ?the quiet town of Patmos, Greece. Who would want to murder a 90-year-old ?German?

A murder in an enclosed compound with no one but family and the family's gardener and housekeeper around.? How did the murderer get into the ?secure ?compound? One of them had to be the killer since it was difficult to get into the compound, but who and why??

WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE is set in Greece with interesting characters? and a wonderful glimpse at Greece's culture.?

The main character Patronas ?was quite likable and a bit comical despite the seriousness of the situation he an?d? his fellow policemen were investigating.?? He was a great character to keep the book interesting and moving along. ?

?Along with the beauty of Greece, WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE brought up the horrors of WWII and what happened to the children of Aghios Stefanos. Could this be the reason some?one wanted Gunther Bechtel dead after all this time?

The ending was a bit odd, but the crime was solved. :)

WHEN THE DEVIL'S IDLE dragged a bit and was difficult to follow at first with all the Greek names, but I enjoyed the book and became attached to the characters as I continued reading. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Inspiring, Optimistic
White Collar Girl


A family of journalists, stolen bylines. ?struggling ?women reporters in the 1950's, and Chicago.

WHITE COLLAR GIRL takes us into the world of journalism and news reporting as we are introduced to the Walshes who are generation after generation of journalists.

The ?elder ?Walshes ?definitely ?have talent, but a family? tragedy? ke?eps them from continuing their careers. The tragedy didn't stop Jordan Walsh, though. This tragedy kept her pushing ahead and wanting to break into having more respect for women reporters.

Jordan Walsh was one of the few female journalists on the staff ?at the Tribune and along with all of the women journalists was relegated to reporting and writing about weddings and fashion. But....Jordan wanted more...she wanted a big story.

Jordan got her story?....corruption in the mayor's office…as well as many more big stories. Being a woman, though, she had a tough time collecting information and being given credit as the journalist who did the research and wrote the article.

Ms. Rosen ?definitely ?knows how? ?to skillfully ?spin ?together fiction and history?. Her research and characters are always marvelous.

WHITE COLLAR GIRL is another terrific novel by Ms. Rosen? where she blends a fascinating story line with historical facts and historical as well as fictitious characters?.

Ms. Rosen also adds in love and life styles of the 1950's. Cigarettes hung from everyone's mouth both male and female, and liquor flowed freely.

I enjoyed WHITE COLLAR GIRL just as I enjoyed Ms. Rosen’s other two books.

Don’t miss reading this book and her other books. Historical fiction and women's fiction fans will not want this or any of her books to end. 5/5

?This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Hundred Gifts by Jennifer Scott
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun
The Hundred Gifts


An empty nest, a cooking class, an ornery neighbor, and fun-loving women who wanted to learn how to cook.

Brenda had an empty nest, nothing to do to pass the time, and a husband that didn't pay attention to her.

When Brenda happened upon Paula who was starting a business that was a cooking class, Brenda thought being a cooking teacher would be something good for her.

Brenda got into more than she bargained for, though. The class burned food and had to deal with a complaining neighbor who lived above the classroom, but luckily Brenda also met a wonderful group of women.

Virginia, the lady who lived above the classroom, always barged into the class and complained about noise and smells. The students didn't know what to make of her at first or how to handle her, but they figured they should try a little kindness. Did that work?

I laughed out loud and thoroughly enjoyed this book. It was witty, heartwarming, light, addressed family issues, and had a lovely ending.

A perfect book to boost your spirits and to give as a Christmas gift.

ENJOY!!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Jamaica Inn by Daphne Du Maurier
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Romantic, Dramatic
Jamaica Inn

Mary complied with her dying mother's wishes that she move in with her Aunt Patience. Little did Mary's mother know what that wish held for Mary.

Those wishes turned out to be very unpleasant for Mary. Mary had to endure her uncle's ?horribly ?mean disposition, his illegal activities, his mistreatment of Aunt Patience, and ?Mary's being pulled into it all.

Mary saw things at Jamaica Inn that she had never seen before. For one thing?, this Inn never had any guests ?except for unsavory characters.

The setting of JAMAICA INN is perfect for this gothic, dark story line. Ms. Du Maurier did it again with her detailed writing and pull-you-in tale. She keeps everything dark enough, subtle? ?enough, and interesting enough that even though you dislike what is going on and will definitely ?dislike ?Uncle Joss, you can't stop reading.

?I literally hated Uncle Joss because of his cruel, rude personality. I felt sorry for Aunt Patience because of her fear of Uncle Joss and her reluctance to leave. I feared for Mary's safety in this desolate, dreary place.

The book was a perfect Du Maurier book. The entire book was suspenseful, tense, and had a sinister tone.

JAMAICA INN is a book I would recommend to those who know Du Maurier's writing even though it took me this long to know the book was out there and to read it. :)

If you don't know Du Maurier's writing, you will want to.

Enjoy and read JAMAICA INN when you can. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

The Seafront Tearoom by Vanessa Greene
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun
The Seafront Tearoom


THE SEAFRONT TEAROOM is a cozy, comfy, sweet read.

Tea, cakes, love, and friendship are all a part of THE SEAFRONT TEAROOM.

We meet three women who start out as strangers and bond over tea, tea rooms, and personal situations.

Charlie works for a magazine that is currently reviewing tea rooms in Scarborough, England. Kat is a single mom who is a tea connoisseur and has a talent for writing. Seraphine is an au pair from France who helps with the tea room reviews.

I fell in love with the idea of visiting quaint, out-of-the-way tea rooms and meeting the owners.

? Ms. Greene's descriptions of the characters as well as the surroundings pulled me in and had me wanting to open a tea room and spend time with these characters. :)

THE SEAFRONT TEAROOM is filled with wonderful characters you would want to be friends with and tea room locations you will want to visit.

THE SEAFRONT TEAROOM is as inviting as the cover.

Read and enjoy!! 5/5

This book was given to me without compensation and free of charge in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Optimistic, Romantic
The Readers of Broken Wheel Recommend

"This one's on me."

How many times would Sara hear that? She couldn't keep taking things for free ?and ?especially the rent.

Sara came to Broken Wheel, Iowa, ?from Sweden ?to meet her pen pal, Amy, but what she found when she arrived wasn't what she was expecting.

?She didn't find Amy but a town of friendly folks who loved Amy and who loved giving Sara things for free. They also offered Amy's house to Sara since Amy was no longer in Broken Wheel.

Sara was only there for two months on a visiting visa, but as she moved around the town and saw how there were so few stores and NO bookstore, she realized that Broken Wheel needed a bookstore.

Sara was determined to make the town of Broken Wheel a town of readers.

This book was a delightful read especially when books and authors I know were mentioned and love bloomed.

THE READERS OF BROKEN WHEEL is a gem and a book that is perfect for a change of pace as well as a treasure for any book lover.

I truly enjoyed the small town of Broken Wheel and its quirky, caring residents.

A favorite of 2015 for me. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

The Forgotten Room: A Novel by Karen White, Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig
 
Book Club Recommended
Pointless, Unconvincing, Confusing
The Forgotten Room

Three women, three generations?....what is their connection?

?Olive, Lucy, and Kate are the women. We learn about the?m in alternating chapters from 1892 to 1944 as the connection is hinted at it while we the reader try to figure out just how it all links together.

A house, a ruby necklace, a law firm, and an injured soldier start the connection and get the pieces together in this beautifully told story filled with love, loss, revenge, and secrets.

?The house belongs to the Pratt family where Olive worked as a housemaid in? 1892 and the housemaid that was forced to be painted by one of the Pratt's sons.

The ruby necklace is one that Kate's mother gave her but would never wear.

The law firm is where Lucy worked and where Lucy was trying to find out what she could about the Pratt house and Harry Pratt.

The injured soldier is mesmerized by Kate and said she looks exactly like someone he knew a long time ago.

I absolutely loved THE FORGOTTEN ROOM.

The three main characters were colorful, interesting, and perfectly portrayed the time period they were representing. Their connection is gradually revealed as each chapter adds more details to each woman's life and adds answers to how they are connected.

Ms. White, Ms. Williams, and Ms. Willig flawlessly combined their talents and put together a brilliant, intriguing, amazing book that has twists, secrets, and history.

THE FORGOTTEN ROOM is a book that historical fiction and women's fiction fans will devour.

Don’t miss reading THE FORGOTTEN ROOM. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Informative, Interesting
I'll See You In Paris

What was the intrigue and what was the secret about the book Annie always wanted to read but never did?

Why was her mother so evasive about that book?, The Missing Duchess,? and who was the Duchess of Marlborough?

Why did she and her mother really go to London?

Would the book and their trip to London reveal secrets in Annie's life?

?We follow Annie in present day and Pru, Win, and The Duchess (Mrs. Spencer) in the not so distant past.

Annie meets a British citizen who knew The Duchess, Pru?, and Win. Pru is the caregiver for the feisty Duchess. Win is the author who wrote the book about The Duchess who claims she really isn't a Duchess. Getting the story for his book was difficult for Win because The Duchess kept her life under wraps.

Annie gets the low down about all three characters from a British citizen, Gus, and she also trespasses into the house The Duchess lived in.

I enjoyed Annie's trips into the the house. I always love finding secrets and finding treasures from the past.

I enjoyed the back and forth in time and the "real time" story from Pru, The Duchess, and Win.

The characters in I'LL SEE YOU IN PARIS were quirky and fun. I loved The Duchess...she was a character.

I like this quote that was inside the book:

"Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom." Marcel Proust

I'LL SEE YOU IN PARIS was very light and enjoyable with memorable characters and was well researched. I love the cover and the revelations at the end.

I do have to say the book was a bit confusing at times, but it is oh so good and so very creative.

ENJOY!! 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf
 
Book Club Recommended
Missing Pieces

Penny Gate, Iowa, sounded like such a serene place, but Sarah found out it definitely was far from serene when it came to her husband's family.

The Quinlans, and especially her husband, Jack, had many secrets about family accidents /murders that were 30 years apart. Sarah found out more about the secrets in the 24 hours she was in Penny Gate than she knew for the past 20 years of her marriage.

Sarah needed to know why Jack lied to her about how his parents died and answers to other secrets she found out he kept from her.

What brought Sarah and Jack back to Penny Gate after 20 years was an accident that his beloved Aunt Julia had that was similar to his mother's accident. Aunt Julia had raised Jack and his sister after his parents were gone.

Every hour Sarah and Jack spent in Penny Gate was an hour that added more questions and more secrets being revealed about Jack and his relatives. The revelations were not pleasant.

MISSING PIECES will have mystery lovers scratching their heads until the last pages as well as loving the intrigue.

Ms. Gudenkauf's detailed writing style and marvelous storyline made MISSING PIECES a book that was difficult to put down. I stayed up way into the night to finish it.

See if you can solve the mystery of the 30-year-old murder as well as the current one. The twists and turns along with the very suspenseful ending will have you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the end.

Don't miss reading MISSING PIECES. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Passenger by Lisa Lutz
 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Dramatic, Adventurous
The Passenger



Had Tanya? ?killed her husband or did she just happen upon him and panic about what to do?

After she found her husband dead at the bottom of the stairs, Tanya took off and met a bad-news bartender named Blue. After ?she met Blue, Tanya ?could be found running from city to city?, scanning the obituaries, visiting funeral homes, and stealing wallets and credit cards to get herself a new identity.

THE PASSENGER will keep you turning the pages as fast as Tanya moved from place to place and changed her identity...and that is quickly.? You will be guessing ?her story ?until the last page.?

I truly enjoyed THE PASSENGER. Tanya wasn't really likable just because and Blue was a bit scary. Both were very resourceful and crafty.

THE PASSENGER was clever and a book that will make you wonder what Tanya's real story is and how she does escape every situation.? Her escapades will have you on the edge of your seat.

Every time you turned the page a new twist and surprise was there to greet you.? As every review has said: "It was a "wild" ride" and a ride that I really enjoyed.

This is my first book by Ms. Lutz, but she definitely packs a book with intrigue, a terrific storyline, and interesting characters.

?Mystery lovers and lovers of psychological thrillers won't want to miss reading THE PASSENGER.

The book had me glued to the pages and had me wanting to know what Tanya would do next. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Boring, Informative
Flight of Dreams


?Could anyone have secrets on the Hindenburg with its size and carefully patrolled space?

It appeared that everyone had a personal secret, but one of the public secrets was the worry about a bomb threat.

The passengers had heard of a bomb threat, but it was down played.

Emilie, Max, Werner, Edward, and Leonhard and Getrude Adelt are the main storytellers. Emilie was the only female on board, Max was the navigator, Werner was the cabin boy, Edward was an American, and the Adelts are journalists.

FLIGHT OF DREAMS tells of the three-day flight of the Hindenburg and its fire on the third day as it neared its landing spot of Lakehurst, New Jersey.

We follow the days and nights of the passengers as the Hindenburg makes it way across the ocean at 600 feet and as it drops to 200 feet to make a mail drop in Cologne before heading out to the ocean.

Ms. Lawhon takes us into the private as well as public lives of the passengers and makes the three-day trip across the Atlantic both technical and personal. The skillful way Ms. Lawhon wove the personal stories of the characters with the technical aspect of the Hindenburg made FLIGHT OF DREAMS a captivating, intriguing, mysterious read.

Ms. Lawhon did marvelous research for her book?,? and the passengers were an interesting group.

I enjoyed Emilie and Max's connection and their love story.

Werner was my favorite simply because he was so young, so happy to be a crew member, and such a hard worker.

Edward, the American, seemed to be causing the most grief and seemed to be a bit evil.

The Adelts were an interesting couple simply because of their curiosity and wanting to find out facts like every good journalist does.

It was fascinating to me how the Hindenburg actually stayed in flight. It is a piece of history I had ?known of but never knew much about. I learned quite a bit about the Hindenburg from Ms. Lawhon's marvelous book and wanted to learn more. I found plenty of information about the Hindenburg itself, the flight, the crew, its passengers, and the crash.

Could one of the passengers purposely have caused the crash or was it a mechanical malfunction? Did historians really know what happened?

History buffs should definitely read FLIGHT OF DREAMS. 5/5?

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

In Another Life by Julie Christine Johnson
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
In Another Life

Is Lia coming back to her roots?

Is Lia coming back to do research?

Is Lia coming back to France to try to heal her broken heart and find out more about how her husband died?

Is Lia coming back to find secrets she didn't know about people she trusted and people she shouldn't trust?

Lia Carrer probably came back to Languedoc because of all of those reasons and wasn't aware why she felt the need to return. She did know that being with her friend from college and her friend's family in beautiful, laid back Southern France was comforting.

A few of the people she found and things she saw were not comforting and hard to believe, though.

Could a few of these people have been reincarnated from 1208?

IN ANOTHER LIFE pulls you in with the detailed descriptions of the landscape and the beauty of Southern France and its vineyards.

We learn some history and bask in the love Lia finds as well as marvel at what Lia finds out about a centuries-old murder and her husband's death.

I am not sure if I can call this book historical fiction, women's fiction, or paranormal which I normally do not read. I am going to go with all three. I am not familiar with the historical part, but it was interesting to learn about this event.

The cover is gorgeous. the story line is good but confusing at times, and Ms. Johnson's writing flows beautifully and is very detailed. It is a marvelous debut novel in all aspects.

IN ANOTHER LIFE has love, mystery, murder, and history all rolled into one.

The blending of the two time periods and especially the book's ending is a bit chilling, but oh so good. 4/5

Black Rabbit Hall by Eve Chase
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
Black Rabbit Hall

What secrets does Black Rabbit Hall hold, and will Lorna find out what the secrets of the Alton family are as she explores the Alton's summer home?

Lorna is looking for a place for her wedding and is pulled toward Black Rabbit Hall. She has a feeling that it is somehow connected to her past.

Tragedies were plentiful at Black Rabbit Hall when the Altons lived there. Lauren's fiancé isn't comfortable about having their wedding there, but Lorna insists that there is some connection to her and her family, and she wants to find out and have her wedding there.

We learn about the Alton's family life at Black Rabbit Hall through flashbacks and then move forward to present day.

Toby, Amber, Kitty, and Barney told the story of Black Rabbit Hall....a story with great family dynamics.

Ms. Chase's descriptions are marvelous. You can put yourself into every scene of the story and clearly picture what is happening and carried out. I loved going back in time and seeing what was left behind in the kitchen and other areas of BLACK RABBIT HALL.

The old house definitely is a trove of memories and untold secrets and stories. You can smell the dust, see the family’s comings and goings, hear the water dripping from the leaky roof, and visualize the people who lived there.

BLACK RABBIT HALL was a family saga with hints of foreboding as you turned each page.

BLACK RABBIT HALL had marvelous characters that were loving and endearing and of course there was a villain who ruined it all.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book...an excellent debut. The only disappointment, which really isn't a disappointment, was when Ms. Chase left you hanging and waiting with something "juicy" at the end of a chapter and took you back to the past or from the past to the future. :)

ENJOY when you read....the ending was emotional, and the entire book is addicting!!

Loved the book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Dramatic, Interesting, Informative
The Taxidermist's Daughter

Blackthorn House was a place you didn't want to visit.

Blackthorn House had the odd Gifford family living there.

Blackthorn House had secrets.

Connie Gifford and her father lived at Blackthorn House and were well known for their taxidermy, but no one ever came around any more for visits or taxidermy.

What had happened to make them outcasts? Was it because of their business? Was it because Connie had had an accident many years ago and sort of became a recluse? Was it because her father was quite odd and always would disappear? Or was it that Gifford and a select few had a secret?

There was something going on in the town that had people watching the Blackthorn House and holding secret meetings that resulted in the men of the town going missing, hiding, and worrying.

?As the book continues, we keep hearing about something that happened ten years ago that frightened the men in the town because of their involvement.?

THE TAXIDERMIST'S DAUGHTER had odd, mysterious characters and ?a ?dark undercurrent.? Some parts of the book are not for the faint of heart...pretty gruesome.?

It took a while to get interested, but the story line was well crafted and became good after a woman's body was found and the secrets kept for ten years began to be revealed.

The writing was very descriptive, and you could see the characters as they represented that time period no matter what their social class was.

I can’t say it was a favorite, but it did keep me interested by keeping me wondering what the secrets were. 3.5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Interesting
Glory Over Everything


From James Pyke to James Burton.

?From the South to the North.

From a plantation to a home in Philadelphia.

James Pyke fled from the plantation to start a new life after he killed his abusive father. It wasn't an easy life, but James? ?managed to find a wealthy family with a silversmith business who took him in, adopted him, and taught him the trade.?

James became very successful with his father's silversmith business and quite prominent in society.

We follow James from his childhood to his adult life. He could never be happy no matter how wonderful his life had become because he always feared the secret he had would be exposed.

GLORY OVER EVERYTHING kept my interest even though it dragged a bit at times. Once the secret James had been keeping is revealed, the book heats up. The last quarter of the book is very suspenseful, and the book has a satisfying ending.

If you enjoy this time period in history, you will enjoy how Ms. Grissom put together a story line that will captivate you with a wonderful, emotionally packed sequel to THE KITCHEN HOUSE about life during the 1800's.

Enjoy!! 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher good return for an honest review.

Stars Over Sunset Boulevard by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Optimistic, Fun
Stars Over Sunset Boulevard

Violet, the Southern Belle, and Audry, the aspiring actress met by chance, became roommates, and worked at the same secretarial pool at Selznick International.

The stages of Gone With The Wind were the feature of the book along with Violet and Audry's personal lives.

STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD has the glitter of Hollywood, the disappointments of Hollywood, behind-the-scenes fun, and the wonderful, amazing friendship between Violet and Audry.

I really enjoyed STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD because of the warmth of the characters. It wasn't as much about Hollywood, as it was about friends, lives, and choices.

STARS OVER SUNSET BOULEVARD will enchant and delight all women's fiction fans and of course fans of Hollywood and Gone With the Wind.

Don't miss reading this beautifully written, touching book.

You will not be disappointed with the love and tenderness along with some jealousy that oozes off the pages with Violet and Audry's enduring friendship.

A lovely, heartwarming read that will have you thinking about your friendships.

ENJOY....I definitely did. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Interesting, Adventurous
The Secrets of Flight



THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT is filled with writers, readers, secrets, life’s lessons, and? laugh-out-loud situations.?

We meet 87-year-old Mrs. Browning also known as Miriam Lichtenstein who has a story that needs to be told and Elyse a 15-year old who helps record her story.

We learn about Mrs Browning's past through flashbacks and the story she has Elyse typing for her.

The two main characters were lovable and two people who would be wonderful to know. I am wondering if the characters were actual people in the author's life.

I enjoyed flashing back to Mrs. Brownings' life and seeing her excitement and experiences with flying as well as her personal life. I learned about The Fly Girls who were famous during WWII.

The friendship between Elyse and Mrs. Browning beautifully wove the story.

THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT is a well-researched, marvelous debut filled with vivid descriptions.

THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT took a few pages to get the gist of the story line, but it was funny, endearing, and a must read for historical fiction and women's fiction fans.

I enjoyed THE SECRETS OF FLIGHT and was anxious to get back to the book and to the characters.

ENJOY when you read the book. I did. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Fun, Optimistic
Britt-Marie Was Here

Keeping up appearances but not being appreciated was Britt-Marie's life.?

Britt-Marie always ?worried ?what other?s? would think if something happened to her when they traveled and her hotel room was not in pristine order.

Britt-Marie was 63 and needed a job. If anyone would drive you crazy about a job or just about anything, it would be Britt-Marie. The only job the employment agency had for Britt-Marie was in a town called Borg, and the job was cleaning the recreation center.

Britt-Marie was appalled when Borg didn't have any Faxin for her cleaning routine. How could they not have Faxin? How can you get anything clean without it?

Britt-Marie has a germ and dirt aversion which is comically portrayed and makes you laugh out loud at her statements.

?Borg grows to love Britt-Marie, and Britt-Marie loves Borg and its residents.

BRITT-MARIE WAS HERE is a heartwarming, funny, enjoyable read.

I was delighted with this book from the first three-word sentence of the book, and the delight continued until the last page. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Other Widow: A Novel by Susan Crawford
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Confusing
The Other Widow

Was it really an accident?

Who was the other person in the car with Joe?

Why was a million dollar insurance policy taken out not even a month before the accident?

We meet Joe, Samuel, Karen, Dorrie, ?Edward, ?and Maggie. Husbands and wives who were not faithful?, Joe's boss, and an insurance agent who used to be a policeman reviewing the life insurance policy.

?After Joe was killed in a car accident, the tension builds, the characters show their true colors, and secrets become revealed.

THE OTHER WIDOW is definitely a page turner with the reader questioning who might have been at fault for the accident and if the characters were as honest and upright as they made themselves appear especially Edward.

THE OTHER WIDOW kept me wondering what was up with the characters and how they played into each other's lives. As you follow the characters, you can't help but become more involved in the story line and their lives.

I really liked the book and had a difficult time putting it down. It was mystery and women's fiction rolled into one marvelous read.

The only puzzle not solved for me was the significance of the book's title, but the author cleared that up for me. See if you are clever enough to make the connection. :)

If you enjoy intrigue and family dynamics, don't miss reading THE OTHER WIDOW. Loved it. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Wilde Lake: A Novel by Laura Lippman
 
Book Club Recommended
Wilde Lake


The famous Brandt family....could they do anything wrong or were they not able to because of their status? Or...did they do it anyway?

The Brandt family was made up of attorneys and secrets.? Lu and her brother AJ were eight years apart with Lu admiring AJ and his friends. The secrets kept all of those years of the night AJ saved someone's life along with another secret and how it affected their lives became apparent as the book continued.?

Wilde Lake tells the story through flashbacks.? The flashbacks allowed us into the Brandt family's history.?

Lu Brandt tells of her motherless childhood, how she admired her older brother, and of her adult life raising twins alone and being the ?first female state's attorney of Howard County, Maryland, trying a homeless man for murder.

?As this trial moved forward quickly and then ended quickly, things that had happened in the past slowly creeped up.?

WILDE LAKE seemed more of a family saga than a mystery. ?I enjoyed the characters even though they all were a bit socially awkward.

WILDE LAKE dragged a little at times because I kept waiting for the mystery.

I can’t say I didn’t like the book, but it took a while to get to the mystery, but it was worth the wait.

ENJOY when you read WILDE LAKE. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring, Adventurous
The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper


How could a charm bracelet stir up so many emotions and curiosity?

After Arthur's wife passed away and he was cleaning out her things, his discovery of a hidden charm bracelet had him curious about what each charm meant. He also wanted to know ?why he never saw Miriam wearing it and why she had it hidden ?in the toe of a boot.

This charm bracelet pulled him out of his hermit slump and onto adventures he never dreamed of as he traced where each charm came from and what their meaning was to Miriam. He had a few surprises.

Every adventure made him wonder what his wife's life was like before she met him. He couldn't stop searching for the meaning of each charm. These adventures also made him feel guilty he never took Miriam anywhere.

Arthur's finds and discussions with the people he met left him happier and more confident. He also was helping those he met come to grips with what they were dealing with.

Arthur was an ?absolutely endearing, charming, sweet character for me. I really enjoyed his antics and his thinking? and especially the adventures he took us on.? We traveled the globe with him. I wanted to know the answers about the charms too and loved sharing Arthur's days.

THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER is an adorable, enchanting, uplifting read. Be prepared to fall in love with Arthur Pepper.

?THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER has a very clever, enjoyable story line that gives you a nice cozy feeling. It felt like a big hug that you didn't want to end.

Give yourself a marvelous treat, and don't miss reading THE CURIOUS CHARMS OF ARTHUR PEPPER.

There aren't enough delightful words to describe this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Insightful, Adventurous
So Close To Home


A very well written and thoroughly researched historical account of The Heredia that was bombed and sunk by the Germans in the Gulf of Mexico during World War II that had civilians on board.

Mr. Tougias and Ms O'Leary detailed the military aspects and described all scenes so vividly that you could feel the cold and dampness and the fear all crew members and the Downs family was experiencing as they escaped from the wreckage.

You could actually put yourself with the survivors as they clung to a small makeshift raft, feared the sharks, suffered sun burn, craved water and food, and prayed for rescue boats to arrive.

The technical aspect was a bit too much for me to absorb, but the human element added in made for an excellent read. If you are a military buff, SO CLOSE TO HOME will be a book you will want to read.

The personal aspect of the survivors, and especially the Downs family held my interest.

I normally do not read non-fiction, but I am glad I read this book. It is an event in history that I knew nothing about. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Blue Bath: A Novel by Mary Waters-Sayer
 
Book Club Recommended
The Blue Bath


Remodeling an old mansion, finding an old flame, ?having a very successful husband and young son, ?and dealing with it all.

THE BLUE BATH goes back and forth in time from when Kat was in Paris at art school, living with her lover, Daniel,? then to present day with her husband, her son, and the resurgence of her lover.

?Kat sees Daniel ?20 years later ?at the opening of a gallery with paintings of her ?that Daniel had done ?from when they were together. Would anyone recognize her in the paintings? Kat needed to escape the gallery and she did, but would it be as easy to escape the memories and Daniel himself?

What did all this mean for Kat?

Can what you do during your younger years haunt you later in life? This is a question Kat needed to consider since her life was definitely not what it was when she was young and in love in Paris.

THE BLUE BATH is a book that artists and art aficionados will enjoy and connect with.

THE BLUE BATH is for anyone who has experienced unending love?.?

THE BLUE BATH is for those readers who have been to London or Paris.

The characters were somewhat likable and some were definitely unlikable.

The story line was predictable, but overall THE BLUE BATH is a thoughtful, introspective book.

The book has marvelous description, and the author has a beautiful writing style. Ms. Waters-Sayer can vividly describe anything and pull you in.

The totally absorbing, gorgeous cover of THE BLUE BATH definitely pulled me in, but the story line needed a bit more pizzazz even though the book became quite intriguing as the ending neared.

ENJOY, and find out the significance of the cover. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
I Let You Go


Two minutes sooner, two minutes later....it would have made a difference.

Two minutes sooner, two minutes later....it would have saved the horrible pain.

Two minutes sooner, two minutes later....it would have saved Jacob's life.

Two minutes sooner, two minutes later....it would have kept? ?J?acob's mother ?from seeing a car hit her son, kill her son, and see the driver run from the scene leaving her with this unending pain.

We meet Kate and Ray the detectives, Jenna who leaves Bristol after the accident, and a town in Wales where everyone would want to live and where Jenna goes.?

We learn about Jenna's life past and present, and we learn about the lives of the police detectives both personal and professionally. Jenna's past life was not a pleasant one.

I LET YOU GO takes off like a speeding train and doesn't stop with the suspense until the last page.

I LET YOU GO is a thriller ?with many twists and some unpleasant surprises and revelations. It addresses domestic abuse and its disastrous effects.

Most of the characters were believable and likeable, but one of them was definitely evil.? I flinched and feared for Jenna as she dealt with this evil character.

I never guessed the twist at the end.

Ms. Mackintosh wrote a brilliantly crafted, chilling debut that you won't want to put down.

Do not miss reading I LET YOU GO?, but be ready for some disturbing situations in this overall excellent thriller. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.

Sister Dear by Laura McNeill
 
Book Club Recommended
Sister Dear


Two Sisters, one jealous sister, and a trail of unbelievable acts.

Could you really be that jealous of someone and have such a desire for revenge t?hat you would go to any lengths ?t?o ruin that person's life?

?We meet Allie as she is released from prison after? ?ten years for a crime she didn't commit, Emma, Allie's sister who raised Allie's daughter, and Caroline, Allie's 15-year-old daughter.

Allie was released from prison and returned to her home town in hopes of reconciling with her daughter, but all wasn't easy especially in the small town of Brunswick where the residents didn't forget what happened ten years ago and wouldn't change what they believed.

Allie knew she hadn't killed a man, but the jury and the town still accused her and shunned her.

Being a felon in her small, home town wasn't working out too well for Allie. Emma subtly and cruelly made things difficult for her sister and niece and would stop at nothing to keep Caroline as her own. Caroline was embarrassed to have anyone know her mother was out of prison and back in Brunswick.

All of the characters had a lot of baggage to deal with along with the jealousy factor that definitely did a lot of personal damage.

The characters in SISTER DEAR were for the most par?t ?not trustworthy.

Emma was a sister that I am glad was not mine.

The sheriff was not likable at all and definitely a ?sheriff who had some secrets.

I liked Allie and Caroline, though, because they seemed genuine.

SISTER DEAR is unmistakably a tension-building page turner that keeps your interest from the opening sentence.

Be sure you have a lot of time when you begin SISTER DEAR because you won’t be able to stop reading.

The last 20 pages became even more suspenseful...I was nervous. :) 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Litfuse Publicity in return for an honest review.

Flight Patterns by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Fantastic, Dramatic
Flight Patterns

Georgia vowed she would never return home after she and her sister had words and parted ways ten years ago.

But....never say never. James, a client of Georgia's looking for a special Limoges China pattern changed it all because Georgia had to go home to look for a similar piece that she remembers her grandmother had, and James went with her.

FLIGHT PATTERNS pulled me in immediately with the marvelous writing style of Karen White and the interesting research done on Limoges China and beekeeping.

Learning about china patterns and the nature of bees couldn't have been more enjoyable.

I absolutely loved FLIGHT PATTERNS and enjoyed the characters.

Georgia was a bit aloof but likeable.

I was a bit perturbed with Maisey's negative attitude.

Becky was simply adorable, and Grandfather was wonderful.

Birdie was an odd, mysterious character.

James was every bit the gentleman and very likeable.

My favorite part was the mystery behind the connection between the Limoges soup cup and Georgia and Maisey's family and James' family.

FLIGHT PATTERNS is a beautiful book about family, reconnecting, and has the added bonus of a few family secrets. The secrets are quite good. :)

The beekeeper's quotes at the head of each chapter were thoughtful and interesting, and the inspiring quotes throughout the book were marvelous.

Another lovely, enjoyable, memorable read that won't disappoint fans of Karen White and women's fiction.

Do not miss reading FLIGHT PATTERNS. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for a honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Pointless, Slow
The Girls In The Garden

Moving into a garden park community after their beautiful home was burned down definitely was a change for Pip and Grace as well as their mother Clare.

They lost everything in the fire and had to start from scratch. They also lost their father but not to the fire.

The park and specifically its residents were quite odd. The main characters were teenagers who could run free and do whatever they wanted in their park gardens.

There are a lot of present and past secrets hiding among the residents that keep up the intrigue from the first few sentences that tell of a young girl found in the bushes either unconscious or dead.?

THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN was more about the characters and their personalities rather than having a plot. It was quite an unconventional book but the oddity of the book is what kept me reading.

Pip was my favorite character. She tried to stay away from the "gang" and not participate in all the bizarre happenings of the teenagers. A few of the adults were definitely different too and seemed to have the biggest secrets.

If you enjoy a different read with different characters along with a bit of a mystery, THE GIRLS IN THE GARDEN is definitely a read you will enjoy.

The book's suspense and the guessing who caused the young girl to be found in the bushes was non-stop until the last word on the last page. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Liar Liar


Four separate, deadly fires all within two days' time?. Was it one person or was it a team? The police department was baffled.

Each fire was planned and carefully calculated with deaths occurring in three? of the four fires and the horrible terror that accompanies the thoughts of how each person died?.

The arsonist was elusive and clever,? and the police force ?wasn't able to apprehend who did it or find similarities when it came to who and why that specific house was chosen as the target?. Helen Grace, top police woman, ?was always top-notch at her job, but nothing good was happening with this case.

LIAR, LIAR is the first book I have read by M. J. Arlidge and ?I ?enjoyed the brief chapters, the characters, and the tension that built as the book continued. ?M. J. Arlidge skillfully worded each sentence and situation and made the fear? and frustration? caused by the fires very real?.?
? ?
LIAR, LIAR was ?an anxious, edgy, non-stop read simply because of the frightening subject?. ?Every time I thought I knew who the arsonist was, I was wrong.?

Reading LIAR, LIAR would be best during the day?light hours. The ending is outstanding, and quite a surprise.

You will also find out the meaning of the title, which had me puzzled until the end.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Memory of Lemon by Judith Fertig
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Fun, Interesting
The Memory of Lemon


Neely is back, and her bakeshop is a pleasant, delicious, heartwarming way to spend an evening of reading.

The smells, the visuals of the baked goods, and the taste of everything Ms. Fertig describes makes your mouth water.

THE MEMORY OF LEMON begins with a difficult bride who can't decide on her wedding cake flavor and venue. Neely just can't "taste" her personality and choose the perfect flavor for the bride. There is something familiar for Neely about the venue the bride chooses, but she can't place it.

THE MEMORY OF LEMON has familiar characters and brings the warmth of the characters back as we share Neely's life as a baker who knows what flavor cake and icing you are, as a woman getting a divorce, as a woman who is in charge of carrying for her grandmother, as a woman whose father wants to reconnect after 20 years, and as a woman who wants to reconnect with her childhood sweetheart.

I enjoyed reconnecting with the characters. The book can be read as a stand alone, though.

THE MEMORY OF LEMON is another sweet read but also a read that has some not-so-sweet aspects for Neely.

ENJOY when you read THE MEMORY OF LEMON.

My not-perfect rating is because the flashbacks were a bit confusing. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

A Certain Age: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Fun
A Certain Aghe


Falling in love with a younger man while you are still married and then having a younger woman come along wasn't the best thing to happen to Mrs. Theresa Marshall.

A CERTAIN AGE began with an excerpt from a murder trial then moved to alternating chapters and told of the life of high society and how they adapted social protocol to whatever they wanted.

We follow Mrs. Marshall, Mr. Marshall, Captain Rofrano, and Miss Fortescue in the scandalous antics they were all involved in. Decisions had to be made and?? Sophie Fortescue had the most difficult decision, even though her father was the one that would be making the decision about who she was to marry.

Ms. Williams again perfectly portrays the time period and how women in wealthy families really didn't have a choice about choosing their spouse. After the marriage proposal was made, an investigation into the Fortescue family adds another layer to the book. The Fortescues are not who they say they are, and a house that Mr. Rofrano grew up in was part of their secret.

Once the secret was revealed and Sophie Fortescue was more outspoken, the book heated up with an ending that was oh so good with an unexpected twist.

I enjoyed the characters, but Mrs. Marshall and Mr. Fortescue were my least favorites. Mr. Fortescue was too controlling, and Mrs. Marshall was too sneaky for me.

A CERTAIN AGE was beautifully written as all of Ms. Williams’ books even though it took me a while to get connected, but it was still enjoyable.

The book's cover is stunning, and the book is patterned after an opera titled Der Rosenkavalie.

ENJOY if you read A CERTAIN AGE. 4/5

Since She Went Away by David Bell
 
Book Club Recommended
Since She Went Away


Jenna lives with worry and heartache since she feels responsible for the disappearance of her friend, Celia.

They were to meet, but Jenna was delayed as usual, and when Jenna did arrive at their arranged meeting place, Celia wasn't there and was no where to be found. Three months later, she was still missing.

?Secrets and clues kept popping up, but led to dead ends for the most part. Besides Jenna being completely involved in the first disappearance, her son had a girlfriend who then disappears and might have a connection.? What the connection may have been or if there really was one added intrigue.

SINCE SHE WENT AWAY is the first book I have read by Mr. Bell. His writing easily flows and pulls you along. The characters could easily be going through some of the problems they are encountering in real life.?? Social issues were addressed as well as the problem of “who done it” and “where are they.”

SINCE SHE WENT AWAY? was a tense read with characters that were believable as well as shady and scary. It was difficult to decide who you could trust and whose story to believe.

The ending had a good twist with hints that led me down the wrong path as I read.

ENJOY if you read SINCE SHE WENT AWAY. It is a well-written page turner that has you finishing the book before you know it. 5/5

?I received this book free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.?

Radio Girls by Sarah-Jane Stratford
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Boring, Pointless
Radio Girls

Before the Internet and cell phones.

Before women were seen as being more than secretar?ies?.

RADIO GIRLS takes us back to the ?era of the ?wireless ?radio ?and the BBC.? Loved the history.?? Loved learning about the development of radio, the shows, and hearing that some listeners were afraid of the wireless.?

The time period is authentically portrayed?, and Hilda Matheson, a real historical figure, is ?one of the main characters. Hilda Matheson was The Director of Talks at the BBC and always had very interesting people on her show.

Maisie was ?another main character and also ?a terrific character. I enjoyed ?h?er spunk and how she ?carried out her harried?, but enjoyable? job every day?.

?RADIO GIRLS was a pleasant, educational read.? The cover is quite charming and drew me in immediately.

Anyone who enjoys the era between WWI and WWII and sharing the lives of women and their fashionable clothing and lifestyles will thoroughly enjoy RADIO GIRLS. All the glitz and glamour of the era shines through as you learn the history of the BBC. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Graphic, Slow, Dark
All Is Not Forgotten


A small town, a perfect town, a town with secrets, and a town with the not so perfect residents they think they are.

The night Jenny Kramer is attacked is the night that the town gets turned upside down along with her fami?ly. Jenny's father is obsessed with finding her attacker, and the town can't believe something like this could happen in Fairview, Connecticut.

The horrible attack on Jenny brought about a decision her parents ?had to make concerning a drug that would erase Jenny's complete memory of the attack.

Mr. and Mrs. Kramer were at odds about the drug, but they did agree to go ahead with the treatment.

Along with the treatment comes a psychiatrist, Dr. Forrester, who administered the treatment as well as the doctor who provided therapy for the entire family.

The author definitely expands the reader's knowledge about psychiatric therapy? as Dr. Forrester interviews Jenny, her family, and a character named Sean.

?We the reader follow the investigation and question who really is the attacker.

ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN is a powerful, amazingly written read. The story line is highly developed, carried out in an organized fashion, and gives the reader a lot to think about.

You will be frustrated at first because you don't know who the narrator is, but it becomes apparent and is revealed a few chapters in.?

By chapter 18 you will be biting your fingernails and be on the edge of your seat with the suspense, possible findings, and seeing how cunning and evil some of the characters are.?

Reading ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN? was a definite treat on an intellectual leve?l, ?and the approach to the book's subject was unique.

ALL IS NOT FORGOTTEN was a tense, stay-with-you psychological thriller and will make you wonder if folks are really who they appear to be. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

The Lost Girls: A Novel by Heather Young
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Gloomy, Dark
The Lost Girls


Inheriting a house she had only lived in for one summer of her childhood seemed to be a way out of her current situation? for Justine and her daughters.

Arriving at the house that Aunt Lucy left her was not what Justine had expected. The house was run down and no where close to anything but some odd neighbors.

Aunt Lucy??'s? sister ?who ?had disappeared at the age of six and was never found was the main focus of the book? along with the emotional lives of each character.

THE LOST GIRLS was a family saga that had chapters about the lives of the three sisters, Lilith, Lucy, Emily, and Justine both past and present. The Evans women lived unhappy lives which carried on from one generation to the next.

The father of Lilith, Lucy, and Emily was a bit disturbing. He was odd and strict. The girls were different but interesting. Justine and her daughters followed suit.

I enjoyed THE LOST GIRLS despite the gloomy feeling that seemed to overshadow everyone. Ms. Young has a marvelous, descriptive writing style that helped you understand and connect with each character and each situation.? Her writing just pulled you into the story.

If you enjoy a bit of family drama as well as secrets and mysteries, you will enjoy THE LOST GIRLS. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

After Anna by Alex Lake
 
Book Club Recommended
After Anna



A parents' worst nightmare....four little words: "Your Child Is Missing."

Anna disappeared ?without a trace ?a?s ?school was being let out ?for the day.

?Anna's mother, Julia, was late picking her up and blamed herself. She and other family members were hoping that another family member had picked her up. Well....someone did pick her up, but they never brought her home.

Anna was missing for a week, and then surprisingly returned. Very strange in a kidnapping case, but she was safe and unharmed. But was she and were other family members really safe in such an odd turn of events?

AFTER ANNA had me on the edge of my seat as the kidnapper narrated what was happening and as we flashed back to the ongoing police investigation and daily lives of the characters.

AFTER ANNA is a must read for anyone who loves thrillers, chilling situations, a unique story line, and an evil, manipulating villain.

Mr. Lake did a marvelous job of keeping me guessing even though a few folks said they guessed right away who the kidnapper was.

I would consider this one of the top thrillers I have read this year. As I neared the end, I couldn't turn the pages fast enough to see the outcome.

ENJOY if you read AFTER ANNA. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Brilliant, Addictive, Beautiful
The House Between Tides

From 1910 to 2010, The ?I?sle of Skye, inherited castles, and human bones.

THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES takes us back to 1910 when Theo and Beatrice Blake spent their summers in Muirlan House in the Outer Hebrides of Scotland and then to present day when Hetty inherits the ruins of the house with hopes of turning it into a hotel.

Theo and Beatrice Blake didn't do too much to make Muirlan House a home? so when Hetty arrived to see her inheritance many years? later?, she was taken by surprise to see it in ruins and more surprised to find bones buried under the rotting floorboards.

THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES was a lovely read for me especially because of the setting. I enjoyed going back and forth in time to see how the characters lived then and how they lived now.

The characters themselves were interesting because of the jobs they had on the estate in 1910 and present-day Hetty who really had no clue how to live in this remote area with peat as the heating source, the constant rain, and having to be mindful of the tides.

The connection Hetty had to her ancestral family was not very strong, but strong and interesting enough to want to find things out about the family's history. And what a history it is. All she has for information, though, are photographs, paintings, a few letters, and the ruins of Muirlan House. Will these bits of evidence reveal the answers to whose bones were found as well as the mystery of who Theo Blake was and what his connection is to the girl in his earlier photos?

THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES is a very captivating read. The detailed, marvelous descriptions of the life and the setting are wonderful. You could just feel yourself at the social gatherings, feel the rain, feel the tension between characters, and feel the dreariness of the landscape.

If you enjoy traveling back and forth in time, mysteries, finding old letters, love affairs, and figuring out family connections, you will love THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES.

We also can’t forget that alluring, eerie, pull-you-in cover. It definitely sets the stage for the book.

ENJOY if you read THE HOUSE BETWEEN TIDES. A marvelous summer read or any-time-of-the-year read. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Behind Closed Doors by B. A. Paris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
Behind Closed Doors


Jack Angel..... what a gentle name, but what a terrifying person.

Jack and Grace have what appears to be the perfect marriage and Grace the perfect life not having to work, painting, cooking perfect meals, and having perfect dinner parties. All is not what it appears, though.

Ms. Paris takes the reader on a terrifying ride with the three main characters....Grace, Jack, and Millie.

She has a writing style that draws you in and makes the characters and situations very real.

Ms. Paris is so good I could just feel something was wrong the minute Grace met charming, dashing, wealthy Jack. I was extremely frightened for Grace as I was reading and feared for her every time Jack had planned one of his horrific deeds.

I couldn't believe someone could be as evil as Jack.

If you truly want to hate a character, Jack is your man.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS was quite intense and had such an extremely scary plot that you won't be able to read it except in broad daylight.

BEHIND CLOSED DOORS is a chilling nightmare, but also a must read. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Watching Edie by Camilla Way
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive
Watching Edie


Heather and Edie. Friends since high school but total opposites.

Heather was the studious, compliant one. Edie was not interested in school and was rebellious.

Heather and Edie met in high school and went their separate ways, but did they?

Heather showed up at Edie's flat many years later and noticed that Edie was pregnant, but Edie sent her away. Edie wonders how Heather found her and if Heather had been watching her for years.

After Edie's daughter is born, Heather appears again but Edie let her stay this time to take care of the baby because she couldn't handle her new responsibility. Both girls came from unstable families.

Ms. Way was masterful in her organization of the book and also kept me on edge the entire time I was reading. You never knew what Heather was going to do, and you feared for Edie as well as feared for Heather herself.

The theme and mystery of what happened that tore the friends apart was quite cleverly weaved into the story and kept from the reader until the very end. I do have to say that I really didn't like either of the main characters. They both made terrible choices in their lives.

I actually was fearful about many of the situations they involved themselves in. Most of the situations were unsafe and poor choices on the part of the characters, and these choices had me nervously turning the pages.

Ms. Way addressed many social issues such as drinking by teenagers, drug abuse, domestic abuse, and mental illness.

I wasn't sure at first if I was going to like the book because the characters definitely led risky lives and made me nervous. I didn't put the book down, though, because I wanted to know what became of the two main characters.

WATCHING EDIE definitely is a tense, but a well-written debut. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring
Karolina's Twins


Re-telling your nightmare of living in occupied Poland during WWII would stir up emotions that I would want to forget, but Lena Scheinman Woodward wanted it told.

Lena Woodward lived in Poland during the holocaust, lost her entire family, but did find her best friend, Karolina, in the factory where they were required to work and make coats for the Germans.

We are there as Lena tells of her experiences to an attorney and private investigator in hopes of getting the help she needs to fulfill the promise she made to her friend Karolina to find her twins.

Lena Woodard made a promise to her friend 70 years ago, and now at the age of 89 decided to tell her story and to try to find Karolina's children that sadly had to be abandoned because of the situation they were in.

When Lena's son finds out she is telling her story, he causes problems because he is worried about his inheritance being taken by the attorney and the investigator even though he indicates his concern is only with his mother's welfare.

As Lena's story unfolded for her attorney, Catherine, we re-lived with her the terror and atrocities committed by the Nazis, and we learned that there was a secret Lena had been keeping for 70 years.

Lena and Catherine were two characters I loved. They were strong, determined women. Liam was fun. Arthur, Lena's son, was not pleasant. I truly enjoyed the interaction of the characters both present day and past as Lena told her story.

KAROLINA'S TWINS flowed very nicely, and was another well-researched book by Mr. Balson. Mr. Balson has a marvelous writing style and a knack for keeping readers interested by combining facts with human interest.

Mr. Balson indicated that his book is fiction, but it is similar to the life of Fay Scharf Waldman whom he met after writing his first book.

World War II buffs will add yet another layer to their interest and desire to learn the truth. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Tahoe Dark

Familiar characters we love, more murders than you care to hear of, but as always Owen McKenna has everything covered.

Todd Borg's latest, marvelous thriller, TAHOE DARK, includes a kidnapping, a murder of the father of the kidnapped son, a robbery of an armored truck, and old grudges coming to the surface.

TAHOE DARK is packed with action and twists. The surprises just keep on coming, and Owen keeps on resolving them.

TAHOE DARK continues the tradition of Todd Borg's excellence with his wonderful descriptions and plot lines. You think the characters have had enough, and then along comes a situation that is somehow connected to the previous one. The action doesn't stop, and it all smoothly flows and connects.

?The ending comes crashing in with the final scene being another Todd Borg masterpiece.

Give yourself a treat and read a TAHOE book. ENJOY when you do. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

The Velvet Hours by Alyson Richman
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Dramatic
The Velvet Hours


From 1898 to 1940 we meet Solange and Marthe de Florian.

Solange is the granddaughter of Marthe and the grandmother Solange never knew existed until she was nineteen years old.

Solange's father never knew Marthe was his birth mother until he was eighteen and kept Marthe from Solange until Solange's mother had passed away.

The meeting of the two women allowed Solange to learn of her grandmother's life and legacy in an apartment filled with collected treasures and the traces of men Marthe had collected during her lifetime.

I really enjoyed getting to know Marthe and Solange as Marthe told her life story to her granddaughter. What a treat it must have been for Solange to listen to the story. Marthe's life was one that went from poverty to living a luxurious life paid for by Charles and other men.

THE VELVET HOURS was enticing, sensual, and exceptionally interesting since it was based on the real life of Marthe.

?I truly enjoyed the book and recommend THE VELVET HOURS for historical fiction fans. Ms. Richman's writing and research are absolutely marvelous.

Don't forget to search for photos of Marthe's apartment and her famous portrait? by ?artist, ?Giovanni Boldini.

It is totally amazing to me how the apartment and its contents made it through WWII without being ransacked or destroyed and that no one entered it for 70 years.

ENJOY when you read THE VELVET HOURS. ?

I hope you fall in love with Marthe's story as I did. ?5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Confectioner's Tale

A chance encounter, a patisserie, back and forth in time, and secrets that will keep you turning the pages.

We meet Guillaume du Frere in 1910 who started out as a railway man, met the daughter of the owner of a patisserie, and then saved her life. Saving her life took Guillaume away from the difficult railway work and into the sweet, hard-working life in a patisserie.

We meet Petra in 1988 who is writing a thesis and stumbles upon the files of her grandfather who has a secret that is well hidden but a secret that she wants to uncover.

THE CONFECTIONER'S TALE was a fun, breezy read for me even though it took a few chapters to get going.

I enjoyed the characters, the time travel, the delicious pastries, the mystery? of what her grandfather had done, the love story, and a few other secrets.


Ms. Madeleine's writing draws you in, puts you in Paris 1910, makes your mouth water at the mention of the sweets, and seamlessly takes you to 1988 as you try to put together the pieces along with Petra to solve the mystery of what the words "Forgive Me" meant and what they had to do with her grandfather and his secret.

The beautiful cover adds to the sweetness of the love story as well as the intrigue of THE CONFECTIONER'S TALE.

ENJOY when you read THE CONFECTIONER'S TALE. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Letters from Paris by Juliet Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
Letters From Paris


I fell in love with L?ETTERS FROM PARIS the minute Claire walked into the warmth of her childhood home as she returned to take care of her dying grandmother.

Claire had left Louisiana right after college for a high-paying job in Chicago, but returned because her grandmother needed her. While Claire was ?in Louisiana, she found a treasure in the attic that she remembered from her youth and a treasure that her grandmother suggested had a secret that Claire may find the answer to if she went to Paris.

Claire wasn't sure what she would find but complied with her dying grandmother's wishes and left for Paris.

Claire found more than the secret of the mask when she arrived. What else is there an abundance of in Paris? Love, of course.?

As for her mission, Claire found a mask creator in Paris who made copies of “L’Inconnue”? - The Unknown Woman?, obtained a temporary job there, and learned how to sculpt while learning the ?mask's story and about the family ???legacy behind ?he mask.

Meanwhile LETTERS FROM PARIS takes us back to the life of the model for the mask and her tragic, difficult life.? The tragedy and story of "LInconue" was well known in France and was part? of many French households.

Ms. Blackwell did another marvelous job of taking you to Paris and experiencing the life there. I enjoyed Claire's adventures and loved the description of the market and the delicious, mouth-watering meals made by the French people.?

Being taken to Paris and its countryside through Ms. Blackwell's descriptions was a marvelous treat. I would have loved to join in the fun at the gorgeous family estate. A family anyone would love to be a part of.

LETTERS FROM PARIS left me with a warm, cozy feeling because it was filled with history, family, Paris, love, and was simply a lovely read.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review

News of the World by Paulette Jiles
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Interesting, Beautiful
News Of The World


Captain Kidd had experience traveling uncharted lands as he read his newspapers in different towns to spread the news of the world, but traveling with a ten-year-old girl who couldn't speak English was quite a different task for him.

Johanna had been kidnapped by the Kiowa Indians after her family was killed in a raid, but Johanna was now released and needed to be returned to her aunt and uncle. She didn't know who they were, and they didn't know her.

NEWS OF THE WORLD flows beautifully as we follow Captain Kidd and Johanna on their 400-mile journey that Captain Kidd regretfully had accepted. He had to deal with no language communication except for a few words and sign language as well as Johanna's numerous attempts to escape.

NEWS OF THE WORLD was an enjoyable read because the writing was marvelous, the story line was interesting, and the characters were authentic and likable. ?Johanna grew on you. ??Mrs. Gannet was charming. Captain Kidd was a perfect gentleman, a wonderful father, and an all-around good guy.?

I enjoyed the historical aspect of how there were folks who went from town to town reading the news. ?I loved the descriptions of the undeveloped country and am happy I didn't live back then. It was difficult to imagine there were no paved roads.? We readers even get to be in the middle of a gun fight.

NEWS OF THE WORLD is filled with beautiful, descriptive writing that pulls you in I truly enjoyed NEWS OF THE WORLD mainly because of the characters and definitely the warmth and kindness of Captain Kidd.

If you need a quick, enjoyable, heartwarming read, NEWS OF THE WORLD fits the bill along with a history lesson. 4/5

This book was giv?en to me free of charge and without compensation from the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
The Girl In The Castle


Kitty was nine.

Kitty was ignored by her mother.

Kitty was friends with a servant.

Kitty had a very harsh governess.

Kitty could see her dead ancestor in the castle tower, and no one believed her.

Poor Kitty Deverill had a lot to deal with at her young age, but she was spunky, delightful, and resilient.

Kitty was a character I really enjoyed, and THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE was a book I really enjoyed..

?THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE is set around 1910 and ?lets us into? ?the ?lives of aristocrats and the lives of servants in a castle.

?I enjoyed the talk of life in both worlds and the Deverill family.?

THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE also addressed the issue of Ireland and the British during the fight for Irish liberty. That part of history was interesting, but I liked the family saga better.

The personal side of the lives of the characters intrigued me. THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE was a fun, informative read with unforgettable characters.

?Ms. Montefiore's writing is exquisite and detailed easily allowing the reader to step into every situation ?with the characters.

ENJOY if you read THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE. The book became better and better as I turned each page.

You will fall in love with the characters and wish you could join in the family fun at the castle in Ireland and in their homes in London.

The gorgeous cover pulls you in along with the marvelous story line.

I am looking forward to Ms. Montefiore's sequels to THE GIRL IN THE CASTLE. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.

Love, Alice by Barbara Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Love, Alice


Dovie spent her lunch hours in the cemetery every day since her fiancee committed suicide. Dovie hoped she would find out why William would kill himself a few weeks before their wedding.

The cemetery didn't tell her much, but she did befriend the caretaker?? of the cemetery?, Josiah?, as well as come across ?Dora who was grieving the death of her daughter, Alice.

Dovie didn't find relief from her ?own grieving, but she did find Alice and Dora's story? very? interesting. Alice was connected to a powerful, wealthy family in town, and had been buried in the family's plot.? ?That in itself caused Dovie's curiosity to peak and to want to ?know more.

?When Dovie finds letters that had been left and written by Alice, a definite connection between the letters?, Dora, and the Tate family comes to light.

LOVE, ALICE goes back and forth in time using letters written by Alice, facts about the Tate family,? and Alice's mother to help reveal the secrets of Dora's grief.?

I always enjoy books that go back in forth in time and especially when the mystery is revealed through letters or some other unique ?way.

?I enjoyed Dovie and Dora's friendship and the determination Dovie had to find out the truth. The Tate family was a bit mysterious with Mrs. Tate being pleasant but secretive and her son being closed mouth and a bit unpleasant at times. Dovie knew some secret was kept by the Tate's, and she wanted to know what it was.

LOVE, ALICE grabbed me from the first page because of Ms. Davis' marvelous skill of storytelling and ?descriptive writing.

Ms. Davis’ books are books I don’t want to end simply because of the characters, the setting, and definitely the story line.

LOVE, ALICE is another heartwarming book by Ms. Davis about family, about love, about the love between mother and child, and about choices with characters that you would want to know and spend time with and a town you would want to live in.

This is going to be my favorite of her books even though I loved every book Ms. Davis has written. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and author in return for an honest review.

Stalked (The Profiler) by Elizabeth Heiter
 
Book Club Recommended
Stalked


STALKED had many layers and many secrets, and ?most of them were deadly.

Kidnappings, disappearances, questionable police officers, accidents involving the police involved in the case, human trafficking, and barely a clue about anything or any connection that could be found.

?STALKED was an intense but very good read.

STALKED focused on the investigation of a teenager who disappeared and led to many other issues and many suspects along with the questions of why and how.

The writing style of Ms. Heiter is smooth, detailed, and makes the story come alive and seem real.

If suspense, character banter, behind-the-scenes police work, on-site police work, interviewing suspects by FBI and local officers, and a good who-done-it are things that intrigue you, then STALKED is a book you will want to read.

ENJOY if you read STALKED. 4/4

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Two Days Gone



Author and loving family man turned murderer?

Thomas Houston loved his family, his job, teaching, and writing his novels. What made him kill his entire family on a Saturday night?

No one and especially his ?State Trooper friend, DeMarco, can believe he did it, but everything points to Thomas. The missing knife and the missing Thomas himself were strong clues but difficult to believe.

Mr. Silvis keeps you guessing? as we follow Thomas as he struggles with this nightmare and as he is running and hiding.

We also follow State Trooper DeMarco as he questions suspects and people who knew Thomas as well as his questioning whether or not Thomas really did kill his entire family.

TWO DAYS GONE has marvelous, descriptive writing that allows you to feel Thomas' physical pain as he is on the run and his emotional pain at the thought of his beautiful family being gone.

Trooper DeMarco's investigation was relentless, oh so good, and impressively described.

Mr. Silvis definitely knows how to tell a terrific story that has extraordinary, believable characters.

This was the first book I read by Mr. Silvis, and I thoroughly enjoyed TWO DAYS GONE.

The book kept spinning and spiraling into better and better as it became more frightening and more tense leaving the reader with an awesome finish.

ENJOY if you read TWO DAYS GONE. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Leopard at the Door by Jennifer McVeigh
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Interesting, Informative
Leopard At The Door


Can you really ?come back home? Is it always the same or always changed?

Rachel was returning to her childhood home after being in England for six years and living with her maternal grandparents for schooling after her mother had passed away.

Rachel always loved her home in Africa, but coming back didn't seem like the right choice after she met her father's live-in companion, Sara, and with all the upheaval ?and Mau Mau Rebellion. Sara was not like her sweet, caring mother, and Rachel didn't agree with her father's plan to move all the people who lived and worked on their land to reserves.

We follow Rachel as she fights with her own thoughts about what is right and what is wrong since she returned.

Ms. McVeigh's ?exquisite, vivid? descriptions of the land and its people of Africa draw you into the book ?as you are mesmerized ?by the lifestyle and landscape. Her research is marvelous.?

The historical aspect was frightening and quite tense as the book neared its ending. The personal life of Rachel took a turn at the end making me think about how life really does change and wondering if life is ever the same after circumstances fill one's life.

?LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is a story of love, secrets, and believing in your decisions and standing by them. Rachel has a secret that she has kept since her childhood and worries what will happen to her and the person the secret is about if the secret is found out.

LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is a powerful, beautifully crafted book ?that will stay with you and have you looking up facts about the Mau Mau Rebellion.

LEOPARD AT THE DOOR is recommended for anyone who enjoys a book that pulls at your heart strings, teaches you history, has extraordinary detail, and loves a writing style that is thoroughly absorbing and impeccable. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Traveling Light by Lynne Branard
 
Book Club Recommended
Fun, Inspiring
Traveling Light


Winning the bid for an unclaimed storage unit wasn't Alissa's favorite prize, but what she found inside actually changed her life.

Alissa works for a local newspaper in North Carolina owned by her father and impulsively decides that she is going to take a road trip to New Mexico to return Roger Hart's ashes that were in the storage unit to his family.

Alissa begins her journey with the ashes and her dog. When she stops at a restaurant and meets Blossom, her road trip and her life have an added passenger and some added changes.

TRAVELING LIGHT is a sweet, lighthearted read and a read that will make you think about your own life and decisions you make and have made.

I enjoyed Alissa because she was a good person, and I really enjoyed Blossom. Blossom had the perfect name because she just brightened up any place she was and helped Alissa see her life in a different perspective.

TRAVELING LIGHT is a book to read when you need to be uplifted, when you need to hear good comments about mankind, and when you just need a change of pace that comes with beautiful, descriptive writing and marvelous characters.

Enjoy TRAVELING LIGHT if you read it. It even has some sweet romances included. :) 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Things We Have in Common by Tasha Kavanagh
 
Book Club Recommended
Things We Have In Common


We meet Yasmin, Alice, and a man that Yasmin sees lurking ?at school and around town ?and who she thinks is going to abduct Alice.

Yasmin is a misfit and tries to win Alice's friendship at all costs.? Alice is a popular girl at school. The supposed abductor's name is Samuel and is very odd.?

When Yasmin actually meets ?Samuel, she sees him in a different light and wants to spend time with him and his dog, Bea.

I felt bad for Yasmin just because of how she worked so hard to befriend her classmates and ?Samuel ?and how she didn't even fit in at home.

Alice and her friends were quite mean to Yasmin and made it difficult to understand why she tried so hard to get their attention.

THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON is written with Yasmin speaking to? ?Samuel ?even when she isn't with him. That? was? a bit? odd and a bit confusing??.

When ?Alice does go missing?, Yasmin continues to befriend Samuel even though someone else has been accused of the abduction, and Yasmin won’t mention Samuel to the police. She seems to have some obsession with him and wants to protect him.

THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON was very different to the point of ?being ?extremely odd? and something I normally do not read?, but ?it is? well written and kept my interest because I wanted to find out what really was going on.

The ending was just as interesting as the rest of book and carried the same oddity along with Yasmin who will continue to haunt you even after you turn the last page.

Even though THINGS WE HAVE IN COMMON was not a normal read for me, my rating is a 4/5 because of the different writing style and the creativity needed to carry out the plot.?

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Stolen Beauty: A Novel by Laurie Lico Albanese
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Informative
Stolen Beauty


Love, war, and art.

STOLEN BEAUTY moves from 1900 to 1938 as we follow the lives of Adele and Maria.

In 1900, Adele's story was about her life and how she became fascinated with the painter Gustav Klimt and that era of art.

In 1938, the story is told of Maria, Adele's niece, newly married and taken from her home? and taken from her husband? at the beginning of WWII when Hitler invaded ?Austria.

STOLEN BEAUTY was interesting?, but since I am not an art aficionado, I was a bit confused. Despite my lack of knowledge in the art area, though, I did learn a lot about Gustav Klimt.

The WWII sections were heartbreaking as usual.

I do have to say I enjoyed the story of Maria more than Adele, but most likely because I don't know too much about art. Maria also seemed to be a warmer character than Adele.

It took me halfway through the book to warm up to the characters, and even though it wasn't a favorite, I enjoyed the book.

Ms. Lico Albanese did a marvelous job of researching, and she has wonderful, descriptive writing.

ENJOY if you read STOLEN BEAUTY. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Good Daughter by Alexandra Burt
 
Book Club Recommended
The Good Daughter


A childhood filled with secrets about her identity and her life, never going to school, and always on the move until her mother finally came back to Aurora, Texas. That is what Dahlia dealt with throughout her childhood.

Dahlia left it all when she could and didn't return to Aurora until 15 years later only to find her mother still secretive and not in good health mentally or physically.

Dahlia finds out things that now make sense and a lot of things that don't as she remembers how they lived and begins to questions her mother.

THE GOOD DAUGHTER was very well written, had a different but good plot, and is a page-turning read.

There is one mysterious character that didn't seem to have a connection at first, but then everything fell into place for a truly marvelous, unique book.

THE GOOD DAUGHTER is for those readers who like family sagas but a family that is a bit strange.

I enjoyed THE GOOD DAUGHTER because of the mystery and the unconventional characters. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Beautiful, Dramatic
The Mother's Promise

A mother's love is constant no matter what, and Alice definitely has a mother's never-ending love for her daughter Zoe.


Alice and Zoe are close and even closer than a mother and daughter normally are because Alice does not have a husband or any family, and obviously Zoe has no father.

Zoe ?along with the absence of family and friends ?has a social anxiety disorder? that causes more worry for Alice and deeply affects Zoe. When Alice finds out she has ovarian cancer, the exact cancer that caused her mother's death, her worry about Zoe is even more stressful.


We follow Alice and Zoe as they struggle through the battle of cancer treatments and resolving Zoe's anxiety issues.


During the treatment of her cancer, A?lice makes friends with her social worker, Sonja, and with her nurse, Kate, who also have problems of their own.

The subject matter of THE MOTHER'S PROMISE was a bit of a downer because of the cancer as well as other social problems, but it also was wonderful because of the development of friendships and the concern the characters had for each other.

Alice, Zoe, Kate, and Sonja were warm characters that worked well together, supported each other, and were perfectly portrayed.

THE MOTHER’S PROMISE was beautifully written and pulled you into the story and the lives of the characters as the difficult situations and life issues were addressed. You can't help but become attached to Zoe and all the characters and cry along with them as the situations escalate.

Ms. Hepworth will again take women’s fiction fans on an emotional ride of real life situations and real emotions.


Get out the tissue box as you deal with the characters’ feelings and make them your own.

ENJOY!! 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic
The Dressmaker's Dowry


From San Francisco 1876 to present day, we learn of the plight of the poor, the privilege of the wealthy, and secrets of a family that connect both eras.

Sarah married into a wealthy family and brought a secret with her that she never revealed to her husband. Her husband's family had a secret too, but he was unaware of it. Or was he?

Sarah was writing her thesis and came across two dressmakers, Hannalore and Margaret, who lived in1876 and who fascinated her because of the story of their lives.

As Sarah researches, she finds connections between the dressmakers and her husband's family.

THE DRESSMAKER'S DOWRY moved us back and forth in time with Hannalore's life story being much more interesting than Sarah's story about her life as the wife of a wealthy man and a journalist.

Hannalore's story tells of her hardships as well as her resilience as she takes care of herself and her three siblings after her mother dies and they escape from their drunken, abusive father.

The characters definitely were authentic especially the wealthy with their fancy clothing and privileges. The destitute were equally well described, and you could feel their pain and suffering through the excellent writing style and descriptions of Ms. Jaeger.

I enjoyed THE DRESSMAKER'S DOWRY.

I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy historical fiction, switching back and forth in time, and finding items from from past to present turning up for a mystery that includes a bit of love. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
I See You


Seeing your blurry but recognizable photo in an ad for escorts caught Zoe Walker's attention, but no one in her family believed the photo was Zoe.

After seeing other faces in the same ad and seeing that harm had come to those women either brutally or by robbery definitely had Zoe worrying she was next.

I SEE YOU was confusing at first because there were too many characters, and making a connection took a while.

The plot seemed to go round and round and not get anywhere, but I didn't want to stop because I know Ms. Mackintosh throws in zingers and twists right up to the end.

The zingers started when Zoe's live-in boyfriend and her boss seemed to be suspects in the stalking.


The ending was ?good and was worth the LONG wait for the suspense to begin.


I am wavering between a 3/5 and a 4/5 for my rating.

The 3/5 would be because it took too long for the suspense to begin.

The 4/5 would be because I SEE YOU dealt with a problem that technology? can potentially cause as well as being helpful, the intense ending, and how the characters involved with the crimes were a complete surprise.

I will leave it at that, and let you make your decision after you read the book.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Land of Hidden Fires by Kirk Kjeldsen
 
Book Club Recommended
Land of Hidden Fires


A motherless child who disliked her father, a downed airplane during WWII, an escape, and a German officer searching for the downed pilot.

Kari did not get along with her father and simply just made it through each day. Her father was not like her. Kari was always curious about things. Her father just wanted to go on with his farming and take no interest in what was going on around him.

The day Kari saw a plane crash was the day she realized she had to do something for the pilot and the day she saw her chance to leave. She decided she would take Lance, the American soldier, to Sweden.

LAND OF HIDDEN FIRES allows the reader to experience the dangerous trip Kari and Lance took in the freezing weather while they feared being caught by the Germans and as Kari felt remorse about leaving her father and taking his horse and carriage.

We continue as three characters pursue three different journeys but for connected reasons.

We follow Kari and Lance as they head to freedom for Lance in Sweden.

We follow Kari's father, Erling, as he searches for his young daughter.

We follow the German officer as he searches for Lance.

Mr. Kjeldsen has wonderful descriptions of the landscape, the characters, and the thoughts and feelings of the characters.

I liked the thought at the end of the book that said: “People seemed to be full of hidden fires, invisible to one another and often even invisible to oneself.” If you have the pleasure of reading this book, you will understand the quote.

I enjoyed LAND OF HIDDEN FIRES. The book was sensitive, thoughtful, but definitely tense.

I think readers will enjoy the hidden, emotional messages as well as Mr. Kjeldsen’s marvelous writing style and story line that kept me turning the pages and wanting to get back to the characters' journeys. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

Never Let You Go: A Novel by Chevy Stevens
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Dark, Addictive
Never Let You Go



You can't wear that, I saw you smiling at that man, you don't need to leave the house.

Those things happened to Lindsey as her marriage progressed. Andrew was so sweet and caring especially during her pregnancy, but it got worse every day.? She was afraid of her husband, Andrew, and she knew that wasn't how it should be. ?

Lindsey finally left Andrew, and in his rage Andrew was in a car accident, killed a woman, and went to jail for ten years.

Andrew is now out of jail??, and Lindsey’s fears are back. She knows he will find her and follow her because he always told her he will never let her go.

NEVER LET YOU GO has tension oozing through the pages and keeps you turning the pages as you want to know what is going to happen next. The ending is one marvelous surprise.

If you enjoy suspense and edge-of-your seat tension, NEVER LET YOU GO is a book you don't want to miss. Living through the nightmare with Lindsey is gripping and a tribute to the skillful writing style of Ms. Stevens.

There are no gory murder scenes but you become emotionally drained along with the characters as we follow them through their stress as well as their love.

Ms. Stevens addresses a social problem that I am sure plagues more women than we know of. Domestic abuse is most likely overlooked because the victims do not want to report the abuser.

If you are in the mood for a tense, well-written book with an unforgettable ending in more ways than one, you will want to read NEVER LET YOU GO. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Fun, Dramatic
A Simple Favor



Mothers, Friends, Secrets....Stephanie and Emily were mothers, ?they were ?friends, and they both had secrets even though they thought they knew each other better than they knew themselves.

A SIMPLE FAVOR begins when Stephanie keeps Emily's son, Nicky, after school because Emily is going to be late. But...after school turns into overnight, then after school turns ?into another day and ?another ?night, and then ?yet ?another day and another ?night with no Emily.

Stephanie didn't know where to turn except to her "mommy blog." Stephanie waits and waits and writes and writes. Stephanie finally calls Emily's husband, Sean, who was in London to tell him his wife has disappeared and that she has been keeping Nicky. Sean didn’t even know who Stephanie was.

Sean doesn't seem concerned since Emily said she was going on a business trip, but the problem is that Emily never returns from the business trip.

Sean, Stephanie, and the two boys spend a lot of time with each other until they find out the truth that Emily is dead.

As we read, Stephanie places her thoughts and emotions on her blog ?and also with Sean.

A SIMPLE FAVOR keeps having secrets pop up about all of the characters both current and past.

A SIMPLE FAVOR had a unique style with Stephanie's blog taking up most of the chapters ?and all the other chapters also being about Stephanie as she lives her daily life with her son and now Sean and Nicky.? Chapters only about Stephanie change as the book continues, and the scare factor definitely moves up a few notches.
?
My interest in the book was very high simply because of the wonderful writing and story line. The characters were authentic, but it was difficult to believe someone could act that way and think of ways to hurt others.

I had my doubts about Stephanie's sanity and motives and about the life she lead. Stephanie was quite gullible and insecure.

Emily was a difficult one to figure out, a character I didn't like, and a character I grew to hate. She was conniving and evil.

Sean seemed like a nice enough guy that was caught in the middle of everything.
?
?A SIMPLE FAVOR is an excellent psychological thriller that kept me guessing and wondering what really was going on in the lives of the characters. ?

?Were they honest with each other, honest with themselves, or were they all just fakes?? Can we really trust or truly believe anyone?

The story line became quite intense and very good as the book continued.

The wrap up is amazing. A brilliant debut. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Secrets You Keep


An automobile accident, a book that can't seem to ?get written, a new home, a murder, and unsettling questions Bryn had about her new husband.

Bryn was recovering from an accident with the total support from her husband starting to wane after three months. Was he tired of her fragility? Was he doing things behind her back?? What else didn't she know about her new husband's current and past life??

All of this uncertainty also caused Bryn to not be able to focus on the new book she was to be writing. Her writing kept her busy, but the inspiration just didn't materialize.

What? ?did materialize was the brutal murder of the chef who catered the dinner party Bryn hosted at her home and things getting worse for her in every aspect. The visits and questions about the murder from the police were very disconcerting, and Bryn wasn't even sure she could trust her husband.
??
When another murder occurs, my mind immediately went to one of the characters as being the same person who murdered the chef. ?

THE SECRETS YOU KEEP was q?uite a good mystery with most characters not being trustworthy and others who were caught in the middle of the deceit.
??
THE SECRETS YOU KEEP kept me awake longer than usual and kept me in suspense as have all of Ms. White's books.?

Ms. White did it again with another splendid mystery that was well written ?and had plenty of intrigue.

I enjoyed the storyline and trying to guess who the real murderer was.

ENJOY if you read THE SECRETS YOU KEEP. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review.?

A Bridge Across the Ocean by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
A Bridge Across the Ocean

Three women, three stories, three connected lives.

Annaliese, Brett?e?, and Simone were connected by WWII and ghosts.

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN takes us from WWII to present day with three intriguing stories.

Annaliese was a German girl, Brett was a present-day American who had inherited an unusual gift, and Simone was a French girl who fell in love with an American during WWII.

Even though ghosts appear in this novel, the ghosts are what connects the present to the past for the three main characters. It isn't a major theme, but a good one.? The paranormal aspect didn't detract from the wonderful, detailed story line.?

?The characters were all ones that you couldn't help but sympathize with and love.?

?Annaliese's story was my favorite simply because of the mystery surrounding her.?

Brette's story was interesting even though I am not interested in paranormal, but her ability to see spirits added another layer to the book and made connections between characters.

Simone's story was sweet, sad, and very plausible.

?What I enjoyed was learning about the RMS Queen Mary that was first used as a war ship then a ship that brought WWII European brides back to America to be united with their husbands.?

A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN is another truly enjoyable, emotional book by Ms. Meissner.

The final pages and revelations are marvelous...loved the book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Beautiful
The Orphan's Tale


Noa was thrown out of her parents' home because she had become pregnant to a German soldier but needed to leave after the Germans took her baby. As Noa made her way out of town, she came upon a train of Jewish infants left to die (talk about heartbreaking.)

Noa took one of the babies, couldn't continue because they both were almost frozen, and then collapsed near the circus. The circus members rescued Noa and the baby, but Noa had to perform on the flying trapeze with Astrid to earn her keep.

Even though Noa and Astrid worked together as a team on the flying trapeze, there was tension between them because Noa was terrified of flying especially since she almost fell to her death during practice one day. The tension subsided as Noa tried harder to please Astrid and when Noa found out the reason Astrid hid from the Nazi soldiers.

The first time Astrid immediately and very quickly disappeared when the Nazi soldiers burst into the circus building, Noa knew something was going on.

How did they know she was Jewish? Did someone tell on her? The circus owner kept up a good front and steered the Nazi soldiers from the Jewish performers he was hiding, but it was stressful for all.

THE ORPHAN'S TALE is another beautifully written book by Ms. Jenoff revealing another not well-known fact about WWII. The circus theme was quite interesting. I wasn't aware of traveling circuses during that time, but it seems like the perfect way to help keep? ?some of the Jewish community safe and hidden during the Holocaust.

?THE ORPHAN'S TALE smoothly flows from Noa's story to Astrid's as we learn about their lives and their secrets that they both are afraid to tell.? Despite secrets, their friendship strengthens even though there is a thin line that may destroy it.

I truly enjoyed THE ORPHAN'S TALE as I have enjoyed all of Ms. Jenoff's books. Ms. Jenoff has a marvelous way of writing a story based on the unpleasant facts of WWII.

THE ORPHAN'S TALE had a different theme, and I always learn new things about the Holocaust when I read Ms. Jenoff's books.

Ms. Jenoff always does exquisite research. You would think all has been known and written about WWII, but the circus assisting the Jewish people was interesting, enlightening, and wonderful to know how another group helped the Jewish people.

Don't miss reading another heartbreaking but heartwarming book by Ms. Jenoff. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review for TLC.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Informative, Interesting
The Women in the Castle


Before,? during?,? and after the war Marianne was there to support everyone even though she had lost everything except her ?castle and her children.

Marianne previously lived in a castle with her husband, Albrecht and her children before the Germans took it over. Her ?husband was a member of the resistance but was killed by the Germans along with other members. His request was for Marianne to take care of the families of other members if he and his fellow members were killed.

Marianne complied with her husband's wishes and found two women including Benita who had married a man Marianne actually had loved at one time and who was a family friend.

These women and their children lived together and endured the hardships after the war as well as sharing their lives before and during the war.

Marianne was an organizer, Benita was a follower, and Ania was a great help to Marianne. All three women had endured a lot and were there for each other in their own way as they recovered after the war.

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE gives us insight into how families lived in Europe before, during, and after Hitler's regime. ?The book ends with the year 1991.?

THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE is well written, well researched, and with authentic characters and descriptions that draw you in...descriptions that allow you to share the experiences every character is dealing with whether good or bad.? Some of the experiences are quite grizzly.?

It took me a few chapters to get connected and to warm up to the characters, but once I did, I became fully involved with their lives as well as becoming familiar with yet another piece of WWII's history.

Historical fiction fans and women's fiction fans will love THE WOMEN IN THE CASTLE. Be prepared for a heart wrenching, but very thought-provoking read.

The historical aspect and the friendships between the three women draw the reader in and keep the pages turning while you also don't want the book to end. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.?

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Scary, Addictive
The Widow's House


Clare and Jess Martin are struggling writers even though Jess has already had one book published. They both want to continue writing, and Jess wants to make his second book a best seller, but their finances are holding them back.

They have exhausted their savings and are now looking for a new home that they can afford. Unfortunately, everything is out of their price range.

But....when they have the offer to be a caretaker at Riven House in the town where they both went to college, where Clare grew up, and where their writing professor lived, they jump at the chance. Free lodging wasn't a bad deal either.

Who wouldn't want to re-connect with a famous writer who had been your college professor ?

The only "catch" is that the house is in utter disrepair and has many odd, creepy folks that live on the estate with the professor.

?The treasures Clare finds in the house as she is cleaning as well as the ghosts and the sounds that haunt the house? caught my interest.
?
THE WIDOW'S HOUSE has a gorgeous cover that pulls you in, and the story line along with the characters and what has happened and what currently happens at Riven House is intriguing.

A paranormal aspect is there, but it isn't over powering ?and ??definitely ?adds to the book's? interest.

It took me about 100 pages to get connected, but it was worth the wait? as the family saga and secrets unfolded.?

?Along with the mystery and eeriness of the house, there is a mystery about who Clare's birth mother really was.

Those readers who enjoy a mystery, a unique family, ghosts, family secrets, and a Gothic theme will enjoy THE WIDOW’S HOUSE.

Ms. Goodman has a marvelous writing style that will draw you in and have you easily connecting with the characters.

The ending is quite good. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Cutaway: A Thriller by Christina Kovac
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Interesting, Informative
The Cutaway


Cameras, cameras, cameras....you never know when you may be on one or in a recorded news clip.

Virginia Knightly was the only female news person in her office…an office that seemed to be falling apart. They needed a big story, and the new boss wasn't helping hold it together.

Virginia got demoted, and then a new face appears. This new face takes the position of another of Virginia's friends on the news staff.

All this is happening while a huge news story about the murder of a high profile lawyer is taking place.

Everyone is fighting for news, and a lot of people including the police force, politicians, and even the press were not being up front and honest about everything. Meanwhile Virginia took on things she really shouldn't be doing alone.

THE CUTAWAY takes us into the world of TV news bringing out all the hard work and investigation reporters and newscasters do.

The characters are marvelous and so well developed that you can actually visualize them and consider them "real" people that you may even know.

The story line held my interest and slowly but cleverly led you to the end along with many guesses as to who had "done it" without my actually guessing correctly.

An excellent debut that slowly drew the reader into the meat of the story line, gave hints to something bigger, and kept me reading. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Widow of Wall Street: A Novel by Randy Susan Meyers
 
Book Club Recommended
The Widow of Wall STreet


Phoebe always was a girl who loved her books, and she found a husband who also loved his books, but a different kind than Phoebe loved.

Phoebe loved her school books, Jake loved his books that showed his money growing.

??Phoebe married Jake at a young age, and Jake said he would always take care of her. Jake's parents had been in some sort of trouble, and Phoebe's mother never liked him.

THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET follows Phoebe and Jake from their teenage years, through the years of marriage, and through the crisis ranging from 1960 to 2010.

As Jake's empire grew, Phoebe became dragged in as well, but only by talking up her husband's business and how well it was doing.
The years went by, and Jake made money, but he was in over his head most of the time. When Jake's empire tumbles, Phoebe, the loyal, compliant wife, tumbles with him.

Readers who enjoy women's fiction, drama, and a strong female character will enjoy this book. ??Ms. Meyers' marvelous writing pulls the reader into the high stakes of Wall Street, the power and lives of the wealthy, and reminds us of the saying: “Money is the root of all evil. “

??I enjoyed THE WIDOW OF WALL STREET along with its tense moments and a truly thoughtful ending.

ENJOY if you read this book. 5/5??

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Night The Lights Went Out



A new town, a new home, a friend you really don't want, a blog that tells the town's gossip, and Merilee has to deal with all of this along with her divorced husband and his pregnant girlfriend.

Living in Sweet Apple, Georgia, seemed like a good town to start over and for the most part it was.

Merilee was renting a house on the property of the town's oldest citizen, Sugar Preston. Sugar was portrayed as anything but sweet, but actually she was.

Merilee and Sugar became friends and shared stories from Sugar's childhood that made sense as to why Sugar was the way she was.

Sugar and quite a few town residents had secrets, and now that Merilee arrived in town, the anonymous blog writer had more ammunition for her daily posts and Southern sayings.

As Sugar knew, there were more people in this town that had better stories than Merilee had. Sugar's past was a soap opera in itself and filled with stories but no one dared to tell them except Sugar herself and many stories were told for the first time to Merilee.

Totally and completely enjoyed the characters and the story line of THE NIGHT THE LIGHTS WENT OUT. Sugar was very lovable, Merilee was sweet, and I didn't like Heather from the minute I met her.

Readers of women's fiction will again be transported back to the days of Southern ?hospitality and then brought back to current day with women who keep secrets and have everything and like to flaunt it.

Ms. White has done it again with a marvelous story filled with wonderful characters with Southern charm?. If you have ever read any of Karen White's books, you will love this book just like all of her books and not want to put the book down.

I have LOVED all of Ms. White's books, but this has to be my all-time favorite. 5/5?

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Forever Summer by Jamie Brenner
 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Beautiful, Addictive
The Forever Summer


Secrets, mistakes, and revelations abound in THE FOREVER SUMMER.

We meet the Bishop family with members having secrets from the past as well as the present.

We also meet family members that were not known to exist.

THE FOREVER SUMMER brings together an unknown half sister, a grandmother, and memories of a father the sisters never knew.

The generations of women and how they connected as strangers was wonderful, and the beach setting was perfect for the connections and story line.

THE FOREVER SUMMER was filled with character disappointments, but it was also filled with love and making family connections and approval very enjoyable.

I enjoyed the characters....especially Grandmother Amelia. Amelia made everything pleasant and made everything and everyone come together.

THE FOREVER SUMMER was an enjoyable read and filled with what women do best when they are together....nurture and care for each other.

A heartwarming beach read...ENJOY when you get to read this book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Baker's Secret: A Novel by Stephen P. Kiernan
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Informative
The Baker's Secret


THE BAKER’S SECRET takes us to a small village in Normandy during WWII. We follow Emma, her family, and the village as they live under the restraints of German occupation. The village citizens work together to stay alive and to help each other.

Emma is a very strong female character that you can't help but sympathize with and fall in love with. She is someone you would love to have had in your village during WWII.

Emma's strength and subtle resistance to the Germans was amazing. Emma knew how to be subversive and still stay alive.

Emma's role in helping to save the residents of her town was to follow the Kommandant's order to bake bread for him and his men every day.

Emma had a secret about baking this bread. She would sneak in two extra loaves to share with the townspeople by stretching the number of required loaves by two.

THE BAKER'S SECRET shows the unity the Europeans had to have in order to survive.

The characters were authentic, and you will become immersed in their lives and suffer with them as well as silently cheer with them when the courage they share turns in to a triumph.

I thoroughly enjoyed THE BAKER'S SECRET. The writing is marvelous and detailed. The book is one you won't want to put down.

If you read only one book this year, make it THE BAKER'S SECRET.

THE BAKER'S SECRET is a wonderful testimony and tribute to the people who lived through and survived WWII. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

I Found You: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Addictive, Fantastic
I Found You


What happens when there is a single woman with three children, a man who doesn't know who he is, a newly married woman who just moved to town, and a family who might have a connection to them at some point?

Alice, Lily, and "Frank" are connected but don't know they are.

Alice invited "Frank" inside her home when she saw him sitting on the beach.

Lily's husband has disappeared and has no clue what happened to him or if she even knows who he is.

"Frank" doesn't know who he is.

I FOUND YOU has odd, dysfunctional, and mentally ill characters but flows well and has a story line that grabs you. I liked the back and forth in time and the back and forth between the three main characters.

As you read you know something is wrong all around. Someone just doesn't disappear, end up back where they may have been as a child, or be in some place a crime had taken place.

Ms. Jewell weaved in a great deal of suspense, intrigue, edge-of-your-seat tension, and a whole lot of I don't want to stop reading in I FOUND YOU even though some chapters were literally frightening and became more frightening as the book continued.

The secret of it all led to an ending with a marvelous twist and surprise. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Insightful
Rise & Shine, Benedict Stone


A knock on the door in the middle of the night could only mean one thing, right? Bad news.

If it were Estelle, though, it would be good news so Benedict decided to answer the knock.

Much to his surprise, it wasn't Estelle, but Gemma who announced that she was his niece from America and she had lost her purse, her passport, and her phone. She wanted to stay with Uncle Ben. What else could he say but yes?

Gemma was a bit on the troublesome side, but she also was good for Benedict since the house was pretty lonely after Estelle left.

Gemma was the one who was helping Benedict change even though Gemma was pretty closed mouth about why she appeared on his doorstep and didn't want to call her father to let him know where she was.

Benedict was sweet but naive and had a heart of gold. He and Gemma grew together, and Gemma helped Benedict in his jewelry shop - a shop Gemma said needed some new ideas and changes just like Benedict did.

Gemma also was playing matchmaker as she helped her Uncle Ben get his wife back.

I thoroughly enjoyed Benedict and felt sorry for him as he worked through living without his wife. His jewelry shop and their love just hadn't been enough for them after they were unable to have children after eight years.

RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE was a heartwarming read about family, about trying new things, and about trying to get what you need in life.

If you need an uplifting read for any reason, RISE & SHINE, BENEDICT STONE fits the bill. It brings back memories and thoughts of the precious things we all have in our lives and truly need to focus on.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was give to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Book of Summer: A Novel by Michelle Gable
 
Book Club Recommended
The Book of Summer

A summer home filled with years of memories, a book filled with years of written memories, and a home that is eroding away and about to fall off the cliff.

The Cliff House, appropriately named, has been the summer home on Nantucket for the Young/Packard/Codman family for over one hundred years. The women maintained the house, but now only Cissy is left, and she doesn't want to give up and face the reality that the house will be falling into the ocean before too long.

To help her mother come to the realization that she cannot continue to live in the summer home, Bess comes back home after four years. The memories are pretty strong for Bess and even more so when she finds the book containing the thoughts of the guests and family members who stayed there, but she can't convince her mother to leave.

THE BOOK OF SUMMER follows the family from 1939 to present day with flashbacks from entries in the memory book kept at the house. I actually enjoyed the present-day story more than the past.


THE BOOK OF SUMMER is a pleasurable read and a book I enjoyed because of the family drama, its secrets, and the characters. The characters are comical and lovable as well as stubborn. The reader gets to meet each generation of the women who kept the house going.


THE BOOK OF SUMMER was a bit confusing at first and didn't grab me right away like her other two books, but it definitely grabs your attention as you meet the characters and learn more about the history of Cliff House. That gorgeous cover draws you in as well.


THE BOOK OF SUMMER is delightful, thoughtful, and a book about families that has you focusing on your family history.


ENJOY when you read THE BOOK OF SUMMER. 4/ 5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Not a Sound: A Thriller by Heather Gudenkauf
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Insightful
Not a Sound

?
As if losing your hearing because of a hit-and-run driver wasn't enough trauma, Amelia and her service dog, Stitch, found a dead body of a fellow nurse on the beach. ??

In addition to losing her hearing and her job as a trauma nurse, Amelia's depression and drinking also caused the failure of her marriage and her income. She desperately needed a job and needed to get back into society because she was still living on her savings after two years and was lonely.
?
We follow Amelia through her days and nights and her fear about the killer knowing she was the one who found the body, her fear about little things happening while she is away from home, her fear about public interaction, and her continued fear of living in her silent world with people who have the ability to hear even though she can sign and read lips.??

We also follow the police investigation with Jake, the head detective, and his protectiveness of Amelia. Is he only being overly protective because he is Ameilia's brother's best friend or for some other reason. Is he also being overprotective when she does investigating herself because she is putting herself in danger by "snooping ?"
?
Ms. Gudenkauf puts you into Amelia's life and has you wondering what it would be like to be deaf as you empathize with Amelia. Ms. Gudenkauf’s research must have been extensive to make the reader completely feel and experience what Amelia was experiencing as she dealt with the everyday trials of her hearing loss and trying to find out who the murderer was.

?The suspense in NOT A SOUND picked up at every turn of the page, and I had a few suspects in mind. Ms. Gudenkauf's writing style pulls you in and keeps you interested and wondering what secrets some of the characters are keeping.

If you enjoy suspense at its best, you won't want to miss NOT A SOUND. I couldn't stop reading. 5/5??

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Beautiful
Before The Rain Falls

As Della was released from prison after her life sentence and returning to Puerto Pesar, The Port of Regret, she wondered if she would regret going back since her life had definitely been a regret for more than one reason.

Della had been found guilty of murdering her sister Eula. The trial and the story became well known, and portraits of both Della and her sister became famous. Eula's portrait, the Santa Bonita, was most talked about and rumored to have actual tears falling from her eyes. Della should have been the one with tears for having to spend her life in prison only four hours after she had married Tomas.

We move to another family in town that also had two sisters and a grandmother that raised them. They were sisters, Paloma and Mercedes, who knew the story of Della and Eula. Paloma went to New York to become a doctor and has returned for a month to take care of her grandmother who had a heart attack. The younger sister, Mercedes, was trouble from the beginning and still was but Paloma was trying to reconnect and help Mercedes.

Another person who knew the story of the murder, Della's prison term, and the crying portrait was, Mick, a reporter from New York looking for a story to boost his career. When all three of these characters meet, an intriguing story is created that you won't want to put down.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a mesmerizing cover and a mesmerizing story line. The characters are very easy to connect with and love. We follow the story and the characters as the author takes us back and forth between what Della's life was like before and during her prison term, when she returns home, and her interaction with the town and its residents. All characters are connected to Della's story in one way or another.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS had me completely absorbed. Ms. Di Maio has a writing style that just pulls you in, allows you to meet characters you will fall in love with, and meet characters you would want to have in your life.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has love, family, tears, heartbreak, and yearning, but ultimately gives you a warm feeling inside.

BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS has a beautiful cover, a beautiful story line, and beautiful, heartfelt characters.

Do NOT miss reading BEFORE THE RAIN FALLS.

It is a perfect book for women's fiction fans and makes you feel the need to hug all your women friends and family. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Boring
You'll Never Know, Dear


When a child disappears, the pain never goes away no matter how long ago it has been.

Lis Woodham's four-year-old sister, Janey, along with her doll disappeared forty years ago and was never found. There were no clues about what happened then and no clues now.

Each year Janey's mother, Miss Sorrel, would put an ad in the paper on the anniversary of the disappearance in hopes that someone would come forward with the doll or information about her daughter's disappearance and earn the reward offered. There never was an answer to the ad for all of those years except for now. Someone saw the ad and brought a battered doll to their house hoping it was Janey's.

Before they could tell if the doll was actually Janey's, the person bringing the doll ran out of the house and disappeared.

This caused more anxiety for the family, and it seemed that once the doll was returned, the family was plagued with danger. Their house was burglarized and then filled with carbon monoxide causing harm to Grandma Sorrel and Lis.

The accident brought Lis's daughter, Vanessa, home to help take care of her mother and grandmother, and Vanessa got involved in the forty-year-old investigation.

YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR was a mystery that will definitely hold your interest because of Ms. Ephron’s talent of drawing the reader into the story.

YOU’LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR wasn't fast paced or gripping, but had just enough intrigue to keep you turning the pages.

The ending revealed quite a few secrets that some of the characters wished had not been revealed and other secrets that were welcome revelations.

YOU'LL NEVER KNOW, DEAR was a good mystery with tense moments and a mystery that will keep you guessing. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Sunshine Sisters by Jane Green
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful
The Sunshine Sisters


Ronni Sunshine is a famous, wonderful, pleasant actress on stage, but at home she is anything but wonderful and pleasant. She has no time for her daughters.

We follow Meredith, Nell, and Lizzy as they grow up in an unloving household with a mother who is more of a tyrant than a mother and a mother who cares only for herself.

The girls flee the nest one at a time and have troubles of their own because of their childhood, but now that Ronni is dying, she wants her daughters to rally around her. Ronni also had something else in mind when she invited her daughters back to their childhood home.

Each sister has a totally different personality, and it was interesting to follow them to see the path each one took. Nell seemed to be the responsible one. Meredith seemed to still be looking for happiness. Lizzy was still the fly-by-night, spoiled one.

The family issues and the different lifestyles the girls led were nicely developed by Ms. Green and could be the lifestyle of any young girl growing up trying to make choices.

This is my first book by Ms. Green. It was an enjoyable read and not something I normally read so I was surprised how her writing and story line pulled me in.

Nell seemed like a genuine person who worked hard in her life to make up what she had missed during her childhood.

Meredith kept speaking to me because of the way she put everyone before herself and kept the peace.

Lizzy was self-centered like her mother, and I liked her the least.

The characters did grow on me as they grew emotionally and made choices they never thought they would.

Women's fiction fans will enjoy this book because of the family drama, the regrets, the healing, and how Ms. Green addressed both family and friend relationships, as well as addressing end-of-life decisions.. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Cocoa Beach: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Confusing, Dramatic
Cocoa Beach


Falling in love and marrying during a war usually turns out to be a good thing, but for Virginia Fortescue Fitzwilliam it wasn't working out.

Virginia fell in love, married, and then spent hardly any time with her husband. The war is over, she still hasn't seen him, and then she returns to the United States to her father and her sister.

Her family has secrets, and she finds out Simon does too. Simon seems to be the perfect manipulator and liar.

We follow Virginia and Simon Fitzwilliam as the book goes back and forth from WWI to after the war and as their love affair blossomed and faded and the secrets Simon held were revealed.

After three years of not seeing Simon, a fire in Cocoa Beach claimed his life, Virginia went there to settle things, and her adventure in Florida begins...well if you want to call it an adventure. An adventure is to be fun, but Virginia runs into trouble and more secrets.

COCOA BEACH had beautifully detailed writing. It was a bit slow at first, but the story line was marvelous as always and filled with mystery.

COCOA BEACH is another winner by Beatriz Williams that keeps you turning the pages wanting to know what really happened and what really was going on.

Something sinister was brewing throughout, and the end will have you saying: What? Who was the bigger liar?

ENJOY if you read COCOA BEACH...a marvelous, thoughtful read with mystery and a lot of questions. 4/5


This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Almost Sisters: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Adventurous, Brilliant
The Almost Sisters



A successful career, an ailing grandmother, a one-night stand, and a Southern family with untold secrets.

Leia had always been close to her grandmother, but did she really know her grandmother? After finding out her grandmother has been suffering with dementia for over 10 years, Leia puts the job she loves on hold and goes to Alabama to see what actually is going on.

What Leia finds at her grandmother's home isn't what she had expected, and coupled with her unexpected pregnancy was a bit ?overwhelmed.

Grandmother Birchie and her life-long friend, Wittie, are delightful characters and characters that can no longer live alone, but are putting up a fight.? When the secret in their attic is found, they get a reprieve from having to leave their home becaus?e the Sheriff ordered them to stay in the state.

THE ALMOST SISTERS had a lot of drama? and a lot of love?. I thoroughly enjoyed the storyline, the Southern charm, and especially the characters. They all were lovable, authentic, and sweet in their own way.

THE ALMOST SISTERS was a very enjoyable first book I have read by ?Ms. Jackson?. She has a marvelous writing style and a women’s-fiction-theme-based story with some characters having unusual problems and others with normal, everyday problems that the reader can relate to.

THE ALMOST SISTERS is a touching, endearing book about family.

I would ?recommend THE ALMOST SISTERS to readers who enjoy Southern living and adorable characters you wish you could spend some time with and will miss once you turn the last page.

THE ALMOST SISTERS is a book that will bring you closer to your own loved ones. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for a honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Insightful, Confusing
Hello Sunshine


"Hello Sunshine” normally meant someone was leaving a compliment on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.

The day of Sunshine Stephens’ 35th birthday didn't bode well for the “hello sunshine” greeting.

Everything she had made up about herself was being made public by a hacker, and no one knew who the hacker was.

Sunshine's life was turned upside down personally and professionally. Not telling the truth from the start backfired on her.

When Sunshine started her career as a TV chef, she should have been truthful and said she was from the Hamptons and not from a Georgia farm town.

Telling the truth was something she hadn't done for years, and telling the truth now had no credence. No one believed anything she said.

Where could the real Sunny Stephens go except back home? When she got home she had a big surprise too.

The characters in HELLO SUNSHINE were for the most part likable, but they also were on the side of deceitful.

HELLO SUNSHINE was an easy, breezy read for me. I loved the cooking theme, and I loved the glimpse into the life in the Hamptons even though it was on the wrong side of town.

If you enjoy people watching, family situations, and food, HELLO SUNSHINE fits the bill.

I enjoyed HELLO SUNSHINE and the wisdom of life decisions which was a major theme. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Bookshop at Water's End by Patti Callahan Henry
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Adventurous, Insightful
The Bookshop at Water's End


A summer home that has been left abandoned for years, but a summer home that Bonny now desperately needs to return to regardless of the pain and memories it holds.

The town of Watersend, South Carolina, was quaint, a treasure from childhood, and had the best bookstore with a marvelous bookstore owner that could pick out a book you "need" not a book that you want.

We meet many likable and believable characters except one in THE BOOKSHOP AT WATER’S END. You are able to empathize with the characters as well as want everything to turn out for them.

The main character, Bonny, was a successful doctor, but a tragic mistake in the emergency room one night caused Bonny to be put on sabbatical and has her deciding to return to the childhood summer home that contains secrets and some happy and not so happy memories.

A happy memory was the friendship between Bonny and Lainey. They were labeled the "summer sisters."

They had made a pact to always be there for each other. Bonny needed Lainey now, and Lainey came back to the house with her two children even though she also had some bad summer memories and really didn’t want to.

The bookstore and its owner were definitely a happy memory. Mimi, the bookstore owner was marvelous. Any book that has a bookstore and a book club in it definitely makes the story line even more appealing.

Two not-so-happy memories and ones that were difficult to forget gnawed at both women. The disappearance of Lainey's mother and Bonny's love for Lainey's brother, Owen, who was the love of her life, but a love she could never get to stay were memories difficult to get over.

The book’s setting was perfect, and the descriptions of the house, the town, the beach, and the ocean put you there with the characters sharing their days and their feelings both good and bad.

THE BOOK SHOP AT WATER'S END was a warm, inviting read bringing women together for what we do best - support each other.

This was my first book by Ms. Henry, and it was a delightful, summer treat.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Child by Fiona Barton
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Addictive
The Child


An unsolved mystery resurfaced when a baby's skeleton was found at a building site.

Along with the skeleton, three main characters emerge too. Kate is a reporter investigating the story. Emma is a nervous adult who became intrigued as well as possessed when she sees the story of the baby. Angela is the mother whose baby disappeared more than 40 years ago never to be found.

THE CHILD took a while to get interesting simply because it was a bit slow, and there were too many characters thrown in. I was lost with so many different characters and couldn't seem to figure out the connection until around half way through the book so don’t give up because it is worth the wait.

As the pages turned and I reached the halfway point, the book started making a connection for me and kept my attention. The mystery became intriguing.

The characters seemed genuine for their roles, but something was odd and different about each of them.

This was my first book by Ms. Barton so I imagine I needed to get used to her writing style and her attention to detail.

There are some good twists to the story as well as some disturbing subjects that are addressed.

All in all, THE CHILD is a good read that will keep you guessing. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Breakdown: A Novel by B. A. Paris
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic
The Breakdown


For three years, Cass Anderson had been taking care of her mother who had dementia.  It has taken its toll on her, and has also made her worry that she too may have dementia some day.

The worry actually seemed to be coming true since Cass has been forgetting everything including appointments, where she left money given to her to buy a gift, and lunch dates.

On her way home from a work party, Cass passed by a car on a deserted road and didn't stop because the driver gave no indication that any help was needed. The next morning the news announced that a woman had been murdered on that same road.

The guilt Cass felt from not stopping to help caused her memory to get worse and her fears that the murderer saw her that night and was after her escalated.  She did get phone calls that had no one on the other end of the line as well as many other instances that made her think she was heading the path of her mother. Was it dementia or stress?  Or could it be someone making her think her memory was declining.

THE BREAKDOWN was very tense, and did have me thinking someone was purposely doing all of these things to stress her to the point of losing her memory and deciding to not go back to work.

THE BREAKDOWN had me turning the pages as well as being nervous for Cass, but it was nothing like the tension and terror of her first book.

As the ending neared, the suspense was very high as the truth came out.

I sort of figured out toward the end what was going on, but the plot and revelation were carefully and cleverly carried out by Ms. Paris.

ENJOY!!  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.For three years, Cass Anderson had been taking care of her mother who had dementia.  It has taken its toll on her, and has also made her worry that she too may have dementia some day.

The worry actually seemed to be coming true since Cass has been forgetting everything including appointments, where she left money given to her to buy a gift, and lunch dates.

On her way home from a work party, Cass passed by a car on a deserted road and didn't stop because the driver gave no indication that any help was needed. The next morning the news announced that a woman had been murdered on that same road.

The guilt Cass felt from not stopping to help caused her memory to get worse and her fears that the murderer saw her that night and was after her escalated.  She did get phone calls that had no one on the other end of the line as well as many other instances that made her think she was heading the path of her mother. Was it dementia or stress?  Or could it be someone making her think her memory was declining.

THE BREAKDOWN was very tense, and did have me thinking someone was purposely doing all of these things to stress her to the point of losing her memory and deciding to not go back to work.

THE BREAKDOWN had me turning the pages as well as being nervous for Cass, but it was nothing like the tension and terror of her first book.

As the ending neared, the suspense was very high as the truth came out.

I sort of figured out toward the end what was going on, but the plot and revelation were carefully and cleverly carried out by Ms. Paris.

ENJOY!!  4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Wildling Sisters


Applecote Manor in 1959 was home for Perry, Sylvia, and Audrey as well as the summer vacation place for the Wildling sisters Margot, Flora, Pam, and Dot until the summer Audrey disappeared.

When Audrey disappeared, the girls never went back until one summer when their mother decided she needed to get away from it all. She sent her daughters back to Applecote Manor to stay with their aunt and uncle.

This summer wasn't the best for anyone, though. The close knit sisters drew apart, and Margot was obsessed with finding out what really happened to Audrey. Along with everything else, Aunt Sylvia did a few odd things and kept things from the girls.

Meanwhile back to present day at Applecote Manor. Applecote Manor has just been bought by Jessie and Will against the wishes of their rebellious teenage daughter, Bella, who is mourning the loss of her mother. Bella gives her stepmother, Jessie, a rough time by continually making hurtful comments to Jessie about how she isn't her mother. Once Bella finds boxes of her mother's things, the comments get worse.

Bella also feels that Applecote Manor still houses the ghost of Audrey and her family. A few things happen that might make that true especially since Bella is living in the attic rooms where Audrey lived.

As we go back and forth, we find out the personalities of the characters are mostly carefree in 1959 until the disappearance of Audrey and quite tense in present day.

THE WILDLING SISTERS grabs you from the first sentence. Ms. Chase's writing is marvelous, enticing, and detailed.

I enjoyed both the present and past stories and loved the descriptions of Applecote Manor and its grounds when they were in pristine shape and in present day when both the house and grounds needed a lot of work.

If you like mysteries and family drama, the WILDLING SISTERS is for you. It has a hint of Gothic and an undertone of foreboding.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Adventurous
The Cottingley Secret


Can Olivia have some connection to Elsie and Frances who lived 100 years ago? Can Olivia find it?

Is the connection somewhere in the pages of the rare books in the bookshop, SOMETHING OLD, that Olivia's grandfather left her? Is it in the story she finds that leads her to believe in herself like Elsie and Frances believed in fairies?

Olivia lives in present day and finds a manuscript in her grandfather's things that refers to fairies. As she reads the manuscript and deals with her unhappy life at this time, she believes her grandmother knew Frances.

Olivia is excited that she inherited the bookshop, but doesn't know what to do with it. What decision will she make about the bookshop and her life? Will she decide to move to Ireland and run the bookshop and most importantly follow what will make her happy or marry the man that she realizes isn't the man she should marry?

We move to 1917 and visit with Elsie and Frances who are cousins and live under the same roof since Frances moved there from South Africa while her father was called to serve in the war.

Frances is a precocious child and believes she sees fairies at the beck, but no one believes her . She and Elsie get together to prove the fairies are really there, and their story becomes a sensation.

THE COTTINGLEY SECRET took a few pages for me to connect, but once I got hooked and also realized that this fairy story was famous, I couldn't stop reading.

I loved how the book went back and forth from 1917 to present day, and I truly enjoyed the secrets and connections between the characters from both time periods as they were revealed.

Who doesn't love a book that has a bookshop in it? And who doesn't love an old bookshop with secrets and memories that might help you make personal decisions and find connections?

Hazel Gaynor's books are always magical whether there is magic in them or not.

And…her books are always filled with love.

ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Persuasive
Emma In The Night


Two sisters disappear after a fight over a necklace, two sisters leave no trace except a pair of shoes and a car on the beach, two sisters leave and then one sister returns after three years.

The police have questions for Cass about where she and Emma were, but Cass can't pinpoint where they have been held captive for the past three years. Cass only knows it was an island.

EMMA IN THE NIGHT moves along as we join in the questioning of Cass by the police and a psychologist. Cass tells all, but holds back some things on purpose. What Cass doesn't hold back is what she wants to shock her mother with because her mother was abusive and a narcissist.

Mrs. Martin as Cass calls her mother was the reason they left. Cass's story about their three years away was filled with half truths, and Cass seemed to lie quite a lot about many things.

The characters all seemed mentally disturbed and as if they had to be top dog competing with and against each other.

As the book continued, the tension about the story of the girls leaving home and the investigation increased. You never knew who to trust or to believe.

EMMA IN THE NIGHT is definitely a psychological thriller. The most interesting aspect was learning about narcissism and how it affects an entire family. It actually was an education and thoroughly frightening to learn about this disorder.

Readers who enjoy unusual family drama along with intense psychological situations to the point of unbelievable will enjoy EMMA IN THE NIGHT.

The ending was exceptional and unexpected, and the book was a bit disturbing. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Bring Her Home by David Bell
 
Book Club Recommended
Bring Her Home


A teenager not being home at curfew time, a phone call no parent wants to get, and a lot of questions.

Summer and Haley were the best of friends since first grade, and now that they are teenagers they share secrets and go everywhere together.

Going everywhere together one fateful night turned into a nightmare for Bill, Summer's father, and Haley's mother.

The police were investigating everyone who had known the girls and everything that had happened to Bill and Summer before and after the death of Summer's mother a year ago. I suspected a few characters as I continued reading and one in particular.

The police never had a handle on things because something new would turn up to turn the investigation back to square one. Some of the findings were unbelievable.

BRING HER HOME led us through the horror of a child gone missing and dying as well as learning the steps taken in a police investigation with this type of crime.

The characters and their emotions were credible, but trusting a few of them was difficult. Bill was very emotional to the point of doing crazy things, but who wouldn't when your daughter was missing. The teenagers did some things that were quite unimaginable. The neighbor, Adam, was too nice to be believable.

The secrecy of teenagers was one of the major themes and was very well done by Mr. Bell.

My only criticism is that BRING HER HOME was a bit long and dragged out.

All in all, though, the book kept me guessing, and the end was good. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

At Wave's End: A Novel by Patricia Perry Donovan
 
Book Club Recommended
At Wave's End


You won a bed and breakfast in yet another contest, Mom? Please say I am not hearing you correctly?

Poor Faith. Her mother, Connie, has always entered contests ever since she was a child and has never won, but then she wins this one which seems unbelievable because of the prize. Connie has won this prize after writing an essay about why she should win the bed and breakfast, and Connie is determined to come all the way from New Mexico to claim and see her prize.

Faith lives in New York City and accompanies her mother to the bed and breakfast at Wave's End at the Jersey Shore. As predicted, the place is in bad shape and nothing like the pictures in the contest.

As Faith argues with her mother about the "prize," a hurricane is making its way up the coast. Faith goes back to New York and then returns as the hurricane is gaining in intensity to make sure her mother is safe.

Faith finds more than she wants to find when she returns with her mother's impulsiveness being a very big problem this time.

AT WAVE'S END is an enjoyable read with characters that were very believable and lovable. A mother/daughter team is always a treat because it can go two ways: the best it can be or the worst it can be. :)

You will be comparing your relationship with your mother and might see some similarities as well as differences.

Secrets kept for a long time and finally revealed are part of AT WAVE'S END, but do they bring mother and daughter closer or farther apart?

Food was another major component with three of the characters being chefs, and who doesn't like to talk about food and gorgeous kitchens?

If you need a fun, light, heartwarming read that shows the resiliency of and the generosity of mankind, then you will not want to miss AT WAVE'S END.

It has something for everyone and the reason I enjoy women's fiction....family, love, tenderness, surprises, a few tears, and warmth.

ENJOY!! I certainly did. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful
Silver Threads


When Drew Bishop gets the phone call any spouse would dread, he never knew how awful things would be.

Drew's wife, Jennifer, was shot during a robbery simply by being in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The robber, Tom, had a twin that was in prison for worse crimes. When the twin, Eddie, was released, the evil continued where they had left off because Eddie wanted revenge for the death of his brother.

The characters in SILVER THREADS were all lovable, gentle, and people you would love to have in your life except for Eddie who caused grief.
The little that we read of Jennifer showed her to be the best mother, wife, and person anyone could wish for.

Brooke was a sweet girl who had to deal with the loss of her mother who was her very best friend.

??A life without her mother is extremely traumatizing for Brooke as she tries to work her way through it all and as her father tries to be both mother and father and still make a living.

Ms. Crosby's books are filled with love and family and carry a theme of a sweetness for life. You are pulled in as always by the story line and the characters.

Ms. Crosby’s books are filled with goodness and a zest for life and knows how to turn bad into good. I needed tissues for some of the parts because they were such heartwarming situations.

SILVER THREADS was a beautiful, heartfelt read as all of her books are.

Don’t miss reading yet another touching, uplifting book by Ms. Crosby. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Mother Like Mine


Your mother returning after no contact for 20 years? Would you be happy or resentful?

Abby was actually shocked that her mother came back to the small village of Hartley-by-the-Sea in England after being in New York. Her mother, Laura, left when Abby was two, and rarely kept in touch.

Laura went on with her life without her daughter, and her mother took care of Abby for her. Her mother now has Abby as an adult and her grandson living with her since Abby's fiancé was killed.

The Rhodes women own a coffee/ice cream shop and live in the attached apartment.

Laura's return caused hard feelings for all and an upset in the living arrangements.

The characters were believable in the sense that similar relationships do exist.

I loved Mary, the grandmother.

Abby was likable.

Laura wasn't too likable, but became somewhat likable as the book continued.

A MOTHER LIKE MINE is a book that made me appreciate my mother and the love and care she selfishly gave to all eight of us.

A MOTHER LIKE MINE was a bit slow for me and out of my usual genre, but I loved the setting of the book and the premise of the book was good.

If you enjoy family interaction and drama, A MOTHER LIKE MINE is a book you will want to read.

ENJOY if you read the book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Inspiring, Brilliant
Glass Houses


A conscience - we all have one, but do we know what may be on another person's conscience or even on ours that may bother us?

When a hooded figure appeared on the green in Three Pines and stayed without moving for three days, all the residents were tense and wondered what he was doing there. Did the hooded figure date back to the historical Cobrador who collected debts?

Armand Gamache, Chief Inspector, kept an eye on the figure and could do nothing within his powers to remove him. But...why is Armand Gamache now on the witness stand testifying about a death that occurred during the time the hooded figure was present?

We follow the situation by being introduced to the trial and then back again to the events in Three Pines with the hooded figure standing on the village green. The trial has something going on besides the trial, though, and the judge seems to be picking up on it.

Louise Penny has given us another beautifully written, intellectual, intriguing plot that will have you glued to the pages, thinking about what a conscience really is and how it helps or hinders one's choices, and feeling for Gamache as he must defend all that happened in the quiet village of Three Pines.

GLASS HOUSES had me confused during the first few chapters, but once GLASS HOUSES got going another fantastic Louise Penny read and outcome awaits you with the endings always being brilliant and unexpected.

Don't miss reading the latest from Louise Penny. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Persuasive
Love and Other Consolation Prizes


Leaving your mother at age five, going with a stranger, and living in the bowels of a boat to America was not something anyone would wish for a child but what was done back in 1909.

Yung had to leave his mother because they both were starving, and her hope was for a better life for her son.

When Yung got to America, his name was changed to Ernest, and he spent his first few years at a school where he was always the underling even though a rich woman, Mrs. Irvine, was paying for his room and board.

One day Mrs. Irvine told Ernest she was taking him to the World's Fair. She didn't take him to enjoy it, but to be auctioned off in a raffle as a strong, healthy boy.

Ernest ended up being won by the owner of a brothel as a houseboy, and the place he met his wife.

Now his childhood and his life before children and marriage were coming to light. His daughter is a reporter and is investigating the World's Fair and stories she heard about those who attended. She knew her father had been there and wants to know everything.

Ernest didn't want to tell his daughter his story because then she would find out about her mother's life at that time. It was a life that wasn't anything to be proud of. Gracie was now suffering from dementia, and Ernest was hoping she wouldn't accidentally remember the life she led when she was young and tell her daughter.

We follow Ernest from his childhood to present day and learn what life was like for him in both times. We get a well-researched glimpse into everyday living during the early 1900’s as well as the life in a brothel.

LOVE AND OTHER CONSOLATION PRIZES is another marvelous, stunning, beautifully told story by Jamie Ford with characters that will steal your heart.

Mr. Ford knows how to tell a story and keep your interest with his meticulous historical research, his history lesson, and his superb writing style.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book - I hope you are able to also read it. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Dramatic
The Trust


Being away from Ireland for 16 years had not eased the feelings a few of Liam Taggert's cousins had for him.

Liam had moved to Chicago from Ireland 16 years ago on bad terms, and now that his uncle had been murdered, he returned for the funeral.

What Liam returned to was his being chosen as the Trustee of his uncle's will and a task that was both dangerous for Liam as well as his family. There were a lot of stipulations set in the last will and testament for distribution of the estate as well as hard feelings because Liam had been out of touch and was now in charge.

Liam now wished he hadn't answered that phone call not more than a week ago. If he had ignored it, he may not be in the legal predicament he was put in by his uncle nor the danger it was causing the entire family both in Ireland and the United States.

Being Trustee carried a lot of responsibility as well as legalities family members didn't want to understand. The family also couldn't understand why Liam wouldn't break the rules and tell them the details of the last will and testament of Uncle Fergus.

To further complicate things, the Taggert family was getting threats and notes indicating payback time. No one was sure who was murdering members of the Taggert family, but forty years of hatred, vengeance, and fighting still ran deep among the Northern Ireland residents.

The Taggert family was an interesting lot, and the murders and family mystery were intriguing.

THE TRUST is beautifully written and so well written that you smoothly move along and become captured in the story line and the characters.

If you enjoy books set in Ireland, mysteries, murders, and family drama, you definitely do not want to miss reading THE TRUST.

I truly enjoyed the book and found it difficult to put down. ? 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Drawing Lessons by Patricia Sands
 
Book Club Recommended
Drawing Lessons


Arianna and Ben had the perfect life...childhood sweethearts, family-owned business, and most importantly each other.

Their perfect life was shattered when Ben was diagnosed with dementia at a young age. As the disease progressed, it became more and more difficult to cope with the illness to the point of Arianna's children worrying that they were going to lose her too.

The children booked their mother a trip back to her beloved France where she had spent a month or so during college. The trip was for two weeks at an art retreat to try to take her mind off of the stress of Ben and her loss of him even though he was still living.

Arianna met wonderful people at the art retreat, but would the trip and the time away help her to realize she is alone and must learn to cope with the loneliness?

DRAWING LESSONS has absolutely marvelous descriptions that put you right into the story and into France soaking in the landscape and drooling over all the delicious-sounding food.

The characters were ones that would be great to be with. They all had their quirks as well as their endearing qualities that made the group well-rounded and enjoyable as companions.

If you enjoy traveling, reading about France's beautiful landscapes and life of the French people, French artists especially Vincent Van Gogh, making new friends, and helping another person to feel welcome and overcome a problem, then DRAWING LESSONS will be an enjoyable read for you.

DRAWING LESSONS was a beautiful, heartfelt story about truly examining your life for the pleasures you have enjoyed and the pleasures you need to look for and experience. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Odd Child Out: A Novel by Gilly Macmillan
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Interesting, Dark
Odd Child Out

Best friends sometimes do unexpected things. Abdi and Noah were best friends and did something that no one would expect.

The unexpected incident obviously brought the police in along with the two silent friends. Noah was put into a coma because of his injuries, and Abdi wasn't talking.

ODD CHILD OUT was definitely a study of personalities and human emotions. Each character seemed to not fit with each other, and I thought it was odd that they were family members as well as friends. I did like the "bucket list" that Noah and his father compiled, but one part of the bucket list is what caused a problem the night of the incident.

ODD CHILD OUT has us following along with the police in their investigation after Noah is found in the canal and an eye witness says she saw the best friends arguing. When Noah who is terminally ill with cancer is found floating in the canal and Abdi, his best friend, had been with him, no one knows what to think. It is difficult to imagine these boys doing anything out of the ordinary because they were star pupils.

We also follow the story being told by Abdi and Noah about what really happened as the friends silently re-live it in their minds.

The descriptions and the character development are very good and help you visualize the scenes and totally experience the emotions of each character which were mostly fear, loss, and questioning. You also feel the weight of lies and silence, truths untold, and prejudices.

ODD CHILD OUT is an emotional, tense book that will make you think and question.

Another excellent read by Gilly MacMillan. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Welcome Home Diner


Food and family equal love, and The Welcome Home Diner in Detroit definitely oozes with love.

Addie and Sam's grandmother taught them the love of and joy of making fresh food, and they both knew that opening a diner was something they were destined for.

Opening a diner in the new Detroit was a challenge, but a challenge that was proving to be very fruitful. The fresh food offered at the diner drew in the crowds along with great reviews from food bloggers. The only problem was the neighbors and specifically the next door neighbor to the restaurant.

The next door neighbor was grumpy and reluctant for the change, and the entire neighborhood was not happy about rebuilding that area.

We follow the cousins through the ups and downs of owning the restaurant as well as the ups and downs of their once-close relationship.

The descriptions were so beautifully detailed in THE WELCOME HOME DINER you could see the butter dripping down the sides of the pancakes and smell the delicious soups and sandwiches being served.

The descriptions also allowed you to experience the characters' feelings for each other, their passion for food, and for Detroit. You will also experience the kindness and love for mankind.

I enjoyed the banter between the characters and the uplifting feeling THE WELCOME HOME DINER gave off. The cover ITSELF is very welcoming.

If you are a fan of food and love, THE WELCOME HOME DINER fits the bill.

I truly enjoyed the book and the characters, but felt it could have been shortened a bit. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and NetGalley in return for an honest review. I also reviewed this book for the GREAT THOUGHT'S NINJA REVIEW TEAM.

The Stolen Marriage: A Novel by Diane Chamberlain
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Addictive, Insightful
The Stolen Marriage


Tess, Tess, Tess, what did you do? Is that the only decision you could have made?

Tess was engaged to her childhood sweetheart, Vincent, and to be married within the year, but she went on a weekend trip that she didn’t want to go on with her friend and something awful happened that changed her life and her plans.

Tess found out she was pregnant from the weekend away and broke her engagement to the love of her life, found the man who raped her, and married him.

She was moved from Baltimore, Maryland, to Hickory, North Carolina, had to change her religion, and had to live in Hank’s family home with his mother and sister who both disliked her along with the entire town. She ruined her life and Vincent’s life, but it was 1943, and did she have any other choice?

We follow Tess through her days of actually being an outcast and in a loveless marriage.

There were a lot of secrets in the Kraft family and especially with her husband, Hank. He would leave and not come home at night or not come home for days. I didn't like any of the Krafts and felt awful for Tess. She was an innocent, unassuming girl whose life was ruined.

Despite the unlikable characters, the writing and story line of THE STOLEN MARRIAGE are marvelous as always with the backdrop being the South during WWII with all their proper, Southern ways and the polio epidemic.

Ms. Chamberlain includes the history of Hickory's Emergency Infantile Paralysis Hospital that took care of polio victims.

The book smoothly moved from page to page pulling you into the story and consuming you with the intrigue and tension as everything unfolded making it difficult to put down.

THE STOLEN MARRIAGE can only be described as addictive, amazing, and fantastic.

A MUST READ - my favorite of her books. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Blackbird Season

A husband, a father, a teacher, a coach, and now a suspended teacher accused of having an affair with a student.

Did it really happen, though, or did Lucia make it up?

Nate was always involved with this students on a personal level and helped the ones who appeared to be in distress. Did this backfire on him?

THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is mainly about the characters and their lives after the blackbirds fell and after Lucia disappeared. Did Lucia have anything to do with the blackbirds falling from the sky or did the blackbirds have anything to do with Lucia's disappearance? Her fellow students do call her a witch.

THE BLACKBIRD SEASON is considered a thriller, but it didn't seem like a thriller to me. I saw it more as an investigation into people's lives and what some people have to go through on a daily basis or during a crisis.

Addressing teenagers and their behavior was a major theme as well.

The book has four main narrators, and we hear from each one and how each one is connected to each other and to the situation.

The intrigue for me was in the behavior of the characters. The characters did grow on you toward the end as you became familiar with their lives instead of feeling annoyed with them.


Nate seemed to be too helpful for his own good.

Poor Alecia was so overwhelmed with her special needs child and had no clue about anything her husband, Nate, did.

Bridget, still mourning the loss of her husband, seemed genuine and a bit shaky about the situation Nate was in since he was a good friend.

Lucia was a troubled teenager with a bad home life and a teenager who needed attention and got attention in the wrong way.

The flocks of blackbirds seemed to serve as the background for the ominous situations that occurred in the small, gossip-ridden, mill town of Mt. Oanoke, Pennsylvania.

The book kept my interest because I wanted to see what happened to Lucia and if Nate would be found innocent. The suspense definitely was not edge-of-your-seat.

If you enjoy digging into the lives of folks and their emotions along with a lot of questionable choices, THE BLACKBIRD SEASON should be a good read for you.

Let me know what you think of this book. I started out with a rating of 3/5, but raised it to a 4/5 because the ending was suspenseful.

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Net Galley in return for an honest review.

The It Girls: A Novel by Karen Harper
 
Book Club Recommended
The It Girls


An authoress and a dressmaker on the loose.

Nellie and Lucy were sisters and were mischievous from the start. They went through thick and thin together.

The time was early 1800's and women were to be wed and not be in a trade, but the Sutherland girls didn't abide. Well Lucy didn't. Nellie sort of did, but she still had high hopes of her books being published, and they were published.

We follow both girls from their childhood to becoming adults. The writing pulled you into the story line and kept your interest with the antics of Nellie and Lucy.

Both women are delightful, strong, and enthusiastic about their chosen choices for what they decided they wanted to do.

They both had "it" - charisma and charm.

I enjoyed how excited Lucy was about her dressmaking business and how Nellie was happy or seemed happy with her life with her husband in the beginning.

Lucy's gowns were named for passion further increasing the moving forward of women. Some thought the names and her products were scandalous.

Nellie’s books were considered scandalous as well.

One of the gowns was titled: DO YOU LOVE ME.

Along with the gowns and the scandalous books her sister has been writing, the two women kept moving forward making a name for themselves. :)

We follow their business dealings and their love life.

THE IT GIRLS is set in the late 1800's when these two feisty women want to change from only being homemakers to being able to handle a career as well.

If you enjoy cheering on women who most likely led the way for all women to make a name for themselves, then you won't want to miss reading THE IT GIRLS.

The cover is dazzling just like the two main characters.

My only complaint was that the story line dragged out a bit at times.

If you enjoy determined women, fashion, and books, you will love THE IT GIRLS. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Tahoe Payback


What could possibly have motivated a murderer to leave his victims in such horrific positions? Revenge? Payback? Or just plain evil?

The murderer would hang the victims upside down with items in their mouths that would indicate something about what they had done.

TAHOE PAYBACK opens with a murderer walking the victim to her place of death. The method of death was pretty grizzly, and this wasn't the end of the terror.

When McKenna is approached by a man who says his girlfriend is missing and needs McKenna’s help, he gets involved in this and other similar cases. This woman was the unlucky first victim hung upside down with roses in her mouth.

Victim Number Two was also hung upside down with a tennis ball in his mouth along with a plastic tennis player wedged in the side of his mouth.


Victim Number Three was hung upside down from an Amtrak train and had military medals in his mouth.

We follow McKenna as he investigates in his unorthodox, but workable ways. It always is a treat to see how he looks for clues and works alone as well as with his Great Dane, Spot.

As McKenna investigates, he finds corruption in a huge charity that Victim Number One was in charge of. The victim ran a multi-million dollar collection scam and kept all the money herself.

TAHOE PAYBACK seemed a bit more gruesome than Mr. Todd's other books. The murder scenes were chilling. Can you imagine being hung upside down?

Despite the extra grizzly scenes, the writing was marvelous as always, had a great story line, and hinted at the unscrupulous dealings of some charities.


We also get to re-visit with Street, McKenna’s girlfriend, and her dog Blondie.

If you have never read a Todd Borg novel, you need to...non-stop action, tension, lovable characters, and you always learn something new.


TAHOE PAYBACK is another Todd Borg mystery you won't figure out.


If this is your first book by Todd Borg or you are a loyal fan, you won't be disappointed.


ENJOY!!5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Millard Salter's Last Day by Jacob M. Appel
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun
Millard Salter's Last Day


Millard Salter was a psychiatrist who talked people out of committing suicide yet he wanted to avoid old age and its trials so he was planning his own suicide with no one stopping him because no one knew.

We walk with Millard on his last day as he visits patients and his family members and thinks about this being his last day. He avoids any promises so he won't feel bad when the promise can't be kept since he won't be here.


MILLARD SALTER'S LAST DAY isn't morose or morbid. In fact, Millard makes you laugh out loud with his last day antics and his last day actually being his birthday.

A few unexpected people stopped to see him on his "big" day, and he wondered how they knew what day it was going to turn out to be. Then they would say Happy Birthday, and he knew that is what they meant about his big day.

We get a trip down memory lane with Millard as well as learn some psychiatric trivia.

All in all, MILLARD SALTER'S LAST DAY had marvelous, detailed writing and characters.


MILLARD SALTER’S LAST DAY had some touchy issues discussed, some sad moments, and an unexpected ending. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and Net Galley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Seven Days of Us: A Novel by Francesca Hornak
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Fun, Interesting
Seven Days of Us


Seven days of togetherness along with secrets and tension make up the Birch family's Christmas holiday this year.

Emma has a health secret.

Andrew has a really big secret from his past.

Olivia has something she has to keep secret while in quarantine.

Phoebe really doesn't have a secret but is very self centered.

Staying in Emma's family estate is a bit challenging since Emma doesn't like to change anything from when she spent time there as she grew up. Things are old and decaying, and the technological side of it is very slow.

I wasn't sure what this book was going to be like at first, but once each chapter began to reveal things about each character, it became a very good read for me.

I laughed a lot as well as worried a lot. The funniest thing was that each year they planted the Christmas tree back in the same spot and uprooted it again for the next Christmas. The worries about their secret were intense for some of the characters, and I worried along with them.

SEVEN DAYS OF US was well written and a light read even though some of the issues were not light. The family grew on me to the point that I would have liked to be quarantined with them.

An enjoyable read that will have you wondering what decisions you would have made about your secrets and situations. SEVEN DAYS OF US also has some heart wrenching events.

Excellent debut novel - marvelous writing and detail as well as a great story line. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own. Also participating in the reviews for Great Thought's Ninja Review Team.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Paris Secret


An apartment hidden for 73 years and forbidden by the owner to be known to anyone, but why?

The children didn't even know about it until the apartment was broken into.

Once the apartment was revealed to the children, in comes Flora and Angus, well-known art dealers and auctioneers. And what a find in that apartment closed for 73 years...famous paintings, artifacts, and the home left as it had been when the family lived there.

Flora was in her domain and in her glory over this, but some things didn't seem right with the Vermeil family - the children were obnoxious, and their parents seemed excited but a bit disinterested in the apartment and its contents. Something else must be behind all of this.

We follow Flora as she investigates the contents of the apartment and the path of sales of the Renoir from the painter to each seller. She came to a standstill when she found out that a dealer who dealt with the Nazis was the last recorded owner of the Renoir. If that was where it ended, no one would want the painting. Then when Flora went to Vienna to meet someone who had the companion painting to the Renoir, another surprise awaited her.

Mystery, intrigue, and deceit abound in THE PARIS SECRET.

I truly enjoyed THE PARIS SECRET. It was a bit of mystery mixed in with history. I was impressed at how much research goes into checking the authenticity of paintings. It actually was quite fascinating along with the excitement of recognizing the names of famous painters.

This was my first book by Karen Swan and am sorry I have never read anything else by her. The story line is interesting, the writing is marvelous and very descriptive.

If you love Paris, drama, art, finding treasures in old buildings, and a bit of romance, THE PARIS SECRET won't disappoint.

The secret revealed in the ending pages was excellent. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Poison: A Novel by Galt Niederhoffer
 
Book Club Recommended
Poorly Written, Addictive
Poison


A whirlwind romance opposed by her mother, a marriage made in heaven, and a move across the country. Was the move part of Ryan’s plan to have no family around for Cass?

A second chance with a man that she never dreamed would come into her life after her husband died was what Cass needed, and Ryan fit the bill.

Everything was perfect wasn't it? A perfect marriage, three perfect kids, and a loving relationship until..…

The Connor family looked perfect on the outside, but the Connors were not perfect at all. Ryan and Cass started out as the dream couple until Ryan showed his true colors of physical as well as psychological abuse. When Cass would confront him with things that happened, he would turn it around and make her feel as if she were the guilty party.

Ryan went from the perfect loving husband and father to an abusive monster that Cass put up with and even denied.

POISON had good writing that pulled you in, but it seemed to drag on and brought up one crazy situation after another.

Domestic abuse was the main theme of POISON and very upsetting, but not as upsetting as some domestic thrillers. It definitely is frightening how often domestic abuse occurs and how many books have this as a theme.

Cass made some very stupid decisions that put herself and her children in danger when she knew she should have just left. It was pretty tense at those moments.

POISON was not a bad read, and the ending was unexpected, but it could have been shortened.

It definitely is a psychological thriller and makes you wonder who you can truly trust.

I would not recommend reading this book if you have been in a similar situation.

If you like intense situations, you will enjoy POISON.

I read it very quickly because I was nervous about what would happen. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
The Woman in the Window


Separated from her husband and daughter, agoraphobic, psychiatrist, neighbor watcher, photo taker.

Anna Fox was all of those, but mostly agoraphobic. Anna hadn’t left her home for ten months and even rented her basement to a young man who could do errands for her so she wouldn't have to leave the house.

To pass the time, Anna would sleep, drink wine, take her meds that were not to be taken with alcohol, spy on the neighbors, wonder what they did, and pray that no one ever saw her looking at them through her camera lens. You do have to feel sorry for her because agoraphobia is a crippling disease.

Anna saw things she shouldn’t see and heard things she shouldn’t hear, but she said it isn’t any of my business so she left it. One night, though, she saw something she shouldn’t have seen and reported it to the police anyway.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW dragged on talking about Anna’s days and her chats with people on the computer about their shared disease.

The dragging immediately ceased and the tension immediately mounted when Anna saw her neighbor get stabbed, when she called 911, when no one believed her, when she started to investigate, and when she became more paranoid when out-of-the-ordinary things started happening to her.

THE WOMAN IN THE WINDOW kept my interest, but it wasn’t edge-of-your-seat or gripping until the last half of the book. The ending had enough gripping action to make up for the slow start.

I think the oddity of Anna and her situation kept things going in the first half of the book along with the wondering about the reason for the separation from her family.

All in all, if you can get past the beginning, you are in for a marvelous psychological thriller and lots of surprises. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

The Wife Between Us: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Wife Between Us


Don't marry Richard...you don't know what you are getting yourself into.

Vanessa was Richard's first wife and wanted to warn her replacement to not marry Richard. Vanessa also had some mental issues or maybe she didn’t and was made to think she did.

The entire book was a guess what or guess who and then it all became changed with a new guess what or guess who.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US switches back and forth in time with all the characters. The book gives hints about the main issue, the husband, and his possessiveness, but it is very subtle.

THE WIFE BETWEEN US was confusing but a good confusing because the authors wanted it that way….brilliant tactic!!

The ending had me saying HMMMMM, but the only way to experience the book is to make sure you read it yourself and form your own opinion. I don't think anyone can tell you what to think or surmise. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The English Wife: A Novel by Lauren Willig
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Insightful
The English Wife

A murder in an aristocratic household? Unheard of and especially during a ball with hundreds of guests in attendance.

Bay, Annabelle's husband and Janie's brother, could not have killed his wife and then killed himself. Janie was determined to find out who the real killer was.

We follow the family as the book goes back and forth in time making the connections for us about who was who and what the circumstances were.

And what marvelous connections and secrets this family has.

The biggest bomb shell came right after Bay and Annabelle were killed.

A family member of Annabelle arrived at the house to give his condolences, but also gave some unsettling information about Annabelle.

THE ENGLISH WIFE was very proper, and the characters were portrayed as very proper as was expected in the 1800's, but were some who they said they were?

THE ENGLISH WIFE was difficult to connect with at first, but then the book became difficult to put down.

The ending revelations will be "burning" in your thoughts and have you wanting to talk about the book with everyone.

If you enjoy the 1800's, drama of privileged families, mystery, and secrets, THE ENGLISH WIFE will be a late-into-the-night read. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Carnegie's Maid: A Novel by Marie Benedict
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Romantic, Insightful
Carnegie's Maid


Clara Kelley needed to help her family financially since their 20-acre farm in Ireland was slowly being sold to pay their bills.

The best place her father thought she could be of help was in America. Since she was educated and not really suited to be a farmer's wife, off to America she went in search of work, but she was not sure why it was to be in servitude.

Clara made it across the ocean and into the household of the Carnegie family in Pittsburgh. She became the lady's maid for Mrs. Carnegie.

While there, Mrs. Carnegie's son, Andrew, became enamored with Clara because of her intelligence and love of reading. They always talked about books and having a library that is free to the public and the working man.

CARNEGIE'S MAID takes us through the everyday life of Andrew Carnegie, his brother, Tom, and their mother as they build their fortune. Andrew Carnegie was very philanthropic in his latter years.

This was the first book I have read by Ms. Benedict. Ms. Benedict has a beautiful, pull-you-in writing style. I enjoyed her prologue explaining why she wanted to write about the Carnegies.

CARNEGIE'S MAID flowed smoothly and had perfect detail. I live in Pittsburgh and enjoyed hearing the names of towns and streets.

CARNEGIE'S MAID kept me interested and engaged in the story line. It was an excellent read even though the maid Andrew fell in love with and the woman who influenced him is fictitious.

A thoroughly enjoyable book for historical fiction fans and those who want to learn about Andrew Carnegie. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Sisters Like Us


Two sisters, two different life styles, but the same mother that always was perfect and critical.

Harper was the sister who made everything from scratch and owned a virtual assistant business that she tried to do all alone. She struggled with her finances since her husband left her for a younger woman, left her with a teenage daughter, and left her with no financial help.

Stacey was the sister who was a brilliant, successful scientist who never thought she would be pregnant and keeps denying the fact that she is to be a mother soon. The worst thing was that she still hadn't told her overbearing mother she is expecting.....that definitely won't go well.

SISTERS LIKE US was a light read that addressed everyday situations with spouses and teenagers and some actual family situations that could happen even though they were stretched to the limit a bit.

I enjoyed SISTERS LIKE US and enjoyed most of the characters including Bunny the overbearing, critical mother. There were some laugh-out-loud moments as well as some what-are-you doing moments. Some parenting advice as well as some romance was included. A book always needs a little romance.

If you need a fun, heartfelt read, give SISTERS LIKE US a try. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

As Bright as Heaven by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Difficult
As Bright As Heaven


From a small town in Pennsylvania as a family rolling tobacco leaves for a living to Philadelphia as a family living and working in a funeral home.

The Brights made a big change from their quiet life in Quakertown to the noisy, big city of Philadelphia. Both the city and the job Thomas Bright had were quite different from what they were used to.

The girls had to leave their friends and make new ones, but most folks weren't interested in being friends with a funeral director's daughter. Pauline Bright was always solemn and quiet since the death of her infant son, but she seemed a bit better but different in Philadelphia.

Along with the change in their lives comes Thomas going off to war and then the Spanish flu arriving full force and killing thousands.

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has the reader following and becoming immersed in the lives of the Bright family. They were a sweet, unassuming family that you will want to be a part of and to get to know better.

The reader will also learn about The Spanish Flu and its devastation of the population around the world. If you are like me, you will do research of your own about the Spanish Flu.

Ms. Meissner has written another touching book that teaches us some history as well as teaches us about the goodness of mankind and its generosity in times of a crisis.

Another marvelous, heartfelt read by Ms. Meissner you won't want to miss. You will fall in love with the characters and won't want the book to end.

AS BRIGHT AS HEAVEN has a beautiful story line, beautiful research, and beautiful characters.

You will also need a few tissues. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher, NetGalley, and BookishFirst. I received an ARC. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Where The Wild Cherries Grow


A lost woman, an estate in shambles, a diary, and the South of France. Who doesn't love all of these things...especially a diary.

Bill Perch was left to the task of finding Emeline Vane by searching the run down family estate for clues about what happened to her. When he arrived, he found trees growing out of the roof and a total mess. Where is Emeline after all of these years, and why has Hallerton House been left in such a state?

When Bill entered the house, he did find a room of boxes and papers and began his search there. When he dug into a floor board and found a diary with Emeline's name on it, he knew his search was most likely over, and that he hit the jackpot. Bill was happy but also sad because he truly and unfortunately had become attached to Hallerton House and Emeline.

I was very curious to see what Bill would find in those musty papers and diary, and if he could find out where Emeline went. For me, looking through old papers would be such fun.

I always enjoy books that move back and forth in time and have treasures to search through as the pieces of an earlier age are put together to get to the truth or mystery.

WHERE THE WILD CHERRIES GROW was an incredible read for me. I became engaged with the characters and the setting.

Oh to be there on Bill's journey and to be with Emeline, Clemence, and Aaro to smell the delicious aromas, taste the food, and see the beautiful landscape. The description of the food will have your mouth watering.

Ms. Madeleine has a smooth, beautiful writing style that pulled me in and kept me intrigued with the story line.

The ending was marvelous. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Beautiful, Adventurous
Next Year In Havana


The Perez girls were the talk of the town for many reasons.

The day they had to leave Cuba was not pleasant but a necessary event.

We meet the girls when their family was prosperous and in power, and then we move to when the granddaughter of Elisa Perez, Marisol, comes back to Havana as a grown woman and a journalist to find a place to spread her grandmother’s ashes in her beloved Cuba.

What her granddaughter finds is a box that her grandmother had buried and was told to keep for Marisol. What Marisol finds inside the box is upsetting and reveals something no one ever knew or perhaps something Elisa never told anyone.

Marisol is determined to find out more, but is warned about the danger of looking into someone's past.

Ms. Chantell has a mesmerizing effect on you as you read about the adventures and lives of the Perez girls and of living in Cuba then and now.

Her descriptions of the scenery, the kitchens, the food, and simply everything is detailed, beautiful, and exquisite.

Let’s not forget that absolutely gorgeous cover, and remember that no book can be complete without a little bit of love and romance.

The book was a lesson in the history of Cuba and its people. If you have an interest in the history of Cuba, NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA will be a book you won't want to miss.

The secret that Marisol finds out about her grandmother is sweet but heartbreaking.

ENJOY if you read NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Sunburn: A Novel by Laura Lippman
 
Book Club Recommended
Sunburn by Laura Lippman


Two men, more added on, one woman, many lies and a lot of deceit.

SUNBURN has your brain burning to find out what is really going on.

Polly has just left her husband, Gregg, and her daughter, Jani, while they were at the beach. She had it planned, but we don't know why.

Gregg was ready to leave the marriage, but Polly took off first.

Adam is also mysterious because we don't know what he is up to since he showed up at the same time Polly did and decided to hang around and work at the same place Polly found a job.

The suspense continues non-stop as secrets come out and Polly keeps manipulating and planning. She has a secret she won’t tell and things she needs to take care of.

Surprises continue to pop up, and the intrigue intensifies as Polly continues to secretly and mysteriously do what she does best.

Wow...Ms. Lippman has outdone herself with this book.

Absolutely loved it...the entire storyline and ending were great!!

Ms. Lippman has written another psychological page turner which is going to be a favorite.

SUNBURN is truly a masterpiece of suspense!! One of her best. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher, Bookperk, PageTurners, and Edelweiss in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Dark
The Family Next Door



An exclusive neighborhood, a safe neighborhood, a neighborhood with couples and children. Added to this perfect place came a single woman who didn't really fit it, but wanted to get to know everyone.

Who could Isabelle be, and why would she move into this neighborhood that she really didn't fit into?

Each of the five main characters tried to be friends, but each has something to hide or something they aren't happy about.

I also questioned if the husbands had something to hide as well.

Ange always has to be in control, but we don't know why.

Essie has problems being a mother.

Fran has a secret she finally reveals to her husband.

Barbara is Essie's mother and a perfect mother and grandmother.

Isabelle is the questionable one.

Lucas seems to be a lady's man.

Ben does seem sweet, but withdrawn.

Nigel seems clueless about everything even though he is brilliant.

THE FAMILY NEXT DOOR doesn't refer to one family but to all the families in the neighborhood. They all seem to have access to each other's homes and all seem to be involved in each other's lives, except for the secrets.

At the beginning it seems like a soap opera, but don't be fooled. It is wonderful and heartwarming.

The ending is a marvelous revelation of a lot of secrets and a lot of love.

ENJOY when you read Ms. Hepworth's newest gem. 4/5

I received this book free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Let Me Lie by Clare Mackintosh
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
Let Me Lie


Both parents committing suicide at the same exact spot seven months apart seemed a bit strange. Anna extremely missed both her parents but didn't know how much until a horrible reminder arrived in the mail.

This horrible reminder had Anna rethinking the possibility that her parents really didn't commit suicide but had been murdered. She never thought her parents would kill themselves and leave her without them.

Anna asked for the case to be reopened, and a retired policeman, Murray, was taking on the job.

No one knew Anna had asked for this case to be re-opened, but it sure seemed as if they did. Strange things started happening that even her husband dismissed. Was she in danger too?

Meanwhile we have another voice being heard in the book. The voice is the voice of Anna's mother watching Anna and being elated that she has a grandchild and also not very happy that Anna was digging into papers that might put Anna in danger depending upon what she would find.

Anna’s mother does some odd things like going into the house when it is empty and looking for things and specifically a key. What could the key be, why is it important to her, and how is she in the house if she is dead?

After this, the intrigue began...secrets were being revealed, impossible things happening, ghosts, seeing things that couldn't be there, feeling her mother’s presence, and the reader wondering what Anna’s mother was looking for and what she was trying to protect Anna from or protect herself from.

LET ME LIE has GREAT twists and is another Clare Mackintosh book you won't want to miss. You won't see it coming and ask yourself how you missed it.

The tension at the end makes this one her best yet. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Beautiful, Optimistic
The Recipe Box


A recipe box for her thirteenth birthday? Is that what Sam really wanted?

Probably not, but it made her mother and grandmother happy so Sam accepted it and made her first pie.

THE RECIPE BOX was a gift no thirteen-year-old wanted, but it was a gift that kept on giving throughout Sam's life.

We follow Sam as she leaves her loving Michigan home and goes to New York to attend culinary school. She was a hit in New York, but her boss was a fake. To her family’s delight Sam decided to come back home.

Sam comes back to the love and warmth of her family and their bakery and orchards. Was she really ready for this? Did she make the right decision by coming back home?

All of the characters were lovable, but Grandma Willo was my favorite as was the story from her youth and her life.

Grandma was simply someone you would love to have as your grandmother because of her positive attitude and attention to making sure her family was happy in everything they chose.

THE RECIPE BOX is a “sweet,” loving read that makes you want to go into the kitchen and be with grandma making the pies and other delicious desserts.

Each chapter was titled with a recipe and inside each chapter we get to join in the family fun and view the ingredients and directions for the yummy food the family makes.

THE RECIPE BOX is for anyone who loves to bake with family, who loves recipes, who loves family history, and who enjoys being in a beautiful setting.

You most likely will shed a few tears not because of sadness, but because of the warmth and love that oozes from the characters and from things they say.

THE RECIPE BOX is a book that is an uplifting, make-sure-you-make-the-right decisions in your life by following your instincts and embracing change.

THE RECIPE BOX was definitely written WITH love and for those the author loves. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review

The Broken Girls by Simone St. James
 
Book Club Recommended
Dark, Dramatic, Brilliant
The Broken Girls


Idelwild Hall being renovated but not being made public? Did the mysterious woman and her son that were doing the renovation know something no one else knew?

One good thing about the renovation was that it meant Fiona would be able to get inside the school grounds where her sister was found dead on the football field twenty years ago.

Fiona still had questions about her sister's death, and this would be the perfect time to investigate.

THE BROKEN GIRLS moves from 1950 when we meet the four main characters and then back again to present day with Fiona using her journalist's skills to write a story and find more clues to what happened at the school. It looked like more than what the public knew.

During her investigation, Fiona finds something else that happened that was kept from the public.

Fiona’s investigation heats up when she finds a teacher who was at Idelwild Hall during its hey day. The teacher let Fiona know that no one liked being there - students and teachers alike.

There was something at the school that was sinister and something that everyone wanted to keep quiet or perhaps something they didn’t know about but kept the students and teachers on edge.

You won’t want to put THE BROKEN GIRLS down.

THE BROKEN GIRLS has lots of secrets, along with ghosts, mean girls, and a school that was for unwanted girls for a reason.

This was my first book by Ms. St. James. Her writing is mesmerizing, detailed, and draws you in so well that you feel as if you are right there with the characters and the drama.

Murders, an old boarding school, corruption, and an awesome story line await the reader. And...how about that cover? A great indication of what is inside.

ENJOY when you read THE BROKEN GIRLS during daylight hours. LOVED the book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Not That I Could Tell: A Novel by Jessica Strawser
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Optimistic, Interesting
Not That I Could Tell



Women enjoying a care-free night, a night that turned into telling too many personal things, and then a morning that turned out badly.

The women of Yellow Springs and their specific neighborhood were all busy with work and children and enjoyed spending time with each other, but did they really know each other?

They all questioned themselves the morning that Kristin was found missing along with her twins, her mother's china, and a million dollars.

Her estranged husband moved right into the house and kept a vigil as he waited along with the neighborhood. Did he have anything to hide, was he the reason for Kristin's leaving, or did she leave for her own reasons?

The police questioned everyone in the neighborhood and school. Meanwhile two of the neighbors had some problems of their own. Clara had something in her past that still haunted her, and Izzy had her sister's husband as her problem.

We follow along as the police and the community try to figure out what would have made Kristin leave, where she is, and is she safe?

Each chapter was headed with statements that left obscure clues but clues that kept you guessing who the unidentified character was and what they had to do with the situation.

NOT THAT I COULD TELL moved smoothly along with enough hints at what may have happened, that you felt for the characters and wanted to be there to join in the investigation and in their lives.

NOT THAT I COULD TELL was an intriguing, tension-filled mystery that increased in intensity as the secrets and surprises were revealed along with other underlying themes.

If you enjoy guessing and wondering, you will enjoy Jessica Strawser's newest book. 4/5

The book was given to me as an Advanced Reader by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Brilliant
A Matter of Chance


Had the kidnapping of Vinni actually been planned? Were Rudy and Hilda watching and planning each time Maddy and Vinni were at the beach?

Maddy couldn't stop blaming herself for Vinni's disappearance. Why didn't she have her cell phone with her instead of having to run back to the house to call the ambulance for Rudy. Was his accident really an accident or had Hilda planned that on her own too?

We follow the police investigation as well as Maddy's own investigation and share Maddy's pain as she mourns the disappearance of her daughter. Maddy did annoy me a little when she did her own investigation that might have hindered the investigation. I am sure I would have done the same though.

There were not that many characters in the story, but you did get to know each character well. Ms. Maloney described each character in detail and will have you feeling as if you are sitting right there with them and experiencing what they are experiencing.

A MATTER OF CHANCE has beautiful, detailed writing and a smooth, pull-you-in story line. You won't want to stop reading because of the engaging situations.

Mystery fans as well as suspense fans will enjoy A MATTER OF CHANCE.

There are a few sensitive topics addressed, but this book is a marvelous, moving read that will fill you with terror as well as love. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author in return for an honest review.

The New Neighbors by Simon Lelic
 
Confusing
The New Neighbors


Moving into a house they never thought they would get.

Moving into a house with all the previous owner's things left inside.

Moving into a house and finding things that should not be there and hearing things.

Syd and Jack were excited to move into the house they actually got for a bargain, but things they didn't bargain for happened.

The neighbors were a bit odd as well.

THE NEW NEIGHBORS was difficult to connect with for me because of the writing style of the author. It was confusing when the chapters went from one character to one situation with hardly any connection for me.

There are many characters and many stories going on but it always comes back to that house Syd and Jack bought. Even Syd’s mother sees something in the house that made her upset when she stopped for the first time.

There also were some things that I wasn't comfortable with like drug use and mental abuse, but I continued to read because I had to find out what the story was with the house.

THE NEW NEIGHBORS had many broken, hurt characters that all stemmed back to their childhood and to one person. Could it be more than one person causing all the grief?

This book is definitely a psychological fest. It plays on your mind just like the author has others play on the minds of the characters and story line.

Everything doesn’t seem to be what it appears to be.

If you enjoy characters that are secretly twisted and a story line that keeps you wondering, watching, and waiting, THE NEW NEIGHBORS is for you.

It is difficult to rate this book because it held my interest, but it also was frustrating. 3.5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by NetGalley in return for an honest review.

After Anna by Lisa Scottoline
 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Dramatic, Unconvincing
After Anna


Anna, Anna, Anna...she finally has come home to her mother, but what should have been a joyous occasion after seventeen years turns into a nightmare.

Anna and Maggie were apart for seventeen years. Maggie’s husband falsely accused her of abusing their infant daughter and took her away. Anna connected with her mother after her father was killed in a plane crash.

Maggie had remarried and lived with her loving husband, Dr. Noah Alderman. Everyone accepted Anna into the family even though Anna balked at their rules.

AFTER ANNA takes us back and forth in time as we follow the trial that has Dr. Alderman fighting for his freedom, and we are taken back to the days BEFORE Anna's return and DURING Anna’s return home to her mother after seventeen years.

Anna had her mother believing everything she told her whether it was true or not, and Maggie was not believing anything her husband said about Anna.

I didn’t like Anna the moment I met her. Something just told me she was manipulative, cunning, and evil.

Ms. Scottoline has written another fantastic thriller filled with tension that will keep you on the edge of your seat along with characters that you will not like and some that you will want to tell to wake up and see what really is going on.

Everything was PERFECT until Anna arrived.

Do NOT miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
Then She Was Gone



A very odd set of characters awaits the reader in THEN SHE WAS GONE.

Two families are the main focus and somehow they become blended by a chance meeting.

Laurel’s family has been mourning their daughter Ellie’s death for ten years, and then her body is found. Meanwhile the family has fallen apart - a divorce for Paul and Laurel and sort of an estrangement between their children. Floyd‘s family has a precocious daughter, Poppy, who looks like Ellie and a sister that is quite different.

The more time Laurel spends with Poppy, the more confused she becomes about her personality, her outlook on life, and how Laurel sees her dead daughter in Poppy.

Laurel finds clues that seem to connect Floyd and Poppy to Ellie.

THEN SHE WAS GONE had an undercurrent of doom and sinister things lurking. The sinister thing seemed to be the tie to all of the heartache the characters were experiencing both present and past.

THEN SHE WAS GONE kept my interest, but I can't say it was a thriller until the past was coming into the picture and the book went back in time to tell us the story of how Ellie went missing. It was more of a study of personalities and families as well as lies.

If you enjoy a turn-around, revealing ending with a few creepy characters, you will enjoy THEN SHE WAS GONE. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Husband Hour by Jamie Brenner
 
The Husband Hour


A hero, a widow, a filmmaker. They all had something in common and that was Rory Kincaid.

Rory is a former star hockey player and a war hero killed in the line of duty. Lauren is his widow who is hiding from the world. Matt is a filmmaker who wants a story and confirmation about Rory’s life from Lauren, and Lauren wants nothing to do with talking.

We also get to share time at the family’s beach home and see the interaction or lack of interaction between everyone.

THE HUSBAND HOUR had me reading quickly because I wanted to see if Lauren would really break down and be interviewed for the documentary on her deceased husband, but the book was slow for me and could have been shorter.

THE HUSBAND HOUR had a lot of family drama and decision making on the parts of the characters. Each family member had an issue, and Beth, the mother, tried to manage it all without success and with grumbling and resentment from the family members.

I enjoyed the present day interactions more than when we were hearing the story of Rory.

If you enjoy the beach and characters that don't interact well with each other but do carry the story line, THE HUSBAND HOUR will be for you.

You will also find out the meaning of the book's title as well as become educated about traumatic brain injuries that athletes incur.

THE HUSBAND HOUR will appeal to many, but I just couldn't connect with the characters or the story line.

There is a surprise at the end. 3/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Waters & The Wild: A Novel by DeSales Harrison
 
Book Club Recommended
The Waters & The Wild


A patient, a poem, a death, a post office box, and Father Spurlock. What do all of these have to do with Dr. Daniel Abend and his patient, Jessica Burke? Father Spurlock wants to know too.

Jessica had been a patient of Daniel’s, committed suicide, and with careful planning somehow had mailed letters to Daniel after her death and then three years later.

The puzzling thing was how that letter could have been mailed by Jessica when she had been dead for three years? Another thing that confused Daniel is that from these papers, he now knew that everything in the investigation was not revealed or seen by the police.

Daniel continued to receive letters about the death. These papers also brought back memories of what happened long ago in Paris.

When Daniel’s daughter, Clementine, disappears after she finds something about long-ago Paris, and then shows up at Father Spurlock’s telling him that her father mailed him something, Father Spurlock became more confused because he had received nothing.

Then all of a sudden letters and clues begin showing up, and Father Spurlock was extremely bothered by them because his only connection to Jessica Burke was when he did the service for her funeral, and he had no idea why he would be involved in whatever was going on. He is also bothered because Daniel was the one directing all this correspondence to him, telling Father Spurlock the story, and putting the responsibility on him.

THE WATERS & THE WILD has a gorgeous cover that rivals with the gothic, troubled, complicated story inside.

THE WATERS & THE WILD has beautiful writing - detailed and elegant. The author's style itself seems like a poem.

There are a lot of powerful and sometimes very deep, thought-provoking passages. I would call this book very scholarly in the writing aspect.

I enjoyed the book because of the writing and the SLOW march to the revelations. It did drag on a bit at times along with confusion, but all in all it turned out to have a very interesting, brilliant ending.

THE WATERS & THE WILD is a story of love, regret, revenge, and secrets.

If you like slow, steady, odd, and addictive, you will like this book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Elizas: A Novel by Sara Shepard
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Interesting, Dark
The Elizas


Eliza and Dot - one is a real person, and the other is a character in Eliza’s book.

The similarities are striking and a bit confusing.

We follow both Eliza and Dot as they move through situations both in real life and in Eliza's book.

The book begins as Eliza was pulled out of a swimming pool, and no one believes that it was an accident since she previously tried to commit suicide. Doctors and family members also question her story and her memory about many things, but are they just trying to make her think she can’t remember things?

THE ELIZAS was odd, but interesting. The characters seemed to be trying to put Eliza in a bad light even though Eliza’s publicist met with her and said the stunt with the pool was a brilliant tactic for publicity.

Were they really worried about Eliza or their book sales? Was anyone really worried about Eliza or just themselves?

Eliza couldn't let everyone think she had purposely jumped in the pool and was more interested in clearing up the story the police are telling everyone about the pool incident than worrying about publicity for her book.

Each chapter was titled Eliza or Dot, and the ending of the chapters about Eliza seemed to have someone questioning her memory. When Eliza asks a question about a situation since she can't remember, the other characters confirm that it is someone she knew or a situation that had happened. Each chapter parallels each other with a similar situation for each character.

THE ELIZAS was a psychological fest. Did I or didn't I do that? Did I or didn't I remember that situation? Is the character in my book really me?

THE ELIZAS was a bit confusing at first and kept me guessing. Once a few things were revealed, the tension mounted and things came together, but the oddness continued.

More than one story seemed to be going on at once throughout the book.

Be patient and read carefully when you read THE ELIZAS. You never know who may be lurking. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

When Never Comes by Barbara Davis
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
When Never Comes


From rags to riches. From running away as a child to running away as an adult.

Christy-Lynn had her share of bad times as she was growing up and thought when Stephen Ludlow, famed author, married her she was done with struggling and bad times.

But...Stephen Ludlow wasn't exactly who he appeared to be. When he was found in an icy river after a crash, details were not something Christy-Lynn wanted to know. Stephen wasn't the only person in his car when they pulled him out of the river, and the other person wasn't his wife.

Christy-Lynn couldn't handle the press and snuck away in the middle of the night just like she did when she ran away as a child.

Christy-Lynn was better off as an adult running away and found the perfect place to settle. She stopped and fell in love with Sweetwater,Virginia, and its residents. Missy and Dar became her friends and helped her through the days.

When Christy-Lynn decides to stay in Sweetwater, she buys a bookstore and is happy again. She is happy again until someone from Stephen's past appears and "spills the beans" about who she really is.

We follow Christy-Lynn through the good times and the bad as she recovers.

WHEN NEVER COMES touches on healing, friendships, being there for someone, love, and is filled with lovely and not so lovely surprises.

Another beautiful, touching book by Miss Davis. Her writing is warm and welcoming.

Has a NEVER ever come true for you?

Don’t miss reading WHEN NEVER COMES.

LOVED IT. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the author and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

The Way of Beauty by Camille Di Maio
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Romantic, Insightful
The Way of Beauty


Vera Keller was in love with Angelo since she scraped her knee as a child and fell in front of his newspaper stand.

Vera thought she would one day be his wife, but realized that her station in life most likely would prevent that from happening. Her father worked as a Sandhog with men that built the underground train tunnels, and her mother worked in a garment factory. Both jobs ruined her parents' health and their lives.

Vera grew up, and when she was seventeen, she thought meeting Angelo at their appointed time was going to be it. He was going to ask her to marry him, right? Unfortunately, that didn't happen. He introduced Vera to his fiancee.

The good news, though, was that Pearl was a Suffragette, and she wanted Vera to help her. Being able to help Pearl would allow her to be close to Angelo. It was very difficult, though. Her heart ached every time Angelo smiled at her, but then Vera found out something that changed everything.

THE WAY OF BEAUTY is a beautiful book about love, family, Suffragettes, the building of Penn Station in New York and has characters you will fall in love with.

Vera was my favorite simply because of her innocence, goodness, perseverance with dealing with the trials she had to deal with as a woman at this time in both her personal life and public life.

Ms. Di Maio has written another amazing, warm, heartfelt, well-researched, detailed book, that takes you with the characters on their journey and into their lives.

All of Ms. Di Maio’s books warm your heart and allow you to feel her passion about causes and the human race.

THE WAY OF BEAUTY is a MUST read. You won't be able to experience all the emotions that are inside unless you read it.

As for the title, it has the perfect word in it...BEAUTY. The book is a beautiful tribute to mankind, love, caring, and living a good life. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by NetGalley and the author in return for an honest review.

The High Tide Club: A Novel by Mary Kay Andrews
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting
The High Tide Club



Finding her childhood friends and making amends was one of Josephine Bettendorf Warrick’s dying wishes. Josephine and her two childhood friends had created THE HIGH TIDE CLUB during one night of fun.

The girls were lifelong friends until Josephine had words with them. Brooke Trappnell was hired by Josephine to find these women or their descendants because she wanted to leave her island to them since she had no children of her own.

Josephine is an ornery woman who wants what she wants. Brooke desperately needs the money so she takes this job.

Brooke wasn’t sure she would legally be able to take on this assignment because she and her mother surprisingly were named in the inheritance that included twenty acres of land and a pink mansion.
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THE HIGH TIDE CLUB is set in Georgia and has eccentric, fun characters. We follow Brooke as she goes on her search for these women and/or family members.
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We also get the treat of going back to 1941 and seeing first hand all of the antics and mischief THE HIGH TIDE CLUB girls got into along with secrets kept and heartaches.

Ms. Andrews smoothly goes from one time period to another linking both stories and keeping your interest with her marvelous, detailed writing style and story line.

The fun of finding these friends and/or family members made this book delightful. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters and the story line.

The story line became better every time I turned the page and especially when secrets were revealed about Josephine’s life and those in it.

The characters were the highlight for me as well as the location.

The island, its history, and its description made you want to be there with the characters.

I enjoyed the lives of the characters in 1941 as well as the present-day family members.

This was my first book by Mary Kay Andrews, and it was a very pleasing, entertaining read.

If you enjoy family sagas, secrets, and mysteries, you will want to read THE HIGH TIDE CLUB. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Paper Ghosts



Dementia, a photographer, murders...do they all point to and describe Carl? Is Grace wrong about still thinking that Carl murdered her sister and other women even though he was acquitted of murder?

Grace has been looking for her sister and the person who took her and killed her since she disappeared on her way to her babysitting job.

Grace believes Carl took her sister, and she had a plan on how to trap Carl into confessing and leading her to where her sister is by taking Carl on a ten-day trip across Texas trying to jolt his memory.

Carl is smarter than Grace had anticipated, and her job is more difficult than she expected. Grace also seemed a bit disorganized for all the research and planning she did.

Carl was frightening simply because he didn’t seem stable, but did he act the way he did and treat Grace the way he did because he really did have dementia or was he two steps ahead of her for some other reason?

I would have been afraid to be alone with Carl had I been Grace.

Not knowing what to expect next would have had me taking Carl back immediately or not even attempting this trip in the first place. :)

PAPER GHOSTS is very well written, a bit evasive, and chilling. Ms. Heaberlin weaves an absorbing tale with intriguing characters. Her detailed writing is marvelous.

If you think you would enjoy a stressful, not sure why Grace is doing what she is doing “ride,” you won’t be disappointed in the twists and turns and situations that come up.

PAPER GHOSTS is my first book by Ms. Heaberlin, but she definitely knows how to pull you along and keep the suspense going. Dementia was also addressed.

ENJOY if you read this book. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Endless Beach


Flora quit her job as an attorney in London and moved back with her family on the Isle of Mure in the Scottish Highlands to work in the bakery.

Much to her surprise, her boss, Joel, decided to join her.

Flora didn’t know what to expect, but she didn’t expect love. She finds out Joel had a difficult childhood in foster care and doesn’t want to open up about it. That is a secret Joel keeps, a secret that causes problems for him as well as Flora, but this definitely adds interest to the story line.

THE ENDLESS BEACH sounds like a wonderful place to vacation and relax. I don’t think I would want to live there because of the remoteness, but the simple, stress free life would be lovely.

We follow Flora, Joel, Saif and Flora’s brothers as lives, interests, secrets, and personalities are revealed. Each character had a story - some sad. some happy.

It took a few pages to get everyone connected and to grab my interest, but the bakery, the whales, and the atmosphere on the Isle of Mure made it a very appealing read.

If you enjoy being in a quaint, lovely place and enjoy visiting with unforgettable, lovable characters, THE ENDLESS BEACH is a book you won’t want to miss. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended


Two women coming home for two different reasons to the place they loved and the place with many memories.

Linnea had finished college, and Cara was coming home to be with family.

Linnea came home from college and had no choice but to return, and really didn’t want to be in her childhood home with all the drama and the rules.

Cara came home because her husband had passed away a few years earlier, she adopted a friend’s baby, and she wanted to have her daughter grow up where she grew up with family and summer beach memories.

Both women needed something, and with Linnea being Cara’s niece, the problem was solved because Linnea was going to be Cara’s nanny. That would save Linnea from staying with her parents all summer and would be a warm remembrance of her childhood times at the beach house, Primrose Cottage. Cara would get to spend time with her niece to catch up and have someone to finally help her so she wasn’t alone.

BEACH HOUSE REUNION was a very pleasant, heartwarming read that made you want to for the most part be in the Rutledge family and in Primrose Cottage as well as Sullivan's Island.

Everything about the book was comfy and inviting.

The characters and the beachy setting were quite pleasant.

Learning about loggerheads, surfing, seeing the love between family members and others, and joining in the family fun are some of the reasons you will want to read this book.

I actually want to learn more about the sea turtles (loggerheads). It sounded fascinating, and the excitement the characters had about them had me wanting to learn more.

BEACH HOUSE REUNION is an easy, sweet read that will be a perfect addition to your summer reading list. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Dreams of Falling by Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Romantic
Dreams of Falling





Larkin needed to come home from New York because her mother was missing.

What she found was that over the years a lot of things were missing and quite a few things were kept secret.

Larkin found secrets about her mother and her family at every turn.

When she asked why she wasn’t told, the answer was ignored or she was told to wait until her mother, Ivy, wakes up and to ask her.

Larkin wondered how long she would have to wait for her mother to wake up. She also wondered how long until she found out everything.

Ivy had been found near death at the old homestead, Carrowmore, underneath a rotting staircase.

Carrowmore had been a favorite childhood place of her mother and her friends where they put "wishes on ribbons" into the opening of a tree.

As the book continued, the plot thickened, and Larkin kept finding out more and more about what had been kept from her and how some close family members were not as they appeared.

DREAMS OF FALLING was a bit confusing at first in the character department. It took me a while to figure out who belonged to who and what their connections were. The connections became more tricky and quite intriguing as things were revealed.

We learn of the secrets kept and of the lives of the main characters by going back to 1951 and then returning to 2010. I really enjoyed seeing the three friends in their youth. Their current lives didn’t seem as exciting, but their youth and family history as with all of us had a major influence on their lives now and the paths they had chosen.

DREAMS OF FALLING started out not feeling like Karen White’s usual books because of the confusing character problem, but once the book got going, the familiar writing, the marvelous story line, the Southern charm, and warm characters made its appearance and made the story line completely wonderful and enjoyable as always.

DREAMS OF FALLING is another marvelous treat.

Despite the confusion with the characters at the beginning, DREAMS OF FALLING is another Karen White masterpiece that pulls you in and keeps you loving each turn of the page.

I hope you enjoy it too. 5/5

I received an Advanced Reader of this book. All opinions are my own.

Boardwalk Summer: A Novel by Meredith Jaeger
 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Inspiring, Adventurous
Boardwalk Summer


Mari, Violet, and Ricardo have a connection.

No one knew about the connection until Mari decided to do some research.

BOARDWALK SUMMER smoothly goes back and forth from 1940 to 2010.

Violet is married, enters a beauty pageant in 1940, wins the pageant, but then relinquishes the win because only unmarried women are allowed to enter. She also gives up the crown because her abusive, controlling husband was furious. Violet then does a few unlikely and out-of-character things.

Mari is an unmarried mother in 2010 who works as a waitress even though she has a history degree. Her history degree has her uncovering information about Violet and the history of a gazebo where her grandparents met while dancing. The gazebo is currently slated to be torn down, but Mari just can't let that happen. Her research leads to unpleasant secrets about the connection between Violet and Ricardo as well as many other family secrets.

Ricardo is Mari's grandfather who used to perform on the Boardwalk. He and Violet were friends.

BOARDWALK SUMMER was a beautiful read for me. The story line and the characters are heartwarming and unique.

Mari was precious along with her entire family. Violet was sweet, but naive. You can't help but feel pangs of pity as well as love for both of them.

Historical fiction fans, those that enjoy family sagas, and anyone who loves an endearing story about families and their family history will enjoy BOARDWALK SUMMER.

Don’t miss reading Ms. Jaeger’s newest gem. Loved it.

Tissues needed not for sadness, but for the happiness I felt for the characters. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Lost For Words Bookshop


Loveday Cardew works in a bookshop owned by Archie.

Working in a bookshop is perfect for Loveday because she is a shy almost introverted person through no fault of her own.

THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP is a lovely read and will make you jealous of Loveday’s job, but not of the heartaches she keeps hidden.

Besides the books and the bookshop, the characters in THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP are the best, especially Archie....loved him. He is a bit on the unorganized and fly-by-night type of person, but he loves his job, loves Loveday, and loves how Loveday helps him keep the shop going.

Loveday is lovable, sweet, and a bit on the odd side.

Nathan is someone I would like to know and someone very sweet to Loveday.

Rob was annoying and unlikeable.

The secondary characters worked well with the main characters and added mystery and tension.

As THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP goes back and forth in time, a few mysteries and secrets about Loveday’s childhood are revealed.

Her family history definitely explained her closed-mouthed-about-her-feelings, lost-for-words personality.

If you like books, bookshops, wonderful characters, a bit of mystery, and secrets kept, THE LOST FOR WORDS BOOKSHOP is for you.

I’m sure most readers fall into most of those categories, so you won’t want to miss reading this charming, alluring read.

The cover itself draws you in.

There are some heartaches in it, but for the most part it is a lovely, bookish read.

ENJOY when you read this book. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended


Two women, two different life styles, two children the same age, and then one disappears.

Ethan went missing from a school event held overnight at a camp in a wooded part of Georgia.

Ethan was a bullied child and Sammy was a coddled, spoiled child who was the bully. Funny thing is that they resembled each other. The question was if Sammy was the target instead of Ethan.

The search reached far and wide, and the only clue was a trail of clues left by Ethan and a phone call from the kidnapper.

THREE DAYS MISSING moved at as frantic a pace as the search. Ms. Belle left us hanging at the end of each chapter with a clue that wasn't revealed until another chapter.

As the search reached the forty-one hour mark, a school meeting was organized, and parents started telling what their children remembered.

Could the children's revelations be the big break through?

Did one of the children know more than they were telling?

Could Kat and Stef become friends after this even though their children were not friends?

Could they really share the grief of a missing child?

But...most importantly can Stef help with finding Ethan or will she have problems of her own that need to be taken care of?

If you like mysteries that have unexpected twists and turns, THREE DAYS MISSING will need to go in your stack of to-be-read books.

THREE DAYS MISSING pulls you in and keeps you guessing along with the characters.

You won’t want to stop reading because of the subject matter and because of the way the book is set up. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher and NetGalley in return for an honest review.

Before and Again: A Novel by Barbara Delinsky
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring, Insightful
Before And Again


These things can't be happening to me can they?

Maggie is a good person but still hasn’t healed from the emotional scars from the death of her daughter or the divorce from her husband.

Maggie moved away to make herself anonymous after the accident and hadn't seen her husband for four years. He now shows up in the new town she has moved to, but why?

Another problem besides her ex-husband then surfaces. Maggie is still on probation because of the automobile accident and is not to associate with other felons, but a criminal incident occurs that makes Maggie think about being there for her friend instead of thinking of herself. Her probation officer thinks differently.

We follow Maggie as she deals with her struggles and as she goes about her days as a makeup artist and an artist that works with clay. I definitely would want to go to the spa where Maggie works and be pampered.

All of the issues that were addressed and dealt with by Maggie were frightening, but handled well by her. The personal issues were more difficult, and the criminal issue addresses current problems that could occur with the digital world we live in.

Most of the characters are ones you would want to connect with.

Maggie was someone who had a heart and was a hard worker.

Kevin was a terrific friend and confidante.

Grace was a bit flighty.

Maggie’s husband Edward was someone who turned out to be great.

Maggie's mother was a strong woman.

Maggie’s brother Liam was a brother.

Ms. Delinsky's beautiful, pull-you-in writing style kept me reading as always.

I haven’t read a book by Ms. Delinsky for a few years, and it was a pleasure to re-connect with her marvelous style and terrific story lines.

BEFORE AND AGAIN always had some warmth coming from somewhere whether it was a character or situation.

This book deals with friendships, healing, emotional pain, and choices.

BEFORE AND AGAIN had some difficult situations, but the ending is heartwarming, very satisfying, and marvelous. 5/5

This book was given to me free of charge and without compensation by the publisher in return for an honest review.

The Banker's Wife by Cristina Alger
 
Book Club Recommended
The Banker's Wife


Two women in dangerous situations through no fault of their own.

Annabelle was married, but her husband seemed to be married to his job. After a plane crash, she finds out why there had been a plane crash with him in it.

Marina writes stories about men like Annabel's husband, but this current story is a bit too dangerous to continue with even though Marina does.

Actually a lot of folks seemed to be in danger, and the persons behind this situation are aware of every move Marina, Annabel, and others are making.

After the plane crash and when Annabel was out of her Geneva apartment, it was ransacked. Annabel really became angry and frightened when she came home to the damage. Marina really became angry when she found out some information about her future father-in-law and when she found her friend had been murdered for uncovering incriminating information.

What was going on? It all seemed to stem from the Swiss bank and its clients.

So many people were involved in this illegal money hiding. It is a pretty frightening concept that seems like it could be “real” in today’s world.

The behind-the-scenes hacking and finding out information is also a bit on the scary side.

The story line was interesting, but was a little slow at times with all the technical information. As the story continued, though, the tension mounted as everyone involved in the money scheme was coming to the surface and trying to keep those who knew what was going on quiet.

THE BANKER’S WIFE addressed high profile and powerful men and women where money was the catalyst, and as the saying goes “the root of all evil.”

Perhaps it isn’t a good idea to be a “banker’s wife.” :)

If you enjoy secrets, intrigue, corruption, and love, you will enjoy THE BANKER'S WIFE. 4/5

I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

The Subway Girls: A Novel by Susie Orman Schnall
 
Book Club Recommended
Informative, Dramatic, Beautiful
The Subway Girls


We move from 1949 to 2018 and come across girls who auditioned for being a Subway Girl in 1948 to an advertising agency in 2018 that needs a new campaign to help the transit system get more ridership.

The girls in 1949 were more than happy to have their photos plastered over the subways because it might get them a job in a different industry. The advertising agency in 2018 became interested in the Subway Girls as an ad campaign for themselves.

Olivia who worked for the advertising agency had a brilliant idea to help the transit system and made a connection with the 1949 Subway Girls campaign for their current advertising. She found the campaign as she was doing research, and wondered what really happened to the Subway Girls and if being a Subway Girl really changed or enhanced their lives. Finding this information gave Olivia some hope for her agency’s winning the bid for the ad campaign.

Olivia and her assistant, Priya, hit the jackpot when they found actual posters of The Subway Girls and stories of their lives.

She uncovered more gems when a neighbor knew and had been one of the The Subway Girls.

THE SUBWAY GIRLS is a delightful read. I enjoyed going back to 1949 and seeing how women had to really struggle to get out of the required mold of being a housewife and mother.

Ms. Orman Schnall's writing is refreshing and enjoyable. The story line is interesting and had me researching The Subway Girls.

According to Wikipedia, these women were called Miss Subways, and the program lasted from 1941 to 1976. Ms. Orman Schnall also added information in the ending pages about how she became interested in The Subway girls and gave some background information about them.

THE SUBWAY GIRLS has everything historical fiction and women's fiction fans will love. There is love, heartbreak, secrets, and the story of how women have been trying to "break out" from their stereotypical roles since forever.

The book goes back and forth from the 1940’s to 2018. The story line connects smoothly with each era and has genuine, lovable, and relatable characters.

It is truly a book to savor and enjoy. 5/5

I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

Somebody's Daughter by David Bell
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Adventurous
Somebody's Daughter


A nine-year-old is missing.

Did she run away or was she kidnapped.

Kidnapped is the consensus.

The suspect could be anyone - a single person or a team.

The drama begins with the ring of the doorbell.

Angela and Michael didn’t expect to see his ex-wife, Erica, on their front porch. What Erica had to tell Michael was a shock.

Erica’s daughter is the nine-year-old missing, and she wanted Michael to help her. The reason she wanted Michael to help was an even bigger shock.

We follow the investigation as it gets thicker by the minute and brings in a similar case that might be connected.

The characters all seemed to be guilty, and they all seemed to have secrets with Angela being the only one who had no clue about anything going on.

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER is filled with Mr. Bell’s signature tension and suspense. His hints and hanging situations at the end of each chapter were strong enough to make you not want to stop reading.

And....I couldn't stop reading as the characters and the search became more complex, more intriguing, and had me scratching my head.

BRAVO, Mr. Bell.

Another suspenseful story line with an ending to ponder and to discuss. 5/5

I received an advanced copy. All opinions are my own.

The Summer Wives: A Novel by Beatriz Williams
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Romantic, Addictive
The Summer Wives



Miranda has come back after eighteen years to the island where she has spent every summer since her mother married into the prestigious Fisher family. She hasn’t told anyone the reason why she has returned to Winthrop’s Island with bruises that no one mentions, but since she stays for a relatively long time, the reason can be assumed even though it might be the wrong guess.

Miranda's return isn’t a welcome event even after all of this time, though, because of her testimony at the trial of the lighthouse keeper’s son back in 1951 when she was eighteen and in love with the accused.

Miranda hadn’t grown up with the elite and wealthy. When her mother married Hugh Fisher after her father was killed in WWII, she is introduced to that life and also sees how the year-round residents who fish and work as domestics live.

THE SUMMER WIVES goes back and forth from 1930 to 1951 and then to 1969. We learn about Miranda’s life, the lives of the Fisher and Monk families, the lives of other island residents, and how the lives of the domestic help are all connected by one specific incident during those years.

I enjoyed the story from the 1950’s the best. It was the most interesting and the least confusing. The 1930’s didn’t make sense to me how it fit in, but as I kept reading, I found out that it kept a secret and held a BIG surprise.

Ms. Williams has written another book that will hold your interest but has a bit of confusing story line with all the back and forth.

THE SUMMER WIVES is a story of the typical antics and lives of privileged families. We learn that most of the Winthrop Island families may have had money, but most of them are not happy.

THE SUMMER WIVES has a great setting, good story line, and has characters with problems and secrets both past and present.

I enjoyed Ms. Williams’ latest even though it dragged a bit at times, but the ending had it all coming together and was very satisfying. 4/5

I received an advance copy. All opinions are my own.

Baby Teeth: A Novel by Zoje Stage
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Dramatic, Gloomy
Baby Teeth


Before and After Hanna is how Suzette could label her life.

Hanna actually ruined Suzette’s life.??Despite her pain from Chron’s disease, Suzette could handle that better than she could handle her daughter. She also couldn’t handle how Alex, her husband, never saw how Hanna really was.

Hanna was two different people - one when she was with Suzette and one with Alex. Alex was definitely clueless??Hanna was evil and manipulative.

Hanna is going on seven years old and still doesn’t speak, physically lashes out, plans things to harm her mother, plans things to exasperate her mother so she will leave, and won’t be accepted in any school because of her behavior.??

Hanna is an evil, brilliant child who is definitely frightening. I can’t even imagine how she thinks up these horrific things she does. She is VERY unlikable for a supposedly sweet girl. ??

BABY TEETH has the reader following Hanna’s days with her mother and her evenings with her father as he reads to his sweet girl at night. Many issues are brought up, and you can feel the frustration of Suzette in all aspects.??

BABY TEETH is set in Pittsburgh, and the author lives in Pittsburgh.??

Ms. Stage’s writing is truly marvelous and immediately draws you into the story line but at the same time has you shaking your head at what is happening because it is unbelievable.

I am not a normal reader of disturbing situations or horror, but any reader who likes disturbing reads will like this book.

The last line leaves the reader with more questions. 4/5

I received an early copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Women of the Dunes


Scotland, back and forth in time, murders, illegitimate children, missing jewels, secrets, buried treasures, legends, a permitted excavation, authentic characters, and an old estate all greet us in WOMEN OF THE DUNES.

We follow Libby as she and her university team have gotten permission to excavate the estate of Hector Sturrock and an estate where Libby's great grandmother worked as a servant.

Libby's grandmother told her of the legend of Ulla that was part of the estate and the town of Ullaness. Libby had always enjoyed the legend and liked to hear it every time she visited her grandmother.

When Libby joined the team for the excavation, she had to decide if she would tell what her grandmother had told her and what her great grandmother had kept from the estate.

The legend began with a ship coming into a harbor where a monk named Odrhan lived. Ulla was pregnant with her husband’s brother’s child, but when the husband found out about the baby, he badly hurt his brother, Harald, so Ulla sailed away with the injured Harald and sailed to Odrhan for help.

As generations continued so did the legend and its people. The most interesting aspect was that Libby was the current generation of the women involved, and there were many secrets kept by them all.
?
WOMEN OF THE DUNES was captivating simply because of the lifestyle of the original family as well as those who lived in the Sturrock estate today.

The women of all generations had stories to tell, the estate’s castle-like home still kept its charm, and the legend made WOMEN OF THE DUNES enticing.

I really enjoyed the descriptions of the land and the house. Going back in time and hearing a story re-created is something I always love to read about.

The two stories - present and past - connected, came full circle, and brilliantly meshed together as mirrored stories.

Any reader who enjoys castles, secrets, looking for clues in old documents, and re-tracing the steps of characters that lived long ago will want to read WOMEN OF THE DUNES.

WOMEN OF THE DUNES is going to be a favorite. 5/5

This book was given to be as an ARC by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

Girls' Night Out: A Novel by Liz Fenton, Lisa Steinke
 
Book Club Recommended
Girls' Night Out


Three friends with issues to resolve take a trip to Mexico to try to reconnect.

The issues seemed to compound rather than lessen. When one of the friends is missing the morning after a wild night of drinking, the tension between the two remaining friends continues and worsens as their fears mount.

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT goes back and forth from past to present bringing with it a bit of confusion as to what is going on for the reader, but revealing that the friends have a lot of secrets they never told each other.

The book actually dragged on for me even though the secrets were interesting, but they were a bit too vague to bring anything to the story for me until around half way through the book when the reasons for the fights and the estrangements started to emerge.

The tension mounted even more when the police arrived, but up until that point, I didn’t think there was that much suspense.

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT gives wonderful reasons for friendships to repair themselves and for women to support each other.

GIRLS’ NIGHT OUT was suspenseful because of the missing friend, but the majority of the book was about repairing friendships and revealing secrets.

Most of the secrets dealt with domestic abuse which is an excellent topic to get out in the open.

Another issue about being safe and making smart decisions when you are in a foreign country and with strangers was addressed. That is great advice and very frightening.

The tension in the last 20% of the book definitely picked up my interest and my opinion despite the slow read until then. So instead of a 3/5, I am changing my rating to a 4/5.

I received an Advanced Reader copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Boy at the Door by Alex Dahl
 
Book Club Recommended
The Boy At The Door


Cecelia had a perfect life with a perfect husband, two daughters, a beautiful home, and an enjoyable part-time job.

One night could change it all.

Cecelia picked her daughters up from swim practice, and as she waited for them to change, she was asked to take a young boy home because his parents didn’t show up.

Cecelia didn’t want to do it, but she couldn’t leave him at the school alone. Taking him home was the worst thing that could have happened to her because he may be the reason her secret becomes revealed. For some reason the boy, Tobias, knows Cecelia knew Annie, the woman who took care of him and abandoned him.

We get background information on Annie that is not very pleasant and then move back and forth to the present with the little boy that connects it all.

I wasn't a fan of the main character Cecilia. Her past lifestyle was off-putting for me, and her current life was made of lies. She currently had everything and still wasn't happy.

Tobias was a sweet boy who kept everything inside, and he definitely had secrets and answers to the questions the police were asking, but he wouldn't tell them anything.

Some of the other characters were very unpleasant.

The ongoing questions in the story line are who is Tobias' mother, how did Cecelia really know Annie, and just what is Cecelia’s secret that will destroy her current life.

The author’s writing keeps you engaged and especially when she leaves an incriminating, clue-revealing tidbit as the last sentence of the chapter and moves on. We gets hints about what is bothering Cecelia, but never enough information to figure it out. Tobias knows, though, and Cecelia is worried.

THE BOY AT THE DOOR is brilliantly written with a creative, odd story line that is a bit unbelievable, but oh so good and attention grabbing.

The tension kept me on the edge of my seat as the police questioned Cecelia about Annie and Tobias.

THE BOY AT THE DOOR is an excellent suspense debut. 4/5

I received an advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley.

 
Book Club Recommended


Frieda Kline is missing because she wants to be missing, and now Lola who is writing her dissertation has gone out of touch.

Lola is writing a dissertation for her criminology class and wanted to write about Frieda and her involvement in police cases and her connection to Dean Reeve.

Lola’s mentor suggested walking in Frieda’s shoes to get an idea about her. Lola did just that, but it didn’t turn out too well. Lola mistakenly and unknowingly came across Dean Reeve, a serial killer who kills anyone who has contact with Frieda, and who still has it out for Frieda. Dean kills others to get to her.

No one has been able to track Dean down. Dean has been a character along with Frieda in previous books.

Was Dean Reeve back? Frieda definitely thought so, and Dean made sure she knew. And...Frieda knew he wouldn’t stop until he killed her.

The book begins as we find that a killer is on the loose. The murders started with a dead man in a stolen car barreling down a steep hill, and another one was a dead man being burned in a bonfire. But that wasn’t the end of the bodies. The count kept getting higher, and the bodies followed a pattern.

This is only the second book I have read in this series, and I actually didn’t know it was a series when I read the first one. I was not lost while reading so it seems as if you can start in the middle...things went smoothly.

I can see why the series is so well liked. Frieda Kline is a very popular character, but this will be the last book in this series. Frieda is a bit rough outwardly, but she is actually a good Samaritan that the police always call in for assistance on their cases. Frieda is also a psycho analyst.

DAY OF THE DEAD is suspenseful, and you will want to tell Frieda to stop being so stubborn about not allowing the police to take total control of this new Dean Reeve’s madness instead of trying to solve it on her own.

Readers who enjoy suspense, twists and turns, stubborn characters, and a killer who knows how to allude everyone will enjoy this book.

My only complaint is that it was a bit long. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

A Noise Downstairs: A Novel by Linwood Barclay
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Interesting, Dramatic
A Noise Downstairs


Typewriter sounds are almost non-existent today, but they kept recurring in Paul’s home and seemed to be coming from the typewriter that his wife had bought him.??

After Paul followed his friend because he was driving erratically, he found something horrific and unbelievable.??

Paul saw dead bodies in his colleague’s trunk and when Kenneth struck him to silence him, he thought it was all over. Thankfully Paul didn’t die, and Kenneth was imprisoned. ??

Another thing happened as Paul was following Kenneth. He saw Kenneth dispose of a typewriter in a dumpster. Could that be the same typewriter that Kenneth forced his victims to use to type an apology before he killed them and the typewriter that Paul's wife bought for him at a yard sale?

When we do "meet" this, typewriter, bizarre things begin to happen.

THE NOISE DOWNSTAIRS has us following Paul as he is recovering from his physical injury caused by the strike with the shovel as well as the emotional trauma.??

Mr. Barclay keeps the tension high, and the story line is intriguing. The ending twists were well hidden from the reader.??

The introduction of the typewriter was very clever, and the typewriter seemed to be included as another character. ??

This was my first book by Mr. Barclay, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.??

If you have enjoyed Mr. Barclay's books, you won't want to miss his newest. 5/5

This book was given to me as ARC by the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

When We Found Home by Susan Mallery
 
Book Club Recommended
When We Found Home


Finding out you have two other siblings and have a wealthy grandfather definitely was overwhelming news for Callie and had been very overwhelming for Keira two months ago. Their step brother, Malcolm, had been with his grandfather since he was twelve and was used to the lifestyle and family.

Malcolm was already working in the family business and didn’t want to be bothered with a twelve-year-old and now he had another sister. At least this sister wasn’t a child.

The siblings were all children conceived when their father had affairs while on business trips.

Wealthy businessman Alberto Carlesso found out about his grandchildren after his son passed away in papers his son had kept hidden and was determined to find his newest granddaughters.

WHEN WE FOUND HOME was an enjoyable read for me. The characters were believable and most were lovable even though the wonderful situation seemed a little hard to believe. The characters were what carried the story line, kept my interest, and had me wanting to be friends with the characters and the entire family.

Keira was twelve, sweet, loveable, and a bit on the outspoken side. Callie was twenty-six, struggling financially and emotionally, and hiding a secret about her life.

Keira was my favorite because she just KNEW the right things to say and do even though she had her own issues to deal with.

The book had heartwarming as well as funny moments.

Women’s fiction fans and Susan Mallery fans will not be disappointed in WHEN WE FOUND HOME.

This book has something for everyone...family, food, secrets, surprises, and love.

ENJOY if you read it. 5/5

This book was given to me as an advanced reader copy by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Tiffany Blues


What had happened in Jenny’s past that kept haunting her and kept her shrinking into the background instead of taking all that New York could offer her?

Was it bad enough to have to sidestep questions about it and fear that others were looking into her past?

Jenny moved to New York after her mother died and enrolled in art school, but she couldn’t accept the talent she had as her friend Minx pushed her forward and as Jenny protested.

We follow Jenny as we are made aware of the past that affected her life since the tragedy in Canada as well as the effect it had on her current life in New York and her decision about using her talent as an artist in a court room. The court room needed an artist, but a courtroom was the last place Jenny wanted to be.

Jenny finally did accept the court room position, and we get a glimpse into what happened in a courtroom long ago for her.

We also see how she continues to improve her skills as she is accepted into the art school at Laurelton Hall owned by Louis Comfort Tiffany - a school that changed her life.

TIFFANY BLUES is set during the Jazz Age. I loved learning about the lifestyle during that time and seeing famous names being woven into the story line.

I especially enjoyed learning about Laurelton Hall in Long Island. The description of the landscape, the mansion, and the grounds was breathtaking.

TIFFANY BLUES is a beautifully written, lyrical history lesson with an engaging, memorable story line and wonderful, authentic characters.

Jenny was a well written, mysterious, but very appealing character. I felt bad for her and her life’s circumstances as well as what was happening to her at Laurelton Hall.

TIFFANY BLUES is a book whose pages you will want to turn back to and re-read the wise words and advice.

Ms. Rose has done impeccable research into all aspects of this era and in marvelously portraying her characters’ emotions.

Artists, mystery lovers, and historical fiction fans will adore this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and NetGalley. All opinions are my own.

Our House by Louise Candlish
 
Book Club Recommended
Our House


My house? Your house? Whose house is it?

Seeing someone moving in is no big deal in this neighborhood, but someone moving into YOUR house IS a big deal.

Fi had no idea that the morning she came back from a business trip there would be a moving van in the driveway and all of her belongings would be gone.

Where did everything go and what was going on? Another puzzling fact is that she was not able to get in touch with her husband.

We go back and forth in time and find out the circumstances leading up to the unknown sale. Bram had a shady past and secrets, but how could this have happened?

The situation was very tense, and hopefully can’t happen. Having your house sold right under your nose without signing anything or knowing anything about is frightening.

Both the house situation and what the characters were doing was truly unbelievable and hopefully not something that could be done.

Each chapter leads us to more and more about what was going on with the situation and the characters. I didn’t find one character that was likable in this book, but that didn’t take away from the excellent story line.

OUR HOUSE is one of the most creative suspense books I have read.

If you like to wonder what makes people do what they do, and you like to keep guessing at it, OUR HOUSE is a must read this summer.

OUR HOUSE is bizarre, nerve wracking, and unbelievable, but oh so good. That last line is WOW!!

Enjoy if you read this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by NETGALLEY and the publisher. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative, Fun
The Masterpiece


What would an art school teacher and an information booth attendee have in common besides Grand Central since the women lived 50 years apart? You would be surprised.

Clara taught illustration at the art school when it was in its hey day, and Virginia needed to work since she had been recently divorced. Since Virginia had no skills, the information booth was the best the temp agency could do for her.

The connection Virginia had to Clara was a drawing she found in the abandoned art school on the seventh floor of Grand Central. We, the reader, move back and forth from both time periods and learn about both women’s lives, their secrets, and Grand Central.

Virginia found drawings all over the school’s rooms and found one drawing in particular that was of interest and signed by Clyde. This particular drawing had some odd characteristics, and someone didn’t want Virginia to have it.

THE MASTERPIECE was focused on the artists of New York and the history of Grand Central. Ms. Davis did impeccable research about Grand Central’s history as well as characters based on real people and others fictitiously portrayed.

Both the history of Grand Central and the characters wove a pull-you-in story line. Did you know that Grand Central had been in jeopardy of being torn down at one point in history?

New York is a fascinating place historically, and I always enjoy going back in time to learn of bits and pieces of its hidden history.

I also enjoyed the descriptions of the life styles, the parties, and the clothing. I am a nostalgic at heart.

Ms. Davis has created another beautiful “masterpiece” that historical fiction fans, New York City fans, mystery fans, and artists will love.

Make it part of your "required" summer reading. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Life Changing, Dramatic, Addictive
The Daisy Children


Heading back to Texas after her grandmother died since she was named in the will was the last thing Katie expected to be doing, but it might have been something good since she and Liam were having some problems.

On her way to the airport, she and Liam were mugged and the only thing Katie had was a maxed-out credit card, sixteen dollars, and her driver's license that she managed to keep from the mugger. He took her phone, her computer, and all of her clothes.

Other obstacles were waiting for Katie when she arrived in Texas. Her mother as usual wasn't there to help, but her cousin Scarlett picked her up in a monster truck, took her to grandmother Margaret's home, and left her to the memories in the house until Scarlett could come back the next day.

THE DAISY CHILDREN takes us back and forth from the time of the explosion in 1937 of a school in New London that killed at least three hundred children and subsequently caused the birth nine months later of siblings of the children killed in the explosion to present day family members and situations.

Sofia Grant has written a captivating tale that takes us to Texas as we follow Margaret's granddaughters, Katie and Scarlett, as they find family secrets while cleaning out her home. As Katie and Scarlett search through things in their grandmother's house, secrets come out about many things that were unknown.

THE DAISY CHILDREN has an interesting story line based on this true event accompanied by Ms. Grant's beautiful writing and marvelous descriptions that take you inside the story with the characters and allow the reader to perfectly visualize everything.

Ms. Grant's beautiful writing style quickly pulls you into the book's story line and historical telling of the 1937 event.

The characters are genuine and true to their era and add a wonderful dimension to the book. Most of the characters are likable.

THE DAISY CHILDREN is a lovely, heartwarming saga revealing family secrets through letters and photographs with the story being wrapped around this little known historical event.

Women's fiction fans will adore this book and will want to recommend it to everyone who loves family drama, family history, and family secrets.

The ending was terrific, and I didn't want the book to end. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

Sold on a Monday: A Novel by Kristina McMorris
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Interesting
Sold On a Monday


Good and bad things seemed to happen on Mondays for Ellis Reed, but more bad.

The day Ellis was biding time until a scheduled meeting, happened to be the day his career changed, but it also was the day that would change his life and the life of the Dillard family.

Ellis’s story about a family who had their children for sale turned out to be something more than a story. It really happened, and when Ellis found out, he couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Meanwhile Lily worked at the paper as a secretary and had a part in this story even though she didn’t write the story. Lily had a secret about the story and her personal life that she hoped would never be revealed, but you know how things work with secrets.

Ellis wanted to be successful, but once he was, he still held back because he felt his success was based on the misfortunes of the family he had taken a photo of and had written a story about.

Ellis and Lily worked together once they found out what happened to the Dillard’s after the publication of the story and the sign that said: 2 Children for Sale.

They both felt responsible for the outcome, and it haunted both of them. Neither Lily or Ellis wanted to rest until they found out where the children were and what happened to their mother.

Set during the depression, you can feel the troubles and worries families had and the desperate measures some of them took.

SOLD ON A MONDAY has wonderful, lovable characters. Ms. McMorris marvelously portrayed characters you would want to know. You will be with them in their pain, their indecisions, their decisions, their love for each other, and their feelings.

Ms. McMorris knows how to tell a story and keep you interested. SOLD ON A MONDAY is a beautiful story about caring and compassion.

SOLD ON A MONDAY was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

It is a book women’s fiction fans won’t want to miss. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and NETGALLEY. All opinions are my own.

When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica
 
Book Club Recommended
Slow, Dark
When The Lights Go Out



No identity, no birth certificate, no social security card, no mention on her mother’s income tax forms.

Jessie found out she was non-existent, but how could that be possible? Was she really born in Illinois? Was Sloan really her last name? Was what her mother told her not the truth? If not the truth, why?

We follow Jessie after her mother passed away with no questions answered about her life and her identity. She never thought to ask her mother because the need never came up to wonder why she was an unknown person.

Meanwhile Eden’s story is being told along with Jessie’s. What is the connection? Does Eden have the answers to the questions of her missing identity?

The book had a slow start, but once it got going, I didn’t want to put it down. The slow start was because I was a bit confused, but I knew that would not continue and the book would get tense and interesting.

I, of course, was correct. WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT was a thriller with odd characters. Jessie was totally off-the-wall and Eden was strange as well.

As usual Ms. Kubica has created another spinning tale that keeps you guessing and wondering along with Jessie about her life and her mother’s parting words about finding herself.

WHEN THE LIGHTS GO OUT has a unique, creative story line with some upsetting situations, but the ending will have you saying: Ah ha as well as have you scratching your head.

ENJOY if you read Ms. Kubica’s newest. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

The Glass Ocean: A Novel by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Adventurous, Informative
The Glass Ocean



Booking passage on the Lusitania or any ship during WWI would not seem like a good idea to me, but Caroline Hochstetter and Gilbert needed to get closer, and figured this would be a wonderful way to help their relationship. Did Gilbert really agree to the reason they were going on the Lusitania or did he have ulterior motives?

Along with Caroline and Gilbert on a ship in waters that German submarines were prowling, we meet Tess, a female thief, who needed to steal valuable music sheets to pay her bills. We also meet Robert Langford, a man who has been in love with Caroline since the first day he saw her many years ago.

All of the characters had a reason to be on the Lusitania, and the reasons were all different.

Meanwhile the story line moves from the 1915 Lusitania story to present day and introduces the reader to a struggling author, Sarah Blake, who found a trunk containing things of her great grandfather’s who perished on the Lusitania. This mystery centered around what could these things have to do with Robert Langford and the story.

And.....what could Sarah, Caroline, and Tess have in common all those years apart. We knew why Robert was there even though it actually was a coincidence that he and Caroline were booked on the same ship.

THE GLASS OCEAN weaves all of these characters together taking us on a ship that was to be a luxury cruise but leads to intrigue, mystery, death, and secrets.

The writing is flawless and beautiful even though I was a bit confused at first about how it all was to fit together. Learning the history of the Lusitania, the life style and protocol of the ship’s passengers, and having no sea legs along with the passengers kept my interest.

THE GLASS OCEAN is another marvelously researched book that smoothly moves from chapter to chapter and gives the reader a marvelous history lesson.

One chapter ended and the next began with a take off from one or two words that ended the previous chapter.

ENJOY when you read the newest gem by these lovely, talented ladies. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

The Summer Sail: A Novel by Wendy Francis
 
Book Club Recommended
The Summer Sail


Three college friends getting together for their yearly catch-up decided on a cruise paid for by Abby and her husband.

Abby had a loving husband, twin boys, and a secret.

Lee was a single mother with a college-aged daughter who had problems of her own.

Caroline was single and hoping her boyfriend of three years would propose to her on the cruise.

All the characters worked well with each other. Ms. Francis made each character come alive with most being likable.

The story line was pleasant and made you want to go on a cruise to Bermuda as well as think about all your blessings.

If you need a pick me up and an idea for getting back together with friends from your younger years, THE SUMMER SAIL will make you want to give your best girlfriends a call and suggest meeting.

THE SUMMER SAIL was a lovely change of pace for me. This book is about love, friendship, caring, and learning to live life to the fullest.

There were some nice quotes to think about as well.

ENJOY when you read THE SUMMER SAIL. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the author. All opinions are my own.

In-Laws and Outlaws by Kate Fulford
 
Book Club Recommended
Inlaws and Outlaws


Relationships - we all have them. Some just happen to be better than others, and some just happen to be worse than others.

Eve’s relationship with her boyfriend’s mother was a bit on the odd side but definitely warranted.  Gideon’s mother, Marjorie, seemed to dislike Eve but wanted to know about her.  Marjorie was a bit difficult to like but so was Eve.

Both of them seemed to be self-centered and BOTH were devoted to Gideon. They were quite the dueling characters and were characters to be concerned about. 

Gideon also seemed to be someone who needed to be watched since his mother could do no wrong in his eyes.

INLAWS AND OUTLAWS actually had me laughing out loud at some of the things the characters said and did. 

This book seemed to be a study in the personalities of the characters with most of the personalities being odd.

It was interesting how the family members warned Eve about Gideon’s mother and especially interesting about the comment about Eve needing to watch her back.  As the book continued, the warning seemed to be something that needed to be heeded.

INLAWS AND OUTLAWS is an enjoyable book I would recommend if you like to look into the lives of characters and try to figure out what is actually going on and what the author is really trying to say about each character and his/her life. 

Along with everything else, mystery and attempted murder were also added to the mix.

The characters are indeed entertaining and really don’t seem to be who they make themselves out to be.  

If you are looking for a different, but good read INLAWS AND OUTLAWS would be a good choice.  

ENJOY if you read the book. 4/5

This book was given to me by the author.  All opinions are my own.

Lies by T. M. Logan
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing
Lies


Can lies be deadly? Can lies ruin your life? Can lies be undone?

I think we know the answer to those questions, and Joe definitely knew the answer to two of these questions. His life was turned upside down because of lies his wife was telling him and lies that someone else was spreading about him.

Finding out your wife has been cheating on you for the past five months and then having to deal with what someone was doing to your life via social media is what Joe was dealing with.

How could this be happening and how could one person be orchestrating it alone. Someone had to be helping each other to bring Joe down.

LIES doesn't immediately pull you in, but once it does you won't be able to put the book down. The tension mounts with the turn of each page.

And…the ending...WOW!!

This is a must-read end-of-summer treat.

LIES will also have you considering canceling all of your social media accounts. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

The Lost Carousel of Provence by Juliet Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
The Lost Carousel of Provence



Who wouldn’t want to go to Paris and photograph carousels?

Cady was excited to head to Paris when she received the assignment especially since her interest in carousels had begun when she was a child and found Gus.

Gus was a carved carousel rabbit with a secret Cady found hidden inside Gus when he accidentally broke open. The hidden secret had a story of its own, and turned into a mystery that haunted Cady to solve.

Cady was used to mysteries and secrets since her childhood was spent in the foster system. She was moved from one foster home to another with no parents to be found. When she met Maxine and found Gus, though, they seemed to give her some stability and interest in antiques.

THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PARIS follows Cady back and forth from her childhood to present day with the history behind the carousel rabbit marvelously added in as well.

I enjoyed the history of European carousels and learning about a famous carousel maker Monsieur Gustave Bayol and his company in Angers, France.

THE LOST CAROUSEL OF PARIS allows the reader to get a free trip to Paris and to experience the beautiful landscape and people of Southern France both present-day and past.

This book will appeal to those who enjoy France, antiques, warm-hearted characters, the Provencal countryside, chateaus, and European history during WWII.

A charming, heart-warming read.

The characters were lovely, and the story line was creative, uplifting, and positive.

France, carousels, lovable characters, and a marvelous story line.

LOVED the book...ENJOY if you read it...I know you will. 5/5

This book was given to me free as an ARC. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Inspiring, Dramatic, Life Changing
The Girl From Berlin



We travel from present-day Italy and back to the 1930’s during Hitler’s regime in Germany.

In Nazi Germany, we are introduced to Ada as she masterfully plays her violin solos. In Italy we come across a land dispute that may or may not have Ada Baumgaurten, famous violinist in the Berlin Philharmonic, involved.

The land dispute has Liam and Catherine flying to Italy to the beautiful villa of Senora Vincenzo, aunt of a close friend in Chicago.

Catherine has the task of trying to dispute the fact that Senora does own the land and the home she is living in contrary to the Italian attorneys who say she is not the owner. The claim the Italian attorneys had seemed pretty suspicious.

We also gets a glimpse into beautiful Tuscany - its food, its people, and its landscapes.

I enjoyed the back and forth from the 1930’s to 2017. The connection between the two time periods set in Germany at the beginning of WWII then moving to present-day Italy was a manuscript that Ada had written about her life and the life of a famous violinist. Senora Ada Vincenzo insisted that Catherine read the manuscript for the background because she just couldn’t bring herself to tell the details.

THE GIRL FROM BERLIN is a very absorbing dual-timeline that will immediately capture your interest with detailed descriptions of the characters and events.

Mr. Balson has written another beautiful, well researched book that opens up our eyes to the life the European people were living at that time to today’s lifestyle in Italy. The present-day story line has secrets being revealed about Ada’s and Senora Vincenzo’s claim on the land.

Historical fiction fans, opera fans, and fans of Mr. Balson’s books definitely will not be disappointed in his newest beauty.

THE GIRL FROM BERLIN is outstanding, unforgettable, and well written.

Magnificent, marvelous, heart wrenching, and should be given high praise are perfect descriptions of THE GIRL FROM BERLIN. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. . All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Romantic, Slow, Confusing
THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER


An old house, an old sketch book, an old murder, an old photograph, and a lot of mysteries. Who doesn’t love all of those???

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER has it all. ??

THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER goes back and forth in time looking for clues to connect Elodie’s present-day questions and findings to the time when her mother was alive and how a country manor and other mysteries seem to have a connection to her mother. She KNOWS there is some connection with everything she finds circling around Birchwood Manor.??

Ms. Morton definitely makes you “work” for the clues. Her writing is beautiful as always, but the story line was difficult to follow.

Each chapter began without the identification of the person talking so the reader has to figure out who has appeared on the scene now. ??

I always enjoy Ms. Morton's books because of the gothic atmosphere and marvelous connection between the characters and the story line, but THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER had me confused most of the time. Finding the connections was similar to solving a difficult math problem.??

Once the chapter got started and you became interested in the story line, it was over and another thought and character appeared.??

I can't say I didn't like the book. THE CLOCKMAKER’S DAUGHTER had a skillfully constructed story line, but it wasn't an easy read.

Once you were connected, though, it all started to come together in her marvelous Kate Morton style with a brilliant ending.

I LOVE her books, her beautiful writing, and her involved story lines so I kept reading because I wanted to find out how it all fit together and what the ending would reveal. The revelations were marvelous as always.

Anyone who loves Kate Morton, who likes to unravel a book's story line, and who can wait until it all comes together will not want to miss reading THE CLOCKMAKER'S DAUGHTER. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC provided by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Bedside Manners: A Novel by Heather Frimmer
 
Book Club Recommended
Bedside Manners



Facing issues wasn't something Joyce was used to, but since she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she needed to realize it needed to be something to address.

The major issue for Joyce besides the breast cancer was how would this affect her daughter's wedding.

BEDSIDE MANNERS has the reader following Joyce as she goes through the wedding preparations and her breast cancer treatments.

The characters were genuine and heartfelt. I enjoyed Marnie and Joyce. They were both strong women.

Reliving my breast cancer journey had me being thankful that it has been 18 years, and I celebrated along with the survivors in the book.

The subject matter is very appropriate for October's Breast Cancer month, and Ms. Frimmer's writing flows well.

If you enjoy family situations and learning some medical information, you will enjoy BEDSIDE MANNERS. 4/5

This book was given to me as ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Mirror Shop by Nicholas Bundock
 
Book Club Recommended
The Mirror Shop




Owning an antique mirror shop brings in many different buyers. The buyers are usually looking for something special for their home, but Rhona seems to be extra special to Luke and seems to need more attention.

Luke definitely has no problem giving her extra attention even though he and Eva have happily been together for years. Rhona seems to become an obsession for Luke.

Luke tries to find every opportunity to see Rhona, and he day dreams about their meetings and re-lives them.

Rhona's husband, Alden, and Eva's Client, Agnes, have a link to both Luke and Eva because Agnes had an affair with Alden and at one of her therapy session reveals some information that shocks Eva because it can't be true can it?

We follow Luke through his days as he becomes more obsessed with Rhona and more distant with Eva. When the connection of Alden and Rhona now affects Luke and Eva, the story line takes another turn.

I did not like Rhona at all - she was manipulative and only cared about herself. Luke was naive about the situation and needed to think straight. Alden was a bit flighty and seemed like a fake. Agnes was a help to Eva. Eva was sweet.

The characters were very well developed, and their feelings seemed to pop out of the pages helping you add yourself into the situation and fit in perfectly.

Mr. Bundock does a marvelous job with his descriptions and details of every event.

The story line moves along quickly and holds your interest as new twists and facts turn up along with different story lines that add new characters.

I enjoyed this book because of the characters and the bit of mystery.

The characters were intriguing, seemed real, and made decisions that may have been made by people that are not characters in a book.

The ending was not what I had expected, but was surprising and good. The entire book was an enjoyable read.

Mr. Bundock is an author to take a look at. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

House of Gold by Natasha Solomons
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Informative
House of Gold



Greta had been a handful since birth with her governesses explaining that if she had been anything but a Goldbaum, she would be out on the street.

The Goldbaums always married distant cousins to keep the name, their power, and their wealth secure.

Greta was to marry her second cousin from London whom she never met, but she was fine with it because she was hoping this would take her away from her daunting mother and all her rules about proper behavior.

As I was reading, it seemed as if I were living in a fairy tale. Every whim and want was satisfied for Greta and her family. The description of the mansions was unbelievable, and I laughed when one of the servants confessed she needed a map to navigate the home.

The writing style and the detail Ms. Solomons uses draws you into the story even though some of it is filled with politics and business dealings. She adds enough family drama and interest of the era to keep you reading, but it did get tedious at times.

The characters were definitely depicted as true to this era and class, and they grew on you as you read. Some you grew to like and others you grew to wonder why they acted as they did.

If you enjoy reading about aristocrats, politics, European history in the late 1800's/early1900's, war, and the non-public side of the wealthy, HOUSE OF GOLD will be of interest.

The book was well written, but was a bit long. The characters - especially Greta - made the book. She was a feisty, strong woman. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Rain Watcher: A Novel by Tatiana de Rosnay
 
Book Club Recommended
The Rain Watcher



Linden wondered why his mother organized a family get together in Paris for his father’s 70th birthday since his father didn’t like Paris.

In addition to his dislike of Paris, Paris was having torrential rainfall with threats of flooding. The rain and flooding continued throughout their time in Paris and throughout the book with worries it would be as bad if not worse than the Paris floods of 1910.

THE RAIN WATCHER brings together this family of four from Venozan, London, and San Francisco - no spouses or children - just the four of them. We meet Linden from San Francisco who never got along with his father, Tilia from London who is unhappily married for the second time, and Paul and Lauren their parents.

All the characters seemed to have something to hide, but you warmed up to them as the book continued.

The children had grown up in Venozan after their parents met when Lauren was on a vacation in France more than 30 years ago. It was a whirlwind romance that had Lauren never going back to the states.

The family was still indifferent as always as they gathered together for breakfast and the rain continued to pour down. Lauren insisted they were in a non-flood area of Paris and should continue with their celebration plans.

Their celebration was wonderful until something tragic happened at the restaurant and Lauren became ill as well.

Besides being part of family issues and seeing how people interact, there was a lot of interesting information about photography. Linden was a famous photographer with a photo of his father taken years ago that made him famous. There is also wonderful information about plants and gardening and Paris.

THE RAIN WATCHER is beautifully written and pulls you into the story line with Ms. De Rosnay’s marvelous storytelling skills and details about every situation.

If you like rainstorms and family drama, this book will be of interest. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY and in print in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

The Lies We Told by Camilla Way
 
Book Club Recommended
The Lies We Told



Wishing for something and getting something unexpected happened to Beth and Doug. They wished for a baby, and when she finally arrived, she was a frightening, evil child.

Wishing for a wonderful relationship was what Clara hoped for and thought that's what she had until Luke disappeared and she found out unpleasant things about him.

THE LIES WE TOLD has two stories which somehow are connected, but how they are connected is cleverly woven and a well-kept a secret.

Hannah, the evil child, was a very frightening story line. The disappearance of Luke was not pleasant, but didn't seem as bad. Hannah was the tie between both story lines, though.

THE LIES WE TOLD is so good you won't want to stop reading. The plot is brilliant and tense in both stories and increases with each turn of the page and with each secret and lie revealed.

The only way you can experience this amazing thriller is to read it yourself. It is very twisted and very good, and you will be thrown off with each clue.

Those readers who like to figure out plots and usually do will most likely be baffled and incorrect in this case.

Read THE LIES WE TOLD so you can join in the discussion of this masterfully created book...the characters are quite cunning themselves...namely Hannah.

Make sure you have a large block of time available when you start reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review. All opinion are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
Tahoe Skydrop



Technology definitely can be dangerous at times.

Jon, a 10-year-old computer genius, found that out when he was kidnapped and Yardley LaMotte, the owner of Tahoe Robotics, found that out when he was killed for files on a flash drive.

We follow Owen McKenna as he investigates the death of Mr. LaMotte and the kidnapping of Jon. As always his Largeness is with him, and we learn about Tahoe’s landscape, hiking on ice-covered slopes, and paragliding.

Fans of Mr. Borg will again be treated to tension, mystery solving, and marvelous detail as Owen climbs mountains, hides out in the woods, gets his own way, secretly sneaks up on killers, and uses every clue to come to solving yet another intriguing mystery.

Mr. Borg also gave some details about social and personal topics.

McKenna always has unique ways of rescuing characters as well as keeping the reader in suspense.

Mr. Borg hopes that after reading about his attempted unique rescue, you will want to try paragliding. I will pass on that sport. :) 4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Dangerous Duet



What else could be happening behind the scenes at The Octavian except piano playing and entertaining of every sort?

Nell played there to earn money for tuition to the Royal Academy even though her policeman brother didn’t know about it and wouldn’t approve. Too many shady characters in that building and not safe to be walking back alone at night.

Nell was definitely getting herself into something dangerous, and she didn’t know it. Nell heard so many different stories about what each person was like and what was going on that it was difficult to know who was telling the truth.

One thing that did happen was that one of the actresses was badly beaten and her partner was no where to be found. Other incidents occurred too to make Nell and her brother wonder what was going on.

With the beating of the actress, the missing actor, and the death of a policeman, Nell’s brother had his doubts about one of his fellow policemen. He believes there is a snitch at Scotland Yard.

Meanwhile, Nell is learning things aren’t as “clean” as they appear at The Octavian. Was she getting herself into danger she didn’t know about? Nell was taking chances being dressed as a man in a place that wasn’t as safe as she thought.

A DANGEROUS DUET was part learning about the lifestyle of folks in the Victorian era as well as learning that people actually haven’t changed behaviors that much over the years.

Living in the Victorian era actually wasn't safe in many respects, and the lack of today's conveniences such as cars and sanitation makes you happy you live today.

The suspense was enough to keep you guessing and doing some detective work of your own. Nell’s involvement was not the best decision on her part. She was dealing with a dangerous group of thieves.

I enjoyed the characters, and Ms. Ogden’s writing style was detailed and interesting.

If you enjoy mystery, secrets, and the Victorian era, A DANGEROUS DUET will be an appealing read. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Once Upon a River: A Novel by Diane Setterfield
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Dramatic, Life Changing
Once Upon A River



Storytelling at the Swan is the favorite past time of the crowd and the reason so many men stop by for their drinks.

One night the storytelling became real when a man who had been hurt and a small girl who appeared as if she had drowned fell through the inn’s front door.

Then a miracle happened....the girl came alive again. The townspeople and their storytelling ways had many questions, and some thought the girl was one of their own who had passed.

We follow the characters as they try to interpret what happened as we are treated to Ms. Setterfield’s beautiful, poetic, descriptive style.

And...we can’t forget the character, the Thames River....it is a part of everyone’s lives and what the story line revolves around.

The ending of each character’s story made the statement....”Something is going to happen,” and something definitely did.

ONCE UPON A RIVER beautifully and slowly unfolded as the mystery of the little girl was revealed and as we learn about the lives of the characters.

If you enjoy a Gothic theme, and a story line with intriguing as well as odd characters, ONCE UPON A RIVER should be a book you will enjoy.

I do have to say it was a bit long, but Ms. Setterfield's marvelous storytelling skills make you want it to go on even longer especially once the mystery is revealed and you find out more about the characters. 4/5

This book was given to me free of charge by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Sophie Last Seen by Marlene Adelstein
 
Book Club Recommended
Sophie Last Seen



Having a child disappear is a parent’s worst nightmare, and Jesse has been living the nightmare for six years.

Jesse lost Sophie at the local mall and goes back nearly every day to look for clues that might tell where she is. She went a bit too far one day and was banned from the mall.

Jesse and her husband Cooper had divorced shortly after Sophie’s disappearance. Cooper moved on, remarried, and isn’t as obsessed as Jesse. Jesse lives in the house where Sophie grew up, and she doesn’t want to leave in case Sophie comes back.

Jesse’s obsession with finding her daughter turned into hoarding everything she found that she thought was a clue to her daughter’s disappearance. She thought notes, shirts, grocery lists, pages from dictionaries, and bird trivia were signs from her daughter.

The reader follows Jesse through her days along with Sophie’s friend Star as they both can’t forget her and hope she will return. Star sees Sophie as Sophie taunts her, and Jesse sees Sophie as she reads to her and talks to her.

SOPHIE LAST SEEN flows smoothly with some odd, but likable characters. The book addresses many issues and is a book that will tug at your heartstrings. The town of Canaan is a town that helps each other out in any crisis.

I enjoyed the book and also felt the pain Jesse was going through with her obsession of finding her daughter, with remembering her daughter and the secret about her, with her hoarding, and with the fact that she did need to move on and change her current life. I kept hoping it would happen for her.

The tension and suspense ramped up as the book continued.

If you enjoy a bit of oddity, a fast-paced story line, a few ghosts, and characters that will stay with you, then SOPHIE LAST SEEN will be a book you will want to read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Watching You: A Novel by Lisa Jewell
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Dark, Addictive
Watching You



Just who is Tom Fitzwilliam? Does anyone really know?

To the outside world he is a handsome, popular, successful man, but is he really all that?

Strange things always happen in the neighborhoods where Tom lives, and Melville Heights is no exception.

There is spying in the neighborhood by his son, there are women in love with Tom, and there is a neighbor, Mrs. Tripp, who thinks Tom is the cause of numerous strange things happening to her and has remembered something about Tom that happened a few years ago.

Could Mrs. Tripp be right about Tom and everyone else wrong thinking he is perfect? She doesn't give up.

Tom’s son, Freddie, is definitely odd and frightening.

There are other characters that play some major roles such as Joey who is a suspect in a murder investigation that occurred in the neighborhood and who has a crush on Tom Fitzwilliam.

WATCHING YOU is definitely a study in human nature with nosy neighbors being the focus. It seemed that everyone was spying on someone with Freddie being the major one.

As the book continues, the mystery about who Tom really is and who the murdered person is at the beginning of the book are slowly revealed.

WATCHING YOU has a lot of unlikable and odd characters, but that is what made it good and typical Lisa Jewell.

I was asking myself just who is anyone in this twisty, strange, but excellent thriller that had me wondering about all of the characters and what was happening.

If you enjoy Lisa Jewell’s books, you won’t want to miss reading WATCHING YOU.

The ending revelations are GREAT!! 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Half of What You Hear: A Novel by Kristyn Kusek Lewis
 
Book Club Recommended
Half of What You Hear



Moving to her husband’s small home town was something Bess always wanted to do because of the lovely homes, and because she thought it would be good for the twins.

The move wasn’t without problems. Two of a number of problems were that she would be across the street from her mother-in-law, and they would be taking over the inn that had been in the family for years.

Little did she know about the problems that would come up dealing with the residents. One of the residents who was quite famous because of an accident is Susannah Lake. Susannah is someone that Bess is asked to interview.

Susannah is a woman who moved back to this small town after many years, lives in a forty-room house, and is the talk of the town as well as a former girlfriend of Bess’s father-in-law.

Susannah is also a woman that you can’t really be sure if what she says is the truth.

The other residents were nosy, catty, and loved to gossip - the beauty of a small town, right? Everyone knows everyone’s secrets and pasts.

Poor Bess became the target of all the women....not what she expected when she moved to this quiet, small town. She thought everyone would be kind, but they all knew the history she and Cole shared and made sure they commented on it.

The problem with commenting on their history was that Cole seemed to side with the people from when he was growing up instead of Bess....not a good thing.

HALF OF WHAT YOU HEAR addressed social issues as well as personal issues of fitting in.

There are secrets that the residents of Greyhill have kept for many years, and as the mystery unravels, the book's interest picks up and ends up with a few surprises.

There also are a few very unlikable residents. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Red Address Book by Sofia Lundberg
 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Brilliant, Addictive
The Red Address Book



Doris is 96, lives alone in Stockholm, and only has a niece in the United States that she Skypes with.

Doris has caregivers stopping by during the day and is essentially alone except for her memories and the red address book her father gave to her when she was thirteen. The red address book has kept track of every person she has met over her life time.

At thirteen after her father died, Doris was forced into becoming a servant in a wealthy household since her mother couldn't afford to feed her. While in the wealthy household, a model agency saw Doris and Doris became a living mannequin in Paris.

THE RED ADDRESS BOOK takes us back and forth in Doris' life as she reminisces about her past and all the people that have been in and have touched her life.

This book was a beautiful, beautiful read that I didn't want to end.

It was heartwarming as well as heartbreaking.

For a debut novel, the author did a marvelous job with the dual time line and with keeping my interest.

I truly enjoyed Doris' interesting life story. It made me want to document anything in my life that might be important for my family to know.

If you are in need of a book that will have you remembering and loving the characters and the story line long after you close the last page, THE RED ADDRESS BOOK will be a welcome read.

I absolutely LOVED this book that was filled with love and a book everyone needs to read. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley and BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

Freefall: A Novel by Jessica Barry
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive
FREEFALL



Allison by her own choice had no contact with her mother for two years, and then her mother found out that Allison had been killed in a plane crash.

Maggie had not talked to her daughter since her husband had passed away, knew nothing about her life, and was at a loss to answer questions about her daughter.

Maggie did what every mother would have done to keep in touch, but to no avail, and I admired her for searching out details about her daughter’s life under the circumstances.

Maggie could find no one who knew anything about her daughter or rather anyone who would say anything about her. They became silent when she asked. Maggie wondered what the reason for that was.

Maggie had an inkling that her daughter hadn't perished in the fiery crash but kept that thought to herself for her own sanity.??

We follow Maggie and Allison in alternating chapters both past and present as the story unfolds.??

Allison's life the past two years had been a bit tough at first, and she had a secret that prevented her from her wanting to be found.
??
The tension mounted on Allison’s side of the story as we find out things about her past, what she was up to, and perhaps the reason for the crash.??

FREEFALL keeps you rapidly turning the pages, has good writing, great detail, and enough suspense that you won’t want to put the book down. ??

Through bits and pieces everything slowly came together, the mystery unraveled, and the intensity of the situations increased.??

If you enjoy suspense, secrets, and twists, FREEFALL fits the bill.??

It takes a few pages to grab your interest, but be sure you don’t have anything else to do because you won’t be able to put this book down. 5/5??

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
She Lies In Wait



What could have happened to Aurora? Someone knows but isn't telling.

Uncovering bones from a thirty-year-old disappearance/murder case wasn’t something the police thought would happen after their very thorough search and investigation back then.

The remains of fourteen-year-old Aurora Jackson was a shock to the six teens that had been with her as well as the town and her parents. Everyone believed she had been kidnapped or had run away not murdered.

SHE LIES IN WAIT goes back and forth from 1983 to the present telling the story of what happened at the campsite, how the investigation was exhaustive and came up with nothing, and moves to present day with the interviewing of the now-adult teens and the re-opening of the case.

Opening the case meant bringing the six friends together at the station for a meeting. Was that a good idea or had there been collaboration beforehand? Are they all only going to try to save themselves? Will one of the friends say things that had not been said before and reveal something that could get that person arrested?

The investigation turned up some facts that had been overlooked and involved a person that was not one of the six friends.

SHE LIES IN WAIT moves smoothly from one chapter to the next and holds your interest because of all the questions about what really happened and who was lying back then and who was still lying now.

If you enjoy being a detective, you will definitely enjoy SHE LIES IN WAIT.

The story line is good and nicely carried out with some twists and of course secrets being kept. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

An Anonymous Girl: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dramatic, Interesting
AN ANONYMOUS GIRL



Answer some questions anonymously for $500? Who would say no? How difficult could the questions be?

Jessica finds out just how difficult the questions are once the survey gets started. The anonymous interaction by Dr. Shields while answering the questions at the beginning is unsettling to say the least, but Jessica needs the money so she continues.

When Jessica is asked to meet Dr. Shields in person, she thinks this will be much better than replying on a computer. I wouldn't have continued, but everyone has reasons why they would or why they wouldn't continue.

At their first in-person session, Dr. Shields tells her that the research has been cancelled and that Jessica is her sole focus. Should Jessica worry about this?

Maybe Dr. Shields can help Jessica with a secret she has been keeping her entire life or perhaps she can't help her and her secret will get out?

The more Jessica thinks about this arrangement with Dr. Shields, the more frightened and paranoid she becomes that she really doesn't know what she has gotten herself into and what Dr. Shields really has in mind.

We find out about Jessica as well as Dr. Shields in alternating chapters. Both seem like troubled people, but Dr. Shields seems to have the upper hand with her devious, obsessive plans of using Jessica to help solve her problem or at least find an answer.

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL had me tense as I was reading and worrying what was going on. Jessica's worry seemed to consume her all day and even at night.

I didn't like Dr. Shields the minute I met her and disliked her even more as time went on. She actually was quite frightening, evil, cunning, manipulative, and needed some therapy herself.

If you want to hate a character, Dr. Shields is the person you are looking for.

AN ANONYMOUS GIRL definitely will keep your interest up as well as your blood pressure.

If you enjoy a book that you won't be able to put down just because what's happening is unbelievable, then THE ANONYMOUS GIRL is that book.

And...if I must compare the books by these authors, AN ANONYMOUS GIRL was much better for me than THE WIFE BETWEEN US. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in both print and via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Au Pair by Emma Rous
 
Book Club Recommended
Fantastic, Dramatic, Addictive
The Au Pair





Does Laura, the au pair, have the answer to the question that no one would ever answer?

Does she know why Seraphine's mother threw herself off a cliff right after she gave birth?

Seraphine hopes so because she must know the answer now that her father has also passed away, but no one wants to talk about it.

Well...not until Seraphine tells her grandmother she would like to talk to Laura to see if she can shed some light on what happened. Her grandmother panics and pleads with Seraphine to NOT talk to Laura. This arouses more curiosity for Seraphine.

Grandmother Vera also tells Seraphine that Summerborne House will go to her brother Danny and not her. That news has Seraphine running out of the house.

Why will it go to Danny and not her when she lives there? But Grandmother Vera didn't say why and won't say why.

Of course, Seraphine does not listen to her grandmother's request and apparent warning. What she finds out causes more questions and more danger, but who are the ones that are in danger and what does what she finds out mean?

THE AU PAIR takes us from past to present as we learn about the Mayes family and the situations and activities that took place twenty-five years ago that are still puzzling today.

We hear Laura's voice from the past as she familiarizes herself with the house and the family when she first arrives and her life as the au pair at Summerbourne.

Then we hear Seraphine's voice present day as she searches for answers from her brothers, her grandmother, and anyone who may have known her mother.

There is plenty of mystery to keep you intrigued along with Ms Rous's alluring writing and secretive characters.

The flashbacks and description of life at Summerbourne at that time were marvelous. Old estates with all those rooms, the estate's family, and the folks that work on an estate are always a draw for me.

THE AU PAIR will be enjoyed by readers who enjoy secrets, mysteries, family dynamics, time travel, and descriptions that put you in the book with the characters.

Nothing can top a good old mystery with family secrets, right? 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

No Exit: A Novel by Taylor Adams
 
Book Club Recommended
No Exit





A phone call that her mother had cancer, a snow storm, a rest stop with strangers, and worst of all a child locked in a cage in a van.

Could it get any worse for Darby?

Who was the child, which one of the strangers in the rest stop was the kidnapper, and what can Darby do about it since there is no cell signal and no way the police could get there anyway in all that snow?

NO EXIT has us sharing a rest stop with the other stranded people trying to make time pass, but as time passes the tension and danger builds because Darby finds out who the kidnapper is and is secretly threatened to keep quiet.

As you read, you feel Darby's terror about the safety of herself and the other strangers and wish the snow would stop, cell service would be available, and some help would arrive.

If you have always thought rest stops were creepy places, you will be even more wary after reading NO EXIT.

NO EXIT has characters that unfortunately could very well be exactly as they are portrayed whether they are at a rest stop or at a resort. The kidnappers were pretty evil and had no regard for human life.

Mr. Adams keeps you turning the pages, worrying, and wondering how it all will turn out as he slowly and expertly reveals who is who and what is happening.

Talking about an intense read, we need to capitalize INTENSE.

NO EXIT has so much tension your heart will be pounding, and you won't want to stop reading.

When you think you have figured out what is going on, another surprise pops up.

If you thrive on thrillers, NO EXIT will not want to be missed. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Annelies: A Novel by David R. Gillham
 
Book Club Recommended
Annelies





Anne Frank has always been of interest, and Mr. Gillham creates a heartbreaking re-telling of what she and her family endured and what her life could have been had she survived.

We follow Anne before, during, and after the war that describes her family's confinement and the horrors they endured at the concentration camps.

Mr. Gillham brings Anne back to life and fictitiously lets us see how she is trying to put her life back together as she reunites with her father who in actuality is the only surviving family member.

The detailed writing and re-telling will hold your interest from the minute you begin reading.

This book is a tribute to all of those who suffered, survived, perished, and helped in any way possible during history's darkest hours.

Mr. Gillham did an outstanding job of researching as well as using a creative method of portraying Anne Frank's life as it may have been even though she did not survive the Holocaust.

Through Mr. Gillham’s marvelous writing style we are transported back in time as we experience what Anne experienced during her captivity and as she tries to re-enter her previous life that is always filled with the presence and reminders of her captors and how she had to comply.

ANNELIES is a beautiful, heartfelt book you will want to absorb with attention to every detail.

Anne seems as though she was and would have been a feisty young lady that the world has missed and could have learned from. 5/5

This book was given to me as ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Beautiful, Informative, Romantic
We Hope For Better Things




A box of photos, an elderly aunt the main character didn’t know about, and an old house.??

Was it fate that Elizabeth had lost her job as a journalist because of a story she was covering???

Was it fate that James Rich found her and wanted her to return some photos to a Nora Balsam???

Was it fate that Elizabeth fell in love with Aunt Nora and with her home the minute she met her and stepped inside the family home?

??As the chapters alternate between the three Balsam women, we meet Elizabeth present day as she is finishing up a story and gets fired because of the story and as Elizabeth meets James Rich who has a task for her she doesn’t want to do until she finds out that Nora is her great aunt.

We meet Nora in her younger days and in present time. Going through her house and seeing the beauty that was once there pulled me in.

??We also meet Mary Balsam dating back to 1861 and the first inhabitant of the house Nora now lived in.??

??I love old photos, old houses, and stories that our older relatives have to tell us about their lives and the time period which they lived in and how they lived.

Elizabeth found all of those things, with the best things being the old house with stories of its own and the stories of the three women's interesting lives.

One problem, though, was that Nora wouldn’t talk about the house or tell any stories at all about her past life.

When Elizabeth finds locked rooms, gravestone markers, and many beds lined up in the attic my interest peaked.

Those readers who enjoy historical fiction, secrets, surprises, and an unraveling of the past will thoroughly enjoy WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS.

??And, of course, the characters were simply wonderful. I didn’t want the book to end because of them.??

WE HOPE FOR BETTER THINGS has a warmth that will linger with you and a wonderful history lesson.

Ms Bartels' debut novel has flawless writing and a marvelous story line. 5/5??

This book was given to me by the publisher via Bookishfirst in exchange for an honest review.

The Wartime Sisters: A Novel by Lynda Cohen Loigman
 
Book Club Recommended
The Wartime Sisters



Sisters who didn't get along because of jealousy.

Sisters who didn't get along because of different ways of looking at things.

Sisters who just didn't get along or agree about anything.

Ruth and Millie were sisters who fit into those categories. Ruth was older and more reliable. Millie just couldn't focus on anything and was not reliable but earned the favor of their mother and could do no wrong in her eyes.

THE WARTIME SISTERS focuses on relationships between the sisters, between a mother and her daughters, between other women, and on how everything affected their daily lives.

We follow Ruth and Millie from their childhood to the Springfield Armory in Massachusetts during WWII. We see the friction between the sisters during both time periods in their lives. Nothing had changed over the years for them.

THE WARTIME SISTERS held my interest because of the well developed characters. Each one had something interesting about themselves and something that truly added to the story line.

Lillian was a favorite character for me. She was very nurturing. Ruth was likeable, but a bit too strict and unforgiving. Millie was a bit pitiful because she knew she had made a bad mistake by marrying Lenny, but I liked her. Arietta was the best...I just loved her singing and her cooking.

Ms. Loigman's writing is very detailed and pulls you in with the beautiful way she has the words simply grab you.

When a small comment was slyly dropped in one of the chapters about a truth Ruth kept from Millie and then a truth Millie had kept from Ruth, the interest definitely was upped.

THE WARTIME SISTERS is a beautiful, warm, marvelously researched read.

A truly enjoyable book. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Fun, Addictive
The Lost Girls of Paris


With most of the men at war and definitely more obvious than women if left at home, the best people for special war operations were women.

1943 - Eleanor was the woman in charge of the recruiting and placement of the women.

Eleanor knew it was very dangerous for the women to be doing these covert deeds as well as knowing that they are not as strong or physically equipped as men, but the women were definitely less easy to spot or were they? She had to prove to the men in charge that the women she chose were the right ones, and the women could carry out the operations.

1944 - Marie was recruited for one of the dangerous jobs in France since she spoke fluent French.

Marie went through training with Eleanor who was strict and difficult but with Marie knowing she really wasn't. When Marie was sent on her first mission. she was terrified as each woman had been, but the job needed to be completed.

1946 - Grace found a suitcase in Grand Central that had an envelope with photographs of women. This was after the war, and these photographs made Grace curious about who these women were and why that specific suitcase had been abandoned.

Grace needed to find out why the photos were in this abandoned suitcase, who these women in the photos were, and what the connection was to the past and to the war. Grace was also avoiding or was she unconsciously enjoying the company and attention of her dead husband's best friend, Mark.

We follow the lives of these three women in alternating time periods as Pam Jenoff does her magic of detailing and informing us about their private lives, their roles in history, and the situations they were in and had been involved in.

Historical fiction fans as well as women's fiction fans will devour this marvelous book.

THE LOST GIRLS OF PARIS is another beautiful, well-researched Pam Jenoff creation.

DO NOT miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I Invited Her In by Adele Parks
 
Book Club Recommended
I Invited Her in



E-mailing a long-lost friend about getting together seemed like the right thing to do, and Abi knew Mel wouldn’t resist her plea about needing her.

Abi e-mailed Mel with her story of how her husband had cheated on her and how she wanted to re-connect.

When Abi arrived, it seemed she had more on her agenda than getting re-connected with Mel. I actually sensed the true evilness of her plan. She definitely was an excellent actress.

Abbi kept up her plan since it was working and didn’t seem to want to change anything. She was in a friend’s house with a lovely family. She was away from her ex-husband. She had Mel, the all-trusting friend, and there was no reason to leave this cozy, rent-free existence.

Mel made me want to tell her to open her eyes and see what Abi was actually doing.

We follow Abi and Mel in alternating chapters that tell of their present and past lives as we piece together what had happened and why Abi pretended to be a friend when in fact was seeking revenge and was jealous of Mel.

The more I read about Abi and what she was doing, the more I disliked her. She wasn't a friend at all.

When the reader finds out just what is actually going on, you will question if that had been Abi's plan from the beginning or if it was something else that brought her to Mel's doorstep.

She did things to destroy Mel's life. She ruined the family life that Ben and Mel had carefully put together, cherished, and enjoyed.

I INVITED HER IN pulled me in from the beginning, and the intrigue didn't stop as the twists and revelations came to the surface.

If you enjoy tension, a conniving main character, and secrets many characters are keeping, this book is for you. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Forget You Know Me: A Novel by Jessica Strawser
 
Book Club Recommended
Forget You Know Me



Each character has something they hide from another character and actually from themselves.

We first meet Liza and Molly the night of their long overdue Skype chat that was to bring them close again, but the chat turned everything sour.

Another question is what was going on between Molly and her husband that she couldn’t tell him or even call him about the scary incident that Liza had seen?

An answer might be that there were a lot of things happening in Molly and Daniel's life that were not being addressed, and it had nothing to do with what happened in the Skype chat.

The tension mounted as we learn more about what was going on with everyone and how cunning and sneaky some of the characters were.

If you enjoy personal drama, seeing how any type of relationship can fall apart, characters that are somewhat believable, secrets, and a story line that will have you thinking about the situations and choices the characters made long after you turn the last page, then FORGET YOU KNOW ME will be a book you won't want to miss.

I do have to say that the book dragged on a bit too long, but it didn't affect the read. I still enjoyed the book and the revelations at the end. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Pointless, Unconvincing, Slow
The Last Romantics



The family had to move to a smaller house and a not-so-nice neighborhood and to fend for themselves because they only saw their mother when she decided to venture out from her bedroom.

Renee was the oldest, Caroline was next in line, Joe was the only boy, and Fiona was the baby when it all happened. They called this time their mother was absent The Pause. The Pause went on for a few years.

The children did well for a while, but then things started to get tough. Renee couldn’t take the responsibility, and the other children couldn’t do without her. They started going their separate ways and weren’t as close knit as they had been until one day another adult stepped in, got them some help, and got their mother Antonia out of bed.

Things looked up after that, and the family unit worked better together as everyone grew up.

We learn of what happened to each family member whether good or bad. They all loved each other and were there for each other.

I was disappointed in this book even though it has Ms. Conklin's beautiful, detailed writing.

THE LAST ROMANTICS was not an appealing read or of interest, and I struggled to read it in its entirety especially since I LOVED her first book.

I know I am in the minority for opinions. 2/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NETGALLEY and in print in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Hunting Party


An annual reunion of friends at a new location with the added beauty and terror of a huge snowstorm that cuts everyone off from the rest of the world is where THE HUNTING PARTY begins and where we meet the characters.

The reunion starts off with a long ride from the train station to the remote lodge with a scary gamekeeper as the driver, the juggling of who gets what cabin, the first-night dinner together, and finding out there is another couple in residence as well as the group of friends.

The group has been friends for a long time, but do they really know each other? Are they jealous of each other? Why do they do this reunion every year? They all seem to have secrets and pasts that the others don’t know about.

The first-night dinner brings many feelings about each other and frightening feelings about the couple from Iceland. They are poorly dressed and seem most interested in the hunting party that has been arranged.

Along with the Lodge guests, we meet mysterious Heather. She seems all organized and put together on the outside, but she has her secrets and something in her past that she wants to forget.

THE HUNTING PARTY lets us get to know the guests very well. Actually a little too well...going into all the detail about their lives past and present got a bit too much, but I guess it was necessary for the reader to get the full impact of the reunion and events.

We are taken from the festivities to Doug, the gamekeeper, finding a body and showing Heather where he found it. When Heather sees the body, she knows it wasn't an accident.

Waiting to find out which one of the friends was the victim and who the killer was kept the tension high. The identity was not made known until the very end. The mystery was a well-kept secret.

Ms. Foley's writing is very descriptive and beautiful. I could see every detail of the landscape and feel the emotions of each character. If you can describe writing as lush, that is how beautiful the sentences flowed and created a picture.

If you enjoy a mystery, antics of characters, learning that the characters really didn't show their true colors, and waiting for the “ball to drop,” THE HUNTING PARTY will be a book you will want to read.

The story line was perfectly carried out and nothing was revealed until the very end. It was an interesting study of personalities. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Woman 99: A Novel by Greer Macallister
 
Book Club Recommended
Woman 99


Two society daughters - Phoebe who has screaming fits and Charlotte who is to marry a wealthy socialite she doesn’t want to marry.

When Phoebe is put in an institution for her fits, her sister, Charlotte, can't deal with having her sister inside so she makes herself seem mad and gets herself inside the institution too. Charlotte blames herself for Phoebe's placement.

Once Charlotte is inside, just like Nellie Bly, she sees the horrors and wonders how she will every get out. It was easy to get in, but not as easy to get out.

Charlotte found many women there that were not mad but just a nuisance to their family for one reason or another.

Charlotte is put in a ward for those women who do not talk and then moved to a different ward shortly after, but she still can’t find her sister in any of the nine wards.

What she does find is that these women are not treated very well at all, and it is difficult to see how the harsh treatment could cure anyone.

We meet many different personalities, and Ms. Macallister’s detailed descriptions put you into the institution and have you feeling what the women are feeling and going through.

Charlotte passes the time she has, and she only has six weeks to find her sister and get out, by figuring out how to find Phoebe, by working in the soapmaking shop, and thinking of her previous life at home and her time with Henry. As Charlotte continues her quest to find her sister, the search becomes difficult and has some unexpected surprises.

I enjoyed WOMAN 99. Ms. Macallister’s research is very thorough, and the tales being told are as frightening to read as the situations the women have to deal with.

I also enjoyed going back in time and seeing how the sisters were treated at home and the circumstances that Phoebe got herself into with one of them being screaming at her parents that Charlotte didn’t want to marry George but his brother Henry. Her fit is what got her thrown into the institution.

WOMAN 99 is historical fiction, women’s fiction, mystery, and thriller all rolled into one. If you enjoy those genres, some nasty characters, and strong female characters, you will want to read this book. 5/5

This book was shared with me at the BookExpo by Sourcebooks in exchange for an honest review.

The Beautiful Strangers by Camille Di Maio
 
Book Club Recommended
The Beautiful Strangers



Kate Morgan didn’t want to spend her entire life frying fish in her family’s restaurant so with her grandfather’s insistence, she sold her grandmother’s ring, took the money, and went to the Hotel Del Coronado in San Diego, California, to work in the kitchen on a set for the movie SOME LIKE IT HOT.

Kate was anxious as she left and especially as she continued on her journey that none of her family knew she had taken. As she traveled, her suitcase was stolen, she was hungry, and she was not very presentable when she arrived.

When Kate arrived she is told there is a ghost that lived at Hotel Del Coronado in 1892 with the exact same name. When I heard this, the connection between the two Kates and the connection her grandfather was trying to remember must have had something to do with the Kate from 1892 and made THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS even more intriguing.

We find out as Kate Morgan from today and Kate Morgan from the past tell their story in alternating chapters and time periods as the story of who the beautiful stranger is becomes unraveled.

Camille Di Maio has written another beautiful, fantastic book with marvelous research.

Her beautiful prose and story line pull you in and keep you anxious for the characters and for information about the history of Kate's grandfather and his connection to San Diego and the Hotel Del Coronado.

Ms. Di Maio's descriptions of buildings, colors, landscapes, and simply everything made me feel as though I were there and wanting to be there.

I just loved the characters and both time periods....well...most of the characters. If you read the book or have read the book, you will know which character is very unlikable.

The story line is absolutely marvelous. We get taken onto a movie set, meet Marilyn Monroe and other actors, follow Kate on her journey and quest for information, and best of all enjoy another award-winning read by Camille Di Maio.

THE BEAUTIFUL STRANGERS has a marvelous dual-time story line as well as what historical fiction fans, movie buffs, and California fans are looking for.

DO NOT MISS reading this book. It is heartwarming, amazing, and an all-around gem. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Beautiful Bad



Maddie and Joanna had been friends since they met in Spain.

What happened, though?

Joanna and Maddie have lost touch, Maddie married Ian, and now we come upon a 911 call as the first page of BEAUTIFUL BAD opens.

We follow from when Maddie meets Ian overseas and when Ian and Maddie are married.

The chapters are labeled in years as well as weeks before the 911 call.

As you read, subtle hints were given to the underlying tension and the situations that caused everything to fall apart and turn into murder.

Joanna seemed pretty volatile, jealous, and dangerous.

Ian seemed to have some problems with women, had secrets, and seemed dangerous.

Fiona seemed as if she could fly off the handle for any reason. She was also jealous of Ian.

Maddie seemed to be the weak character and the most gullible, or was she?

So many characters to wonder who made the 911 call and who the attacker was.

The BEFORE-the-day-of-the-killing chapters weren't that interesting to me even though they were the lead up to everything.

There are some frightening situations throughout the book including details of the 911 scene, bizarre happenings, and abuse.

If you enjoy a many-chapter wait for the final scene, BEAUTIFUL BAD will be a book you will enjoy. The ending did turn out to be a surprise.

BEAUTIFUL BAD was good, but I wasn't wanting to rush back to it. 3.5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton
 
Book Club Recommended
The Perfect Girlfriend



Leaving me? How can you want to end this relationship, Nate? I am the perfect girlfriend.

Juliette and Nate had been together for a short while, but Nate wanted some space.

Juliette couldn’t get over how Nate wanted to end what they had so she decided to train as an airline stewardess and be close to Nate since he was a pilot. She had to remember, though, that their parting rules were to have no contact.

Juliette knew how to stay close to Nate yet remain apart. Juliette would stop in at Nate’s apartment when she knew he was on a long distance flight and pretend she still lived there.

Juliette did some other things not so benign simply because no one can have Nate if she can’t have him because she is the perfect girlfriend.

THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND was a bit slow to start, but once Juliette started with her "plans," the pages flew by because you won't be able to believe the extent she went to making sure to keep an eye on Nate and his current life.

You won't want to miss reading THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND if you enjoy a steadily paced thriller that reveals Juliette and her past and especially her current plans to keep Nate.

She actually made my heart race with the things she did and with her boldness. It is also difficult to believe how she thought of the things she did.

Obsessive, cunning, deceitful, unstable, and awful are the PERFECT words for THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Library of Lost and Found



A package for Martha? What a nice surprise.

Could it really be for her? No one does things for her. She is the one who never says no and does things for everyone else.

When Martha sees what is in the package, she can’t stop asking herself questions about it.

Does this book actually have copies of Martha’s stories that she would write because of her Grandmother's prompting?

Martha always was interested in writing stories because her grandmother encouraged her to write them. Her hopes went up, but then went down again thinking it couldn’t be possible that she found a book with her stories in it.

What about the note scribbled on the front page that was dated years after her grandmother had died? Could her grandmother have written that note in hopes that Martha would eventually see the book and see that the childhood stories had been published?

Could Grandma really be alive after her parents told her she passed away 30 years ago? If so, what made them say that?

We meet lovable, helpful, selfless Martha who works in a library and only has her critical sister left so she can’t ask her about the book or Grandmother because Lilian's answer will be completely negative about Martha's findings and her questions just like her father.

Martha finds out that Owen a book store owner found the book and the note and left the book for her because she was the only Martha Storm that he knew of.

We follow Martha on her quest to find about the book, her grandmother, and how all of this could be possible.

We also find out how she changed her life, trusted people, tried to forget her father’s negativity, and came out of her shell.

THE LIBRARY OF LOST AND FOUND is another heartwarming GEM by Phaedra Patrick with lovable characters you would want to have in your life and is a book you won't want to end.

The cover is very welcoming as well.

Absolutely LOVED this book. Be sure to add it to your to-be-read stack. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Insightful, Informative
Marvelous




A friendship made in an internment camp during WWII that lasted only eighteen months, but bonds and memories that lasted a lifetime.

Elise and Mariko met during WWII while attending school in an internment camp for Japanese and German Americans.

We follow both girls through their eighteen months in the camp as well as after even though the friends never saw each other again until they were older adults. They tried to connect with each other, but they never were able to.

At this time in their lives, Elise was suffering from dementia, and she found out Mariko was dying from stage four breast cancer.
Even though Elise had trouble remembering things, she remembered enough to find Mariko, to get on a plane, and to find her before they both were no longer alive.

THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR is a marvelous history lesson and a testament to enduring friendship and learning lessons and making decisions.

The subject matter wasn't light, but it was wonderful learning more about this time in history. I actually wasn't aware of all that happened. It is very obvious that Ms. Meissner did extensive research and perfectly fit the facts into her book.

If you enjoy historical fiction and Ms. Meissner's books, you will want to make room on your bookshelf for THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR.

As all of her books, the beautiful flow of Ms. Meissner's writing and her attention to detail make the book a treat to read. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in return for an honest review.

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing
 
Book Club Recommended
My Lovely Wife

A Lovely Wife is definitely a misnomer. A demented psycho is more like it.

Everything Millicent does seems innocent on the outside, but it is truly evil. She plans things that will benefit her and only her with her family being at the brunt of the control issues she has. Millicent is definitely a character to hate.

One day after a number of years of marriage, she had the most bizarre plan. Her husband who was never given a name in the book did what he did to keep Millicent pleased most likely because he was afraid of his wife.

MY LOVELY WIFE is unbelievable, but Ms. Downing does an excellent job of keeping you engaged from the first page, and the engagement doesn’t stop just like Millicent doesn't stop the murders of young women.

Ms. Downing's debut is unique and well-written, but also has a story line that is unthinkable and unimaginable.

If you enjoy a fast-paced book that takes you on a crazy ride and will have you biting your nails, then MY LOVELY WIFE will be a book you will want to take a look at.

You HAVE to read this book to believe what the characters are doing. You won't be able to turn the pages quickly enough. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Difficult, Confusing, Boring
Should Make Good Discussion

Tom was shy, Trudy wasn't happy.

Trudy left Tom, came back pregnant, left again without her son, Peter, then came back again to take Peter away. Taking Peter away devastated Tom because he grew to love Peter and was the main caregiver even though he wasn't Peter's father.

Tom decided he had to move on with his life since he was only thirty three, and he found Hannah to help with that. Hannah moved a bit too fast for Tom, but it all worked out.

Tom was shy, Hannah was bolder. Tom had tragedy in his life, but nothing like Hannah's. Hannah had been in Auschwitz and had lost her husband and son in the camp.

Hannah was a very interesting character and a perfect match for Tom. They both had their talents, and they both complimented each other and taught each other different things until Hannah's moods became worse.

THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED moved along slowly but was an interesting read. We learned about Auzchwitz and the life Hannah lived after she was free, how it all affected Hannah and her moods, and how her intensity about love, Tom, and her life was based on those experiences.

We learned about farm life and how lonely Tom's life was and how Hannah brought new things into his life such as books. We learned how Hannah made Tom happy because she gave him compliments about everything he did and filled his lonely days even though Hannah had her dark days that made Tom's days difficult.

I enjoyed the eccentric characters and the different story lines going on at once even though a few of the story lines were a bit intense. The characters had some quirky, and at times dangerous habits, but the characters were easy to like except for a few.

The author's writing style was fluid, easy, and pulled me in. I do have to say the book was a bit odd at times and difficult to follow.

THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED had many feelings going on...heartbreak, tragedy, loving someone even when they weren't lovable, and being hopeful for happiness in it all.

ENJOY if you read this book. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Little Lovely Things: A Novel by Maureen Joyce Connolly
 
Book Club Recommended
Heartbreaking

Glen, Claire, Andrea, and Lily had the perfect life until the day Claire had to pull off the road because of dizziness, leave the car running with her daughters in it because of the heat, and then return to find the car and her daughters gone.

Could anything worse have happened? Of course the answer is no. A missing child is a parent's worst nightmare.

We follow the Rawlings family as they move through the heartbreaking days as the police investigate with no luck. As you read you will feel their pain as they remember their daughters and special occasions.

An interesting twist is another story line that will have you guessing how both stories connect.

For a debut novel, Ms. Connolly definitely knows how to put words together to make a fast-paced, tense, unable-to-put-down read with memorable characters.

Even though the subject isn't pleasant, Ms. Connolly did a superb, creative job with the topic and with pulling you into the story line and connecting with the characters.

LITTLE LOVELY THINGS is heartbreaking, heartwarming, and has 98% likeable characters. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Mother-in-Law: A Novel by Sally Hepworth
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Insightful, Addictive
The Mother-In-Law

A mother-in-law who didn't like you from the second she met you.

A mother-in-law who had a secret from her youth.

A mother-in-law who loved her charity more than she loved her kids, and told them they just can't have things given to them.

A mother-in-law who disinherited her children a few days before her death but had her reasons.

A mother-in-law who was found dead with a suicide note but with circumstances that didn't point to suicide.

And...a mother-in-law who actually wasn't that bad after all was said and done.

But....could a family member be involved in her death? Would you think a family member would do that to their mother/mother-in-law?

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW moved along quickly with the short chapters revealing all present and past family situations and giving information about how Diana treated her children and their spouses and how she felt about her charity.

The book is filled with secretive characters that keep you from actually knowing what they are thinking or planning to do or even if they are telling the truth.

THE MOTHER-IN-LAW is an all-around good domestic suspense with a few twists that pop up and that might have you looking at some of your family members in a different light.

It will also keep you guessing if a family member did kill Diana or if she committed suicide.

Ms. Hepworth has written another book with family at the heart of it as always as well as other things to ponder. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Little Darlings: A Novel by Melanie Golding
 
Book Club Recommended
Little Darlings



Giving birth was traumatic enough for Lauren but to have a gypsy come to you while you are still in the hospital and tell you she wants to trade your twins for hers would be even more traumatic.

Lauren had a very difficult birth and a husband who has checked out in the helping department with the twins.

Along with sleep deprivation, Lauren is deathly afraid to leave the house because of the woman she saw hours after the birth of her twins and again in her front yard and scratching at the window.

LITTLE DARLINGS moves along quickly sharing Lauren's fears and her wonderful care of her twins Morgan and Riley.

Then one day when Lauren finally ventured out and had a good time with her friends, she became exhausted, sat on a bench in the park, fell asleep, and when she woke, the stroller was gone.

A nightmare for any parent, but it seemed more pronounced for Lauren because of the threat from the gypsy.

No one believed Lauren about any of this.

They do find the stroller, but Lauren screams that they are not her babies. They had been switched and were changelings. This started an entire other problem for Lauren.

LITTLE DARLINGS will be frightening for anyone but even more so for any reader who is a new parent.

The book has a bit of paranormal and fairy stories as part of its theme, but it is more of a thriller and a mystery that will keep you on the edge of your seat. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Emily, Gone by Bette Lee Crosby
 
Book Club Recommended
Emily, Gone



A music festival shook the quiet town of Hesterville, Georgia, with its loud music and with the kidnapping of Rachel and George Dixon's baby.

The Dixons had been exhausted from lack of sleep because of the music festival, didn't hear anyone enter the house through the unlocked door, and awoke to find their baby's crib empty.

We find out that, Vicki, one of the festival goers had just lost her baby, chose a random house to enter to find food, but instead found her lost baby waiting in the crib and took her as her own.

When Vicki came back to the car with a bundle under her coat, her boyfriend, Murph, didn't question anything until he found out what she had done.

Both Murph and Vicki had plans for the baby, but the plans were not the same. Murph had plans to return the baby, but Vicki had plans to keep the baby and took off without him.

We follow the Dixon family and Vicki in this beautiful, but heart wrenching story where one family's life is turned upside down and another supposedly becomes happy.

Ms. Crosby has outdone herself with EMILY GONE as she paired her amazing writing, her amazing characters, and her heartfelt story lines with a new twist - a mystery.

EMILY GONE has tender moments, sad moments, happy moments, and many moments that need tissues.

I didn't want to put this heartwarming book filled with Bette Lee Crosby's signature warmth down.

Her books feel like a huge hug. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Park Avenue Summer by Renée Rosen
 
Book Club Recommended
Park Avenue Summer

Living in New York City had always been a dream of Alice’s mother, and Alice decided that is where she wanted to be so she could fulfill her mother’s dream.

When Alice arrives, she finds New York as glamorous and frightening as she thought it would be, and she finds a job working with Helen Gurley Brown, the editor of COSMOPOLITAN, a pretty scandalous magazine for the 1960’s.

We follow Alice as she works with and comforts Ms. Brown in the whirlwind office that Ms. Brown creates.

Ms. Rosen definitely puts the reader into the story with her terrific descriptions of activity in and out of the office, and she brought 1960's New York alive as we were allowed to join in the daily lives of the characters.

It was fun following Alice around and hoping she would fulfill her dreams of becoming a photographer.

A few secrets about Alice's family kept the story line juicy along with stories of her love interest, Erik, even though it seems pretty difficult to be juicier than Ms. Helen Gurley Brown.

Ms. Helen Gurley Brown certainly was someone to be reckoned with and someone who gave Alice the courage to keep on trying to reach her goals.

PARK AVENUE SUMMER is filled with Renee Rosen's meticulous research, detailed descriptions, and is an all-around-fun, educational read.

The ending was heartwarming. If you have loved Ms. Rosen's other books, you are not going to want to miss reading this splendid, delightful read. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

What Lies Below: A Novel by Barbara Taylor Sissel
 
Book Club Recommended
TERRIFIC Book





Nightmares that foretell events? Nightmares that could solve crimes? Nightmares that Gilly is afraid to think about or let anyone know about.

Gilly seems to be clairvoyant but is afraid to tell the police for fear of their suspecting her of the kidnapping of a friend's daughter. Gilly saw Zoe being kidnapped in her dream, and the next day it happened.

We join in the search for Zoe along with the entire town. The small town of Wyatt loved Zoe and her father, Jake, and they all had their own theories about what happened and who took Zoe.

This tense, well-written thriller was difficult to put down and had marvelous, mysterious characters that all seemed to have some secret.

Ms. Sissel’s writing style is pull-you-in and descriptive. The title also had me intrigued with my thinking it referred to what really was below the surface of what the characters were showing on the outside.

If you like books that dig into a character's background and a story line that will keep you guessing, WHAT LIES BELOW will be a good read for you.

I really enjoyed WHAT LIES BELOW - this was my first book by Ms. Sissel. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Last Time I Saw You



A dead body, a threatening text, dead animals with a child’s nursery rhyme attached, more threatening texts and packages, the return of a long-lost friend, and a confused, frightened family await the reader in THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU.

Who could have murdered lovable, charitable Lily? Why did Lily want to change her will a few days before she was murdered?

We follow heiress, Dr. Kate English, and her family as they grieve and are guarded by private investigators at their home.

We also find out that quite a few of the characters have secrets and things that happened in the past that may have lead up to what is going on in the present.

Everyone seemed to be a suspect - no one was excluded.

I enjoyed THE LAST TIME I SAW YOU. This book will be enjoyed by women's fiction fans as well as mystery fans so put your thinking caps on and hone up on your detective skills.

Trying to solve the mystery of who killed Lily and who was sending the threatening notes and packages was a well kept secret.

The ending was a bit abrupt, but didn't take away from my enjoyment of the book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Gloomy, Interesting, Slow
GREAT DEBUT



Stella was the second child of Assunta and Antonio Fortuna and the second Stella because the first Mariastella died from influenza when she was an infant.

Assunta had a difficult life and a cruel husband. He was not nice to her, would leave for months at a time and not send her money, but she survived and did everything herself and took care of her children. Assunta didn't have a happy life except for her children.

THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA tells the tale of the lives of the author's family and specifically Stella and Tina who were the best of friends as they grew up in Italy and as they aged in America until the final accident happened.

The accidents that caused Stella to almost die were quite unbelievable. Stella was definitely an amazing person to say the least. Her mother, Assunta, was also quite remarkable.

If you are Italian or simply know an Italian, you will want to read this book for many reasons. There are so many references to things that happened in my Italian family that made the read more special - especially the food aspect and the Italian expressions used.

THE SEVEN OR EIGHT DEATHS OF STELLA FORTUNA should be read if only to learn about the difficult lives of Europeans, the immigration process, their struggles in America, their work ethic, their schooling, their traditions, their customs, their family loyalty, and their religious beliefs.

This book has feelings and emotions oozing out of it and has you living the lives along with the characters. The characters will grow on you, you will cry and laugh along with them, and at times be horrified.

The writing in this book is beautiful and descriptive and is an outstanding debut.

Marvelous, magnificent, original, and impressive are some adjectives to describe this book.

You will not want to put it down. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Missing Years by Lexie Elliott
 
Book Club Recommended
The Missing Years

So...you are telling me that only half of this house is mine and I can’t sell it until we find my father who disappeared twenty-seven years ago?

The only other choice Ailsa Calder had was to occupy the house which held memories both good and bad.

She finds out there are more bad associations with the house than good.

The neighbors have been freely roaming in it, and the town’s residents have nothing good to say about her father who disappeared with diamonds.

Along with all the trouble with the residents, odd things also happen in the house itself.

Ms. Elliott’s writing style is descriptive, but the book is a bit slow and focuses on where Ailsa’s father could be or whether he is dead and on the house that seems to be haunted.

At the end of each chapter, a blurb is added about where her father may be or where he may have been all these years.

The odd and different characters do pull the story line along and work well together as one mystery after another comes to the surface along with secrets that are revealed.

If you are a fan of old houses, family secrets, sibling rivalry, family sagas, mysteries, and some unresolved issues, THE MISSING YEARS is a book you will want to read.

You just need to move slowly along with the characters and the story line as everything is revealed in the very peculiar, twisted wrap up. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
THE NIGHT BEFORE

A murder that followed Laura from her youth, a breakup via a text message, and a blind date.

All of these things and more had Laura having a difficult time coping and made her decide to move home to live with her sister and her brother-in-law.

After a few months, Laura decided it was time to date again so she joined a dating site, went on a date, and never returned home.

THE NIGHT BEFORE is told in alternating chapters of before and after in Laura's life. The before tells of the horrible incident that happened in her youth. The present tells of her blind date and things that happened before the date that Laura never told her sister.

We also meet Rosie, Laura's sister, as Rosie relives the incident from Laura's youth and still wonders what really happened back then. And we follow Rosie as she tries to figure out where Laura could be and hoping for the best.

THE NIGHT BEFORE pulls you along and into the story line because of all of the what if's and the question of who is really the one orchestrating all this drama.

THE NIGHT BEFORE was a difficult-to-put down, well-carried out psychological suspense that will have you guessing but not guessing correctly.

If you enjoy characters that you won't be able to figure out, secrets kept, and a shocking ending, THE NIGHT BEFORE needs to be in your to-be-read stack. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Song of The Jade Lily





Jewish families were fleeing Austria, and Romy’s family was on its way to China without her brothers Michael and Daniel. Michael had been shot, and Daniel was taken to Dachau Concentration Camp.

China was the only country during the war that they could enter without a visa.

We meet Romy and her family as they make the journey and settle in Shanghai in 1939.

We then move to 2016 and meet Alexandra who has traveled to Australia from London because her grandfather who raised her was dying.

Being back in her childhood home was bittersweet and was heartbreaking when she had to leave her grandmother to return to her job and head to Shanghai - a place Alexandra had never been. The only good thing about leaving was that Alexandra might find out who her mother really was and where her mother had really originated from.

I enjoyed Alexandra's search for clues and the secret Romy was keeping from her granddaughter about who her mother was as well as learning of life in Shanghai during the war.

The back and forth in time was smoothly done, and the characters were authentically portrayed. You will fall in love with the characters and respect their strength.

Ms. Manning’s writing flows beautifully along with the intriguing story line.

If you enjoy historical fiction, learning about another part of the world during WWII, and learning customs of the Chinese culture, you won’t want to miss reading THE SONG OF JADE LILY.

THE SONG OF JADE LILY is an enjoyable, heartbreaking, heartwarming, mesmerizing, educational read.

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.

The Favorite Daughter by Kaira Rouda
 
Book Club Recommended
The Favorite Daughter



Jane the wife, Jane the grieving mother, Jane the planner - Jane, Jane, Jane.

It's all about her.

After her adopted daughter, Mary, died, Jane was unable to cope with life, and life went on without her, but Jane is back now and needs to be in control again.

Jane thinks she controls her therapist, and she thinks she controls everyone else especially her husband, her daughters, and Mary's biological mother. Jane's biological daughter, Betsy, is difficult to control and is a challenge for Jane.

Jane likes challenges, though, but only if she is the one who comes out on top.

She did find out some interesting information about Mary's biological mother that adds to her determination to get her plan into action.

Jane finds out about more and more betrayal from family members and friends as time goes on and more people to add to her list of getting even. Her husband is the one with the most offenses.

Jane also finds out some startling information about her daughter's death at the memorial service. Someone knows something and isn't telling - could that help with her plan or hinder it?

This book was difficult to put down because I wanted to see what other information would pop up about Mary, Betsy, the husband, the accident, and what Jane's plans would be after that.

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER will keep you guessing if Mary's death was really an accident and who was responsible if it wasn't.

THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER will also have you guessing who is really telling the truth and who is doing the lying.

Fans of domestic turmoil, secrets, mystery, unsavory characters, cheating spouses, lies, narcissistic characters, and psychological suspense will enjoy THE FAVORITE DAUGHTER.

This book will be a summer MUST read.

It is a page-turning thriller/mystery/domestic gem. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

The Neighborhood by Erina Bridget Ring
 
Book Club Recommended
Delightful

What a wild and crazy neighborhood Sherwood Forest is. The name of the place is a treat right from the beginning.

The newest neighbors Gretchen and Jarrod were bombarded the instant they arrived. Gretchen had a neighbor stop by and tell her where to put her dishes in the cupboards, and Jarrod had a neighbor tell him how to organize his garage tools.

Living in Sherwood Forest is a gossip fest, but such fun. There is NEVER a dull moment.

We meet all the neighbors, hear their stories, and find out each one has a better story and is more nosy than the next one. They have some kind of communication network that is faster than the Internet for getting the news out.

Ms. Ring's descriptions of the characters and the situations had me laughing out loud.

I don't know if I actually know what's going on in my neighborhood, but if the neighbors were like this, I would be moving.

If you need a delightful, entertaining, well-written, hilarious book, THE NEIGHBORHOOD will be a terrific addition to your reading stack.

Do not missing reading THE NEIGHBORHOOD. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Summer Country

A run-down sugar plantation was the last thing Emily thought her uncle would leave to her, but Emily was thrilled about it even though her cousin wasn't.

Emily, her cousin, and his wife traveled to Barbados to meet a few people and to see the plantation.

We meet the family from 1812 and the opulence of their home, food, and life style and then turn to 1845 and meet “friends” of the family.

The connection between the time periods was smoothly done. I really liked how Ms. Willig ended one chapter with a comment and started the next chapter with that comment but in a different time period.

Some of the characters were quite devious, and as the pages turned we find out there was more to the family than what was known or heard and something about the plantation and about the Davenant family that someone wanted to keep a secret.

Ms. Willig definitely knows how to use adjectives for describing the characters and settings with her beautiful prose. The characters are described and perfectly portrayed for the time periods.

It was as though I were right there immersed in the lives of the characters whether they were the wealthy or the indentured. I became attached to a few of the characters.

If you enjoy learning about past cultures, delving into life in another country and century, and finding out family secrets that were kept for years, THE SUMMER COUNTRY should be on your summer reading list.

You will definitely get a vocabulary work out. :)

THE SUMMER COUNTRY is another beautiful, enjoyable, well-researched read by Lauren Willig. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The First Mistake by Sandie Jones
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Interesting, Addictive
THE FIRST MISTAKE



Double lives? cheating husbands? money flowing perhaps in the wrong direction? twists, and surprises will greet the reader in THE FIRST MISTAKE.

We meet Nathan and Alice - in love and happy until odd things start to happen and Alice questions how happy they really are.

Alice had been married before to Tom, and Tom had died while on a skiing trip. Alice still loved Tom even though she was married to Nathan.

THE FIRST MISTAKE takes us on a roller coaster ride as Alice suffers with her mental problems, her doubts about her marriage, and her constant thoughts about Tom.

We follow Alice's days and how she confides in her friend Beth about everything.

Revelation after revelation continues throughout the book as we find out the characters are connected in ways none of them had any idea. A few of them actually are not who they say they are.

If you enjoy not knowing what is coming next, THE FIRST MISTAKE is the summer read for you.

A bit slow at first, but the suspense and surprising events are non-stop as you continue reading.

Master sleuths will love this book, but you may be stumped. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and BookishFirst in exchange for an honest review.

Ashes by Sharon Gloger Friedman
 
Book Club Recommended
Ashes

As ASHES begins, we meet and follow Meyer and his family through their horror in Kishinev and then their travel to and their struggles in New York.

The characters and incidents are described so well that you are there with the characters in both Kishinev and New York.

You will feel their pain and suffering and become fond of the characters and hope for the best for them.

We are introduced to the horrific pogram that occurred in Kishinev and that forced Meyer and his family to move to the United States.

We are introduced to struggling families and their lives in the early 1900's in New York.

We are introduced to the treatment of factory workers who were paid next to nothing for working 15-hour days.

We are introduced to the attempt at the organizing of unions to ease the toil of workers and the requirement of safety standards.

ASHES is very well written and smoothly moves from one chapter to the next with Ms. Friedman's educational, well-researched historical topics.

I wasn't aware of the horror in Kishinev, the plight of factory workers, this horrible fire, or the trial of the owners of the Triangle Factory. That is why historical fiction is one of my favorites genres - I always learn something new.

If you are a fan of historical fiction, family sagas, and the making of America, you will want to add ASHES to your reading list.

ASHES is bit depressing because of the sorrow and historical events, but the characters are personable and lovable and Ms. Friedman's writing style is marvelous and pull-you-in.

You will need tissues for the terribly sad as well as happy incidents. 4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Bit Slow to Start, but worth the wait

The title intrigued me from the start. Does it mean not looking back? Does it mean looking the other way? Does it mean keeping your secrets and your past hidden?

We meet Finn whose real name is Natalie, but she doesn't tell anyone because she wants to hide her past.

Finn left her home and moved to Arizona, worked in the office of a Senator's son, and then became the nanny for his four-year-old daughter.

Everyone seemed to have secrets, told lies, were manipulative, and users. Some of the characters were also odd but most were selfish.

GIRL IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR dragged a bit at first, and the story line was difficult to get straight, but the writing and the underlying hints about what was really going on kept me reading as the author has us mingling with the upper crust.

The chapters will keep your interest because of the author's skill of inserting subtle facts throughout the chapters and as the chapters end.

The story line increased in intensity and twists and kept me rapidly turning the pages to find out what really was going on, what really was happening, who could be trusted, and who was lying.

If you enjoy personal and family drama, seeing how the upper crust lives, and what lengths people go to in order to keep something hidden, GIRL IN THE REARVIEW MIRROR, will be something to add to your reading list. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Last House Guest by Megan Miranda
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Boring, Dramatic
The Last House Guest

Avery is left with her grandmother's house after she passes, a wealthy family buys it, and they hire Avery to manage this house and their entire neighborhood of exclusive, rented summer cottages.

Avery is an excellent manager, becomes friends with the Lowman's daughter, Sadie, and is treated like family, and then is faced with Sadie's death that is being ruled as a suicide. Avery knows Sadie wouldn't kill herself and especially on the night of the annual Plus-One end-of-the-summer party.

Avery stuck to her theory that Sadie didn't commit suicide, and she found a few things to prove the police investigation hadn't been thorough and that no one could be trusted.

Her investigation made me nervous, though, because of the way she went about gathering evidence.

We move from chapter to chapter telling the before and after of Avery and Sadie's friendship and of the goings on at the rental community. Was Sadie really Avery’s friend or did she think of Avery as the help and pretend to be her friend? Was anyone really Avery's friend?

I was a bit confused at first about what was going, but once Avery found evidence and clues about what really happened and things were revealed, the interest kicked up.

THE LAST HOUSE GUEST will be for you if you enjoy a beach setting, characters that have secrets, characters that are broken, and a mystery that keeps you guessing.

The ending is definitely a surprise. 4/5

This book was given to me as ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Dear Wife: A Novel by Kimberly Belle
 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
Dear Wife

Two women - one running from an abusive relationship and with escape plans that were in the making for a while and the other we are unclear about.

Sabine never made it to her house showing and Beth is the one we aren't sure about.

We have no background information on Beth, but Sabine has a twin sister, a husband, and a lover.

Do both women have similar situations and travel plans or just plans to leave and get away no matter where they go? Or do both women have no connection?

We then are introduced to a detective, Marcus, who is relentless in his investigation. You will wonder what his deal is.

Each chapter is titled with either Beth, Jeffrey, or Marcus and describes their thoughts, their actions, and what is going on with them during the investigation and disappearance. It is puzzling why Sabine doesn't have her own chapter heading.

Ms. Belle expertly gives the reader tidbits of information and makes us "think" we are solving the mystery, but you will need to be an outstanding detective to figure it out.

DEAR WIFE is a bit confusing at first and does include domestic abuse, but the story line will keep you curiously turning the pages until the chilling ending.

ENJOY if you read DEAR WIFE, and let everyone know if you were an amazing detective. 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Summer Cottage by Viola Shipman
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Inspiring
The Summer Cottage

Her family's cottage about to be sold?

Adie Lou couldn’t do it...The Summer Cottage had too many memories.

Instead of selling the cottage, Adie Lou decided to turn it into a bed and breakfast and a retreat for women.

We follow Adie Lou as she moves through getting a divorce, struggling with her decision to keep the cottage, having the cottage updated and made into what she wanted, and hoping she can make ends meet.

THE SUMMER COTTAGE had me in tears at times because of the sad but mostly the happy things.

Each section of the book was titled as one of the positive rules of the cottage.

They were rules that we all should incorporate into our daily lives especially #1 Leave Your Troubles at The Door.

Viola Shipman has created another beautiful story about family, friendships, and what is important in life. I fell in love with Adie Lou, the cottage, Michigan, and the story line, and I think anyone who reads this book will too.

Viola Shipman writes so beautifully, with such warmth, and in such detail that you'll clearly see the cottage, the cottage's history, the characters, and even feel the frigid Michigan temperatures.

The writing and story line made me want to jump into the pages and to be at the cottage so I could be part of the love and warmth the characters had for each other, the cozy feel of the small town, and the love Adie Lou had for THE SUMMER COTTAGE.

If you need a positive, uplifting read, THE SUMMER COTTAGE should be your next read.

It is a huge, emotional hug....LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Pretty Revenge by Emily Liebert
 
Book Club Recommended
Pretty Revenge

Revenge can be all consuming, and once Kerrie saw Jordana on the news, she decided to move to New York and take back what Jordana took from her all those years ago.

Out of work and with some money from her grandmother, Kerrie, using her new name - Olivia, makes the move and lands an interview with Jordana who owns a wedding planner business that caters to the wealthy and important.

Kerrie - the new Olivia - gets the job in a quick and easy interview. Was it too easy? Did Jordana really not know who Kerrie was?

After Kerrie was successful at obtaining the job, the excitement wore off almost immediately, and she was worried she didn’t make the right decision.

We follow both women as they play their roles and we wonder what had happened between them that made Olivia want to ruin Jordana.

Learning about their pasts and their childhoods gave insight into what happened eighteen years ago and what made them who they were today.

I actually liked both Jordana and Olivia even though they both were pretending to be someone they were not.

I also liked the light story line and learning the ins and outs and stresses of a wedding-planning business for the rich and famous.

It took a chapter or two to get me hooked, but PRETTY REVENGE was an enjoyable read despite what I had thought was a sinister-sounding title and cover. I didn't think it was going to be as tame as it was.

This book actually was on the delightful side.

If you are a fashionista, love New York, wonder how friendships go wrong, believe that you can be happy, and find characters you can love and hate at the same time, you won’t want to miss PRETTY REVENGE. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Layover by David Bell
 
Book Club Recommended
Layover

An airport, a chance meeting, an unforgettable, secretive woman, a woman who is actually missing, tells lies and doesn’t care who she involves or hurts.

Joshua saw a woman in the bar and knew she needed some help just by the way she was acting so he canceled his plans with his father to follow Morgan.

Is she really worth helping? After their meeting, Joshua thinks so.

Meanwhile, Morgan’s boss is also missing and not too long after Morgan had been visiting him to try to straighten out the reason she didn’t get a raise after making an app that made the company a lot of money.

LAYOVER moves along quickly, and I wanted to tell Joshua to stop being a good guy and stay away from Morgan who he never knew before this chance meeting.

Every time they would find each other and Morgan would leave it had me wondering why in the world Joshua was being so irresponsible....just get back to your life, but he wasn’t listening to me. :)

More characters, and I mean people who don’t think, come on the scene and each one has some connection to Morgan, but the only connection they all have in common is that no one knows where Morgan is or where her boss, Giles, is.

LAYOVER kept me in suspense, kept my blood pressure up, and had me shaking my head at the stupidity of Joshua. Why go to these lengths and ruin your life? Maybe he didn’t think he was ruining his life?

Mr. Bell has written another tense thriller with a very manipulative, not nice main character.

Are you intrigued?

ENJOY if you read LAYOVER!! 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in print and NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Stranger on the Beach

Stranger Danger has never been a more appropriate term than for the situation Caroline found herself in.

Caroline found out about stranger danger when she talked to Aidan, the stranger on the beach always staring at her house.

Caroline’s life was falling apart in more ways than one, but getting cozy with Aidan definitely added to what was happening in her life. She made more of a mess of her life or did she?

STRANGER ON THE BEACH will have you rapidly turning the pages and also have you wondering who is telling the truth. One character relays the events one way and the other relays it another way.

The twisty, turny events along with the twisted stories each character tells keeps you guessing and will keep the interest high.

You don’t know who is lying and who is telling the truth. You won’t even know what events are true and what are not.

If you like to be in suspense and like to be surprised about what the characters will do and how they will react, STRANGER ON THE BEACH will be a good read for you.

An excellent, wild ride indeed and one you do NOT want to miss reading. 5/5

This book given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Never Have I Ever: A Novel by Joshilyn Jackson
 
Book Club Recommended
Addictive, Dark, Dramatic
Never Have I Ever

A secret from her past and someone who happens to show up that may ruin everything.

During their regular, monthly book club meeting a knock on the door brings a new member who as the evening wears on definitely isn't welcome.

Roux knows something about Amy and innocently suggests they play a game called Never Have I Ever.
??
What dark secret could Amy be hiding, how does Roux know about it, and how did Roux find Amy?

Roux demanded money, and Amy had it. ??

Who would have thought after all this time someone would find out and take the time to look into what Amy did as a fifteen-year old?

??Roux did just that, and she was pretty clever, but Amy was pretty clever too so the game gets intense for both of them, but who has the most to lose???

Both women are strong and determined. Both know how to play games, but will the winner take all or will both players lose? ??

A tiny bit on the slow side at first, but not for long. Ms. Jackson took a nightmarish incident that could very well happen and turned it into a story line that will grab you and will have you wondering how someone would even think about doing something like this to someone and how they were able to acquire the information they found or how they even found the person.??

You will be on the edge of your seat as you turn the pages and anxiously await how this game goes.?? 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Interesting, Dramatic, Addictive
The Chelsea Girls

What a fun, interesting place The Chelsea Hotel must have been.

Hazel was in a family of performers, but Hazel wasn’t a performer. Hazel was a playwrite.

We meet Hazel when she was on tour with the USO during the war. Hazel met many actors and became friends with them.

We follow Hazel as she moves out of her childhood home and into The Chelsea Hotel during the McCarthy Era. When her friend, Maxine, from the USO, moves in too their friendship is renewed.

The description of the hotel's decorations, the secret places and passages in it, and the furnishings was fascinating. The impeccable research Ms. Davis had to do definitely shows. I had do a bit of googling of the hotel myself. :)

History buffs and theater goers will again be treated to a very descriptive story line that has Ms. Davis taking you back in time.

I do have to say THE CHELSEA GIRLS was a bit tedious to read for me, but I loved the history of the hotel and its inhabitants. The characters in the book were believable and most were likable.

The ending was satisfying and nicely wrapped up the story line. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A SUMMER MUST READ

Who wouldn’t be taken in by a gorgeous vintage home with views of the beach from every angle?

Ivy immediately fell in love with Las Brisas that she had no idea her husband had bought. She had planned to immediately sell when the realtor told her it would take over a year to even get someone interested so she changed her mind and decided to keep the home.

I fell in love with the house too...it sounded like a lovely place to live or to spend time. What made the house more intriguing was the fact that the house and the original owner had some history dating back to WWII.

Ivy and her sister Shelly made plans to turn the home into a bed and breakfast, but the city wouldn't allow that zoning so they decided on renting rooms and having a wedding planning business.

Both Ivy and Shelley were lovable in their own way. I enjoyed their interactions and creativity.

Even though their business decision was moving forward there still was one problem in town for Ivy. Her problem was the mayor who was also her real estate agent that Ivy knew from high school.

A lot of things were going on in Ivy's life including the death of her husband with secrets Ivy never knew about.

Meanwhile their mother and father had something to tell them and everyone was thinking the worst.

SEABREEZE INN is as delightful as the title sounds.

We get a glimpse of life in the charming town of Summer Beach and of beach living.

If you enjoy a light, breezy read, old houses with secrets, and characters with secrets, you will want to add this book to your TBR. Art lovers will also enjoy this book that slips in a little romance.

SEABREEZE INN is truly an enjoyable, lovely read that will lift your spirits and have you looking up famous artists and seeing if the town is real or fictional. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Because You're Mine

Very interesting title for a very different, but good read. When you see the title, you are going to think it’s going to be a romance, but it is far from that.

We meet Grace and Lee. Both are single and both have sons the same age. Lee appears to have more baggage than Grace, but they both are overwhelmed.

Both of them seem to be hiding something.

Then we add in Lee’s son’s teacher Noah who also has a secret.

All three characters are connected through Mason, and the connection goes deep. Everything appears to be good for once for the most part until Lee goes on a weekend trip with her girlfriends, and one of the girls turns up dead.

Many subtle hints are given in every chapter about what's going on but nothing is revealed, but there is an undertone of menace throughout.

BECAUSE YOU'RE MINE is filled with characters with secrets and characters with private burdens. It also deals with friendship issues, decisions, grief, and drug and alcohol use.

BECAUSE YOU'RE MINE will appeal to those readers who enjoy subtle suggestions of what is going on with the characters and readers who would like to get to know the characters better because you really aren’t sure what’s making them tick or who is telling the truth.

The book actually was depressing at times, but you will want to continue reading to see what happens to the characters and what the real truths are.

The ending will have you saying “what?” 4/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A SUMMER MUST READ

Can you really leave Wicklow once you have spent time there?

Anna Kate came back for her grandmother's funeral and stayed in Wicklow because she was required to spend sixty days there to inherit The Blackbird Cafe. Anna's mother vowed to NEVER return to Wicklow, and Anna finds out why as the days pass.

Was her mother wrong, though?

The characters all seemed lovable and were folks you would want to have in your life except for a few of them.

As you read, you will feel the warmth of the small town, but also the grudges that some characters can’t let go of.

The blackbird legend was interesting, and the blackbird pies sounded yummy even though Anna was still trying to figure out the secret ingredient her grandmother would never reveal.

Midnight in Wicklow was magical because of the legend of the blackbirds and what they did for those who ate the pie and heard them singing.

MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE was a cozy, nostalgic read that will have you wanting to be in that adorable, loving town and visiting The Blackbird Cafe.

The book was also filled with secrets, characters with regrets, love, and characters who will steal your heart.

If you need an uplifting read, be sure to put MIDNIGHT AT THE BLACKBIRD CAFE on your reading list.

A truly enjoyable, sweet read that will have you examining your choices and have you reaching for the tissue box because of the hominess and love oozing from the pages. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A great read

Emily thought that opening a professional organizing business was supposed to be carefree and helpful to others.

Emily's new adventure had been exciting and trouble free until she met Quinn.

Quinn was married to a man who wouldn't let her bring her things into his fabulous house and wanted Emily to help. She and Emily had helped themselves to more than looking at things to remove, though. They had too much wine and said things that shouldn't have been said.

When Quinn's husband turns up missing, Quinn feels she can call on her new friend, Emily, to help her when the police arrive. This client was more than Emily bargained for.

And if this wasn't bad enough, another client whose husband had passed had a storage unit she didn't know about filled with stolen books, maps, and a dead body.

Emily couldn’t believe it. Could these two clients have some connection?

It gets worse for Emily, and it seems as if a few of the characters are connected and involved in the disappearance and death of the body they found.

CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR was actually a little on the comical side despite all the tension going on.

If you are in the mood for a light, entertaining mystery you will enjoy CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Winemaker's Wife by Kristin Harmel
 
Book Club Recommended
Do Not Miss Reading This Book

France, wine, WWII, present day, and love - all of this wrapped into one amazing, difficult-to-put-down read.

We meet Inez, Celine, Michel, Thor, Liv, and Liv's French grandmother, Edith, as the story moves back and forth in time.

We find out about the lives of the winemakers during the war and a secret that grandmother has kept for many years as well as a connection that the vineyards, a restaurant, and the characters have to both time periods and to their lives.

Grandmother Edith was my favorite character…mysterious and stubborn all rolled into one.

Liv was likable as well.

Inez, Celine, Michel, and Thor were interesting, and their wine tunnels were fascinating.

We learn more of the war, the resistance, the French people involved in the resistance, and how the danger of making one simple mistake could alter the safety of many people.

THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE is another marvelous, intriguing read about the resiliency and determination of the French people and the entire European population.

Those of us who were not living during this time, do not have any idea of the horrors and hardships endured by the European people.

Ms. Harmel weaved a beautiful tale filled with authentic characters and a story line that kept me turning the pages to learn more as well as cry with the characters.

Absolutely LOVED this book. Do not miss reading this book. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via Net Galley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Read It!!

Caroline never thought she would be returning to her childhood home of Oysterville and definitely not with two children that weren't her own.

Caroline had wanted to leave as badly as any young person and head to New York City. Caroline did make it big in New York until a famous designer stole her clothing line.

Her loss and the death of her friend had Caroline returning with her friend's two children because Caroline had no idea how to take care of a child let alone two.

Caroline had a loving, supportive family to help her and ideas on how to help women of domestic abuse since that is what took her friend who left her the two children.

We get a glimpse into Caroline’s life as a teenager as well as her life now. Her teenage years were just as full of love as her adult life with her family.

THE OYSTERVILLE SEWING CIRCLE was a sweet, beautiful read with lovable characters and a setting you will want to make your own.

If you enjoy sewing, the fashion world, being on a beach setting, learning about running a restaurant, being with loving characters, and seeing women helping other women, THE OYSTERVILLE SEWING CIRCLE will be a wonderful addition to your reading stack.

A truly cozy, heartwarming read for readers of women’s fiction. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher as an ARC via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

The Perfect Son by Lauren North
 
Book Club Recommended
You won't guess the ending

We meet Tess in the hospital after she had an accident at her son's birthday party and after coping with the death of her husband a few weeks ago.

Something is going on since her husband’s death, and Tess doesn’t know what it is. All she knows is that she is happy she has her son.

Her brother-in-law, Ian, says Tess needs to pay back the 100,000 her husband lent him, flowers are left on her doorstep with no note, her son is being very difficult, and an appointment with a social worker that Tess doesn’t remember making do not add up and make things worse for Tess.

We learn of all these things in between the time we meet Tess in the hospital and the flash backs to the days before her son’s eighth birthday party where Tess was stabbed.

There was a lot going on as Tess grieved for Mark, and what was going on wasn’t good. She thought she saw Mark in the grocery store, heard people in her driveway at night, had a social worker stopping by looking through her mail, had questions about what Ian told her, had hang-up phone calls at all hours, and other odd happenings.

You can feel there is something going on and plenty of hints that seem to go in the wrong direction not allowing you to be able to figure out what is really happening.

If you enjoy the feeling of something not quite right growing underneath it all, THE PERFECT SON shouldn’t be missed.

If biting your finger nails keeps you reading because of the choices a character makes and doesn’t make and other characters that don't really have another character's best interest in mind, THE PERFECT SON should be your next read.

THE PERFECT SON will lead you down the wrong path as you read, but a terrific book and a surprise ending await you. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Versions of Her by Andrea Lochen
 
Book Club Recommended
Versions of Her

A secret door covered by a tapestry that Kelsey and her sister Melanie were never allowed to move when they were children held and hid secrets of its own.

The secret door allowed Kelsey and Melanie to see their mother’s life and to see her secrets, heartaches, and feelings that they never knew about.

I’m not sure how I would feel if I could see what my mother’s life had been like, but it would be quite interesting.

The current problem now that they found this door, though, was that Kelsey and Melanie had to decide whether or not to sell their family’s lake house or keep it.

Selling it meant the memories would be gone forever. Keeping it would preserve the memories but also incur expensive upkeep. Melanie was all for selling the house, but Kelsey was not in favor of selling it.

I enjoyed learning about the cottage and the memories associated with it and finding the portal for time travel. It also had me wondering if time travel like this was actually possible because time traveling through the portal seemed real.

This was a creative premise for a book and a book that also addressed sibling rivalry as well as sibling closeness.

VERSIONS OF HER was a cozy, nostalgic, heartfelt, and at times heartbreaking read. You will need tissues.

Women’s fiction fans will adore this book.

Readers will experience family, love, and a light, yet thought-provoking read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

This Tender Land: A Novel by William Kent Krueger
 
Book Club Recommended
Adventurous, Beautiful, Fantastic
Marvelous

The Lincoln School, an orphanage with horrible caregivers who beat the children and subjected them to even worse daily working conditions, is where we meet Odie, Albert, Mose, and then Emmy.

The three friends had to get away, and they had their chance one night.

We follow them as they escape with Emmy who didn't originally live at the school and move farther and farther away from Lincoln School and the horrors they had endured.

Following the three friends and Emmy down the Mississippi river and meeting the folks along the River was mesmerizing.

The trip down the river also seemed dangerous but was amazing how the friends always had another friend/stranger helping out.

THIS TENDER LAND's lush writing had me not wanting to stop reading because I didn’t want to miss their adventures, and I didn't want the book to end.

Mr. Krueger's writing pulls you in with his descriptions, lovable characters, and story line.

What a marvelous, master story teller Mr. Krueger is. His book even incorporated stories told by the characters within the book.

Mr. Krueger’s magic is indeed evident in THIS TENDER LAND and is a book that needs to be read by every book club and everyone who loves becoming engrossed in the lives of the characters in a book and an era.

This book is an absorbing tale of love, loss, and endurance and will fill your heart with the warmth that comes with feeling needed, helpful, and wanted.

You just have to read this book to understand its beauty and excellence. 5/5

This book was given to me as an ARC by the publisher via NetGalley.

Words between Us by Bartels
 
Book Club Recommended
Optimistic, Adventurous
The Words Between Us

Books, books, books, and one bookworm. Well, quite a few bookworms and one from Robin's past.

Hiding since she was fourteen from a scandal that her jailed parents were involved in caused Robin to have no confidence and become a recluse.

We get a glimpse into Robin‘s life as a child before the scandal as well as present day. Because of this scandal Robin had to live with her grandmother in another state where she met Peter who loved books too and shared books with her. They became good friends until an incident that caused them to never see each again.

Peter had been out of touch for years, but all of a sudden the books they shared as children started showing up in her mailbox at her book store from different states.

Meanwhile Robin’s book store was in jeopardy because she didn't have any customers.

Robin was sweet and will pull you into her life, her situation, and her love of books.

If you also enjoy mysteries, THE WORDS BETWEEN US will appeal to you because added to Robin’s dilemmas in her life was a secret her grandmother supposedly had and that Robin never knew about.

THE WORDS BETWEEN US will resound with book lovers simply because of that gorgeous cover, the title, and of course the story line.

The reader will again be treated to Ms. Bartel’s wonderful storytelling skills. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

29 Seconds: A Novel by T. M. Logan
 
Book Club Recommended
A MUST READ

Being a good Samaritan is usually something you are proud of not frightened of, right?

Sarah saved the daughter of a prominent man from being kidnapped, but she was rewarded in a very unusual way and in a way she actually couldn’t accept until she knew she needed to.

The reason Sarah made this decision was because of an ongoing problem with her boss, Alan, who harasses women, steals their ideas, and lies about it all. Sarah had to do something about him, but will it backfire?

Sarah knew it would backfire and make her look bad and lose her job at the university, but this harassment couldn’t continue. She knew, though, that she wouldn’t win or could she?

If you want to hate a character, Alan would be your man.

29 SECONDS is a book you literally will not be able to put down. The tension keeps building and doesn't stop. The evilness of Alan doesn't stop either.

I have never finished a book this quickly - that is how good this book is.

If you enjoy edge-of-your-seat thrillers, this book needs to be on your reading list...an absolutely terrific read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Last Train to London

I'm here to help you were the words the children longed to hear and words they trusted belonged to Tante Truus who is an actual woman named Truus Wijsmuller-Meijer.

THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON focuses on saving Jewish children by this woman who is said to have saved 10,000 children.

We meet many characters that are frightened because of what is going on in Germany and the rest of Europe as well as meeting the frightened children.

The reader sees what is happening in the daily lives of the European people, and the wonderful work Tante Truus does by secretly transporting Jewish children to safety.

Each chapter has a very clever title, and Ms. Waite Clayton did amazing research.

The beginning took a little while to figure out what actually was going on and who was who, but it all worked out. The book truly depicted the era and Ms. Wijsmuller-Meijer's work.

If you enjoy historical fiction and want to experience an excellent history lesson even though it details the cruel treatment the Jewish citizens endured during this era, you will want to take the time to read THE LAST TRAIN TO LONDON.

You also get to see the many good, helpful people along with the distasteful ones.

Ms. Waite Clayton’s writing and the cover are definitely pull-you-in.

A marvelous, heartbreaking, and well-researched book you won't want to miss. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
the Murder List

Three attorneys...a District Attorney, Martha, a defense attorney, Jack, and a law student, Rachel, are the main characters in THE MURDER LIST.

What is their connection and why does the defense attorney hate the District Attorney? Was there something in their past? Was it a former court case? Did the defense attorney want the District Attorney job? What is Rachel’s connection?

As the story unravels, the reader gets a glimpse into the life of Rachel before she met Jack and currently when she is married to Jack, but the clues about her life and situations are kept secret. The hatred between Jack and Martha is evident, but the reason is also kept a secret.

I liked Rachel, but I didn’t like Jack, Martha, or Clea - a reporter.

Rachel always seemed to be in the middle of some drama, and they were not just normal dramas...they were murders.

Jack seemed sneaky.

Martha definitely was power hungry and sneaky.

It took a few chapters before I connected with the story line and the characters, but once everything got going, the intrigue was ramped up. The ending was great!!

THE MURDER LIST is for those suspense readers who like to be surprised and those who like to learn about what it is like in a courtroom and the legal profession.

There are twists and surprises along with jealousy, deceit, lies, revenge, and trickery....all good elements of a crime book. 4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Historical Fiction Fans - do not miss this book

WWII, the French Resistance, marvelous research, brave men and women, and one very brave 17-year-old named Marguerite is what you will find in RED SKY IN THE MORNING.

Germany invaded the small town of Ville de Pommes where Marguerite lived with her family on their farm. Marguerite wanted to be a nurse not a farmer even though her father didn't agree.

Marguerite instead got wrapped up in the resistance by accident because of her nursing skills and goes through some harrowing experiences.

You will be frightened along with Marguerite and the French people.

Mr. Ring will have you turning the pages to see what happens to Marguerite, and he marvelously describes how the operations of the French Resistance worked.

Historical fiction fans will not want to miss RED SKY IN THE MORNING.

Mr. Ring puts you right there with the characters.

And no WWII book can be without a little romance, right? 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

The Light Over London by Julia Kelly
 
Book Club Recommended
Insightful, Addictive
The Light Over London

Antiques, a tin box with a diary, a mystery about who wrote the diary, WWII, and a secret kept by Cara’s grandmother, is how we begin THE LIGHT OVER LONDON.

We meet Louise who lives with her parents during the war and is kept under close watch because her mother thinks a local boy who is fighting will come back and marry her daughter.

Louise feels suffocated. Her cousin Kate is totally opposite...always out and doing what she wants.

Present day has us meeting Cara who has just ended her marriage and works for Jock who is an antique dealer. When Cara finds a diary as she is cleaning out an estate, her quest is to find out who the box that contains the diary, other memorabilia, and photos belongs to.

I always enjoy a book that goes back and forth in time and learning about life in previous eras and especially when there is a secret or some object is found that has a story of its own.

Learning about the Gunner Girls and the dangerous work they did during World War II was very interesting, but my favorite part of the book was unraveling the mystery of which Gunner Girl’s diary Cara found and what the secret was that her grandmother was keeping from her.

Historical fiction fans and women’s fiction fans will enjoy THE LIGHT OVER LONDON.

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. 4/5

 
Book Club Recommended
Cold Woods by Karen Katchur

Returning home and being told by your mother that you shouldn’t have come back is where we meet Trisha.

Trisha came back after 30 years because they found the bones of Lester, her step father, and bones that she and her neighbors and friends had something to do with.

Lester was not a good man, and Trisha still hated him to this day. All he did was cause trouble for her.

We go back and forth as Trisha’s life as a child and as an adult is described. Her childhood wasn’t a pleasant one and neither was her life as an adult.

The main focus is the investigation of the murder of Lester both past and present. As the investigation moves ahead, the tension increases and secrets are revealed.

COLD WOODS addresses some social issues and life styles that affect the behavior of the characters as well as upsetting, abusive situations.

Readers who enjoy a mystery whose killer you think is known from the start and those who enjoy getting to see the investigation unravel, will want to take a look at COLD WOODS.

You will be guessing and most likely guessing incorrectly until the end...the ending has a great twist and surprise. 4/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Family Secret by Terry Lynn Thomas

Cat and Annie moved out of London to avoid the bombing and best of all moved to Cat's childhood home town and to be with Thomas.

Even better was that Cat moved into her childhood home. The description of the home is envious...a sweeping staircase was enough to immediately capture my interest.

Along with all the wonderful welcomes, an unwelcome request by her friend Beth was something Cat had to deal with.

Beth asked that Cat help her solve her aunt’s murder. The police think Beth murdered her aunt for the inheritance.

We follow Cat and all of the characters as their lives intertwine around family matters and this murder.

Cat was lovable, Carmona was spoiled, her mother Claris was insufferable.

Thomas was very lovable, and I had hopes he and Cat would get together as they worked on finding the murderer.

This was my first book by Ms. Thomas, and I enjoyed the story line and her writing style.

Readers who enjoy old houses, secrets, murders to solve, a few untrustworthy characters, and plenty of likable characters will enjoy THE FAMILY SECRET. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Spooky and good

An English estate has been home to generations of the women who married into the Summer family.

When one of the daughters gets a letter from a current, teenage relative addressed to her mother pleading for help, Miranda leaves Australia and heads to Barnsley House. The funny thing is that her mother has passed away.

Miranda never was reliable, and after her job disaster and her father's finding her another job she doesn't want, she thinks this letter from a cousin will save her.

Miranda tricks her father into paying for her flight from Australia to England to find out what the letter meant and finds herself being interviewed for a job as a nanny instead of why she came in the first place.

Did Miranda go from a bad situation to a worse one?

She can't reveal why she really arrived, and she doesn't know what really is waiting for her at Barnsley House, but she soon finds out all isn't as it should be

What she finds are three children, their father, a housekeeper, an empty, not well-kept inn, an estate in disrepair, odd things happening, and no visible mother.

Ms. Cockram created the story line in a very creative way. She revealed some of the family's secrets by using a book Miranda’s mother had written that describes the history of the house and the family. Ms. Cockram also used a diary with background information of the characters written by the infamous, "missing" mother.

Everyone and everything seemed to have a secret at Barnsley House. The housekeeper was especially secretive, dangerous, and frightening.

If you enjoy odd characters, old mansions, family secrets, supposed ghosts, a stolen book, and Gothic undertones, you will want to have THE HOUSE OF BRIDES added to your TBR.

HOUSE OF BRIDES has an absorbing, captivating story line you won't want to put down.

Ms. Cockram’s writing style is descriptive and draws you in. A marvelous debut all around. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
 
Book Club Recommended
Unconvincing, Insightful, Interesting
Nothing to See Here

Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because of the differences in their upbringing?

Did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because it was convenient for her?

Or did Madison choose Lillian to be her friend because she needed a true friend?

The reason wasn’t clear, but in my opinion what Madison did to Lillian was unforgivable even though they did remain friends.

After many years of still staying in touch, Madison offers Lillian a job as the nanny to the children of her husband and ex-wife since their mother died.

Lillian was skepticaL about the nanny job, but also couldn’t believe the luck of being able to live in a mansion’s guest cottage with domestic help.

The only draw back is that the children have some rare disease where they automatically combust when they get upset. Yes...they catch on fire.

Lillian decided to take the challenge because there were many perks to this job.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE has an interesting premise, and the characters are even more interesting.

Lillian didn’t have a good experience the first time she met the children, but she remained calm and hoped for the best.

NOTHING TO SEE HERE is comical as well as heartwarming as Lillian learns to take care of Roland and Bessie and fall in love with these strange, needy, difficult children.

Lillian wants them to do well and to find out a way to help with this unusual problem. The reader will fall in love with Roland and Bessie too.

I never did warm up to or trust Madison...I still felt she was using Lillian and knew she could because Lillian adored her, and Madison had the money to demand what she wanted.

Madison's husband was even more unlikable. I would catch on fire if I were Lillian because of the anger I would feel toward Jasper and Madison and how they treat people and their own children.

I recommend NOTHING TO SEE HERE just so readers can experience Mr. Wilson's marvelous writing and storytelling skills.

This book will hold your interest simply because of the unique topic and because of the care and love Lillian gives the children.

I hope you enjoy it if you read it.

This book is heartwarming as well as heartbreaking. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic, Addictive, Interesting
Creepy, bizarre, and disturbing...

Libby was looking forward to her 25th birthday because she knew she would be coming into an inheritance.

What she didn’t know was what she had inherited.

Libby finds out she has inherited her family’s million-dollar home that was haunted by horrible events the family endured.

Meanwhile there are some other people who know about the day she turned 25 and what Libby inherited.

We meet Lucy who says she MUST be there for Libby’s 25th birthday, and we meet Henry who lived in the house with all the strangers during the events and when the tragedy struck.

Henry’s story is the most bizarre and terrifying.

Phin is also a frightening character who lived in the house.

David is a character that I immensely disliked and was the cause of all the evilness.

When Libby arrives and is taking a look after all these years at the empty house with its locked-from-the-outside doors, with a ladder leading to the attic, and a garden of illegal plants you will be pulled in by the description and simple curiosity. All this made me wonder what really went on in that house and how no one noticed.

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS has many characters, odd characters, and multiple story lines but story lines that all fit together and center around the inherited house that held evil.

Readers who enjoy Lisa Jewell’s books will not be disappointed in her newest.

THE FAMILY UPSTAIRS is creepy, bizarre, and disturbing. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NETGALLEY in exchange for an honest review.

The Last Affair by Margot Hunt
 
Book Club Recommended
The Last Affair

The book opens with a dead woman in her back yard face down and bloody.

Who could the attacker have been?

It could have been a number of people...the flirty neighbor, the wife having an affair with Gwen's husband, the husband, or even the daughter. Who is the most likely one?

And....this isn't the only crisis in this book...it is only the beginning.

We have two families, two unhappy marriages, unhappy children, unhappy adults, an affair between one of the husbands and one of the wives, and a lot of drama with both the children and the adults.

The characters all seemed to be distant with each other and focused on themselves with little regard for the other family members.

I originally thought THE LAST AFFAIR would be about solving the murder even though the title should have been a clue, but the book is more focused on families.

Most of the book was about family relationships more than the murder, but once the affair was revealed to the non-participating spouses and the murder scene described, the book’s tension ramped up and concluded with a chilling ending.

This is my first book my Ms. Hunt. Her writing draws you in and creates situations that have you wanting to continue to see how everything turns out.

I did enjoy this book and would recommend it to mystery readers who need a change of pace for a lighter take on a mystery.

The ending definitely turned the entire book around for me.

I hope you enjoy THE LAST AFFAIR if you read it. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
Informative
DO NOT MISS READING THIS BOOK

Françoise Frenkel always loved books, libraries, and especially bookstores.

Her dream was to open a bookstore, but would her dream about opening a French bookstore in Berlin in 1920 be a good idea?

She was successful until 1935 when the police started showing up and confiscating books from her shelves and newspapers because they had been blacklisted.

Besides scrutinizing her books, they questioned her travels. This was just the beginning of her hardships and ordeals.

A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN tells the story of Francoise Frenkel's life and her love of books, her bookshop, and France. We follow her as she lives through occupied France and endures what the European people had to deal with. Unthinkable, unpleasant misery and situations plagued her and all people during this time.

A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN is a treasure for historical fiction fans as well as book lovers.

I normally do not read memoirs, but A BOOKSHOP IN BERLIN is very well done and educational.

You were easily put into Francoise’s situations and her emotions were yours. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Good Girls Lie: A Novel by J.T. Ellison
 
Book Club Recommended
Good Girls Lie

We are greeted on the opening page with a girl hanging from the entrance gate to The Goode School for privileged girls, and it all begins.

And then we meet Ash as she arrives for her first year here all the way from England to the United States.

Ash arrives with secrets and lies that are not revealed but are intriguing enough to make you extremely curious.

GOOD GIRLS LIE has a sinister, Gothic feel, and the school has rule after rule. Ash doesn't know if she can stay here, and she has only been there one day.

Every day is a struggle trying to fit in and learning how to deal with everything that happened back home and at the school both present and past.

The girls are catty and manipulative. Comments are made by the characters about what someone is going to do, but you never know who is talking. This definitely keeps up the intrigue and suspense.

As the new school year continues, things get worse and another girl is dead.

GOOD GIRLS LIE is filled with drama, cruel girls, administrators that look the other way, lies, deceit, secrets, betrayal, surprises, and an ending and ending twist you won't see coming.

You won’t want to put it down because it is filled with edge-of-your-seat tension, is chilling, and pretty creepy. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
LOVED IT!!

An old house, an old cookbook, notes in the cookbook that reveal the life of Nellie, and Alice who has some secrets of her own is what the reader finds in this lovely read.

We meet Alice who was fired from her job because of something she leaked and we learn of a box she finds that is filled with books, magazines, and a cookbook that inspires Alice to try some of the recipes.

Along with the cookbook, Alice finds notes about the life of a woman, Nellie, who lived during the 1950’s.

The cookbook helped Alice pass her days since she no longer was working and really didn’t like her new home.

Nellie who owned the books was a stay-at-home wife from the 1950's who wasn’t happy and whose husband was a domestic abuser.

The stories of Nellie and Alice are told in alternating chapters as Alice finds similarities in their lives and meets the next door neighbor whose mother knew Nellie.

Alice was a bit unlikable, but her husband was sweet.

Alice’s neighbor found old letters in her basement written by Nellie to her mother and brought them to Alice. Could these old letters trigger an idea for the book Alice was supposed to be writing?

RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE is an endearing and nostalgic trip back in time with the letters taking us back to the 1950’s and influencing Alice’s present-day life.

Women’s fiction fans, readers who enjoy a dual time line and a story line that keeps you wanting more will enjoy RECIPE FOR A PERFECT WIFE.

A truly, enjoyable, makes-you-feel-good read.

Loved it. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The GIRLS WITH NO NAMES

Effie and Luella lived a privileged life and had to conform to all the strict rules set upon women in the 1910's including being sent away.

Effie was the sister who had a health problem, and Luella was the sister who was beautiful. Both behaved, but were bored with their lives and the control their parents had over them.

One day the sisters were at lunch with their father and witnessed something he did that shocked and upset them. What they found out, made Luella become rebellious.

Luella being the bolder of the two sisters hinted that she knew her father's secret, and this made her father furious. Because of her rebellion, Effie woke up one morning to realize her sister wasn't there.

Did their father take her away or did she go away on her own?

After Luella left, Effie couldn’t function, and she needed her parents to tell her where Luella was. Effie wouldn’t give up, but did she go too far for the love of her sister?

We follow this disjointed family as each member seems to be living a life separate from one another even though they live under the same roof. Having to now deal with Luella gone, things became more difficult.

THE GIRLS WITH NO NAMES was an enjoyable, interesting read with characters you will like but will want to tell to think before acting.

THE GIRLS WITH NO NAMES will be of interest to women’s fiction fans and those readers who enjoy family tension, life in the 1900's, sisterly love, story line twists, and secrets.

This book is one you won't want to put down. ENJOY!! 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended

All the Ways We Said Goodbye: A Novel of the Ritz Paris by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
 
Book Club Recommended

The Tenant by Katrine Engberg
 
Book Club Recommended
Are you a good detective?

A brutal murder in a building owned by an author who is writing a book with a similar story line causes her to be the main suspect.

Julie and her roommate Caroline live in a building owned by Esther de Laurenti, the author. Julie is murdered, and the murder has the entire police force baffled.

Nothing like this has ever happened in her building, and Esther can’t understand it.

The clues all seem to point to Esther, though, and especially since the murder scene and situation are similar to her book, but is it really Esther? There are a number of possible suspects.

The victim and her family had a few secrets of their own, but would someone murder for those secrets? And what all-around, complicated secrets they turned out to be.

The detectives, Anette and Jeppe, are on the case and seem to be relentless in their efforts to solve this crime. This detective team is very likeable and definitely add to the story line.

Many other things happen that will keep you reading every chance you get, and you will be thinking about the characters and the situations even when you aren't reading.

Ms. Engberg’s writing flows nicely and keeps the story line moving and the interest high with all of the what if’s and possibilities.

Be aware that there are some upsetting situations and graphic descriptions.

THE TENANT is a book for those who enjoy being kept on the edge-of-your seat.

I hope to see more of this detective team and Ms. Engberg's books.

Are you a good enough detective to solve this crime? 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

How Quickly She Disappears by Raymond Fleischmann
 
Book Club Recommended
Will YOU be able to figure it out?

Living in Alaska was isolation enough, but having a total stranger show up one day and tell you that he knows where your sister who disappeared twenty years ago is was unreal.

Elisabeth and her sister Jacqueline tell their tale in alternating chapters of when they were children together and then today where Elisabeth tells her tale of being alone and without her sister even though she has a husband and daughter. She never got over losing her sister.

Looking for her sister for twenty years was an obsession for Elisabeth and also someone else.

Her sister Jacqueline went missing when they were young and was never found. The news this stranger had was unbelievable.

Could Elisabeth believe this stranger when he had just killed a man?

Could Alfred be the man who took Jacqueline?

Could Alfred be the man who lured Jacqueline with his gifts of money and travel tickets?

Could Elisabeth really be wasting her precious time with her daughter and husband while looking for clues and listening to Alfred's story that he knows where Jacqueline is as he drew her into his schemes and away from her family?

Elisabeth made me nervous with her obsession with Alfred and how she was pulled into what he asked her to do to find her sister. Alfred was a manipulator.

Someone was hiding something, and Elisabeth seemed to be ruining her life for something she really wasn't sure of.

HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS was very well written with words that pulled you in and that had a gripping, mesmerizing, menacing tone.

HOW QUICKLY SHE DISAPPEARS will be enjoyed by historical fiction and mystery fans, readers who like secrets, readers who enjoy not really knowing the background of the characters and what makes them "tick," and trying to figure it all out.

Will you be able to figure it all out?

Will you be able to handle the tension?

Will you be able to stop turning the pages? 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Vineyards of Champagne by Juliet Blackwell
 
Book Club Recommended
LOVED IT!!

Rosalyn works for a vineyard in Napa, California, and is told she has to go to Champagne, France. Who wouldn't want to go to Champagne, France - well...Rosalyn isn't too excited about going.

On her flight over, Rosalyn meets Emma who has found letters from a soldier and a woman that corresponded during the war. She asked Rosalyn to help her put all the letters together and to make some sense out of them, but Rosalyn declines the offer. She said she has to do what her employer asked her to do.

When Rosalyn finds one of the letters in her bag that Emma must have not picked up after they all fell to the floor, she becomes interested in the correspondence as she translates the letters through all the grime and worn out and unable-to-be translated words.

Rosalyn wishes she would have told Emma she would help her. She could do that if she gets organized and finds the business card Emma had given her.

Translating these letters would be much more interesting than going from one local wine producer to the next trying to drum up business.

I tend to agree with Rosalyn....I would prefer dealing with the letters to uncover the past than dealing with wine makers. I always enjoy books that have the characters finding items from the past that uncover secrets and a past life.

Readers get a marvelous glimpse of France’s quaint, cozy homes, the warmth of the French people, and the history of Champagne and how its citizens coped during the war.

If you love champagne, history lessons, learning about wine making in France, unraveling secrets, reading old letters, exploring old houses, meeting marvelous characters, and being treated to a terrific story line, do not miss reading THE VINEYARDS OF CHAMPAGNE.

Juliet Blackwell has given us another pull-you-in read.

THE VINEYARDS OF CHAMPAGNE will have you falling in love with the characters and the Champagne Region of France, and have you looking at how you need to focus on making yourself happy. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A "gem"

The story of the Hope Diamond, women journalists, hidden identities, locked bookcases, and family secrets greet the reader of Cartier’s Hope.

Vera was the daughter of a wealthy businessman, but she needed to hide this fact so she could work at being a journalist for the stories women were assigned, and according to her mother to not disgrace the family’s name because she didn’t comply with social norms of being a married woman and a wealthy woman who didn't work.

Vera was always looking for a story. The Hope Diamond would be a perfect one. What intrigued Vera was when she heard its background and its supposed curse.

Even more interesting than the Hope Diamond and what peaked her curiosity was when she found locked bookcases in her father's library and had no idea why her father would have locked books inside.

Mystery about the bookcase and the intrigue about the Hope Diamond kept Vera's journalistic mind going. Vera had been in a slump and didn't want to write any more, but after she found out why her father had books hidden behind books, the Hope Diamond story took second place but was going to help her with her father's secret. This made her realize it was time to get back to her life's work and find out why and who was behind her father's story and how to use the Hope Diamond to aid with the search for answers.

Ms. Rose made the reader aware of the challenges female journalists faced and what they had to put up with in the male-dominated profession. The female journalists had to put up with the worst stories, lower pay than their male counterparts, sexual favors if they wanted their name on a story, and not being treated the same or looked at for being as good as a male journalist.

M. J. Rose has a writing style that pulls you in along with her marvelous details and research.

Historical fiction fans will enjoy CARTIER'S HOPE as well as mystery fans and those readers who enjoy strong female characters.

And...there can't be an absence of some romance with all those gorgeous jewels, right?

ENJOY when you read CARTIER’S HOPE. It is an all-around "gem" of a read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
A Wonderful Read

Two friends who couldn’t be separated even by the war.

Vera and Edith had been friends since childhood.

They escaped a train bound for Auschwitz, spent the remainder of the war working on a farm, moved to Naples, tried to settle in New York, then went to Caracas, Venezuela, and then went their separate ways.

In Naples they both found love and both lost love.

We follow both girls in their adventures and heartbreaks and find they never were separated from each other.

THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR is actually based on the author's mother's life.

Ms. Abriel did a marvelous job of easily taking us from one time period to the next and making the story line very interesting. It is a story line that easily pulls you in and has you caring deeply about Vera and Edith.

Vera was sweet and Edith was fearless and ambitious.

If you need an uplifting book, THE LIGHT AFTER THE WAR will fit the bill.

A heartbreaking but truly lovely journey shared with Vera and Edith that will require tissues at times, but also a lot of happy times. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Mercy House: A Novel by Alena Dillon
 
Book Club Recommended
Excellent

Evelyn was never wanted. Her father even bargained with God to bring his son home from the war, and he would put Evelyn in a convent. Evelyn's brother did come home, and she did go to the convent.

Her time in the convent wasn't pleasant. Evelyn saw and endured unpleasant things.

After a few years, she and a few of her fellow nuns opened a shelter in Brooklyn that housed girls suffering from domestic abuse and abandonment.

The red door with the angel knocker was a welcome refuge for these girls.

This refuge is threatened when one of the bishops from Evelyn's past who holds a grudge against her arrives to see exactly what they do at the women's shelter and threatens to shut it down.

We follow Evelyn as she worries about the fate of the house and about the girls inside....what if they say the wrong thing while Father Hawkins is interviewing them? How will she keep them safe and keep Mercy House open if he finds damning evidence whether real or made up?

Evelyn was a very strong, feisty, but sad woman who would do or say anything to protect the girls she was helping. I really liked her.

Sister Maria and Sister Josephine were very likeable.

The girls at the home were rough but likeable.

Bishop Hawkins was despicable.

Be aware that there are some upsetting and coarse situations addressed in MERCY HOUSE, but it was an educational read and one that will be enjoyed by women's fiction fans. Historical fiction fans will also enjoy this book.

Well written with authentic characters. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Borgia Confessions

It is 1492 and we meet Rodrigo Borgia - Pope Alexander VI who has four children and a mistress.

The children must do what their father says so the Borgia family can become more powerful.

His son, Cesare, must become a cardinal when he really wants to be in the military.

His son, Juan, must go to the military when he really isn't suited for it.

His daughter, Lucrezia, is thirteen and must marry a man 20 years older than she is so two powerful families can advance together.

The fourth child, Jofre, was too young to even consider for anything to help his powerful reign increase until he decided it would be in the family's best interest to find a marriage partner for him at the age of 12.

It seems as if marrying into another powerful family would make your family more powerful, and that seemed to be the Pope’s main concern.

Ms. Palombo did extensive, amazing research for THE BORGIA CONFESSIONS and gave us a detailed account of the activities at this time. What a wonderful history lesson with information that was new to me.

Learning how life in the Vatican was in the 1400’s was quite interesting especially how they married off their children at such a young age and did everything for gaining status and power.

I enjoyed the family interaction, but the military planning and political undertakings were not of much interest even though these facts were the gist of the story line and marvelously told.

Also be aware that there are some graphic romantic scenes.

Did the public really know what went on in the castles with these holy men?

What a time to live, and what a family.

It seems that there was a lot of greed, scheming, murders at their whim, and other sins to confess. :) 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Sun Down Motel by Simone St. James
 
Book Club Recommended
The Sun Down Motel

Carly left college for a "few" days so she could head to Fell, New York, to see if she could find anything out about how her Aunt Viv died or where she might be.

Viv disappeared from The Sun Down Motel where she worked in 1982 and was never found.

When Carly arrived and checked out The Sun Down Motel, she couldn't believe her aunt would even think of working there.

It was a creepy, out-of-the way place, but Carly surprised herself and took a job there on the same shift that her aunt worked.

Carly saw strange things and knew she should leave, but she stayed. She had to find out what happened at this motel and what happens now at THE SUN DOWN MOTEL.

We follow Carly as she investigates and as Viv’s story is told back in 1982.

Besides the creepy town and motel, we meet ghosts, creaky doors, weird guests, odd sounds, and no way to contact anyone not on the hotel grounds.

We learn about the hotel and the murders that took place in the town of Fell as well as the connection to The Sun Down Motel.

Each chapter got stranger and stranger as the motel seemed to come to life and have a life of its own.

If you enjoy tense, creepy, spooky story lines that include unsolved murders from years ago, THE SUN DOWN MOTEL will be your perfect read.

Be careful with the motel you choose, and especially do not stay at a motel that has anything remotely close to the name of this motel.

The entire book and the ending are twisty and brilliant. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Red Letter Days by Sarah-Jane Stratford
 
Book Club Recommended
Red Letter Days

Phoebe was finally making some money for her scripts and getting well known, but then for some reason she was tagged as being a communist by the government and blacklisted by the playwrights.

Phoebe had no idea what she did to be tagged, but she decided to leave the country and head to London where there was someone who would take her scripts no matter who or what she was.

We follow Phoebe on her trip across the ocean and when she arrives in London determined to make a name for herself in the seven weeks she was granted to be in the country.

I enjoyed the characters in RED LETTER DAYS. LOVE the cover.

Phoebe was funny and lovable and eager to take chances. Hannah was talented but flighty. Phoebe’s sister, Mona, was upbeat even though her life wasn’t.

We see the historical struggles and worries that play writes had at this time and how the blacklisted writers could get into deep trouble.

Historical fiction fans, fans of the theater and television productions, and fans of Robin Hood will enjoy RED LETTER DAYS.

Ms. Stratford did marvelous, in-depth research, but The Robin Hood pages that took up a great deal of the book actually were of no interest, and that did make the story drag for me. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

You Are Not Alone: A Novel by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
 
Book Club Recommended
Dramatic
You are not alone

Is it a coincidence that Shay was the only one on the subway platform with Amanda right before she jumped?

Was it just a coincidence that the Moore sisters befriended Shay?

What is it that the Moore sisters want?

You will have a gut feeling that the Moore sisters can’t be that nice and are using everyone.

We follow the talented-at-gathering-friends Moore sisters as they pull characters into their charisma and only make friends for their own gain.

Cassandra and Jane Moore will make you nervous at their deceitfulness, and the authors will have your rapt attention from the first sentence to the last.

Shay thinks she is making new friends since she has none, but she definitely isn't making friends.

This duo has written another thriller you won’t be able to put down.

You also may want to start gathering data and pay attention to detail like Shay did. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Sea of Lost Girls

Lies, secrets, and cover-ups abound in THE SEA OF LOST GIRLS.

Tess would do anything for her son, Rudy....even lie FOR him and lie TO him.

Rudy has always been a problem, and Tess always defended her son even though her husband, Harmon, complained about it.

Tess and Harmon taught at the school Rudy was attending and lived ten minutes off campus. Both Tess and Harmon have things to hide, but what are they? Do they have anything to do with the death of Lila?

After Lila was found dead, Tess has to re-live her previous life that has been kept a secret until now. Harmon’s secrets remain a secret.

We follow the investigation, learn of Tess's life after she left Haywood School and after the birth of her son, and has us pondering how it all fits together to find who was responsible for Lila's death.

Who really is the killer?

There are quite a few characters who could be guilty and quite a few unlikable characters.

Are you a good enough detective to figure it out?

Ms. Goodman definitely knows how to keep up the suspense and feed the reader's curiosity. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Lost At Sea by Boyce Erica
 
Book Club Recommended
LOST AT SEA

Being a fisherman’s wife in a small town has its advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages include support from all of the families living in the town when a fisherman goes missing or when he dies at sea.

The disadvantages include everyone knowing everything about every family including secrets.

When John Staybrook goes missing, his daughter doesn’t believe he is gone because he promised to come home after each trip.

Ella was determined that her father didn’t go out to sea on that stormy day and tries to find him with Lacey unwillingly helping in the search.

There are many sub topics addressed with one being drug addiction as we were taken back to the main character's years as a teenager and how drugs ruined her acceptance to Brown and a glimpse into the rehabilitation system.

Alcoholism was also addressed, as well as getting some insight into how the adoption process works.

LOST AT SEA touches on family, choices, hope, and secrets kept.

It took a few chapters to get connected and to see where the story was going, but everything connected and came together in the end for a satisfying read with many memorable characters.

The title also seems to have two connotations for me...LOST because of the ocean’s power and LOST because of the power of addictions. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher and Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Dovetail: A Novel by McQuestion Karen
 
Book Club Recommended

Darling Rose Gold by Stephanie Wrobel
 
Book Club Recommended
Spooky and good

For eighteen years Rose Gold was told by her mother that she was ill with some disease that no one could figure out.

Her mother, Patty, took her to many doctors and actually told the doctors what tests to try.

When a doctor got suspicious, she took Rose Gold to a different doctor.

Little did Rose Gold and the doctors know that her mother was actually poisoning her to make herself look like super mom who saved her daughter.

It all caught up with Patty one day, though, when Rose Gold figured it out, and Patty was put on trial and sent to prison.

Five years later, Patty is out of prison. Surprisingly Rose Gold picked her up and has her stay with her.

We follow the story line as we hear about Rose Gold’s childhood, the background of her mother, and present day.

What does Rose Gold have in mind by having her mother stay there with her and especially since she now has a child of her own?

Can she trust her mother?

Will she so easily forget what her mother did to her?

Can Patty forget so easily that her daughter sent her to prison?

Will the town forget what she did to her daughter?

The big question, though, is who is the better/biggest liar, the most dangerous, the most cunning, or the most evil?

DARLING ROSE GOLD is a tense, chilling book, but is very well written. You won’t want to put the book down.

If you like psychological thrillers, you will enjoy DARLING ROSE GOLD. This book was every bit a thriller as well as a read that will keep you wondering what these two characters will do next. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 
Book Club Recommended
The Astonishing Life of August March

Born in a theater, thrown into a clothes basket, and found by the laundress.

August March grew up in the theater and was told to never leave the theater because someone would see him and send him to an orphanage.

August made the best of his life in the theater, learned math and reading from one of the actors, and one day did venture out. He didn't like being in the world.

One day, though, he had no choice. There was no one left for him, and his beloved theater was torn down. August had no where to go and had no idea who he really was.

He slept outside, had little to eat, and connected with unsavory characters who were thieves and con artists. Surprisingly he always stayed positive. One day we find him as the class scholar at an elite boarding school and in charge of the school plays.

Once he graduated, he was unemployed and back to wondering what he would do with his life. He didn't want to do office work or work in a shop so he decided to just wait a few months to decide.

His life until he decided to work was to just relax. While relaxing he received sad news that his best friend and so-called father had passed and he was the sole heir.

After his relaxing time, he still couldn't decide what to do so he decided to return to his previous life that helped him survive. That previous life was a life of crime, but crime on a classier scale this time around.

Even though August was quite a scamp, you won't want to stop reading about his life and his adventures.

THE ASTONISHING LIFE OF AUGUST MARCH is delightful as well as heartbreaking.

It is amazing how August made his way in life.

August will definitely make his way into your life too.

A totally enjoyable, different read. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

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