Posted in May 2019

I’ll Never Tell by Catherine McKenzie

Synopsis:

What happened to Amanda Holmes?

Twenty years ago, she washed up on shore in a rowboat with a gash to the head after an overnight at Camp Macaw. No one was ever charged with a crime.

Now, the MacAllister children are all grown up. After their parents die suddenly, they return to Camp to read the will and decide what to do with the prime real estate it’s sitting on. Ryan, the oldest, wants to sell. Margo, the family’s center, hasn’t made up her mind. Mary has her own horse farm to run, and believes in leaving well-enough alone. Kate and Liddie—the twins—have opposing views. And Sean Booth, the family groundskeeper, just hopes he still has a home when all is said and done. 

But then the will is read and they learn that it’s much more complicated than a simple vote. Until they unravel the mystery of what happened to Amanda, they can’t move forward. Any one of them could have done it, and all of them are hiding key pieces of the puzzle. Will they work together to solve the mystery, or will their suspicions and secrets finally tear the family apart?

My review:

I’ve long been a fan of Catherine McKenzie. She has a way of adding twists and turns that keep me guessing until the end! I’ll Never Tell is a fast paced whodunit!

About the author:

Catherine McKenzie was born and raised in Montreal, Canada. A graduate of McGill in History and Law, Catherine practices law in Montreal. An avid runner and skier, she’s the author of numerous bestsellers including HIDDEN, FRACTURED and THE GOOD LIAR. Her works have been translated into multiple languages.

HIDDEN was a #1 Amazon bestseller and a Digital Bookworld bestseller for five weeks. SMOKE was a #1 Amazon bestseller, and was named as a Best Book of October (Goodreads) and one of the Top 100 Books of 2015 (Amazon). FRACTURED was a Best Book of October 2016 (Goodreads). She is also the author of THE MURDER GAME under her pseudonym, Julie Apple (the protagonist of Fractured). In 2018, THE GOOD LIAR, received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly and was an instant Globe and Mail bestseller.

I’LL NEVER TELL, will be published on June 1, 2019 (US/UK) and June 4, 2019 (Canada) and has been named one of the Most Anticipated Mysteries of 2019 by Goodreads.

Posted in May 2019

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek by Kim Michele Richardson

Synopsis:

In 1936, tucked deep into the woods of Troublesome Creek, KY, lives blue-skinned 19-year-old Cussy Carter, the last living female of the rare Blue People ancestry. The lonely young Appalachian woman joins the historical Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky and becomes a librarian, riding across slippery creek beds and up treacherous mountains on her faithful mule to deliver books and other reading material to the impoverished hill people of Eastern Kentucky.

Along her dangerous route, Cussy, known to the mountain folk as Bluet, confronts those suspicious of her damselfly-blue skin and the government’s new book program. She befriends hardscrabble and complex fellow Kentuckians, and is fiercely determined to bring comfort and joy, instill literacy, and give to those who have nothing, a bookly respite, a fleeting retreat to faraway lands.

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a powerful message about how the written word affects people–a story of hope and heartbreak, raw courage and strength splintered with poverty and oppression, and one woman’s chances beyond the darkly hollows. Inspired by the true and historical blue-skinned people of Kentucky and the brave and dedicated Kentucky Pack Horse library service, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek showcases a bold and unique tale of the Pack horse Librarians in literary novels — a story of fierce strength and one woman’s belief that books can carry us anywhere — even back home.

My review:

The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek is a beautifully written story of Appalachia history and the love of books. In the midst of the Depression, Cussy Mary is the last living female of the Blue people and has been shunned because of the color of her skin. She takes a job as a librarian with the Pack Horse Library Project and attempts to spread her love of reading to the poverty stricken people of Appalachia. I had no idea that there were actually Book Women or Blue people. I loved this story! A must read for historical fiction fans!

About the author:

Kim Michele Richardson lives in Kentucky and resides part-time in Western North Carolina. She has volunteered for Habitat for Humanity, building houses, and is an advocate for the prevention of child abuse and domestic violence, partnering with the U.S. Navy globally to bring awareness and education to the prevention of domestic violence. She is the author of the bestselling memoir The Unbreakable Child, and a book critic for the New York Journal of Books. Her novels include, Liar’s Bench, GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and The Sisters of Glass Ferry. Her fourth novel, The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek about the fierce and brave Kentucky Packhorse librarians, is available now. 

Posted in May 2019

The Southern Side of Paradise by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Synopsis:

With the man of her dreams back in her life and all three of her daughters happy, Ansley Murphy should be content. But she can’t help but feel like it’s all a little too good to be true.

Meanwhile, youngest daughter and actress Emerson, who is recently engaged and has just landed the role of a lifetime, seemingly has the world by the tail. Only, something she can’t quite put her finger on is worrying her—and it has nothing to do with her recent health scare.

When two new women arrive in Peachtree Bluff—one who has the potential to wreck Ansley’s happiness and one who could tear Emerson’s world apart—everything is put in perspective. And after secrets that were never meant to be told come to light, the powerful bond between the Murphy sisters and their mother comes crumbling down, testing their devotion to each other and forcing them to evaluate the meaning of family.

With Kristy Woodson Harvey’s signature charm, wit, and heart, The Southern Side of Paradise is another masterful Peachtree Bluff novel that proves she is a “Southern writer with staying power” (Booklist).

My review:

I read the first two books in The Peachtree Bluff series back to back and then I had to wait for the final book. It seemed like a long wait but oh so worth it! Reading The Southern Side of Paradise was like catching up with old friends and picking up where you last left off. Kristy Woodson Harvey is my number one for southern fiction! This is listed as the final book in the series but I’m hoping for more of Ansley, Caroline, Sloane and Emerson’s story!

About the author:

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the internationally bestselling author of DEAR CAROLINALIES AND OTHER ACTS OF LOVE, SLIGHTLY SOUTH OF SIMPLE, THE SECRET TO SOUTHERN CHARM and the forthcoming THE SOUTHERN SIDE OF PARADISE. Kristy was a finalist for the Southern Book Prize, her work has been optioned for film and her books have received numerous accolades.

Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern LivingTraditional HomeParadeUSA TodayDominoOur State and O. Henry. She has been seen in Today.com, Women’s Health,The Washington PostUS News and World ReportThe Huffington Post, Marie Claire’s The FixWoman’s World, Readers’ Digest, Bustle, New York Live and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others.

She is a proud member of the Tall Poppy Writers, serves on the board of Beaufort Historical Association, and is a member of the University of North Carolina’s Women’s Leadership Council. She is a frequent speaker at fundraisers, book conferences and private events. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and seven-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

Posted in Author spotlight, May 2019

Author Spotlight: Andrew Lam

About the author:

Andrew Lam, M.D., is the award-winning author of three books. His writing has appeared in The New York Times and The Washington Post. Born in Philadelphia and raised in central Illinois, he graduated summa cum laude in history from Yale University, where he studied military history and U.S.-East Asian relations. He then attended medical school at the University of Pennsylvania, followed by specialty training in ophthalmology and retina surgery at the Wills Eye Hospital in Philadelphia, where he also served as chief resident.

Dr. Lam has authored numerous scientific articles and is a co-investigator for several national clinical trials. He is currently an Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology at the University of Massachusetts Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine, a partner at New England Retina Consultants, and an attending surgeon at Baystate Medical Center in Springfield, Massachusetts.

He resides in Longmeadow, Massachusetts with his wife and four children.

Repentance–On sale now!

A captivating new novel about one family’s darkest secrets and the lengths to which a man will go to set things right.

France, October 1944: A Japanese American war hero has a secret. A secret so awful he’d rather die than tell anyone—one so entwined with the brave act that made him a hero that he’s determined never to speak of the war. Ever.

Fifty-five years later, his son, Daniel Tokunaga, is a world-famous cardiac surgeon with a beautiful wife and successful kids. But Daniel’s outwardly perfect life is a façade. He despises his father who prized toughness and achievement above warmth or affection. And for other reasons…troubles from the past that he has never revealed to another soul.

As Daniel’s marriage threatens to crumble from his own indifference, and a medical crisis compels him to return to his parents’ home, he stumbles upon the darkest secret of all—his father’s.

Soon the quest for the truth between father and son opens wide the gulf between them but also Daniel’s deepest questions of life…what is honor? Redemption? And most important of all, what is love?

Drawn from the heroic true story of a Japanese American regiment that fought in World War II and became the most decorated unit in U.S. military history, this poignant drama also shows the sorrows of the internment camps where American citizens of Japanese ancestry were imprisoned solely because of their race.

Repentance is a swift, sweeping novel in which one family’s catastrophic past unfurls just as the foundation of their present lives begins to crack. What they learn is that the briefest of moments—a split-second of indecision—can echo across generations.

Some secrets are too painful to be shared.

Some secrets you wish you never knew.

Posted in March 2019

Until The Day I Die by Emily Carpenter

Synopsis:

If there’s a healthy way to grieve, Erin Gaines hasn’t found it. After her husband’s sudden death, the runaway success of the tech company they built with their best friends has become overwhelming. Her nerves are frayed, she’s disengaged, and her frustrated daughter, Shorie, is pulling away from her. Maybe Erin’s friends and family are right. Maybe a few weeks at a spa resort in the Caribbean islands is just what she needs to hit the reset button…

Shorie is not only worried about her mother’s mental state but also for the future of her parents’ company. Especially when she begins to suspect that not all of Erin’s colleagues can be trusted. It seems someone is spinning an intricate web of deception—the foundation for a conspiracy that is putting everything, and everyone she loves, at risk. And she may be the only one who can stop it.

Now, thousands of miles away in a remote, and oftentimes menacing, tropical jungle, Erin is beginning to have similar fears. Things at the resort aren’t exactly how the brochure described, and unless she’s losing her mind, Erin’s pretty sure she wasn’t sent there to recover—she was sent to disappear.

My review:

I loved everything about Until the Day I Die from the gorgeous cover to the twisted page turning story inside! I thought I had the ending all figured out but I didn’t see it coming!

About the author:

Emily Carpenter is the critically acclaimed, bestselling author of suspense novels, Burying the Honeysuckle Girls, The Weight of Lies, and Every Single Secret. After graduating from Auburn with a Bachelor of Arts in Speech Communication, she moved to New York City. She’s worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for the CBS shows, As the World Turns and Guiding Light. Born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her family. You can visit Emily at emilycarpenterauthor.com and on Facebook and Twitter.

Book details:

  • Published March 12, 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
  • 348 pages
Posted in March 2019

Finding Dorothy by Elizabeth Letts

Synopsis:

Maud Gage Baum, widow of the author of the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, met Judy Garland, the young actress playing the role of Dorothy on the set of The Wizard of Oz in 1939. At the time, Maud was seventy-eight and Judy was sixteen. In spite of their age difference, Maud immediately connected to Judy–especially when Maud heard her sing “Over the Rainbow,” a song whose yearning brought to mind the tough years in South Dakota when Maud and her husband struggled to make a living–until Frank Baum’s book became a national sensation.

This wonderfully evocative two-stranded story recreates Maud’s youth as the rebellious daughter of a leading suffragette, and the prairie years of Maud and Frank’s early days when they lived among the people–especially young Dorothy–who would inspire Frank’s masterpiece. Woven into this past story is one set in 1939, describing the high-pressured days on The Wizard of Oz film set where Judy is being badgered by the director, producer, and her ambitious stage mother to lose weight, bind her breasts, and laugh, cry, and act terrified on command. As Maud had promised to protect the original Dorothy back in Aberdeen, she now takes on the job of protecting young Judy.

My review:

I have always loved The Wizard of Oz movie and couldn’t wait to read Finding Dorothy! Elizabeth Letts tells the story of a young Maud Gage Baum and her life with L. Frank Baum along with the making of the movie version of Baum’s famous book. I loved reading how Baum’s real life was woven into his book. This is a must read glimpse behind the scenes of one of our most cherished books and movie adaptation.

About the author:

Elizabeth Letts is an award winning and bestselling author of both fiction and non-fiction. The Perfect Horse was the winner of the 2017 PEN USA Award for Research Non-fiction and a #1 Wall Street Journal bestseller. The Eighty-Dollar Champion was a #1 New York Times bestseller and winner of the 2012 Daniel P Lenehan Award for Media Excellence from the United States Equestrian Foundation. She is also the author of two novels, Quality of Care and Family Planning, and an award-winning children’s book, The Butter Man. She lives in Southern California and Northern Michigan.

Book details:

  • Published February 12, 2019 by Ballantine Books
  • 351 pages
Posted in May 2019

Drawing Home by Jamie Brenner

Synopsis:

Summer has started in idyllic Sag Harbor, and for Emma Mapson that means greeting guests at the front desk of The American Hotel. But when one of the town’s most famous residents, artist Henry Wyatt, dies suddenly, Emma learns he has mysteriously left his waterfront home – a self-designed masterpiece filled with his work – to her teenage daughter, Penny. 

Back in Manhattan, legendary art patron Bea Winstead’s grief at her lifelong friend and former business partner Henry’s passing turns to outrage at the news of his shocking bequest. How did these unknown locals get their hands on the estate? Bea, with her devoted assistant Kyle in tow, descends on Sag Harbor determined to reclaim the house and preserve Henry’s legacy.

While Emma fights to defend her daughter’s inheritance, Bea discovers that Henry left a treasure trove of sketches scattered around town. With Penny’s reluctant help, Bea pieces them together to find a story hidden in plain sight: an illustration of their shared history with an unexpected twist that will change all of their lives.

Drawn together in their battle for the house, Emma and Bea are forced to confront the past while facing a future that challenges everything they believe about love, fate, and family.

My review:

Pack a copy of Drawing Home in your beach bag this summer! I loved this story of mother/daughter relationships, an unexpected inheritance and a bit of mystery set in Sag Harbor. Fans of Elin Hilderbrand will love Drawing Home!

About the author:

Jamie Brenner is the bestselling author of the THE FOREVER SUMMER, THE HUSBAND HOUR, and THE WEDDING SISTERS. Her latest book is DRAWING HOME. She lives in New York City and spends her summers visiting the beach towns that inspire her novels.. For contact info, tour dates, and book clubs please visit www.jamiebrenner.com

Book details:

  • Published May 7, 2019 by Little, Brown and Company
  • 368 pages
Posted in May 2019

Split-Level by Sande Boritz Berger

Synopsis:

In Split-Level, set as the nation recoils from Nixon, Alex Pearl is about to commit the first major transgression of her life. But why shouldn’t she remain an officially contented, soon-to-turn-thirty wife? She’s got a lovely home in an upscale Jersey suburb, two precocious daughters, and a charming husband, Donny. But Alex can no longer deny she craves more—some infusion of passion into the cul-de-sac world she inhabits. 

After she receives a phone call from her babysitter’s mother reporting that Donny took the teen for a midnight ride, promising he’d teach her how to drive, Alex insists they attend Marriage Mountain, the quintessential 1970s “healing couples sanctuary.” Donny accedes—but soon becomes obsessed with the manifesto A Different Proposition and its vision of how multiple couples can live together in spouse-swapping bliss. At first Alex scoffs, but soon she gives Donny much more than he bargained for. After he targets the perfect couple to collude in his fantasy, Alex discovers her desire for love escalating to new heights—along with a willingness to risk everything. Split-Levelevokes a pivotal moment in the story of American matrimony, a time when it seemed as if an open marriage might open hearts as well.

My review:

As a child of the 70’s, I jumped at the chance to read Split-Level. What happens when a married couple decide to have an “open” marriage and become swingers? I have often wondered how marriages can survive without monogamy. Sande Boritz Berger gave me a though provoking glimpse into a life style completely different than my own. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this captivating novel!

About the author:

After two decades as a scriptwriter and video/film producer for Fortune 500 companies, Sande Boritz Berger returned to her passion: writing both fiction and non-fiction full time. Her stories and essays have been published in The Rambler Magazine, Every Woman Has a Story by Warner Books, Ophelia’s Mom by Crown Publishing, Aunties: Thirty-five Writers Celebrate Their Other Mother by Ballantine and others. Sande received an M.F.A. in Writing and Literature from Stony Brook Southampton College where she received the Deborah Hecht Memorial prize for fiction. The Sweetness was a semi-finalist in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel awards. The author lives with her husband in Manhattan. She has two daughters.

Book details:

  • Published May 7, 2019 by She Writes Press.
  • 320 pages