2020 Book 106: THE SHAPE OF FAMILY by Shilpi Somaya Gowda

The Shape of Family by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
ISBN: 9780062933225 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062933249 (ebook)
ISBN: 9780062933256 (digital audiobook)
ISBN: 9781094027500 (audiobook on CD)
ASIN: B07XF4RLX9   (Audible audiobook)
ASIN: B07N7F1V5V   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: William Morrow|HarperCollins
Publication Date: March 17, 2020


From the international bestselling author of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son comes a poignant, unforgettable novel about a family’s growing apart and coming back together in the wake of tragedy.

The Olanders embody the American dream in a globalized world. Jaya, the cultured daughter of an Indian diplomat and Keith, an ambitious banker from middle-class Philadelphia, meet in a London pub in 1988 and make a life together in suburban California. Their strong marriage is built on shared beliefs and love for their two children: headstrong teenager Karina and young son Prem, the light of their home.

But love and prosperity cannot protect them from sudden, unspeakable tragedy, and the family’s foundation cracks as each member struggles to seek a way forward. Jaya finds solace in spirituality. Keith wagers on his high-powered career. Karina focuses relentlessly on her future and independence. And Prem watches helplessly as his once close-knit family drifts apart.

When Karina heads off to college for a fresh start, her search for identity and belonging leads her down a dark path, forcing her and her family to reckon with the past, the secrets they’ve held and the weight of their choices.

The Shape of Family is an intimate portrayal of four individuals as they grapple with what it means to be a family and how to move from a painful past into a hopeful future. It is a profoundly moving exploration of the ways we all seek belonging — in our families, our communities and ultimately, within ourselves.






Purchase Links: #CommissionEarned   IndieBound  |  Amazon  |  Amazon Kindle  |  Audible  |  Audiobooks  |  AudiobooksNow  |  Barnes & Noble  |  B&N Nook Book  |  B&N Audiobook on CD  |  BookDepository  |  Downpour Audiobook  |  eBooks  |  !ndigo  |  Kobo Audiobook  |  Kobo eBook




When we initially meet the Olander family, Keith is a hardworking and up-and-coming investment banker, Jaya is the mother from a privileged background, their tween daughter Karina is finding it difficult to straddle not quite being Indian and and not quite being American enough for either side in looks or temperament, and young Prem is the golden son who doesn’t have quite the same difficulties as Karina in terms of fitting in, simply adores his big sister, and wants everyone to be happy. In just a few years, Jaya is back to be working full-time, Karina is in middle-school and bears the responsibility of taking care of her brother for two hours after school every day. Then the unimaginable happens and the Olander family slowly shatters. In just a few more years, Keith and Jaya have divorced, and Karina has been self-harming just to carry on through her pain. Karina hopes that college will be a new beginning for her and initially it is and she finds friends and companionship with her roommate. She even finds a boyfriend. When that relationship falls apart, Karina turns to a part-time job, befriends a charmer from her job,  ends up her dropping out of school and living  with the “charmer” and others on a commune, helping to grow “medical marijuana.” Meanwhile, her mother has turned Prem’s childhood bedroom into a home temple and is following a guru around California and even visiting India for a month at a time to revitalize herself spiritually. Keith has left his big investment bank and is at a smaller firm but even he seems to floundering with his young girlfriends, ever-increasing drinking, and questionable trades. It seems as if Prem was the literal and figurative glue that held that Olander family together and without his presence, they are all falling apart in their grief and search for happiness. Can these three people find their way back to a life filled with purpose, togetherness, and happiness before it’s too late?

I wish I could say that I read The Shape of Family in one sitting, but I had to take a few breaks over the course of the day because this story packs quite an emotional punch. Keith, Jaya, Karina, and Prem had my emotions all over the place and I used up my last box of tissues (and the closest drugstore is empty due to COVID-19; we won’t even discuss the situation at the grocery store). This story is told in alternating perspectives and the reader even hears from Prem after his death and that’s what had me bawling like a baby and having to stop (my eldest brother died 25 years ago and I’d really like to think he’s still here with me like Prem but that’s a whole other story). Although I was deeply moved by Jaya and Keith’s stories  I can’t imagine the pain and loss a parent deals with the loss of a child  I often wanted to shake them because I felt they were ignoring Karina and only there superficially. Karina’s story is the one that touched me the most. This child felt guilty over the loss of her brother, suffered a sexual assault as an underclassman on campus, had to deal with a charmer that seemed to be a little “too good to be true” in the end, and comeback from a breakdown. There’s a lot happening in this story and this isn’t a story for those of you with emotional triggers (the sexual assault isn’t graphically described just hinted at but that may be enough for some people) and there are people dealing with a host of issues from physical abuse to recovery from drug abuse. Ms. Gowda has taken a story about one family, inserted a tragedy, and made it into a timely tale of getting lost in grief over the loss of a family member, anger and guilt at not being able to do anything to change the facts of that loss, despair over being left behind, loneliness from being left behind, not quite fitting in, quests for success, and more. To say that this book moves beyond family drama is a major understatement. The Shape of Family is a powerful and emotionally moving story and one that I’m incredibly glad I read. I won’t tell you if this family ultimately finds peace, you’ll just have to discover that for yourself. Although this may not be suitable for everyone given the emotional triggers, it is going on my recommended read list for this year. I hope you’ll add this to your TBR list and that you’ll enjoy it as much as I did. If you’ve never read anything by Ms. Gowda, I encourage you to grab a copy of Secret Daughter and The Golden Son along with The Shape of Family to read. You can thank me later. I look forward to reading more from Ms. Gowda in the future and will probably be re-reading The Shape of Family when I have a surplus supply of tissues handy.

Happy Reading, y’all!



Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss+ as well as a print copy from the publisher via TLC Book Tours. 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.”




Meet The Author

Photo by Stacy Bostrom

Shilpi Somaya Gowda was born and raised in Toronto, Canada. Her previous novels, Secret Daughter and The Golden Son became international bestsellers, selling over one million copies worldwide. She holds an MBA from Stanford University and a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she was a Morehead-Cain scholar. She lives in California with her husband and children.




Find out more about Shilpi at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.





BLOG TOUR

Instagram Features


Tuesday, March 17th: Instagram: @wordswithrach

Wednesday, March 18th: Instagram: @momandmadread

Thursday, March 19th: Instagram: @owlslittlelibrary

Friday, March 20th: Instagram: @readingmama_reviews

Saturday, March 21st: Instagram: @babygotbooks13

Sunday, March 22nd: Instagram: @k2reader

Monday, March 23rd: Instagram: @jennsbookvibes


Review Stops

Tuesday, March 17th: Lit and Life

Wednesday, March 18th: Book by Book

Thursday, March 19th: Helen’s Book Blog

Friday, March 20th: Instagram: @thebookclubmom

Monday, March 23rd: BookNAround

Tuesday, March 24th: Really Into This

Wednesday, March 25th: Orange County Readers

Thursday, March 26th: Girl Who Reads

Friday, March 27th: Kahakai Kitchen

Monday, March 30th: The Book Diva’s Reads

Tuesday, March 31st: Jennifer ~ Tar Heel Reader

Wednesday, April 1st: Into the Hall of Books

Thursday, April 2nd: Welcome to Nurse Bookie

Friday, April 3rd: Iwriteinbooks’s blog

Monday, April 6th: What Is That Book About

Tuesday, April 7th: Instagram: @crystals_library

Wednesday, April 8th: Openly Bookish

Thursday, April 9th: Girls Just Reading

Friday, April 10th: Tabi Thoughts



This review and blog tour brought to you via TLC Book Tours

Book Showcase: THE NAMES OF DEAD GIRLS by Eric Rickstad

The Names of Dead Girls

by Eric Rickstad

on Tour from September 18 – October 2, 2017



Synopsis:


The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad

William Morrow is thrilled to present the sequel to the New York Times and USA Today mega-bestseller The Silent Girls, which went on to sell more than 300,000 copies. The Names of Dead Girls is a dark, twisty thriller that once again features detectives Frank Rath and Sonja Test as they track a perverse killer through rural Vermont. By popular demand, the story picks up after the shocking cliffhanger on the last page of The Silent Girls and reveals what exactly happens between Rath and his nemesis, Ned Preacher. Although The Names of Dead Girls is a sequel, it reads perfectly as a standalone – new readers can dive in seamlessly.


After years spent retired as a private investigator, Frank Rath is lured back into his role as lead detective in a case that hits far too close to home. Sixteen years ago, depraved serial rapist and killer Ned Preacher brutally murdered Rath’s sister and brother-in-law while their baby daughter, Rachel, slept upstairs. In the aftermath, Rath quit his job as a state police detective and abandoned his drinking and womanizing to adopt Rachel and devote his life to raising her alone.

Now, unthinkably, Preacher has been paroled early and is watching—and plotting cruelties for—Rachel, who has just learned the truth about her parents’ murders after years of Rath trying to protect her from it. The danger intensifies when local girls begin to go missing, in crimes that echo the past. Is the fact that girls are showing up dead right when Preacher was released a coincidence? Or is he taunting Frank Rath, circling his prey until he comes closer and closer to the one he left behind—Rachel? Rath’s investigation takes him from the wilds of Vermont to the strip clubs of Montreal, but it seems that some evil force is always one step ahead of him.

Eric Rickstad is a master of the bone-chilling, nightmare-inducing thriller, and The Names of Dead Girls is one you won’t want to miss.




Book Details:


Genre: Mystery / Thriller
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: September 12th 2017
Number of Pages: 400
ISBN: 0062672819 (ISBN13: 9780062672810)
Series: The Silent Girls #2
Purchase Links: Amazon  | Barnes & Noble  | Goodreads 


Read an excerpt:



Rath drove the Scout as fast as he could without crashing into the cedars along the desolate stretch of road known as Moose Alley that wound through thirty miles of remote bog and boreal forest. The rain was not as violent here, the fog just starting to crawl out of the ditch.

Rath hoped the police were at Rachel’s and had prevented whatever cruelty Preacher had in store; but hope was as useful as an unloaded gun.

The Scout’s temperature gauge climbed perilously into the red. If the engine overheated, Rath would be stuck out here, miles from nowhere, cut off from contact. In this remote country, cell service was like the eastern mountain lion: its existence rumored, but never proven.

Finally, Rath reached the bridge that spanned the Lamoille River into the town of Johnson. His relief to be near Rachel crushed by fear of what he might find.

At the red light where Route 15 met Main Street, he waited, stuck behind a school bus full of kids likely coming from a sporting event.

He needed to get around the bus, run the light, but a Winnebago swayed through the intersection.

The light turned green.

Rath tromped on the gas pedal. The Scout lurched through the light. On the other side of the intersection, Rath jammed the brake pedal to avoid ramming into the back of the braking bus, the bus’s red lights flashing.

A woman on the sidewalk glared at Rath as she cupped the back of the head of a boy who jumped off the bus. She fixed the boy’s knit cap and flashed Rath a last scalding look as she hustled the boy into a liquor store.

The bus crept forward.

No vehicles approached from the opposing lane.

Rath passed the bus and ran the next two red lights.

The rain was a mist here, and the low afternoon sun broke briefly through western clouds, a silvery brilliance mirroring off the damp asphalt, nearly blinding Rath.

Rachel’s road lay just ahead.

Rath swerved onto it and sped up the steep hill.

A state police cruiser and a sheriff’s sedan were parked at hurried angles in front of Felix and Rachel’s place.

He feared what was inside that apartment. Feared what Preacher had done to Rachel.

Sixteen years ago, standing at the feet of his sister’s body, Rath had heard a whine, like that of a wet finger traced on the rim of a crystal glass, piercing his brain. He’d charged upstairs into the bedroom, to the crib. There she’d lain, tiny legs and arms pumping as if she’d been set afire, that shrill escape of air rising from the back of her throat.

Rachel.

In the moment Rath had picked Rachel up, he’d felt a permanent upheaval, like one plate of the earth’s lithosphere slipping beneath another; his selfish past life subducting beneath a selfless future life; a niece transformed into a daughter by acts of violent cruelty.

For months, Rath had kept Rachel’s crib beside his bed and lain sleepless as he’d listened to her every frayed breath at night. He’d panicked when she’d fallen quiet, shaken her lightly to make certain she was alive, been flooded with relief when she’d wriggled. He’d picked her up and cradled her, promised to keep her safe. Thinking, If we just get through this phase, I won’t ever have to worry like this again.

But peril pressed in at the edges of a girl’s life, and worry planted roots in Rath’s heart and bloomed wild and reckless. As Rachel had grown, Rath’s worry had grown, and he’d kept vigilant for the lone man who stood with his hands jammed in his trouser pockets behind the playground fence. In public, he’d gripped Rachel’s hand, his love ferocious and animal. If anyone ever harmed her.

Rath yanked the Scout over a bank of plowed snow onto a spit of dead lawn.

He jumped out, tucked his .22 revolver into the back waistband of his jeans, and ran for the stairs that led up the side of the old house to the attic apartment.

He hoped he wasn’t too late.

***


Excerpt from The Names of Dead Girls by Eric Rickstad.  Copyright © 2017 by Eric Rickstad. Reproduced with permission from Eric Rickstad. 
All rights reserved.




Author Bio:


Eric Rickstad

Eric Rickstad is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of The Canaan Crime Series—Lie in Wait, The Silent Girls, and The Names of Dead Girls, psychological thrillers set in northern Vermont and heralded as intelligent, profound, dark, disturbing, and heartbreaking. His first novel Reap was a New York Times Noteworthy Novel. Rickstad lives in his home state of Vermont with his wife, daughter, and son.


Catch Up With Our Author On:


Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !




Tour Participants:

Stop by and visit the other great tour hosts for reviews, giveaways, and other terrific posts!!






Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Eric Rickstad and HarperCollins Publishers. There will be 3 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on September 16 and runs through October 4, 2017.


a Rafflecopter giveaway




Guest Post: Felicity Everett, author of THE PEOPLE AT NUMBER 9

Hello, my bookish peeps. If you’re anything like me, you love meeting new bookish people — readers, publicists, publishers, and especially authors. I’m excited to introduce a new-to-me author, Felicity Everett. Ms. Everett has written over 25 works of children’s fiction and nonfiction. Her debut adult fiction was The Story of Us, published in 2011. Ms. Everett’s latest adult fiction release is The People at Number 9 and something tells me this is going to be a delightfully wicked read. Today Ms. Everett will be discussing with us the importance of finding the right title. Without further adieu, I give you Felicity Everett.









Otter Wrangling For The Broken-hearted; One Author’s Search for the Perfect Title 



I’m stuck for a title for my new book. It’s a psychological exploration of a disintegrating marriage, set in the English countryside. Any ideas? Me neither. Well, that’s not quite true, I’ve had fifty or sixty ideas, some of which seemed pure genius when they woke me up in the middle of the night but which, re-visited in the cold light of day, turned out to not to be.  That’s partly because my book’s a bit of a genre-buster. It’s got gothic elements, but it’s not a thriller, so calling it ‘The House on Dark Lane’ or ‘The House at The Edge of The Wood’ seems a miss-sell. It’s set in a cottage, but anything with cottage in the title sounds twee. The countryside lives and breathes in this book so a plant-derived title might work.  Except that none of them does. Jack-By-The-Hedge – too pervy; Love Lies Bleeding – too crimey, Apple of Sodom – yes, well…

Let’s try a different approach. My novel is literary in style and rural in setting, so a quote could be good. ‘The Pathless Wood’ is a lovely phrase from Byron’s Childe Harold, but separate it from its illustrious context and it sounds a bit meh. What about Robert Frost then? Nature poet par excellence; colloquial yet epic. Surely he’s got a phrase I could nab? ‘Thrush Music’? (a bit gynecological)  ‘Uncertain Harvest’? (too much like a Douglas Sirk movie). This isn’t working.  
A title has a lot of work to do.  At the most basic level, it tells the bookseller whether to display the book in Fiction or Non-fiction.  The Heart is a Lonely Hunter: fiction, Telecommunications in the Digital Age: non-fiction. A Short History of Tractors in Ukrainian – aha – now they’re flummoxed, or they might have been, had the title not been quirky enough and the cover artwork funky enough to indicate that it was actually a novel. It went on to be a bestseller, winning a clutch of prestigious prizes and spawning (no pun intended) a new fashion in non-fiction-y sounding fiction such as Salmon Fishing in the Yemen and The Sex Lives of African Girls. Maybe that’s an approach I could try. Otter-Wrangling for the Broken Hearted anyone?  

I’m beginning to long for the days when an eponymous hero would suffice – what’s wrong with a Tom Jones, Moll Flanders, Jane Eyre? They seem epic and arresting enough to us now, as they come down the years trailing clouds of literary glory. I’m not sure my heroine Karen Whittaker passes muster though. I can’t see her featuring on an English literature syllabus of the future, or making the transition from page to screen. Karen Whittaker, The Motion Picture. Nah.

I rather like the latest fashion for transcendental titles. The Color of Hope; Do Not Say We Have Nothing; What She Left Behind. By evoking absence and paradox, these novels seem to promise philosophical enlightenment  – some of them even deliver.  Anthony Doerr’s All The Light We Cannot See is a moving and morally complex tale with a blind girl as one of its central characters, so its allegorical title earns its keep. But the more these vague, allusively-titled novels proliferate, the harder it is to take them seriously, or to tell them apart. Bet you can’t pick the genuine titles from the fakes in the list below.


1. The Things We Wish Were True2. The Things We Once Held Dear3. The Things We Leave Behind4. When Once We Were Alone5. Where All The Stardust Lies6. We Are Not Ourselves7. Where We Fall8. An Astonishing Absence of Light 

(1, 3, 6 and 7 are real. 2, 4, 5 and 8 are made up)


So, as tempting as it is to call my book All The Sex They Didn’t Have, I shall resist.

Which means it’s back to the drawing board. Ideas on the back of a postcard please…





The People at Number Nine by Felicity Everett
ISBN: 9780008228804 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780008265298 (ebook)
ASIN: B072TXBB7Y (Kindle edition)
Release Date: August 8, 2017
Publisher: HQ | HarperCollins


Have you met them yet, the new couple?

When Gav and Lou move into the house next door, Sara spends days plucking up courage to say hello. The neighbours are glamorous, chaotic and just a little eccentric. They make the rest of Sara’s street seem dull by comparison.

When the hand of friendship is extended, Sara is delighted and flattered. Incredibly, Gav and Lou seem to see something in Sara and Neil that they admire too. In no time at all, the two couples are soulmates, sharing suppers, bottles of red wine and childcare, laughing and trading stories and secrets late into the night in one another’s houses.

And the more time Sara spends with Gav and Lou, the more she longs to make changes in her own life. But those changes will come at a price. Soon Gav and Lou will be asking things they’ve no right to ask of their neighbours, with shattering consequences for all of them…

Have you met The People at Number 9? A dark and delicious novel about envy, longing, and betrayal in the suburbs…



This excerpt brought to you by HarperCollins




Buy the Book

Available at                     BookDepository     |     Alibris
icon



Shop Indie Bookstores



   



   



 The People at Number 9

The People at Number 9

icon

icon

2017 Book 238: BAD BLOOD by Brian McGilloway

Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller (DS Lucy Black #4) by Brian McGilloway 
ISBN: 9780062684578 (paperback – July 25, 2017)
ISBN: 9780062684554 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N3KOBQF (Kindle edition)
Publication date: June 13, 2017 
Publisher: Witness Impulse 

“Brian McGilloway blends timeless values with ripped-from-the-headlines issues to produce some of the very best crime fiction being written today.” —Lee Child, #1 New York Times bestselling author


A young man is found in a riverside park, his head bashed in with a rock. One clue is left behind to uncover his identity—an admission stamp for the local gay club.

DS Lucy Black is called in to investigate. As Lucy delves into the community, tensions begin to rise as the man’s death draws the attention of the local Gay Rights group to a hate-speech Pastor who, days earlier, had advocated the stoning of gay people and who refuses to retract his statement.

Things become further complicated with the emergence of a far-right group targeting immigrants in a local working-class estate. As their attacks escalate, Lucy and her boss, Tom Fleming, must also deal with the building power struggle between an old paramilitary commander and his deputy that threatens to further enflame an already volatile situation.

Hatred and complicity abound in McGilloway’s new Lucy Black thriller. Compelling and current, Bad Blood is an expertly crafted and acutely observed page-turner, delivering the punch that readers of Little Lost Girl have grown to expect.


Add to Goodreads badge


It’s pre-Brexit days in Northern Ireland and tensions are flying high. Anti-immigration, anti-homosexuality, and “us” first thinking are the norm. DS Lucy Black is called to investigate one apparent hate crime after another in the fourth installment in the Lucy Black series by Brian McGilloway, Bad Blood

A young man’s body is found in a park and a bloody stone is found nearby. A local pastor was heard just hours before to say that stoning of homosexuals was acceptable behavior for their sins. A local Romanian family is targeted by anti-immigrant thinkers. The same pastor has been heard saying the communities should be for “us” versus “them.” Things are never quite as simple or black-and-white and DS Lucy Black and her boss DI Tom Fleming know that although this pastor has been spewing what can only be deemed “hate” speech, he’s not the only one with these sentiments. Is it possible they can find the killer before another person is targeted?

As previously mentioned, Bad Blood is the fourth in the Lucy Black series and the second book that I’ve read. As with the previous books in this series, I found this one to be a fast-paced and engaging read. It was quite interesting to read about a pre-Brexit environment in a post-Brexit world. It’s been awhile since I’ve read Little Lost Girl, but the dynamics between Lucy and her coworkers have developed quite nicely as has her relationship with her mother. Bad Blood features a lot more political action than I expected and although timely and topical it casts the bad guys in a strange light (politics makes for strange bedfellows my friends). Are there bad guys in this story? Oh yes. There are bad guys, guys that seemed to be sucked into bad things, and then just really, really bad and very manipulative bad guys. There’s a lot of action going on in Bad Blood including the upcoming Brexit vote, hate crimes, hate speech, murder, multiple assaults, and even attempted rape (no, not going to tell you who, read the book!), and it all takes place in less than one week. The title is perfect because it refers to “bad blood” from past inflictions and the present, “bad blood” between family members, and more. If you enjoy reading crime fiction or mystery thrillers then you’ll definitely want to add Bad Blood to your TBR list. Did I enjoy reading Bad Blood? Yes! I had forgotten why I enjoyed reading Mr. McGilloway’s writing, but reading Bad Blood brought it back to me so much so that I’ll be rereading Little Girl Lost and the remaining books in the Lucy Black series just to catch up. 

Disclaimer: I received a free digital review copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes via Edelweiss Plus. 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.”



Author Bio:
Brian McGilloway

Brian McGilloway was born in Derry, Northern Ireland. After studying English at Queen’s University, Belfast, he took up a teaching position at St Columb’s College in Derry, where he was Head of English. He is the author of the New York Times best-selling Lucy Black series, all to be published by WitnessImpulse. Brian lives near the Irish borderlands with his wife and their four children.


Catch Up With Our Author On:


Website , Goodreads , Twitter , & Facebook !




Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!





Join In for a Chance to Win!



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Brian McGilloway and WitnessImpulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) non-Kindle eBook coupon for a copy of THE FORGOTTEN ONES by Brian McGilloway. The giveaway begins on June 24 and runs through August 1, 2017.


a Rafflecopter giveaway






Buy the Book


Available at          BookDepository  




Shop Indie Bookstores



   



   



Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller

Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller
  

icon
icon 

Bad Blood

Book Showcase: HER SECRET by Shelley Shepard Gray

Her Secret

by Shelley Shepard Gray

on Tour April 17 – 28, 2017


Synopsis:


Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Shelley Shepard Gray begins a new series—The Amish of Hart County—with this suspenseful tale of a young Amish woman who is forced to move to a new town to escape a threatening stalker.

After a stalker went too far, Hannah Hilty and her family had no choice but to leave the bustling Amish community where she grew up. Now she’s getting a fresh start in Hart County, Kentucky…if only she wasn’t too scared to take it. Hannah has become afraid to trust anyone—even Isaac, the friendly Amish man who lives next door. She wonders if she’ll ever return to the trusting, easy-going woman she once was.

For Isaac Troyer, the beautiful girl he teasingly called “The Recluse” confuses him like no other. When he learns of her past, he knows he’s misjudged her. However, he also understands the importance of being grateful for God’s gifts, and wonders if they will ever have anything in common. But as Hannah and Isaac slowly grow closer, they realize that there’s always more to someone than meets the eye.

Just as Hannah is finally settling into her new life, and perhaps finding a new love, more secrets are revealed and tragedy strikes. Now Hannah must decide if she should run again or dare to fight for the future she has found in Hart County.



Book Details:


Genre: Amish Fiction
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication Date: March 14th 2017
Number of Pages: 272
ISBN: 006246910X (ISBN13: 9780062469106)
Series: The Amish of Hart County #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


CHAPTER 2



Someone was coming. After reeling in his line, Isaac Troyer set his pole on the bank next to Spot, his Australian shepherd, and turned in the direction of the noise.

He wasn’t worried about encountering a stranger as much as curious to know who would walk through the woods while managing to disturb every tree branch, twig, and bird in their midst. A silent tracker, this person was not.

Beside him, Spot, named for the spot of black fur ringing his eye, pricked his ears and tilted his head to one side as he, too, listened and watched for their guest to appear.

When they heard a muffled umph, followed by the crack of a branch, Isaac began to grow amused. Their visitor didn’t seem to be faring so well.

He wasn’t surprised. That path was rarely used and notoriously overrun with hollyhocks, poison oak, and ivy. For some reason, wild rosebushes also ran rampant there. Though walking on the old path made for a pretty journey, it also was a somewhat dangerous one, too. Those bushes had a lot of thorns. Most everyone he knew chose to walk on the road instead.

He was just wondering if, perhaps, he should brave the thorns and the possibility of rashes to offer his help—when a woman popped out.

The new girl. Hannah Hilty.

Obviously thinking she was completely alone, she stepped out of the shade of the bushes and lifted her face into the sun. She mumbled to herself as she pulled a black sweater off her light-blue short-sleeved dress. Then she turned her right arm this way and that, frowning at what looked like a sizable scrape on it.

He’d been introduced to her at church the first weekend her family had come. His first impression of her had been that she was a pretty thing, with dark-brown hair and hazel-colored eyes. She was fairly tall and willowy, too, and had been blessed with creamy-looking pale skin. But for all of that, she’d looked incredibly wary.

Thinking she was simply shy, he’d tried to be friendly, everyone in his family had. But instead of looking happy to meet him or his siblings, she’d merely stared at him the way a doe might stare at an oncoming car—with a bit of weariness and a great dose of fear.

He left her alone after that.

Every once in a while he’d see her. At church, or at the market with her mother. She always acted kind of odd. She was mostly silent, sometimes hardly even talking to her parents or siblings. Often, when he’d see her family in town shopping, she usually wasn’t with them. When she was, he’d see her following her parents. With them, yet separate. Silently watching her surroundings like she feared she was about to step off a cliff.

So, by his estimation, she was a strange girl. Weird.

And her actions just now? They seemed even odder. Feeling kind of sorry for her, he got to his feet. “Hey!” he called out.

Obviously startled, Hannah turned to him with a jerk, then froze.

Her unusual hazel eyes appeared dilated. She looked scared to death. Rethinking the step forward he’d been about to do, he stayed where he was. Maybe she wasn’t right in the mind? Maybe she was lost and needed help.

Feeling a little worried about her, he held up a hand. “Hey, Hannah. Are you okay?”

But instead of answering him, or even smiling back like a normal person would, she simply stared.

He tried again. “I’m Isaac Troyer.” When no look of recognition flickered in her eyes, he added, “I’m your neighbor. We met at church, soon after you moved in. Remember?”

She clenched her fists but otherwise seemed to be trying hard to regain some self-control. After another second, color bloomed in her cheeks. “I’m Hannah Hilty.”

“Yeah. I know.” Obviously, he’d known it. Hadn’t she heard him say her name? He smiled at her, hoping she’d see the humor in their conversation. It was awfully intense for two neighbors having to reacquaint themselves.
By his reckoning, anyway.

She still didn’t smile back. Actually, she didn’t do much of anything at all, besides gaze kind of blankly at him.

Belatedly, he started wondering if something had happened to her on her walk. “Hey, are you okay? Are you hurt or something?”

Her hand clenched into a fist. “Why do you ask?”

Everything he wanted to say sounded mean and rude. “You just, uh, seem out of breath.” And she was white as a sheet, looked like she’d just seen a monster, and could hardly speak.

Giving her an out, he said, “Are you lost?”

“Nee.”

He was starting to lose patience with her. All he’d wanted to do was sit on the bank with Spot and fish for an hour or two, not enter into some strange conversation with his neighbor girl.

“Okay, then. Well, I was just fishing, so I’m going to go back and do that.”

Just before he turned away, she took a deep breath. Then she spoke. “I’m sorry. I know I’m not making any sense.”

“You’re making sense.” Kind of. “But that said, you don’t got anything to be sorry for. It’s obvious you, too, were looking for a couple of minutes to be by yourself.”

“No, that ain’t it.” After taking another deep breath, she said, “Seeing you took me by surprise. That’s all.”
 


Isaac wasn’t enough of a jerk to not be aware that seeing a strange man, when you thought you were alone, might be scary to a timid girl like her.

“You took me by surprise, too. I never see anyone out here.”

Some of the muscles in her face and neck relaxed. After another second, she seemed to come to a decision and stepped closer to him. “Is that your dog?”

“Jah. His name is Spot, on account of the circle around his eye.”

“He looks to be a real fine hund.” She smiled.

And what a smile it was. Sweet, lighting up her eyes. Feeling a bit taken by surprise, too, he said, “He’s an Australian shepherd and real nice. Would you like to meet him?”

“Sure.” She smiled again, this time displaying pretty white teeth.

“Spot, come here, boy.”

With a stretch and a groan, Spot stood up, stretched again, then sauntered over. When he got to Isaac’s side, he paused. Isaac ran a hand along his back, then clicked his tongue, a sign for Spot to simply be a dog.

Spot walked right over and rubbed his nose along one of Hannah’s hands.

She giggled softly. “Hello, Spot. Aren’t you a handsome hund?” After she let Spot sniff her hand, she ran it along his soft fur. Spot, as could be expected, closed his eyes and enjoyed the attention.

“Look at that,” Hannah said. “He likes to be petted.”

“He’s friendly.”

“Do you go fishing here much?” she asked hesitantly.

“Not as much as I’d like to. I’m pretty busy. Usually, I’m helping my father on the farm or working in my uncle’s woodworking shop.” Because she seemed interested, he admitted, “I don’t get to sit around and just enjoy the day all that much.”

“And here I came and ruined your peace and quiet.”

“I didn’t say that. You’re fine.”

She didn’t look as if she believed him. Actually, she looked even more agitated. Taking a step backward, she said, “I should probably let you get back to your fishing, then.”

“I don’t care about that. I’d rather talk to you.”

Her eyes widened. “Oh?”

“Jah. I mean, we’re neighbors and all.” When she still looked doubtful, he said, “Besides, everyone is curious about you.”

“I don’t know why. I’m just an Amish girl.”

He thought she was anything but that. “Come on,” he chided. “You know what I’m talking about.”

Looking even more unsure, she shook her head.

“First off, I’ve hardly even seen you around town, only on Sundays when we have church. And even then you never stray from your parents’ side. That’s kind of odd.”

“I’m still getting used to being here in Kentucky,” she said quickly.

“What is there to get used to?” he joked. “We’re just a small community in the middle of cave country.”

To his surprise, she stepped back. “I guess getting used to my new home is taking me a while. But that doesn’t mean anything.”

Aware that he’d hurt her feelings, he realized that he should have really watched his tone. “Sorry. I didn’t mean to offend you. I was just saying that the way you’ve been acting has everyone curious.  That’s why people are calling you ‘The Recluse.’ “

” ‘The Recluse’?”

“Well, jah. I mean you truly are an Amish woman of mystery,” he said, hoping she’d tease him right back like his older sister would have done.    

She did not.

Actually, she looked like she was about to cry, and it was his doing.

When was he ever going to learn to read people better? Actually, he should knock some sense into himself. He’d been a real jerk. “Sorry. I didn’t intend to sound so callous.”

“Well, you certainly did.”

“Ah, you are right. It was a bad joke.”

“I better go.”

Staring at her more closely, he noticed that those pretty hazel eyes of hers looked kind of shimmery, like a whole mess of tears was about to fall. Now he felt worse than bad.”Hey, are you going to be okay getting home? I could walk you back, if you’d like.”

“Danke, nee.”

Reaching out, he grasped Spot by his collar. “I don’t mind at all. It will give us a chance to—”

She cut him off. “I do not want or need your help.” She was staring at him like he was scary. Like he was the type of guy who would do her harm.

That bothered him.

“Look, I already apologized. You don’t need to look at me like I’m going to attack you or something. I’m just trying to be a good neighbor.”

She flinched before visibly collecting herself. “I understand. But like I said, I don’t want your help. I will be fine.”

When he noticed that Spot was also sensing her distress, he tried again even though he knew he should just let her go. “I was done fishing anyway. All I have to do is grab my pole. Then Spot and I could walk with you.”

“What else do I have to say for you to listen to me?” she fairly cried out. “Isaac, I do not want you to walk me anywhere.” She turned and darted away, sliding back into the brush. No doubt about to get covered in more scratches and poison ivy.

Well, she’d finally said his name, and it certainly did sound sweet on her lips.

Too bad she was now certain to avoid him for the rest of her life. He really hoped his mother was never going to hear about how awful he’d just been. She’d be so disappointed.

He was disappointed in himself, and was usually a lot more patient with people. He liked that about himself, too. And this girl? Well, she needed someone, too. But she seemed even afraid of her shadow.

***

Excerpt from Her Secret by Shelley Shepard Gray.  Copyright © 2017 by Shelley Shepard Gray. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.




Shelley Shepard Gray

Author Bio:



Shelley Shepard Gray is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, a finalist for the American Christian Fiction Writers prestigious Carol Award, and a two-time HOLT Medallion winner. She lives in southern Ohio, where she writes full-time, bakes too much, and can often be found walking her dachshunds on her town’s bike trail.

Catch Up With Ms. Gray On:


Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!


Tour Participants:

Giveaway:



This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelley Shepard Gray and HarperCollins Publishers. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com GiftCard. The giveaway begins on April 15th and runs through May 2nd, 2017. This giveaway is for US residents only. Void where prohibited by law.

a Rafflecopter giveaway





2016 Book 328: WHO’S THAT GIRL? by Mhairi McFarlane

Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane 
ISBN: 9780008184797 (paperback)
ISBN: 9780008184803 (ebook)
ASIN: B01CY4SU2O (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 6, 2016 
Publisher: Harper


When Edie is caught in a compromising position at her colleagues’ wedding, all the blame falls on her – turns out that personal popularity in the office is not that different from your schooldays. Shamed online and ostracized by everyone she knows, Edie’s forced to take an extended sabbatical – ghostwriting an autobiography for hot new acting talent, Elliot Owen. Easy, right?

Wrong. Banished back to her hometown of Nottingham, Edie is not only dealing with a man who probably hasn’t heard the word ‘no’ in a decade, but also suffering an excruciating regression to her teenage years as she moves back in with her widowed father and judgy, layabout sister.

When the world is asking who you are, it’s hard not to question yourself. Who’s that girl? Edie is ready to find out.



Edie Thompson thought she was doing the right thing by attending the wedding of two coworkers. Then she’s caught off-guard by the newly wedded husband in a kiss that’s witnessed by his new bride. Edie quickly becomes the pariah in her office and on social media. Unfortunately, her boss is reluctant to allow her to resign and gives her the opportunity ghostwrite an autobiography for actor Elliot Owen. Edie is now forced to deal with the continuing fallout from the kiss at the wedding, an actor that’s reluctant to participate in the autobiography, and her family in Who’s That Girl? by Mhairi McFarlane.

Edie thought she was participating in a harmless flirtation and just being friendly with her male coworker. She thought attending the wedding of her coworkers was supportive. She had no intention of causing any problems for the newlyweds, but problems arise when the groom kisses her and they are caught by his bride. Edie quickly becomes “the other woman” and is targeted by the bride’s friends and family. In an effort to “do the right thing”, Edie attempts to resign, but her boss thinks it will all blow over. He strongly suggests that Edie take some time away from the office, go to Nottingham (Edie’s hometown), and ghostwrite an autobiography for an actor. Edie accepts, thinking things can’t possibly get any worse (she’s wrong). She’s hounded on social media to the point that she closes all of her online accounts. To say that Edie has a tempestuous relationship with her younger sister Meg is a bit of an understatement and the two siblings constantly rub each other the wrong way. After a bit of a rocky start with the ghost writing job, Edie becomes friendly with Elliot and encourages him to use a different slant with this autobiography. Edie befriends an elderly neighbor and even reconnects with old school friends. Just when it seems that things are on an even keel, Edie is caught up in another controversy and this one goes public with the cry of “who’s that girl?” in the tabloids. 

I found Who’s That Girl? to be a rather fast-paced and engaging read, although it did take me awhile to get into the story. I felt sympathy towards Edie as a result of the onslaught of bullying she had to deal with from so-called friends, coworkers, and people she doesn’t even know. I found the characters to be fully developed, all-too-flawed and realistic, and the action plausible. This was the first book I’ve read by Ms. McFarlane and I wasn’t quite sure what to expect; but this is a story that provides a little bit of everything: personal drama, family drama, angst, self-awareness, grief, bullying, romance, and humor. This isn’t a typical romance or ChickLit read, so I feel safe in saying that if you enjoy a well-written story filled with realism and touches of humor then Who’s That Girl? may be just the book for you. This may have been my first Mhairi McFarlane read, but I’m looking forward to reading all of her previous books while waiting for a new release. 

Add to Goodreads badge

Disclaimer: I received a free digital copy of this book for review purposes. 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.”



About Mhairi McFarlane

Mhairi was born in Scotland in 1976 and has been explaining how to pronounce her name ever since. (With a ‘V’, not an ‘M’. Yes, that’s us crazy Celts for you).

She is based in Nottingham where she used to be a local journalist and now she’s a freelance writer and sometime-blogger, which we all know is code for messing about on Twitter.

She likes drinking wine, eating food and obtaining clothes; all the impressive hobbies. Her best anecdotes involve dislocating her elbow tripping over a briefcase and a very bad flight to New York. She lives with a man and a cat.

You can follow her on Twitter: @MhairiMcF.




Buy the Book

Available at  HarperCollins  |  BookDepository  |  Books-A-Million  |  eBooks.com  |  Alibris
icon


Print
Shop Indie Bookstores



Print

   
Kindle

   

PrintWho's That Girl?
eBookWho's That Girl?

eBookicon
icon