2017 Book 10: SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW by Catherine Ryan Hyde



Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde 
ISBN: 9781503939448 (paperback)
ASIN: B01DNJMO76 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: December 13, 2016 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing 



“Catherine Ryan Hyde delivers once again with this feel-good story guaranteed to be a hit…” — Redbook

On an isolated Texas ranch, Dr. Lucy cares for abandoned animals. The solitude allows her to avoid the people and places that remind her of the past. Not that any of the townsfolk care. In 1959, no one is interested in a woman doctor. Nor are they welcoming Calvin and Justin Bell, a newly arrived African American father and son.

When Pete Solomon, a neglected twelve-year-old boy, and Justin bring a wounded wolf-dog hybrid to Dr. Lucy, the outcasts soon find refuge in one another. Lucy never thought she’d make connections again, never mind fall in love. Pete never imagined he’d find friends as loyal as Justin and the dog. But these four people aren’t allowed to be friends, much less a family, when the whole town turns violently against them.

With heavy hearts, Dr. Lucy and Pete say goodbye to Calvin and Justin. But through the years they keep hope alive…waiting for the world to catch up with them.



Dr. Lucy Armstrong is a divorcee living in rural Texas. She spends most of her time alone taking care of abandoned, stray, and wounded animals. In an effort to earn extra money to feed and supply these animals she often provides after-hours medical care to people that can’t or won’t go to the local hospital. Dr. Lucy is a loner but doesn’t consider herself to be lonely. All that changes when Pete Solomon brings a stray wolf-dog hybrid to her home for treatment and then brings in a young black boy, Justin Bell, in for emergency treatment after a brutal beating. Dr. Lucy finds herself quickly befriended by not only Pete but by Justin and Justin’s father, Calvin. After giving Calvin a ride home, Dr. Lucy and Calvin find themselves in a strange and tenuous situation. There are laws on the books against miscegenation or racial mixing and it is beyond unseemly for a White woman to be seen in public, or even in private, with a black man. Dr. Lucy must also contend with the fact that Pete is being abused at home and only has her and Justin to turn to for help, emotional support, and friendship. How did this self-professed loner become a temporary guardian to a black boy, a surrogate mother to a young white boy, and a confidante and would-be lover to a black man in 1959 Texas?

I plowed through Say Goodbye for Now, finding it to be an incredibly easy, fast-paced and enjoyable read. I particularly enjoyed the inclusion of the Loving case into the story along with the developing long-distance relationship between Lucy and Calvin. Although Say Goodbye for Now takes place in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the vast majority of the story is still topical today. Ms. Hyde introduces the reader to racism, racial profiling, bigotry, systemic government abuse related to racial profiling, child abuse, interracial relationships, and more. Say Goodbye for Now has been called a “feel-good story” but it is so much more, it is about self-discovery, self-awakening, and the notion that family is much more than just biology and DNA. I enjoyed this book so much I promptly purchased a copy to give to my mother with the warning that she might cry while reading it (she’s 82 and needs trigger warnings before she’ll read a book). If you enjoy reading stories with a message or hopeful-ever-after stories, then I strongly recommend you grab a copy of Say Goodbye for Now to read. 

Disclaimer: I received a free print advanced reader copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2016 Book 161: THE ASSISTANTS by Camille Perri



The Assistants by Camille Perri 
ISBN: 9780399172540 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698180802 (ebook)
ASIN: B013Q7094K (Kindle version)
Publication Date: May 3, 2016 
Publisher: G. P. Putnam’s Sons


A wry and astute debut about a young Manhattanite whose embezzlement scam turns her into an unlikely advocate for the leagues of overeducated and underpaid assistants across the city.  Tina Fontana is the hapless but brazen thirty-year-old executive assistant to Robert Barlow, the all-powerful and commanding CEO of Titan Corp., a multinational media conglomerate. She’s excellent at her job and beloved by her famous boss—but after six years of making his reservations for restaurants she’d never get into on her own and pouring his drinks from bottles that cost more than her rent, she’s bored, broke, and just a bit over it all. When a technical error with Robert’s travel-and-expenses report presents Tina with the opportunity to pay off the entire balance of her student loan debt with what would essentially be pocket change for her boss, she struggles with the decision: She’s always played by the rules. But it’s such a relatively small amount of money for the Titan Corporation—and for her it would be a life-changer . . . The Assistants speaks directly to a new generation of women who feel stuck and unable to get ahead playing by the rules. It will appeal to all of those who have ever asked themselves, “How is it that after all these years, we are still assistants?”

Tina Fontana is a struggling thirty-year-old living in New York City. She works as the personal assistant to the boss of a multinational media conglomerate and makes barely enough to survive, much less pay off her college debt. Tina has no idea how much her life will change with one computer entry in The Assistants by Camille Perri.


Imagine working for a man that spends more on golf clubs (purchased to play one single round of golf) than you make in a month. Imagine this same man spends more on one monogrammed cotton handkerchief (that he considers to be just as disposable as a tissue) than you make in a week. Tina has worked for just such a man for six years and she’s still barely able to survive. After receiving a reimbursement check for an airline ticket that she paid for out-of-pocket and was then comped, she struggles with whether to return the check or keep it to pay off her student loans. Fortunately, or unfortunately depending on how you look at it, she keeps the check and pays off her loans. She’s then blackmailed into helping to pay off the debts of one co-worker and then another. Tina struggles with the morality of what they are doing. As this “pay-it-forward” or “pay-it-down” (all the monies are used to pay down student loan debt) idea gains momentum, the idea garners publicity and becomes legitimized through crowdfunding. All the while, Tina and her coworkers are asking the hard-hitting questions of why were we lied to when told we needed a college education to get ahead and why are we are still struggling with basic survival on our wages, especially since we aren’t lazy but hardworking people? 

I found The Assistants to be a fast-paced read that captured my attention from the first page to the very last. Ms. Perri has incorporated humor to take away a bit of the sting from the battle cry of millennials, “why isn’t this system working for us?” This is a generation that has gone to college, graduate school, law school, and/or medical school, racking up tens of thousands of debt. This is a generation that works 50-60 hours work weeks and is still struggling with the basics (rent, utilities, and groceries). Although The Assistants may be a somewhat lighthearted fictional look at this generation and their problems, it nonetheless highlights some serious issues facing these millennials. I enjoyed all of the characters, especially Tina, Emily, and Wendy. These women may have started out as “Robin Hood” type figures, but quickly come into their own with their “pay-it-down” assistance program (if only it were a reality). The Assistants provides a behind-the-scenes look at the world of assistants and their bosses’ unrealistic expectations. If you’re looking for a fun read that has its roots in reality, then look no further, The Assistants may just be the book for you. I’m looking forward to reading more from Ms. Perri in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2016 Book 153: DON’T YOU CRY by Mary Kubica


Don’t You Cry by Mary Kubica 
ISBN: 9780778319054 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781459294868 (ebook)
ASIN: B0181W5CBU (Kindle version)
Publication Date: May 17, 2016 
Publisher: MIRA


New York Times bestselling author of The Good Girl, Mary Kubica returns with an electrifying and addictive tale of deceit and obsession 

In downtown Chicago, a young woman named Esther Vaughan disappears from her apartment without a trace. A haunting letter addressed to My Dearest is found among her possessions, leaving her friend and roommate Quinn Collins to wonder where Esther is and whether or not she’s the person Quinn thought she knew. 

Meanwhile, in a small Michigan harbor town an hour outside Chicago, a mysterious woman appears in the quiet coffee shop where eighteen-year-old Alex Gallo works as a dishwasher. He is immediately drawn to her charm and beauty, but what starts as an innocent crush quickly spirals into something far more dark and sinister than he ever expected.  

As Quinn searches for answers about Esther, and Alex is drawn further under Pearl’s spell, master of suspense Mary Kubica takes readers on a taut and twisted thrill ride that builds to a stunning conclusion and shows that no matter how fast and far we run, the past always catches up with us in the end.



Quinn Collins awakens on a Sunday morning in Chicago expecting to find her roommate, Esther Vaughan, preparing for church. What she finds instead are an empty bedroom and an open window. Unsure of how to proceed, Quinn searches Esther’s bedroom and finds a weird letter and information that Esther has legally changed her name. That same morning, Alex Gallo is working in a small resort town diner in Michigan and becomes enamored with a customer he calls Pearl. Alex knows nothing about Pearl except she is a distraction from his mundane life. Instead of being away at college, he has stayed in town working a menial job just so he can take care of his alcoholic father. Over the course of one week, both Quinn and Alex come to realize that it isn’t really possible to know another person and that the past is never far from our present in Mary Kubica’s latest release, Don’t You Cry.

I’m a huge fan of suspense thrillers and psychological thrillers and Ms. Kubica has crafted another fine example of a psychological suspense thriller with Don’t You Cry. Even though I was dealing with a migraine, I couldn’t stop thinking about this book and impatiently awaited resuming my reading (yes, it is just that good!). Don’t You Cry pulled this reader in from the first few chapters and kept me enthralled until the very last page. The story is told in alternating voices of Quinn and Alex and the action takes place over the course of one short week. And there’s a lot crammed into that week: remembrances of friendship, family drama, coming-of-age angst, hazards of small town life, hazards of big city life, and hints of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed this fast-paced and gripping story and can highly recommend it to readers of suspense or psychological thrillers. If you’re not sure about this genre, then I suggest you add all three of Ms. Kubica’s titles (The Good Girl, Pretty Baby, and Don’t You Cry) to your TBR list, because after reading just one of her books you’re sure to be a fan.

Read an excerpt from Don’t You Cry here

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley and a print copy from BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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2016 Book 109: GLASS SHATTERS by Michelle Meyers

Glass Shatters by Michelle Meyers
ISBN: 9781631520181 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781631520198 (ebook)
ASIN: B01BZYZWX4 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: April 12, 2016 
Publisher: She Writes Press


A man wakes up in a living room he doesn’t recognize, unable to remember anything about himself. All he has are the few remnants of his identity scattered throughout the house clues to his past. He soon learns that he is Charles Lang, a brilliant scientist whose wife, Julie, and daughter, Jess, mysteriously disappeared several years ago. Soon, he begins to recover memories—memories that may or may not be his own and as he does, he realizes that only by uncovering the details of his former life will he have any hope of being reunited with Julie and Jess. A haunting tale of love and longing, fate and free will, and the easily blurred lines between fiction and reality, Glass Shatters explores the risks of trying to reinvent oneself, and the dangers of pushing science to its limits. 




Charles Lang is, by all accounts, a famous and gifted scientist. Sadly, he has no memory of who he is, what he’s been doing for the past few months or years, or even where he’s been. The only thing he does seem to remember is that his wife and daughter have disappeared in Glass Shatters by Michelle Meyers.

Charles is, or rather was, a renowned scientist in the fields of biotechnology and bioengineering. As his story is gradually revealed, we learn that he had disappeared for six months. His neighbors, Iris and her daughter Ava, have missed him and are glad for his return. Charles realizes that he has only vague memories of these two, as well as vague memories of his life before his disappearance. As he begins to reacquaint himself with his past, he begins to have memories of his wife Julie and his daughter Jess. But these memories seem almost false as if he’s remembering on behalf of someone else. As he tries to rationalize his memories with what he’s being told, he also has a mysterious roommate; an older gentleman that he initially presumes is his father. Memories gradually return and he realizes his parents died when he was just eighteen-years-old, so this person can’t be his father, but who is he? The more Charles uncovers, the more he feels that things are off. The more questions he answers, the more questions arise. Where are Julie and Jessica? Whose memories is he remembering? Who exactly is he?

Glass Shatters was a relatively fast-paced read, but one that kept me off-balanced from beginning to end. It is highly probable that Ms. Meyers has done this intentionally in an effort to keep the reader as off-balanced as the main character. Charles’s story is revealed in alternating glimpses of the past and the present. One minute we’re dealing with the thirty-four-year-old Charles and the next he’s eight, thirty-one, twenty-three, eighteen, four, etc. It isn’t until the last few chapters that Ms. Meyer’s reveals all and it is quite the shocker (no, I’m not going to tell you what happens . . . read the book!). Glass Shatters is part mystery, part psychological thriller, and part science-fiction. Am I glad I read it? Yes. Did I enjoy it? Well, I’m still trying to decide simply because this was a vastly different read for me (okay, I didn’t hate it but I didn’t love it either). This confusion isn’t because Glass Shatters is such a mash-up of genres or even that it was told in alternating past and present; it’s more because of the strange ending. Yes, it makes sense when you read it and provides closure, but it is still a little strange and came at me from left field. In the end, I can say that if you’re looking for a quick read that offers something vastly different from most mystery-thrillers, then you’ll definitely want to grab a copy of Glass Shatters to read. Although I’m still up in the air about liking this book, I look forward to reading more from Ms. Meyers in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a digital galley of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley and a print galley via BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”




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2015 Book 388: PRETTY GIRLS by Karin Slaughter



Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter
ISBN: 9780062429056 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062430878 (HarperLuxe)
ISBN: 9780062429063 (ebook)
ASIN: B00VES8D6K (Kindle version)
Publication Date: September 29, 2015
Publisher: William Morrow


#1 internationally bestselling author Karin Slaughter returns with a sophisticated and chilling psychological thriller of dangerous secrets, cold vengeance, and unexpected absolution, in which two estranged sisters must come together to find truth about two harrowing tragedies, twenty years apart, that devastate their lives.

Sisters. Strangers. Survivors.

More than twenty years ago, Claire and Lydia’s teenaged sister Julia vanished without a trace. The two women have not spoken since, and now their lives could not be more different. Claire is the glamorous trophy wife of an Atlanta millionaire. Lydia, a single mother, dates an ex-con and struggles to make ends meet. But neither has recovered from the horror and heartbreak of their shared loss—a devastating wound that’s cruelly ripped open when Claire’s husband is killed.

The disappearance of a teenage girl and the murder of a middle-aged man, almost a quarter-century apart: what could connect them? Forming a wary truce, the surviving sisters look to the past to find the truth, unearthing the secrets that destroyed their family all those years ago . . . and uncovering the possibility of redemption, and revenge, where they least expect it.

Powerful, poignant, and utterly gripping, packed with indelible characters and unforgettable twists, Pretty Girls is a masterful thriller from one of the finest suspense writers working today.  


Claire Scott is the perfect wife and is married to the perfect husband. At least she thought she was married to the perfect husband until he was murdered and she finds he was keeping plenty of secrets from her. Lydia Delgado is far from perfect, but she has turned her life around and continues to struggle to do the best for herself and her daughter. These two sisters come together to search for the truth in Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.

Claire Scott and Lydia Delgado are sisters that have already lived through one tragedy. Their oldest sister, Julia, disappeared twenty-four years ago and that disappearance ripped their family apart. Lydia was already on her way to becoming a wild child, experimenting with drugs before succumbing to addiction. Claire was the quiet, perfect child that grew into the quiet, unassuming, perfect adult. Claire’s life is torn apart when her husband is killed at the hands of a mugger. Just when she thinks things can’t get any worse, she arrives back at her home after her husband’s funeral to find out there was a burglary attempt. While trying to find documentation on the valuables in the home, she uncovers some truly nasty porn on her husband’s computer. Shocked and shamed, she does the only thing she can think of and turns it over to the police. But the local police chief tells her it is only a “snuff” film and not a very good one at that. Claire doesn’t quite believe him and turns to her sister Lydia for assistance. What they discover leads them to believe these “films” are linked to current and possibly past abductions/disappearances. Why is the FBI involved in a local murder case? What exactly was Paul Scott involved in before he was murdered? Can Claire and Lydia find out the truth before it is too late?

I found Pretty Girls to be a fast-paced and engrossing read. The story is just as much about the abduction/disappearance of Julia and how a family survives without closure, as it is the present murder of Claire’s husband and the current abduction/disappearances. Ms. Slaughter has crafted a hauntingly beautiful story about family, secrets, betrayal, and survival. The characters are realistic and well-developed. The storylines (and there are stories within stories within stories presented) are wholly believable. There are good guys, not-so-good guys, and really bad guys, and times when it is difficult to determine who the really bad guys are from the not-so-good guys (much like life). Claire is presented as “perfect,” but she is just as flawed as Lydia. I liked that they were able to overcome their past and come together as sisters in the present. Obviously, there’s a lot more going on in this story, and no I’m not going to reveal everything (buy the book!). Just in case you can’t tell, I thoroughly enjoyed Pretty Girls and can highly recommend this to anyone that enjoys reading suspense-thrillers. If you’ve never read anything by Ms. Slaughter, Pretty Girls is an excellent place to start.


Read an excerpt from Pretty Girls here .

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss and a print copy via BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


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2015 Book 370: THE WORD GAME by Steena Holmes



The Word Game by Steena Holmes 
ISBN: 9781503947139 (paperback)

ISBN: 9781503949430 (hardcover)

ASIN: B00V1YIYF2 (Kindle edition)

Publication date: November 3, 2015 
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing

For overprotective parent Alyson Ward, any time her daughter, Lyla, is out of sight is reason to panic. So it’s a big step for her when she lets Lyla attend a sleepover at her cousin’s house. Comforted by the knowledge that her sister, Tricia, is the chaperone, Alyson does the one thing she never thought possible: she lets go and trusts that her daughter will be safe.

But Alyson’s sense of peace is short lived. When Lyla comes home the next morning, she reveals something that could tear apart not only their family but also the entire community. Now, Alyson and Tricia must confront their painful shared past as they come together to help a little girl who they fear might be harboring terrible secrets similar to their own. Will the sisters be strong enough to face their demons in order to protect the child, even if it means telling their most private truths? 



Alyson “Aly” Ward is the quintessential helicopter mom. She’s not overbearing, but she is overly protective and hyper-vigilant about her daughter and her daughter’s activities. Aly’s behavior stems from a childhood incident involving a neighbor and an attempted molestation. In Aly’s mind, this event was made even worse because her mother didn’t really believe her accusations. Now Aly must decide whether to err on the side of caution or do what must be done to protect another child in The Word Game by Steena Holmes.

Although Aly is considered a helicopter mom, she isn’t a tiger mom always making excuses for her child no matter the occasion. Aly trusts her daughter and knows that she wouldn’t lie about events that took place at her sister’s house during a sleep over. When Aly seeks to gain more insight from her sister, Tricia, and niece, Katy, she’s immediately placed on the offensive. Aly’s only recourse is to ask for advice from her friend, Rachel, who just happens to be the principal at the elementary school. What happens next is much more than a she-said versus she-said event or one person rushing to judgment; it is the emotional and physical health and well-being of a young child at stake. Has Aly jumped to conclusions? How far is too far when a child’s safety is a stake? Will her efforts to protect a child from a potentially abusive relationship cause irreparable harm to not only the family of the child in question but to her family as well? 

The Word Game is a touching story about one community and child molestation. Aly is an overprotective mom, but she has good cause to be concerned as she was the victim of sexual abuse as a child. Yes, she may have leaped to conclusions in the past about certain situations, but she’s always done what she feels is the right thing to do in order to protect children that might be in a harmful situation. Aly is not only fighting against her family in order to protect a possibly endangered girl, but she’s also fighting against her memories of the past. The Word Game deals with some harsh topics, namely child molestation, but it does so in a respectful manner without providing graphic details. This in no way lessens the emotional horror felt on behalf of a young child dealing with sexual abuse. Ms. Holmes has once again provided a stirring story that packs an emotional wallop without detracting from its readability. Is it possible to enjoy reading a story that deals with such a horrific topic? Yes, it is, especially when it is done tastefully and Ms. Holmes has done just that with The Word Game.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley and BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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Book Spotlight: THE CRESCENT SPY by Michael Wallace



The Crescent Spy by Michael Wallace
ISBN: 9781503949454 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781503945586 (paperback)
ASIN: B00TUOH5AK (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Publication Date: November 10, 2015


Writing under a man’s name, Josephine Breaux is the finest reporter at Washington’s Morning Clarion. Using her wit and charm, she never fails to get the scoop on the latest Union and Confederate activities. But when a rival paper reveals her true identity, accusations of treason fly. Despite her claims of loyalty to the Union, she is arrested as a spy and traitor.

To Josephine’s surprise, she’s whisked away to the White House, where she learns that President Lincoln himself wishes to use her cunning and skill for a secret mission in New Orleans that could hasten the end of the war. For Josephine, though, this mission threatens to open old wounds and expose dangerous secrets. In the middle of the most violent conflict the country has ever seen, can one woman overcome the treacherous secrets of her past in order to secure her nation’s future?



Meet the author:

Michael Wallace was born in California and raised in a small religious community in Utah, eventually heading east to live in Rhode Island and Vermont. In addition to working as a literary agent and innkeeper, he has been a software engineer for a Department of Defense contractor programming simulators for nuclear submarines. He is the author of more than twenty novels, including the Wall Street Journal bestselling Righteous series, set in a polygamist enclave in the desert.



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2015 Book #262: PRETTY BABY by Mary Kubica


Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica
ISBN: 9780778317708 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781460382288 (ebook)
ASIN: B00S4ZH70Y (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 28, 2015 
Publisher: MIRA


A chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica

She sees the teenage girl on the train platform, standing in the pouring rain, clutching an infant in her arms. She boards a train and is whisked away. But she can’t get the girl out of her head…

Heidi Wood has always been a charitable woman: she works for a nonprofit, takes in stray cats. Still, her husband and daughter are horrified when Heidi returns home one day with a young woman named Willow and her four-month-old baby in tow. Disheveled and apparently homeless, this girl could be a criminal—or worse. But despite her family’s objections, Heidi invites Willow and the baby to take refuge in their home.

Heidi spends the next few days helping Willow get back on her feet, but as clues into Willow’s past begin to surface, Heidi is forced to decide how far she’s willing to go to help a stranger. What starts as an act of kindness quickly spirals into a story far more twisted than anyone could have anticipated.


What do you do when you see an obviously homeless teenage mother out in harsh weather? If you’re most people, you ignore the mother and the crying infant. If you’re socially conscious and a charitable soul like Heidi Wood, you talk to the girl and offer help by bringing the girl back to your home. 

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica is a fast-paced psychological thriller told in alternating voices of Heidi Wood, her husband Chris, and the teenage mother Willow. The reader gradually learns that Willow has suffered tragedy after tragedy. Her parents die in a car accident when she is eight years old. Her two-year-old sister is adopted and taken out of state. She is initially in a foster home before being sent to live with distant relatives in an ultraconservative and abusive household. Chris is obviously concerned when his wife brings home another “stray,” and his primary concern is for the well-being of his family, especially his twelve-year-old daughter Zoe. Chris is quite sure that Willow is lying about her name and wonders what else she is lying about. Heidi simply wants to help in the only way she knows how and that means bringing Willow home with her after learning she refuses to go to a shelter. She’s concerned about Willow’s welfare, as well as that of Willow’s baby and takes everything she learns from Willow at face value. We also learn that Heidi wanted to have a large family, but a cancer diagnosis forces her to terminate her second pregnancy and suffer through a hysterectomy.

Ms. Kubica is quite adept at creating a story that twists and turns and leaves the reader wondering where the story will end. We know very early in the book that there is an obvious tragic conclusion to Heidi’s action of bringing Willow home, but only learn bit by bit what tragedy has occurred (no, I won’t tell you what happens, you need to read the book). Pretty Baby is filled with drama and tension on plenty of levels: Heidi’s relationship with Chris, Heidi’s relationship with her daughter Zoe, Chris’s reaction to Willow and Ruby (Willow’s baby), Zoe’s reaction to her mom bringing Willow and Ruby into their home, Heidi has baby envy and it becomes quite evident with her behavior toward Ruby, and more. I enjoyed reading Pretty Baby as much as I enjoyed reading The Good Girl. For those of you that enjoy reading thrillers with a surprise ending or are looking for something a little different to read, grab yourself a copy of Pretty Baby.

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Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”





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2015 Book #252: THE WITCH OF BOURBON STREET by Suzanne Palmieri




The Witch of Bourbon Street by Suzanne Palmieri
ISBN: 9781250056191 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781466877733 (ebook)
ASIN: B00OYGJG2O (Kindle edition)
Publication date: July 28, 2015 
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin


When Frances Sorrow returns home to the now dilapidated Sorrow Estate to restore her birthright, she finds herself haunted by a 100-year-old mystery only she can unravel

Set amidst the charming chaos of The French Quarter and remote bayous of Tivoli Parish, Louisiana, Suzanne Palmieri’s The Witch of Bourbon Street weaves an unforgettable tale of mystery and magic.

Situated deep in the bayou is the formerly opulent Sorrow Estate. Once home to a magical family, the Sorrows, it now lays in ruins, uninhabited since a series of murders in 1902 shocked the entire community. When Frances Green Sorrow is born, the family is on the brink of obscurity and the last remaining Sorrows cling to the hope that she is the one who will finally resurrect the glory of what once was.

However, Frances has no wish to be the family’s savior. Disillusioned, she marries young, attempting an “ordinary life,” and has a son, Jack. When her marriage fails and she loses custody of her boy, she runs away to live a quiet life on the dilapidated Sorrow Estate, where she practices solitary magic amid ghosts and gardens. But when Jack disappears, she is forced to rejoin the world she left behind and solve the century-old murder that casts a long shadow over Tivoli Parish and its inhabitants in order to find her son.

The Witch of Bourbon Street is a story of love, family, redemption and forgiveness. It’s a story that bridges the nostalgia of time, and brings those that are separated back together again.


The Sorrow family is just that, a family filled with a history of sorrow. Due to a tragedy in 1901, the subsequent generations of Sorrows have had to deal with the idea that their family is cursed. The Sorrow women consist of Frances (Frankie), her mother Claudette, and her grandmother Dida. Claudette suffered a tragic injury causing blindness when she was only four years old. Her lover and father to Frankie drowned in an accident at sea. Frankie has turned her back on the world because she feels guilt over an incident that occurred when she was sixteen years old. Frankie’s son Jack has decided to take it upon himself to bring his parents back together using whatever magic he can work. The Witch of Bourbon Street is a multigenerational story that weaves magic in with love lost, love found, family, and forgiveness.

There are a lot of characters to keep track of in this story. We have Frances “Frankie” Sorrow and her family: Belinda “Dida” Sorrow (grandmother), Old Jim Green (grandfather), Claudette “Claudie” Sorrow (mother), Daniel Amore (ex-husband and father to Jack), Jack Amore (Frankie’s son), Millie Bliss (Jackie’s best friend and surrogate sister), and Sippie Wallace (Frankie’s daughter). The supporting cast includes: Eight Track (Sippie’s adoptive father), Simone (Sippie’s deceased adoptive mother), Junebug (the bartender at Voodoo), and Mr. Craven (historical society worker) . . . and a lot of ghosts. There’s the bar at 13 Bourbon Street in New Orleans that is owned by the Sorrow family, the Voodoo bar in Tivoli Parish that is managed by Millie, the bayou, and the Sorrow family estate. Add in a family history of witchcraft and magic along with the hidden story behind the tragedy of 1901 and you’ve got all the makings for a somewhat convoluted yet intriguing story that spans generations and time.

I found The Witch of Bourbon Street to be a bit confusing at first simply because it was bouncing back and forth in time (1901 and the present) and then bouncing between perspectives. Once I had all of the major characters clear in my head and their relationships to one another it was a bit easier to keep track of everything. The story really began to pick up when Sippie located her biological family and was reunited with them. There’s quite a bit of backstory that has to be dealt with before we get to the action precipitated by Jack’s disappearance. Can Frankie and Danny overcome their differences and build a lasting relationship? Will Frankie, Danny, and Sippie be able to find Jack? What’s the mystery behind the Sorrow family tragedy in 1901? These questions and many more are answered fully when past and present overlap in The Witch of Bourbon Street. This story is perfect for anyone that enjoys reading about love, family, forgiveness, and family drama with hints of magic.

Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via BookSparks PR. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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2015 Book 203: IT’S YOU by Jane Porter



It’s You by Jane Porter
ISBN: 9780425277157 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780698178861 (ebook)
ASIN: B00OQSF63I (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 2, 2015
Publisher: Berkley


In the wake of a tragedy that tore her life down to the foundations, Dr. Alison McAdams has lost her way. So when she’s summoned to Napa to care for her ailing father, she’s not sure she has anything to offer him—or anyone else.

 

What Ali finds in Northern California wine country is a gift—an opportunity to rest, and distance from her painful memories. Most unexpectedly, she finds people who aren’t afraid of her grief or desperate for her to hurry up and move on.

 

As Ali becomes part of her father’s community, makes new friends of her own, and hears the stories of a generation who survived the Second World War, she begins to find hope again. In a quest to discover the truth about another woman’s lost love, she sets off on a journey across oceans and deep into history. And in making sense of that long-ago tragedy, Ali is able to put together the broken pieces of her heart and make new choices that are right for her.



Alison “Ali” McAdams’ world has been turned upside down. Her fiancé and co-worker committed suicide six weeks before their wedding, in their home. A few months later, her mother suffered an aneurysm and died. Ali has been struggling to be normal and continue working with her deceased fiancé’s father in their dental practice in Arizona. Just when she’s floundering with what she wants and needs, she receives a phone call from her father. Her dad is living in a retirement community in Napa, California and has recently suffered a fall, breaking his wrist. Ali quickly makes the decision to take time off from the dental practice and head to California.

Ali isn’t quite sure what she’ll find in California, but she’s desperate to connect with her sole surviving family member. Ali’s Dad isn’t exactly “warm” and one for public displays of affection, but over the course of three weeks they do find some common ground. Amazingly, the one person Ali seems to connect with the most is a ninety-five-year-old woman, Edie. Initially, Ali thinks that Edie is prickly and rude, but the more she talks with Edie the more she realizes that they have a lot in common.

It’s You takes place over the course of just a few weeks, but Ms. Porter has packed a lot into those weeks. The story is told in alternating voices of Edie and Ali, with a portion of Edie’s story taking place in the late 1930s and early 1940s. The reader learns that the love of Edie’s life was a Nazi in public while secretly working with the German Resistance Movement. He was found guilty and died as a result of his involvement in the failed attempt on Hitler’s life. Both Edie and Ali are grieving their losses, but Edie has found a way to move on with her life and enjoy what she can when she can. It’s You is a story of deep loss, grief, self-realization, and ultimately survival. It’s a story filled with sadness as well as hope. If you enjoy reading stories that combine historical elements with a contemporary storyline or just enjoy reading about strong women, then It’s You is one story you’ll want to read.


Read an excerpt from It’s You here.


Disclaimer: I received a print copy of this book for review purposes via BookSparks. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”



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