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Friday, December 30, 2022

Hold My Girl: A Novel by Charlene Carr

For fans of Jodi Picoult, Kate Hewitt and Ashley Audrain, a heart-wrenching novel about two women whose eggs are switched during IVF

Katherine is a woman full of obsessions. Everything clean, everything perfect, all the time. After seven years of trying—and failing—to conceive, she finally gives birth to Rose, her IVF miracle child. But she’s afraid that Rose may not be her daughter; her pale skin doesn’t match Katherine’s own.

Tess never got her happy ending. She took on IVF alongside Katherine and a group of hopeful mothers, but her daughter, Hanna, was stillborn. After a series of poor choices, she’s divorced, broke and stuck in a job that’s below her skill set.

Ten months later, Katherine and Tess get a call from the fertility clinic that reveals shocking news: the two women’s eggs were switched. While Katherine’s perfect life beings to crumble around her, for Tess it’s the glimmer of hope she needs to get her life back on track. But it will take a custody battle to decide who deserves to be Rose’s mother, a battle that will push both women to the brink.

With themes of racial identity, loss and betrayal, this emotional novel centred around a difficult moral question beautifully explores the complexities of motherhood. 

Kindle, 432 pages
Expected publication: January 24th 2023
 by HarperCollins Publishers
3.5/5 stars

Here I thought I knew about a lot of Canadian authors but somehow I missed Charlene Carr.

After reading the blurb I was prepared for an emotional read and for the first 50% I didn’t get that. The feels just weren’t there like I expected. The tone shifted and with that change I was feeling  some emotions. They came from secrets kept within and guilt/anger over a body that didn’t produce. The chain reaction that was caused by desire had a ripple affect on not just these 2 women but their family and friends as well.

Hold My Girl was an interesting story, it would make a great book club read with lots of things to talk about. But for me I would have loved more references to timing and it lacked that ‘unputdownable’ emotional feels I expected with characters that were likeable. While parts were predictable it didn’t have that wham factor for me.

Hold My Girl releases in just a few weeks. My thanks to Harper Collins CA for a digital arc (via NetGalley) in exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, December 29, 2022

The Blackout Book Club by Amy Lynn Green

An impulsive promise to her brother before he goes off to the European Front puts Avis Montgomery in the unlikely position of head librarian in small-town Maine. Though she has never been much of a reader, when wartime needs threaten to close the library, she invents a book club to keep its doors open. The women she convinces to attend the first meeting couldn't be more different--a wealthy spinster determined to aid the war effort, an exhausted mother looking for a fresh start, and a determined young war worker.

At first, the struggles of the home front are all the club members have in common, but over time, the books they choose become more than an escape from the hardships of life and the fear of the U-boat battles that rage just past their shores. As the women face personal challenges and band together in the face of danger, they find they share more in common with each other than they think. But when their growing friendships are tested by secrets of the past and present, they must decide whether depending on each other is worth the cost.

Paperback, 400 pages
Published November 15th 2022
by Bethany House Publishers
4/5 stars

One of my last reads of 2022,  new to me author Amy Lynn Green writes about a small town during WW2.

This story begins with Avis as her brother goes off to fight in the war. He asks her to be head librarian in his absence, which is iconic as she isn't a reader.  Then she goes that extra step and creates a book club. What a follows is a group of characters from different walks of life coming together. 

There are a number of different povs here, each one with a story, secrets and personal conflicts.  The narrative switched smoothly, making them all likeable and endearing. The historical part played out nicely, educational in terms of what happened along the coast of US during the war.  

The Blackout Book Club is a story of friendship, books and self discovery.  It was well written with some mystery, intrigue and bookish.  The book club notes were a nice touch and yes it did cause me to purchase a couple and increased my tbr pile.

Definitely a book that will appeal to those that like bookish themed stories, historical fiction involving women and their roles during this time.

My thanks to Graf-Martin Communication for a print copy in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Where the Blue Sky Begins by Katie Powner

Sometimes the hardest road of all is the road home.

When confident and handsome Eric Larson is sent to a rural Montana town to work in the local branch of his uncle's financial company, he's determined to exceed everyone's expectations, earn a promotion, and be back in Seattle by the end of summer. Yet nothing could prepare him for the lessons this small town has in store.

At forty-six years old, eccentric and outspoken Eunice Parker has come to accept her terminal illness and has given herself one final goal: seek forgiveness from everyone on her bucket list before her time runs out. But it will take more courage than she can muster on her own.

After an accident pushes Eric and Eunice together, the unlikely pair is forced to spend more time with each other than either would like, which challenges their deepest prejudices and beliefs. As summer draws to a close, neither Eric nor Eunice is where they thought they would be, but they both wrestle with the same important question: What matters most when the end is near?

Paperback, 346 pages
Published October 11th 2022
by Bethany House Publishers
4/5 stars

This is my first time reading a Katie Powner book. I was attracted to it because of the cover and a blurb that sounded interesting.

I enjoyed this book, on one hand it was a fun story about Eric Larson. A city slicker, businessman brought to the country to work for the summer. It was in this rural community that totally goes against his lifestyle where he meets Eunice Parker. A middle-aged woman who has just been given a terminal diagnosis. She sets off on a journey, seeking forgiveness of those she has wronged. What follows is a story that was comical, sad but also a journey for both these individuals.

This wasn’t a hard story to get drawn into and though it’s centred on Eric and Eunice the supporting cast also did a great job filling in and adding depth to this book, especially Cinderella a Polish chicken.

Where the Blue Sky Begins is a story with heart, searching and self discovery. It was entertaining, clean, and thought-provoking. Definitely an author I will be reading more of.

This book was provided courtesy of Graf-Martin Communications in exchange for an honest review. Thank you.

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Once More Unto the Breach by Meghan Holloway

For readers of The Nightingale and Beneath a Scarlet Sky comes a gripping historical thriller set against a fully-realized WWII backdrop about the love a father has for his son and the lengths he is willing to go to find him, from a talented new voice in suspense.

Rhys Gravenor, Great War veteran and Welsh sheep farmer, arrives in Paris in the midst of the city's liberation with a worn letter in his pocket that may have arrived years too late. As he follows the footsteps of his missing son across an unfamiliar, war-torn country, he struggles to come to terms with the incident that drove a wedge between the two of them.

Joined by Charlotte Dubois, an American ambulance driver with secrets of her own, Rhys discovers that even as liberation sweeps across France, the war is far from over. And his personal war has only begun as he is haunted by memories of previous battles and hampered at every turn by danger and betrayal. In a race against time and the war, Rhys follows his son's trail from Paris to the perilous streets of Vichy to the starving mobs in Lyon to the treacherous Alps. But Rhys is not the only one searching for his son. In a race of his own, a relentless enemy stalks him across the country and will stop at nothing to find the young man first.

The country is in tatters, no one is trustworthy, and Rhys must unravel the mystery of his son's wartime actions in the desperate hope of finding him before it's too late. Too late to mend the frayed bond between them. Too late to beg his forgiveness. Too late to bring him home alive. 

Kindle Edition
Published May 14th 2019 
by Polis Books
4/5 stars

This is Meghan Holloway's debut and she is off to a great start.  Told mainly from the POV of Rhys Gravenor as his searches for his missing son in war torn France.

This was quite the journey for Rhys as he is aided and be friended with Charlotte (an ambulance driver) and Otto, a stray dog.  Not only does Rhys learn much about his son, Owain's,  role these last few years but Rhys also reminiscences over the past which was carefully woven throughout this story.

The author stayed true to history, her research is evident. Her characters are memorable and well written.  Once More the Breach is a story of parental love and heartache.  There is danger and mystery, betrayal and surprises.  Definitely a story that was enjoyable to read with a writing style that was engaging.  

A great debut and an author I will be reading more of.

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The Call of the Wrens by Jenni L. Walsh

Introducing the little-known story of the daring women who rode through war-torn Europe, carrying secrets on their shoulders . . .

1917 England

An orphan coming of age without a penny to her name, Marion joins the Women’s Royal Navy Service (the “Wrens”) as a motorcycle despatch rider on the Western Front, assigned to train and deliver carrier pigeons to the front line. Despite the hardships and constant threat of danger, Marion feels as if she finally belongs and that she has a purpose. Meanwhile, she and her childhood best friend, Eddie, dream of a future after the war—until tragedy strikes.

1936 England

A society girl, Evelyn has overcome a childhood disability and has found her true passion in automobile racing. When England enters WWII, Evelyn sees an opportunity to use her skills as a despatch rider, but her parents threaten to cut her off if she doesn’t start acting like a lady and marry the man they have chosen for her.

Meanwhile, a fellow Wren shows up at Marion’s door with an unwelcome call to return to her service.

Told in alternating narratives that converge in a single life-changing moment, The Call of the Wrens is a vivid, emotional saga of love, war, secrets, and resilience.

Kindle Edition, 400 pages
Published November 15th 2022
by Harper Muse
4/5 stars

The Call of the Wren is a refreshing look at not just WW1 but WW2 through the eyes of 2 young women.  Marion, raised in an orphanage with no idea of her past or what the future holds.  Jumping to 1936 Evelyn is the opposite with parents who lovingly provide and expect much from her.  As England enters the war both do their part, risking much.

Suffice to say The Call of the Wrens is a story of strength & determination, love & loss and family.  It's about how these two time periods connect and the secrets that come to light.  For the history buffs, the Women's Royal Naval Service (aka Wrens) is showcased with the risks they took during both wars.

Jenni L Walsh is not a new author for me.  I thoroughly enjoyed her books Becoming Bonnie (of Bonnie & Clyde fame) and Side by Side.  So I knew to expect a wonderful story again.

My thanks to Harper Muse and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.


Friday, December 9, 2022

Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six Lisa Unger

Three couples rent a luxury cabin in the woods for a weekend getaway to die for in this chilling locked-room thriller by New York Times bestselling author Lisa Unger.

What could be more restful, more restorative, than a weekend getaway with family and friends? An isolated luxury cabin in the woods, complete with spectacular views, a hot tub and a personal chef. Hannah’s loving and generous tech-mogul brother found the listing online. The reviews are stellar. It’s his birthday gift to Hannah and includes their spouses and another couple. The six friends need this trip with good food, good company and lots of R & R, far from the chatter and pressures of modern life.

But the dreamy weekend is about to turn into a nightmare. A deadly storm is brewing. The rental host seems just a little too present. The personal chef reveals that their beautiful house has a spine-tingling history. And the friends have their own complicated past, with secrets that run blood deep. How well does Hannah know her brother, her own husband? Can she trust her best friend? And who is the new boyfriend, crashing their party? Meanwhile, someone is determined to ruin the weekend, looking to exact a payback for deeds long buried. Who is the stranger among them?

Kindle Edition 393 pages
First published November 8, 2022
by Park Row
2.5/5 stars

This is my first Lisa Unger read and released in Canada last month

Well, there are lots of glowing reviews for this book, please take mine with a grain of salt. This sounded like a intriguing mystery with the secluded cabin, a getaway that sounds perfect and of course there is a storm brewing.  This turned into a slow burn read for me, the first 60% had the pov jumping between a number of different characters. The characters did not endear me at all, and I struggled to even like them, the different narratives left me confused, but I try to trust in the process and waited for the author to reveal all.  

Once the action started, it got a bit more interesting but the ending just didn’t work for me. I found it over the top and a bit convoluted. Honestly some things just didn't make sense.

Ultimately Secluded Cabin Sleeps Six is a story of family, enabling and ultimately selfishness. I’m glad to have skipped over to the audiobook for the last half.  One thing I will commend the author with is the emotions I felt when I finished, which is why this review will be rounded up to 3 stars.  The enabling part of the story left me with feelings of frustration and sadness.

My thanks to Legend Press for a digital ARC in exchange for honest review.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

A Sinister Revenge by Deanna Raybourn

Veronica must find and stop a devious killer when a group of old friends is targeted for death in this new adventure from the New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award–nominated author Deanna Raybourn.

Veronica’s natural-historian beau, Stoker, has been away in Bavaria for months and their relationship is at an impasse. But when Veronica shows up before him with his brother, Tiberius, Lord Templeton-Vane, he is lured back home by an intriguing job offer: preparing an iguanodon for a very special dinner party.

Tiberius has received a cryptic message—along with the obituaries of two recently deceased members of his old group of friends, the Seven Sinners—that he too should get his affairs in order. Realizing he is in grave danger but not knowing why, he plans a reunion party for the remaining Sinners at his family estate to lure the killer out while Veronica and Stoker investigate.

As the guests arrive and settle in, the evening’s events turn deadly. More clues come to light, leading Veronica, Stoker, and Tiberius to uncover a shared past among the Sinners that has led to the fatal present. But the truth might be far more sinister than what they were prepared for.

Kindle edition, 336 pages
Expected publication March 7, 2023
by Berkley Publishing Group
3.5/5 stars

For much of November I was in a reading slump, and even though A  Sinister Revenge does not release well into the new year, I felt I needed a visit with some old friends, and went in with fingers crossed that it would get me out of my slump.

Opening up this book felt like getting together with some old friends, and I might even have sighed a little while I hunkered down to the familiar writing of Deanna Raybourn.

Veronica and Stoker are my one of my favorite literary couples. They bring life to a story with their escapades, banter and unique settings. With A Sinister Revenge, I was given a deeper glimpse into the life of Stoker's family, his hometown and some of his growing up years.  The mystery was an intriguing part of the story. New characters were brought to the scene and ultimately a conclusion that in typical Speedwell fashion came with peril and danger. But while I enjoyed this book, there were some aspects that were missing and characters I didn’t see nearly as much as I wanted to.  The typical bantering was lacking and seriously missed.

But all in all another great installment in this series that has me already wondering what is next for Veronica and Stoker.

My thanks to Berkley Publishing for a digital arc (via Edelweiss) in exchange for a honest review.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Spotlight: To Get To the Other Side by Kelly Ohlert


Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: December 6, 2022 
by Alcove Press


In the vein of Lyssa Kay Adams and Abby Jimenez, Kelly Ohlert’s charming debut is a one-of-a-kind rom-com that explores the power of overcoming the past and fighting for the things you love.

Trixie isn’t exactly sure what she was thinking when she stopped her car in the middle of downtown Chicago, scooped up a chicken struggling to cross the road, and drove off… but she does know that she has to find a new home for herself and her new feathered friend. The landlord at her apartment doesn’t allow pets and has caught Trixie in one too many pet-smuggling attempts in the past.

Bear likes his quiet life with his close-knit family, who own a flower business, but he’s in for a rude awakening when his meddlesome sisters post an ad to rent the spare room in his simple home, without asking his permission. Still, when Trixie responds to the ad, he agrees to let her move in, despite immediate worries about keeping things platonic.

Determined to keep her new room, befriend Bear, and give her rescue chicken the care she deserves, Trixie fights to keep her walls up and resist her romantic feelings for Bear. However, it’s not long before the pair’s proximity and chicken parenting ignite flames that have Trixie and Bear testing the boundaries of their platonic ground rules. They have to figure out how to save a family business, pay for mounting vet bills, and navigate their own emotional baggage if they want to find the love that they all deserve.

Perfect for readers of The Flatshare by Beth O’Leary, and fans of The Friend Zone by Abby Jimenez, readers will find themselves rooting for every one of the relatable, but tenderly flawed, characters in this book as they follow the heartwarming antics of a rescue chicken and her human companions.

Monday, December 5, 2022

The Other Daughter by Caroline Bishop

A timely novel about an ambitious London journalist who reports on the fight for women’s rights in 1970s Switzerland, and the daughter who uncovers the long-buried truth about the assignment years later—for fans of Genevieve Graham and Heather Marshall.

2016

Jess is at a crossroads in life. In her late thirties, all she has to show for it is a broken marriage and a job teaching a bunch of uninterested kids. But when she discovers a shocking secret about her late mother, Sylvia, Jess begins to question all she’s ever known. Her search for answers leads to a 1970s article about women’s rights in Switzerland that Sylvia wrote when she was a young journalist. But to uncover the real story of what happened all those years ago, Jess will have to go to Switzerland and find someone who knew her mother...

1976

Sylvia’s life is on track. She has a loving fiancĂ© and her dream job as a features writer in a busy London newsroom—if only her editor would give her the chance to write about something important instead of relegating her to fashion, flowers, and celebrities. When Sylvia learns about the growing women’s liberation movement in Switzerland, where women only recently got the right to vote, she knows the story could be her big break. There’s just one wrinkle: she’s pregnant.

Determined to put her career first, Sylvia travels to Switzerland, and as she meets the courageous band of women fighting for their rights, she stumbles across an even bigger scoop, one that would make her male colleagues take her seriously. But telling the story will change her—and her baby’s—life forever.

Inspired by an important chapter of women’s history, The Other Daughter is an unforgettable novel about the bond between mothers and daughters—and the fight of women, generations over, for the freedom to choose their own path.

Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Expected publication: January 10th 2023
by Simon & Schuster CA
4/5 stars

This is my first time reading a Caroline Bishop book and with it came rave reviews.

I enjoy dual time period stories.  I like it for the glimpses into history as well as seeing two different points of view connect to one plot. The historical aspect of 1976 Switzerland with the women’s liberation movement was intriguing to read and learn about. Actually not just Switzerland but London as well and the treatment of women, their rights and expectations once married and even to marry. I was a teen during that time and can somewhat relate.

In 2016, Jess is struggling after discovering secrets which have created havoc in her life. Heading off to Switzerland she hopes to discover answers and possibly healing.

I enjoyed the authors writing style, the story and the mystery kept me intrigued. The story weaved nicely through time at a good pace and ended with a conclusion that was authentic and worked.

Ultimately, The Other Daughter is a story of family, of secrets, and having the courage & strength to face your past, to face the unknown.  As both women struggled with issues and prejudices ultimately there is healing and new beginnings found in unlikely places.

The Other Daughter hits books shelves on January 10th. My thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for a digital arc in exchange for an honest review.  

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Unveiled: Tamar by Francine Rivers

Book 1 in the 5-book biblical historical fiction series by the New York Times bestselling author of Redeeming Love and A Voice in the Wind.

Betrayed by the men who controlled her future, she fought for her right to believe in a loving God.

Meet Tamar, one of the five women in the lineage of Christ. She risked her life and her reputation to be the woman she was called to be. Her story serves as an example of how God uses our circumstances and our steps toward Him, however faltering, to fulfill His plan.

Unveiled is book one in the popular Lineage of Grace series about five unlikely women who changed eternity.



Audiobook, 4 hours, 12 minutes
Published November 10, 2002
 by Oasis Audio
4/5 hours

I am a big fan of Francine Rivers' fictional books, her Mark of the Lion Series is one of my favourites.  Unveiled is the 1st in her Lineage of Grace Series and continues with 4 other women from the Old and ending in the NewTestament.

This like the rest of the books in this series are not big.  The print copy is smaller and comes in just over 200 pages.  I opted for the audiobook for my bookclub read mainly because the print copy was hard to find.

Tamar comes from the book of Genesis and tells the life the daughter-in-law of Judah.  Though the Bible doesn't go into great detail about her life I loved how Francine Rivers brought her to life with authentic feelings of the customs/traditions and life for a women in that time period.  What was expected and how sometimes one has to take matters into ones our hands.

I will continue with this series with book 5 tell Mary's story.

My audiobook copy from obtained via my Scribd subscription.

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

Wishyouwas by Alexandra Page

Classic-feeling storytelling with bags of charm. Fans of thrilling animal adventure and enchanting underground worlds will fall in love with Wishyouwas.

It's 1952 in smog-shrouded London. Christmas might be fast approaching, but with her mum away and Uncle Frank busy running the post office, Penny Black is lonelier than ever.

All that changes when Penny discovers a small, fluffy, funny, springy and – most importantly – talking creature in the post office one night, trying to make off with a letter.

But Wishyouwas is no thief. He's a Sorter, and he soon introduces Penny to a fascinating secret world hidden in the tunnels underneath the city's streets. Self-appointed guardians of lost mail, the Sorters have dedicated their lives to rescuing letters that have gone astray and making sure they get delivered to their rightful owners.

Penny is determined to protect the Sorters, but how long will she be able to keep them safe with Stanley Scrawl, the sinister Royal Mail Rat Catcher, on the prowl? Can Penny save the Sorters and deliver a joyful Christmas? 

Paperback, 288 pages
Published September 30th 2021
by Bloomsbury
4/5 stars

My 2nd Christmas book of 2022!

I enjoy a middle grade read and this was a fun one.  Told from the POV of 12 year old Penny, aka Dear Penny.  It's the heavy fog of 1952 England with Christmas coming quickly.  She hasn't heard from my pilot mom in ages and worry has set in. Enter Wishyouwas and his band of the other Tiny Guardians of Lost Letters.  What follows is an adventure through the underground postage systems, rat catchers, humans who've lost the Christmas spirit and rats.  

 I loved the different names throughout this read, Dearmadam, Felicitations, Thiswayup, Fragile, Handlewithcare and more.  Wishyouwas is a story of friendship, hope and stepping out of your comfort zone.  Of taking a chance and discovering friendship in unlikely places. 

This was a fun Christmas read, not just for MG folks but all ages.

This book was part of my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

Monday, November 28, 2022

The Premonition at Withers Farm by Jaime Jo Wright

The voices of the past cannot stay silent forever.

In 1910 Michigan, Perliett VanHilton is a self-proclaimed rural healer, leaving the local doctor, George Wasziak, convinced she practices quackery. It doesn't help that her mother, Maribeth VanHilton, is a Spiritualist who regularly offers her services to help others speak to their dearly departed. But when Perliett is targeted by a superstitious killer, she relies on both George and an intriguing newcomer for help.

In the present day, life has not developed the way Molly Wasziak dreamed. Facing depression after multiple miscarriages, Molly is adapting to her husband's purchase of a new farm. A search for a family tree pulls Molly deep into a vintage web of deceptions, made more mysterious by the disturbing shadows and sounds in the old farmhouse.

Perliett fights for her life, and Molly seeks renewed purpose for hers as she uncovers the records of the dead. Will their voices be heard, or will time silence their truths forever? 

Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 11th 2022 
by Bethany House Publishers
4.5/5 stars

Jamie Jo Wright it is one of my go to authors. I know I’ve mentioned it before in each review, but what I Iove about her books is how she weaves current social situations with stories of the past. 

In The Premonition of Wither's Farm Wright took this reader back to 1910 to a young woman named Perliett. Perliett had hopes of becoming a doctor one day, but instead finds herself in the midst of a local murder and herself a target.  Present day is the life of Molly, who has recently moved into the country, to the area from Perliett's past. Reeling from multiple miscarriages, depression and anxiety follow.

These two lives collide in a way I didn’t anticipate. I thoroughly enjoyed the mystery, the friendships and the how mystic/spiritualism stayed true to the times.  A little slow at times but I was kept on my toes as both story lines unfolded.  The characters were unique and likeable. Again, the author doesn’t hold back in describing Molly's deep hurt and feelings of worthlessness as she struggles day to day.

The conclusion and how these 2 story lines meshed fit the bill nicely.  One I didn't really see coming.  Premonition is Christian fiction that reflected authentic day to day struggles in a realistic manner.  

This book was part of my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge.

Sunday, November 27, 2022

Dawnlands (The Fairmile #3) by Philippa Gregory

The “sweeping” (Parade) and “superb” (People) Fairmile series from #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory continues as the fiercely independent Alinor and her family find themselves entangled in palace intrigue, political upheaval, and life-changing secrets in 17th-century England.

It is 1685, England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings and many families are bitterly divided. Ned Ferryman cannot persuade his sister, Alinor, that he is right to return from America with his Pokanoket servant, Rowan, to join the rebel army. Instead, Alinor has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save the queen from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.

Alinor’s son, Rob, is determined to stay clear of the war, but when he and his nephew set out to free Ned from execution for treason and Rowan from a convict deportation to Barbados, they find themselves enmeshed in the creation of an imposter Prince of Wales—a surrogate baby to the queen.

From the last battle in the desolate Somerset Levels to the hidden caves on the slave island of Barbados, this third volume of an epic story follows a family from one end of the empire to another, to find a new dawn in a world which is opening up before them with greater rewards and dangers than ever before. 

Hardcover, 512 pages
Published November 8th 2022 
by Atria Books
3/5 stars

Dawnlands  is the 3rd book in the Fairmile Series, it begins 15 years after Tide Lands ended, to be honest that disappointed me right from the get go.  I wanted to know what transpired in those 15 years, more detail then a quick recap.   It appears that each book gets a little longer with this one being over 500 pages long.

What I liked about Dawnlands:
-short chapters, though sometimes a little too short
-chapter headings that make it clear the precise location and date

What I didn't like:
-maybe the too short chapters, was hard to really connect and get absorbed into the plot
-it jumped around a lot
-as with the previous book I am not feeling the setting outside of England
-maybe a tad too political
-the blurb gives too much of the story away

Overall the author definitely knows the history and her writing sets me in the place and time.  But I struggled to like the characters, one in particular has over stayed her welcome. I mean how can one person get away with so much, seems a little over the top.  To be honest I'm starting to lose interest especially with not given a satisfying conclusion, rather a cliff hanger for another book.

This saddens me since Philippa Gregory is the author that started me on my historical fiction journey with The Other Boleyn Girl.  Maybe I just need some space before book 4.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster CA for a print ARC in exchange for a honest review. 

Saturday, November 26, 2022

Meet Me in the Middle by Alex Light

A romance interrupted by tragedy sets two people on different paths in Wattpad superstar Alex Light’s latest YA romance.

Eden had her best friend Katie—she didn’t need anyone else. But then there was Truman.

Katie’s older brother, the artist. The recluse. The boy with the innocent smile and the dangerous eyes.

Eden had never really known Truman—not until the night of Katie’s accident. That was the night they’d finally let each other into their orbits—only to have the sky come crashing down on them.

With Katie in the hospital and Truman fleeing from his grief without a word, Eden is left alone to grapple with her own pain. But when Truman returns to the city, can Eden let him back into her life knowing that their first kiss is what tore their world apart?

Wattpad superstar Alex Light is back with another poignant romance perfect for fans of Jennifer Dugan and Laura Taylor Namey. 

Paperback, 384 pages
Published July 12th 2022 by
 Harperteen
3/5 stars

Alex Light is a new to me author.  This book released back in July and I was lucky enough to win an ARC from HarperTeen.

Told from 2 povs, Eden and Truman, both dealing with guilt over a tragic accident that sends Eden's best friend and Truman's younger sister to the hospital.  Five months later, still unconscious Katie clings to life.  What follows is Eden and Truman reconnecting and their journey through depression, grief and guilt.

This was a slow paced story, repetitive at times as both tell their story both before and after the accident. It was an emotional story and brought to life how unique this process is.  Everyone handles grief and guilt differently which was showcased here. Well done Light for writing a sensitive story with some serious subject matter.



Monday, November 21, 2022

The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry

Just in time for Christmas, escape with a perfect love song, a perfect love story, and a perfect dose of holiday magic.

Can one song change the course of a life?

Brothers Jimmy and Jack Sullivan live a nomadic life doing what they love: touring with their band, The Unknown Souls. But Jack’s recent engagement to Kara has everyone looking forward to a Christmas destination wedding in Ireland.

Unlike his brother, Jimmy never expected to fall in love. But he feels a sense of peace and happiness whenever he’s around Kara’s best friend, Charlotte—which has him wondering what he’s missing. Over Thanksgiving, Jimmy and Charlotte write a song while sitting together on the back porch. When the band sings it at a Christmas concert the next night, Jimmy insists it’s the perfect love song—but a manager for another famous duo is adamant that it’s the perfect Christmas song. Before Jimmy knows what’s happening, he’s on tour with the hottest country band around and suddenly everyone knows his name.

But fame isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and Jimmy finds himself far away from those he loves—especially Charlotte. Only a Christmas miracle—or two—will be able to lead Jimmy back to Ireland, to his brother, and to love. 

Hardcover, 240 pages
Published October 8th 2019
 by Thomas Nelson 
(first published October 12th 2010)
2.5/5 stars

I am a huge Patty Callahan Henry fan.  Once Upon a Wardrobe, Survivng Savanah and Becoming Mrs. Lewis are favorites. She has turned into a go-to author for me.

The Perfect Love Song, with its gorgeous cover, was my 1st Christmas read for 2022. It’s a small little book only 240 pages, I figured it would be a perfect way to spend a snowy Sunday afternoon.

Originally published in 2010 last year was the first I’ve heard of this book and whether my expectation level was high or not it just didn’t live up to what I expected by this author. Maybe because I like a bit more depth in my stories, 240 little pages doesn't leave a lot of room for depth.  Or it could be the fact that I discovered this book follows characters from a previous book, which I have not read. Maybe if I had, I could appreciate the story more.

 I am not a fan of Hallmark movies, but 'tis the season (almost) setting that aside this book lacked something that I can't quite put my finger on.  I struggled to connect and even switched over to the audiobook which helped somewhat.  While predictable I would have loved more of the backstore to feel some of the emotions floating around here.  The ending was typical Hallmarkish.

This book was part of my 2022 reading off my shelf challenge, I do have the print book but ultimately, in the end, I listen to the audiobook through my subscription from Scribd.

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

The Lindbergh Nanny by Mariah Fredericks

Mariah Fredericks' emotionally charged and propulsive new novel, The Lindbergh Nanny, examines one of the most famous kidnapping cases in America from the lens of one of America's favorite suspects, putting Betty Gow at the center of her own story for the first time.

Betty Gow is known by another name: the Lindbergh Nanny. When toddler Charles Lindbergh Jr. is kidnapped from his parents' weekend home in Hopewell, New Jersey in 1932, his parents are frantic, his grandmother devastated, and the media rabid. Betty, amid the maelstrom and named a suspect herself, is determined to find out who has taken him.

Charles Lindbergh was already famous for his flight across the Atlantic―the golden boy of America, with his wealthy and lovely wife, Anne Morrow Lindbergh, beside him―when Betty joined the household to look after little Charlie. A Scottish immigrant deciphering the rules of her new homeland and its East Coast elite, Betty finds Col. Lindbergh eccentric and often odd, Mrs. Lindbergh kind yet nervous, and Charlie simply a darling. Far from home and bruised from a love affair gone horribly wrong, Betty finds comfort in caring for the child, and warms to the attentions of handsome sailor Henrik, sometimes known as Red.

But when Charlie is taken from the family home, at a time when no one but a handful of Lindbergh servants could have known he was there, everything changes. A suspect in the eyes of both the media and public herself, Betty must find the truth in order to clear her own name―and to find justice for the child she loves.

Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Published November 15th 2022
 by Minotaur Books
2.5/5 stars

This is one of the reasons why I love historical fiction, reading history through the eyes of a witness, though one not really publicised much. I knew about the Lindbergh kidnapping but not in great details.

It is evident that the author did her research and knew about the era. Betty Gow is or was the nanny for Charles Lindbergh Jr, and had been in her care for over a year before he went missing. I was immersed in the story for the first half , I got to know Betty, experience the way of life for this family, as they navigated through their notoriety. How the fans stalked their homes just to get a glimpse into this family’s life.

But the last half things really slowed down for me and I struggled to stay connected. The story is told only from the point of view of Betty, it would have been nice to to hear from other people.  Much of the last half revolves around the case and suspicion falls on the household staff (for a number of reasons), at times repetitive and slow.  

The author notes at the end were interesting, which verified her research and passion for the story, however, for me, it was a miss, but please take that with a grain of salt as their are so many four and  five star ratings for this book.

My thanks to Minotaur Books for a digital arc via NetGalleyShelf in exchange for an honest review.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks by Shauna Robinson

I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.

If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.

When Maggie Banks arrives in Bell River to run her best friend's struggling bookstore, she expects to sell bestsellers to her small-town clientele. But running a bookstore in a town with a famously bookish history isn't easy. Bell River's literary society insists on keeping the bookstore stuck in the past, and Maggie is banned from selling anything written this century. So, when a series of mishaps suddenly tip the bookstore toward ruin, Maggie will have to get creative to keep the shop afloat.

And in Maggie's world, book rules are made to be broken.

To help save the store, Maggie starts an underground book club, running a series of events celebrating the books readers actually love. But keeping the club quiet, selling forbidden books, and dodging the literary society is nearly impossible. Especially when Maggie unearths a town secret that could upend everything.

Maggie will have to decide what's more important: the books that formed a small town's history, or the stories poised to change it all.

Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2022
 by Sourcebooks Landmark
4/5 stars

I, Maggie Banks, solemnly swear to uphold the rules of Cobblestone Books.

If only, I, Maggie Banks, believed in following the rules.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Maggie Banks volunteers to help her best friend manage a book shop. But the thing is Maggie is not a reader. Also this book shop comes with restrictions, weird rules along with a unusual cast of characters preventing her from truly being the help this quaint shop needs.

The Banned Bookshop of Maggie Banks is a story of community, the past and stepping out of one’s comfort zone. There is history here, bookish name dropping, and friendship in unlikely places.

This was a fun read, I enjoyed the story, the journey of self discovery, the author's writing style and even this odd bunch.  There was mystery, scandal, secret meetings and romance.  Just what this reader needed.

This is my first time reading Shauna Robinson. I will be back for more.

 My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark for a digital copy (via Netgalley) in exchange for a honest review.

Sunday, November 6, 2022

Spells for Forgetting by Adrienne Young

A deeply atmospheric story about ancestral magic, an unsolved murder, and a second chance at true love.

Emery Blackwood’s life changed forever the night her best friend was found dead and the love of her life, August Salt, was accused of murdering her. Years later, she is doing what her teenage self swore she never would: living a quiet existence on the misty, remote shores of Saoirse Island and running the family’s business, Blackwood’s Tea Shoppe Herbal Tonics & Tea Leaf Readings.

But when the island, rooted in folklore and magic, begins to show signs of strange happenings, Emery knows that something is coming. The morning she wakes to find that every single tree on Saoirse has turned color in a single night, August returns for the first time in fourteen years and unearths the past that the town has tried desperately to forget.

August knows he is not welcome on Saiorse, not after the night everything changed. As a fire raged on at the Salt family orchard, Lily Morgan was found dead in the dark woods, shaking the bedrock of their tight-knit community and branding August a murderer. When he returns to bury his mother’s ashes, he must confront the people who turned their backs on him and face the one wound from his past that has never healed—Emery.

The town has more than one reason to want August gone, and the emergence of deep betrayals and hidden promises spanning generations threaten to reveal the truth behind Lily’s mysterious death once and for all.

Hardcover, 352 pages
Published September 27th 2022 
by Delacorte Press
2.5/5 stars

This was one of those books that grabbed me with the cover, isn't it gorgeous! I have heard of Adrienne Young, her YA books are quite popular, I have wanted to read her for a while. Spells for Forgetting is her first adult book though at times it does have a YA feel to it. Be forewarned that I am going against the flow when it comes to my thoughts. 

It is the summer of their 18th year when this group of 4 is shattered when Lily‘s body is found in a burned out apple orchard. August is the prime suspect, in the middle of the night he and his mother steal away from the island to begin fresh in mainland Oregon. Forced to come back 14 years later, per his mother's request, August returns to the island he swore never to set foot on again.

The blurb sound very enticing, with an unsolved murder, shattered love and betrayal.  But what follows is a story with many layers, points of view and suspicion along with a tiny smattering of mysticism. For me I found this to be a slow paced read. Though the majority of this book is told by Emery and August, there are other voices popping up. It does jump around in time, and the chapter headings make that perfectly clear, but sometimes the memory part within don’t always flow smoothly. The story itself was very slow paced, and it wasn’t until the last hundred pages were things really picked up and I couldn’t put down the book, the suspense had me reading. Thankfully, they're shorter chapters, making it easy to read just one more chapter (pun intended).

Those loast 100 pages had me bumping this up to a 3 star read, but sadly the ending dropped it back to 2.5. I was not satisfied with the conclusion, it left too many things hanging with unanswered questions.  Unless the author plans on a sequel, there I get it. 

Spells for Forgetting is a story of young love, family, heritage, and community. Like I said, though this book didn’t work for me, it did for a lot of other reads.

This book was part of my 2022 reading off my shelf challenge.

Tuesday, November 1, 2022

The Bookshop of Secrets by Mollie Rushmeyer

A collection of lost books holds the clues to her family's legacy…and her future.

Hope Sparrow has mastered the art of outrunning her tragic past, learning never to stay anywhere too long and never to allow anyone control over her life again. Coming to Wanishin Falls in search of her family's history already feels too risky. But somewhere in the towering stacks of this dusty old bookshop are the books that hold Hope's last ties to her late mother—and to a rumored family treasure that could help her start over.

Only, the bookshop is in shambles, and the elderly owner is in the beginning stages of dementia and can’t remember where the books lie. To find the last links to the loved ones she's lost, Hope must stay and accept help from the townsfolk to locate the treasured volumes. Each secret she uncovers brings her closer to understanding where she came from. But the longer she stays in the quaint town, the more people find their way into the cracks in her heart. And letting them in may be the greatest risk of all… 

Kindle Edition
Published October 25, 2022
 by Love Inspired Trade
4/5 stars

Debut author Mollie Rushmeyer has written a story that was engaging, full of secrets, both of the past and present with a bookish theme.

Hope Sparrow returns to her family’s past, she is determined to find some books that her late mother left for her.  They promised a treasure which will give her a fresh start she desperately needs. Hope is running from the past, from a situation she had no control over, that has left her with internal scars, making it hard for her to trust or connect with anyone. But coming to a close knit community doesn't help.

The Bookshop of Secrets is a story of new beginnings, healing the past while at the same time healing in present day. This isn’t just Hope's story, but also of other residents in this town of Wanishin Falls. There have been tragic events in the past that have left scars and hurt feelings for many residents.

This is the author's debut and I think she is off to a great start with a story that was engaging, heartfelt and full of hope. It is Christian fiction that was realistic and authentic. Definitely one I recommend.

My thanks to Harlequin and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

Salt and Sugar by Rebecca Carvalho

The grandchildren of two rival Brazilian bakeries fall in love despite their families’ feud.

Trust neither thin-bottomed frying pans nor Molinas.

Lari Ramires has always known this to be true. In Olinda, Brazil, her family’s bakery, Salt, has been at war with the Molinas’ bakery across the street, Sugar, for generations. But Lari’s world turns upside down when her beloved grandmother passes away. On top of that, a big supermarket chain has moved to town, forcing many of the small businesses to close.

Determined to protect her home, Lari does the unthinkable—she works together with Pedro Molina to save both of their bakeries. Lari realizes she might not know Pedro as well as she thought—and she maybe even likes what she learns—but the question remains: Can a Ramires and a Molina truly trust one another? 

Kindle Edition, 368 pages
Expected publication: November 1st 2022
by Inkyard Press
3.5/5 stars

This contemporary YA a novel takes place in Brazil and reflects food and culture.

Centering around two bakery's that have been across the street from each other for generations. Lari and Pedro have never associated with each other until this, their last year in high school. As they are forced to work together, what follows is a long winded story about the ongoing feud between these two families as a big box store threatens their livelihoods.

Salt and Sugar is a story of relationships, family and young love. Reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet, can these two teens end this feud.

This story had a younger YA feel, and while I connected with these two teens, I found the actions of the mothers off putting, overwhelming, and maybe a bit excessive, which took away from what could have been a four-star read. That being said it was still entertaining, I learned a lot about the different foods in Brazil and loved the creativity of these two.

Salt and Sugar releases on Tuesday Nov 1st and available for preorder now.

My thanks to the publisher Inkyard and Netgalley for a digital art in exchange for a honest review.






Tuesday, October 25, 2022

The Echo Man by Sam Holland

An incredible new thriller from an exciting new talent!

The murders have begun…

Across England, a string of murders is taking place. Each different in method, but each horrifying and brutal.

But the killer is just getting started…

Jess Ambrose is plunged into the investigation when her house is set ablaze. With her husband dead and the police pointing at her, she runs. Her only hope is disgraced detective Nate Griffin, who is convinced Jess is innocent.

And he’s going to shock the world…

Soon, Jess and Griffin discover the unthinkable; this murderer is copying the world’s most notorious serial killers. And now, imitation isn’t enough. The killer dubbed The Echo Man is ready to create his own masterpiece, and it will be more terrifying than anything that has come before… 

Paperback, 464 pages
Published April 14th 2022 
by HarperCollins
4.5/5 stars

This book was not on my radar until a couple reviews on IG stated how addicting this thriller was.  Were they right?  Yup this book lived up to the hype.  For a debut I am stunned and nervous for the author as she pens her next book, these are mighty fine steps to follow in.

Taking place in England The Echo Man starts off with a bang and doesn't let go till the end.  Jess plays centre stage as does a couple other POVs giving this physiological thriller a well rounded view.  The Echo Man has a flawed cast, twist and turns along with a nice fast pace.  It is dark, bloody and based on true crime.  I will say this isn't for the faint of heart, it is graphic in content and description with a whodunit part that doesn't let go.  The ending wraps up quickly with an explosive conclusion, which for me was good as this old brain can only take so much brutality.

 I read it in a couple days, both reading and listening to the audiobook.  Both methods I recommend. 

My copy was obtained from my local library and the audiobook via Scribd.



Monday, October 24, 2022

Us Against You (Beartown #2) by Fredrik Backman

Have you ever seen a town fall? Ours did.
Have you ever seen a town rise? Ours did that, too.


A small community tucked deep in the forest, Beartown is home to tough, hardworking people who don’t expect life to be easy or fair. No matter how difficult times get, they’ve always been able to take pride in their local ice hockey team. So it’s a cruel blow when they hear that Beartown ice hockey might soon be disbanded. What makes it worse is the obvious satisfaction that all the former Beartown players, who now play for a rival team in the neighboring town of Hed, take in that fact. As the tension mounts between the two adversaries, a newcomer arrives who gives Beartown hockey a surprising new coach and a chance at a comeback.

Soon a team starts to take shape around Amat, the fastest player you’ll ever see; Benji, the intense lone wolf; always dutiful and eager-to-please Bobo; and Vidar, a born-to-be-bad troublemaker. But bringing this team together proves to be a challenge as old bonds are broken, new ones are formed, and the town’s enmity with Hed grows more and more acute.

As the big game approaches, the not-so-innocent pranks and incidents between the communities pile up and their mutual contempt intensifies. By the time the last goal is scored, a resident of Beartown will be dead, and the people of both towns will be forced to wonder if, after everything, the game they love can ever return to something as simple and innocent as a field of ice, two nets, and two teams. Us against you.

Here is a declaration of love for all the big and small, bright and dark stories that give form and color to our communities. With immense compassion and insight, Fredrik Backman reveals how loyalty, friendship, and kindness can carry a town through its most challenging days.

Paperback, 448 pages
Published March 5th 2019 
by Washington Square Press
3.5/5 stars

Last month I had the awesome opportunity to meet Fredrik Backman, in anticipation of that author event I began this series.  Us Against You is book 2 and continues where Beartown left off.  It felt like going home when I began reading with familiar characters and getting caught up.

While hockey still is an obsession for the towns of Beartown and Hed this book is also about friendship, family and devotion.  There is alot of reminders of what transpired in Beartown, maybe a tad much or it could be that I started reading this as soon as I finished Beartown and all was still fresh in my old brain. But it does work for those who haven't read Beartown.

Fredrik Backman has a unique writing style, poetic at times while being mesmerizing.  As with Beartown Us Against You evoked a range of emotion.  This turned into a combo audio/read. Marin Ireland was the reader for the audio and again she did a stellar job breathing live into this story.

I probably should have done a combo review for this series.  The Winners will be posted next week, even though this book was really good, I enjoyed Beartown a tad more and you will have to wait for my thoughts on The Winners.

This book was part of  my 2022 Reading Off My Shelf Challenge. 

Sunday, October 23, 2022

The Blue Cloak (True Colors #5) by Shannon McNear

Fiction Based on Strange, But True, History

True, riveting stories of American criminal activity are explored through unique stories of historical romantic suspense. Collect them all and be inspired by the hope that always finds its way even in the darkest of times.

Based on real events beginning in 1797 — Rachel Taylor lives a rather mundane existence at the way station her family runs along the Wilderness Road in Tennessee. She attends her friend’s wedding only to watch it dissolve in horror has the groom, Wiley Harpe, and his cousin become murderers on the run, who drag their families along. Declaring a “war on all humanity,” the Harpes won’t be stopped, and Ben Langford is on their trail to see if his own cousin was one of their latest victims. How many will die before peace can return to the frontier?
 
Kindle Edition, 256 pages
Published March 1st 2020
 by Barbour Publishing
3.5/5 stars

A couple weeks ago I posted my review for The Green Dress, which was book 6 in the True Colors series, today I am posting this review for book 5. This series does not have to be read in order as each covers a different part of US history that is usually something off the beaten track, dark, gritty and unfortunately true.

Taking place in 1797 begins with the wedding of Rachel Taylor's friend to Wiley Harpe, what follows is what the Harpe group call a 'war on all humanity'. It is a heartbreaking story of senseless violence, greed, and helplessness not just for young Rachel but those that end up in their path of destruction.

For Christian fiction , this is a very dark and gritty book, it does not hold back on the violence that takes place and the effect it has on the community. And yes, after I finished, I did Google and learn that the author did her research and stayed true to history. One can't help feel for Rachel as she shares her story along with that of Ben Langford.  There journey is both personal as faith plays a big part during the horrific events that test it.

I will continue with this series, but it is one that I will take a break between each reading just to cleanse my brain.

This book released in March of 2020 and is part of Reading of my Kindle Challenge.


Saturday, October 22, 2022

Cradles of the Reich by Jennifer Coburn

Three women, a nation seduced by a madman, and the Nazi breeding program to create a so-called master race

At Heim Hochland, a Nazi breeding home in Bavaria, three women's fates are irrevocably intertwined. Gundi is a pregnant university student from Berlin. An Aryan beauty, she's secretly a member of a resistance group. Hilde, only eighteen, is a true believer in the cause and is thrilled to carry a Nazi official's child. And Irma, a 44-year-old nurse, is desperate to build a new life for herself after personal devastation. All three have everything to lose.

Based on untold historical events, this novel brings us intimately inside the Lebensborn Society maternity homes that actually existed in several countries during World War II, where thousands of "racially fit" babies were bred and taken from their mothers to be raised as part of the new Germany. But it proves that in a dark period of history, the connections women forge can carry us through, even driving us to heroism we didn't know we had within us.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Published October 11th 2022
 by Sourcebooks Landmark
3/5 stars

One of the reasons I enjoy reading historical fiction is the educational part.  Not that I don't love a good story but when mixed with some unknown pieces of the past just provides double the pleasure.  Cradles of the Reich is one of those books that took me by surprise in the educational department.  I know I shouldn't be surprised as to the things that took place during WW2 but this Nazi breeding home was something I knew nothing about.

Cradles is the story of 3 women who meet at one of these home that are part of the Lebensborn Society. While each of them are unique in their backgrounds and purposes that bringing them together I did struggle to connect.  The tension I craved just wasn't enough to feel an emotions for them.  The ending felt abrupt and left me with questions and not enough closure.

It was obvious the author has done her research and has a passion for this time period and story.  With the gorgeous cover, enticing blurb and social media buzz I was hoping for a captivating story. Like I said the social media buzz is strong, which makes this a'me' issue.

My thanks to Sourcebooks Landmark and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

Improbably Yours by Kerry Anne King

An unusual inheritance leads to a life-changing journey in a novel of romance, secrets, and the treasure of found family.

Blythe Harmon is on the fast track to a life she never wanted. On her thirtieth birthday, just as she’s about to lock herself into a high-powered job and accept a marriage proposal to match, an unusual bequest from her beloved late grandmother, Nomi, offers an escape and an invitation to adventure.

Equipped with Nomi’s urn of ashes and a treasure map, Blythe sets off for a small island in the San Juans where she rents the mysterious and unsettling Improbable House. Secret by secret, clue by cryptic clue, she begins to unravel the puzzle her grandmother has left her to piece together. Her quest is complicated, though, by a powerful attraction to an enigmatic islander and empathy for his orphaned niece, both of whom are inexorably tied to the old house.

Just when Blythe thinks she’s on the verge of solving the mystery, her quest takes an unexpected turn, and she discovers that the treasure she’s really seeking is something that could never be buried in the ground. While she’s on the treasure hunt of a lifetime, the past and the future are coming together in this magical novel by the Amazon Charts bestselling author of Whisper Me This.

Kindle Edition, 345 pages
Expected publication: October 18th 2022
by Lake Union Publishing
4/5 stars

Kerry Anne King is not a new author for me,  I enjoyed Whisper Me This as well as A Borrowed Life, it only stands to reason that I would jump when given the opportunity to review Improbably Yours which releases in a few short weeks.

Improbably Yours begins with a 24 year old conversation that revisits Blyther on her 30th birthday that sets her on a path of self discovery through a treasure hunt on an island off the coast of Oregon.

This was a fun and interesting read. It wasn’t just Blythe's journey but for others on the island as well. It’s a story of grief, of guilt, and how the past doesn’t always stay secret. Eventually, all will be revealed no matter how hard you try not to let it happen.

I enjoyed the location of the story, the treasure hunt, the clues, the connections and while some of it may have been a tad predictable, it was still entertaining watching everything unfold. I enjoyed the mystery, the magical parts, the island and unique cast of characters and way of life on this island, I love that there was a canine and that just rounded everything out nicely.

While this might not be my favourite, Kerry Anne King book, that place belongs to Whisper Me This, but Improbably Yours gets four stars from me.

My thanks to the publisher, Lake Union Publishing and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review. You can find this book on your bookshelves October 18.



Monday, October 3, 2022

Mad Honey by Jodi Picoult & Jennifer Finney Boylan

A soul-stirring novel about what we choose to keep from our past, and what we choose to leave behind.

Olivia McAfee knows what it feels like to start over. Her picture-perfect life—living in Boston, married to a brilliant cardiothoracic surgeon, raising a beautiful son, Asher—was upended when her husband revealed a darker side. She never imagined she would end up back in her sleepy New Hampshire hometown, living in the house she grew up in, and taking over her father's beekeeping business.

Lily Campanello is familiar with do-overs, too. When she and her mom relocate to Adams, New Hampshire, for her final year of high school, they both hope it will be a fresh start.

And for just a short while, these new beginnings are exactly what Olivia and Lily need. Their paths cross when Asher falls for the new girl in school, and Lily can’t help but fall for him, too. With Ash, she feels happy for the first time. Yet at times, she wonders if she can she trust him completely . . .

Then one day, Olivia receives a phone call: Lily is dead, and Asher is being questioned by the police. Olivia is adamant that her son is innocent. But she would be lying if she didn’t acknowledge the flashes of his father’s temper in him, and as the case against him unfolds, she realizes he’s hidden more than he’s shared with her.

Mad Honey is a riveting novel of suspense, an unforgettable love story, and a moving and powerful exploration of the secrets we keep and the risks we take in order to become ourselves.

Kindle Edition, 464 pages
Expected publication: October 4th 2022
by Random House CA
3.5/5 stars

Be forewarned that I am going against the majority in my thoughts on this book, which is really disappointing since I wanted to love Mad Honey and I sure love this UK cover.

Jodi Picoult is joined by Jennifer Finney Boylan and after reading the notes at the conclusion from both  told of the unique way this story came to be and how many years in the making it was.

Mad Honey is told from the POVs of Olivia, single mom to Asher and keeper of bees. The other is Lily, girlfriend of Asher.  When I started reading, I was entranced and captivated right away, the setting was unique with the inclusion of bees and their habits, I received an educational lesson throughout the story. The sudden passing of Lily is when things slowed down and the past had to be revisited. But things started to slow down, and even when the twist came (which totally took  me my surprise) it was the slow pace that took over which also slowed my reading down.  The mystery started to drag, and the way the story jumped from present day to past memories felt jarring at times.

Known for her twists the first one totally caught me off guard, but honestly, it wasn’t enough to redeem how I was starting to feel. The story drag for the last half, and even the conclusion was underwhelming it left me with some unanswered questions, anticipating a little more.

It's hard to say exactly what this story is about without revealing spoilers, but suffice to say Mad Honey is a story of fresh starts, young love, acceptance and family.

White this isn't a favourite read I will continue going through Picoult's back list.

My thanks to Random House CA and Netgalley for a digital arc in exchange for a honest review.


Wednesday, September 28, 2022

The Dead Romantics by Ashley Poston

Florence Day is the ghostwriter for one of the most prolific romance authors in the industry, and she has a problem—after a terrible breakup, she no longer believes in love. It’s as good as dead.

When her new editor, a too-handsome mountain of a man, won’t give her an extension on her book deadline, Florence prepares to kiss her career goodbye. But then she gets a phone call she never wanted to receive, and she must return home for the first time in a decade to help her family bury her beloved father.

For ten years, she’s run from the town that never understood her, and even though she misses the sound of a warm Southern night and her eccentric, loving family and their funeral parlor, she can’t bring herself to stay. Even with her father gone, it feels like nothing in this town has changed. And she hates it.

Until she finds a ghost standing at the funeral parlor’s front door, just as broad and infuriatingly handsome as ever, and he’s just as confused about why he’s there as she is.

Romance is most certainly dead... but so is her new editor, and his unfinished business will have her second-guessing everything she’s ever known about love stories.

A disillusioned millennial ghostwriter who, quite literally, has some ghosts of her own, has to find her way back home in this sparkling adult debut from national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Paperback, 368 pages
Published June 28th 2022
 by Berkley
4.5/5 stars


Ashley Posten is not a new author to me. I have previously read her YA book, Among the Beasts & Briars, and loved it and honestly it wasn’t till I was partway through this book that I made the connection.

The Dead Romantics is a story about Florence Day, told from her POV. A ghost writer for a famous author she doesn’t just have writers block, she has romance block after a terrible break up. What follows is her return to the home she left, well, not exactly left, but was practically driven out of 10 years previous as word of her ability to converse with ghosts, was met with mockery, amongst other things.

The Dead Romantics is a book about relationships, about grief and healing past hurts. And there are ghosts which just blends in perfectly with the family business of a funeral home. What transpires is a heartwarming ghosty romance that was entertaining and fun to read. It was unique and I’m so happy I went into this story blind.

A big shout out to the IG reading community for highly recommending this one which had me grabbing it. My only beef is why I waited so long to crack it open.

This book was part of my 2022 Reading off my Shelf Challenge