The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

The Christmas Wishing Tree by Emily March

September 2018 – St. Martin’s Press

Giveaway win from the publisher


Sometimes life’s most magical journeys bring you back to where it all began…From New York Times bestselling author Emily March comes The Christmas Wishing Tree, an enchanting account of the magic and miracle of Christmas.

A man who loves adventure and the open sea, Devin Murphy returns for a short Christmas trip to his small hometown of Eternity Springs. Immersed in the joy and magic of the holiday season all around him, he doesn’t hesitate to play along when a young boy phones Santa to ask for a very special wish. Devin never guesses that a wrong number has the potential to make everything in his life so right.

Jenna Stockton adopted Reilly when he needed a mother and she intends to keep him safe. A small town across the country called Eternity Springs seems like a good place to hide from their past without any complications —until sexy Santa himself discovers her secrets. When Devin proposes a daring plan to face down the danger together and defeat it once and for all, she is tempted. Maybe Devin really is capable of making wishes come true? Perhaps in a Christmas wish they’ll both find the miracle they’ve been looking for all along… (publisher)

My take:  I’ve been meaning to try the Eternity Springs series for a long time so after winning a giveaway of The Christmas Wishing Tree from Nise’s blog I decided to jump in there (it’s #15 in the series!). I didn’t feel lost so it can stand alone. It’s a sweet story about a little boy who wants a dad for Christmas. Eventually he and his mom end up in Eternity Springs and discover a Christmas season unlike any they’ve ever experienced. There’s some drama, some romance, and a great community of people that make me want to go back to book one and read the entire series. Recommended to fans of small town romance with a Christmas theme.


Good Enough To Eat by Stacey Ballis

TItle:  Good Enough To Eat

Author:  Stacey Ballis

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  September 2010 – Berkley

My take:  Melanie lost half her body weight and then lost her husband – to her best friend who is twice Mel’s new size.  Mel already had a new business in the works so when the divorce was final she used her settlement to buy a condo and moved on with her life. She’d been a lawyer but now used her new healthy lifestyle as the basis for her business – Dining By Design – a healthy food take-away store.

The employees of Dining By Design are more than coworkers to Melanie. They’ve all had their own struggles in life and offer  each other unconditional support. I truly enjoyed each character and the depth they added to the novel.

Melanie knew she needed to work through her trust issues – especially with men. She found a chance to do that with a handsome filmmaker.  She also had Carey, a diet/nutrition coach who guided her along the way. Everyone should have a Carey – she really helped Melanie maintain balance in her life .

I really liked this novel. I could relate to Mel’s food issues and I liked the Chicago setting. I think fans of chick lit will enjoy Good Enough to Eat. A treat for readers: recipes!

Source:  Giveaway win.

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

Title:  The Violets of March

Author:  Sarah Jio

Genre:  Fiction

Published:  April, 2011 – Plume

My take:  Emily Wilson’s marriage to the perfect man has gone south. After she signs the divorce papers she heads to her great-aunt’s home on Bainbridge Island, Washington. She holds fond memories of summer vacations spent at the big house on the sound and hopes to find comfort and time to heal. On the day she arrives she discovers a diary in the guest room nightstand. She reads it and finds herself consumed with solving a mystery that involves her relatives and family friends.

Emily also captures the attention of two men on the island. One she dated as a teen and the other is a handsome artist who lives not far from her great-aunt’s house. What she doesn’t expect is the connection one may hold to the mystery in the diary.

Reading The Violets of March was a nice way to spend a snowy weekend. Jio’s detailed descriptions gave me a good sense of the beautiful island. I thought the mystery was interesting and I liked the characters. All made for a good tale of lost loves and fresh starts. I look forward to reading Sarah Jio’s second novel: The Bungalow.

Source:  Giveaway win

Lucky in Love by Deborah Coonts

Title:  Lucky in Love

Lucky O’Toole Vegas Adventure series

Author:  Deborah Coonts

Genre:  Mystery/Light Romance

Published:  January 2012 – MPS

About:  (from the Goodreads synopsis) Lucky O’Toole, the vice president of Customer Relations for the Babylon, one of Las Vegas’s most over-the-top strip properties, is seriously regretting booking a reality television show, The Forever Game, in the hotel’s small theater.

The four contestant-couples add their own mischief to the incendiary mix normally available in Sin City while competing for a Las Vegas wedding extravaganza. The host of The Forever Game, Trey Gold, appears interested only in keeping the spotlight on himself while the contestants run wild, sampling all Vegas has to offer and threatening to blow the whole show out of the water.

Not only must Lucky keep the couples from killing each other, killing their relationships, or ending up on the front page of the Review-Journal, she has to navigate her own rocky road of love. Teddie, her live-in lover, seems ready to chase a new career as a singer, leaving Vegas . . . and Lucky . . . behind. And the Babylon’s new French chef seems determined to muddy the murky waters of love even further.

My take:  Lucky in Love is a novella and Love is the key word. It’s not the usual mystery adventure that I’ve come to expect in the series. This week Lucky O’Toole’s primary job is to keep the reality show contestants focused on showing up at the appointed times. Each couple has their own agenda which keeps Lucky busier than normal. On top of everything else she’s worried about the possible changes in her relationship with her boyfriend Teddie.

If you’ve read the previous two novels in the series you’ll recognize characters who make brief appearances. It was fun to see them – especially Teddie.

I enjoyed this short visit to Vegas and Lucky O’Toole’s world. The next book in the series, So Damn Lucky, will be published in February. I can’t wait to read it!

Source:  Giveaway win

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Title:  The Peach Keeper

Author:  Sarah Addison Allen

Genre:  Magical Realism; Women’s Fiction

Published:  March 2011 – Bantam

About: (from the Goodreads synopsis) It’s the dubious distinction of thirty-year-old Willa Jackson to hail from a fine old Southern family of means that met with financial ruin generations ago. The Blue Ridge Madam—built by Willa’s great-great-grandfather during Walls of Water’s heyday, and once the town’s grandest home—has stood for years as a lonely monument to misfortune and scandal. And Willa herself has long strived to build a life beyond the brooding Jackson family shadow. No easy task in a town shaped by years of tradition and the well-marked boundaries of the haves and have-nots.

But Willa has lately learned that an old classmate—socialite do-gooder Paxton Osgood—of the very prominent Osgood family, has restored the Blue Ridge Madam to her former glory, with plans to open a top-flight inn. Maybe, at last, the troubled past can be laid to rest while something new and wonderful rises from its ashes. But what rises instead is a skeleton, found buried beneath the property’s lone peach tree, and certain to drag up dire consequences along with it.

Now, thrust together in an unlikely friendship, united by a full-blooded mystery, Willa and Paxton must confront the dangerous passions and tragic betrayals that once bound their families—and uncover truths of the long-dead that have transcended time and defied the grave to touch the hearts and souls of the living.

My brief take:  Sarah Addison Allen serves up another feast for the senses in her latest book The Peach Keeper. The magical realism woven throughout the novel is what I like most in her books. Well, that and her characters. I really enjoyed Willa and Paxton’s path to friendship. They helped each other get past the expectations of others and started to live their own lives. The same held true for Paxton’s friend Sebastian as well as her brother Colin. They all learned that happiness meant taking risks. It’s a lovely story and I look forward to Sarah Addison Allen’s next book.

Fate never promises to tell you everything up front. You aren’t always shown the path in life you’re supposed to take. But if there was one thing she’d learned in the past few weeks, it was that sometimes, when you’re really lucky, you meet someone with a map.  p.242

Source:  Giveaway at Life in the Thumb (Thanks, Staci!)

Disclaimer:  See sidebar. I was not compensated for my review.

Dark Deceptions by Dee Davis

Dark Deceptions (A-Tac, #1)Back of the book: A-Tac is an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Brilliant, badass, and seemingly bulletproof, the members of A-Tac are assigned to the riskiest missions and the most elusive targets.

Covert operations expert Nash Brennon has spent the last eight years trying to forget Annie Gallagher, his former field partner and the only woman he ever loved. Annie betrayed him when he needed her most, then vanished without a trace. Now suddenly she’s back in the game – this time as a suspected traitor and threat to national security.
Annie’s son has been kidnapped by political terrorists. The price for his life? Assassinate a UN ambassador. When Nash and his group find her, the smoldering passion between Annie and the man she swore she’d never contact again blazes out of control. But can Nash trust her? The stakes couldn’t be higher: Their enemy’s endgame is personal, and one false move could cost them their lives.


My review: Dark Deceptions is the first book in the A-Tac series by Dee Davis.  The A-Tac team is an off-the-books CIA unit that tackles seemingly impossible missions. This time they need to find a kidnapped boy who happens to have a  strong connection to Nash, a current member of the team.  They also need to find out who assassinated a high-ranking official and then tried to frame Annie, a former CIA operative and Adam’s (the kidnapped boy) mother.

I loved the pace of the novel.  Davis builds from a stark beginning and escalates to a breathtaking ending.  There’s a side mystery that runs in the background – is someone sabotaging the A-Tac team and if so, who and why?  I look forward to seeing how that thread travels through the series.

If you’re a fan of romantic suspense give this series a try.  I’ve read the second book and can’t wait to read the third.

Show Me 5 Saturday – A Summer In Sonoma by Robyn Carr

at Find Your Next Book Here


1 Title:  A Summer in Sonoma by Robyn Carr

2 Words that describe the book:  Friends and Lovers (I know, that’s 3 words…)

3 Settings or characters:

*  Cassie is 29 and still dating losers until a chance meeting of a total opposite.

*  Julie is married with three kids and is tired of trying to make ends meet while never getting ahead.

*  Marty and Beth (I couldn’t leave one out!) round out the circle of four friends who’ve known each other since they were kids.  Marty feel unappreciated by her husband and is ready for change.  Beth, a doctor, was recently diagnosed with a second round of cancer.

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

*  I love how Robyn Carr tells a story – great dialogue, setting, and pace.

*  I liked how Julie and her husband got on track with the money issues and other personal issues.  I imagine many readers could relate to their storyline.

*  For the most part I liked Cassie’s story.  I really liked the new man in her life.  What bugged me about Cassie was also quite understandable.  She has major trust issues with guys but it wore a little thin for me.

*  I liked that Robyn Carr wrote a stand alone novel.  I’ve read her Virgin River series (love it) but it was nice to meet new characters and setting.

5 Stars or less for the rating:  3.75/5

A Summer in Sonoma

From Goodreads: They’ve been best friends since seventh grade. But this summer, teetering on the threshold of thirty, four women are going to need each other more than ever.  Life can change in an instant…or a summer. And having old friends to lean on can only up the chances of happily ever after.

Simply From Scratch by Alicia Bessette

Simply from Scratch

It has been more than a year since a tragic accident took the life of Nick Roy, husband of Rose-Ellen (Zell).  Nick was photographing a local relief group as they volunteered in post-Katrina New Orleans. He was fatally injured on a construction site so Zell never got to say goodbye.   She’s still grieving his loss and doesn’t seem to want to move forward.  Her days are filled with tending her rescued greyhound and working on medical drawings for clients while Gladys Knight and the Pips wail away on the phonograph. Everything reminds her of Nick.

Zell meets her new neighbors, nine year old Ingrid and her dad Garrett, after her oven catches fire and they call the fire department.  Ingrid misses a mother she never knew and pretty much attaches herself to Zell.  Garrett works full time and goes to law school.  When a childcare issue comes up Zell agrees to let Ingrid hang out with her and that’s when they decide to enter a baking contest hosted by a Boston tv show which happens to star the woman Ingrid thinks is her mother.

Nick’s friends were also on the relief trip and feel a great loss.    Nick’s father requested the funeral be private (for family only) which left  his friends with a lack of closure.  They would like Zell to talk about him but try not to pressure her too much. She’d like to do almost anything else but talk about him.  Her immense grief is palpable.

Alicia Bessette’s heartfelt debut novel is about people living with great loss. It’s about the friendship they share and how they can help each other to grieve, accept, and truly live life again.  One of Bessette’s characters says “We are all connected” and Simply From Scratch is a wonderful reminder.

Show Me 5 Saturday: Italian For Beginners by Kristin Harmel

A meme  by That’s A Novel Idea

Mr. Linky at Find Your Next Book Here


1 Title:  Italian For Beginners by Kristin Harmel

2 Words that describe the book:  Italian Holiday

3 Settings or characters:

*  Rome – Kristin Harmel described the sights of Rome so well that I felt like I was there.  Cat’s friend Marco takes her on a memorable tour that was very romantic.  *sigh*

*  Karina – is the waitress who rents a room to Cat when she finds herself without a place to stay after her first day in Rome.  Karina pulls no punches with anyone and doesn’t expect anything less in return.  She’s about Cat’s age and is a single mother of a six year old son.  She was my favorite character!

*  Cat Connelly – has always put the needs of her sister and father above her own.  She’s ready for a little ‘me time’ and heads to Rome for a month after a co-worker gives her the push she needs.  I understood Cat and really pulled for her throughout the novel.

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

* I liked Kristin Harmel’s writing.  I’ll be looking for her backlist books.

* I really enjoyed the main characters – flaws and all.

* I loved my visit to Rome via a novel.  I liked that the author tells how the book came about and what she added from her own experiences.  There are a few recipes at the end too.   Now I want to watch Roman Holiday and pretend I’m Audrey.

* I was satisfied with the ending.  It had me smiling – and I love when that happens.

5 Stars or less for the rating: 4/5 stars


Italian for Beginners

Back of the book: Cat Connelly plays it safe.  She’s an accountant with no debt who lives near her family in Manhattan.  She’s also thirty-four, unmarried, and with nothing promising on her romantic horizon.  After a humiliating incident at her sister’s wedding, she throws caution to the wind and flies off to Rome to find Francesco, the man she’d fallen in love with thirteen years earlier on a trip to Italy.   When Francesco turns out to be a dud, Cat is adrift on the streets of Rome, no safety net in sight.  With the help of an eccentric waitress with a spare apartment to rent, the handsome restaurateur who calls her Princess Ann, and the family secrets only Rome can unlock for her, Cat discovers that happiness can be found on the back of a speeding Vespa. . . but only if you’re willing to take a few risks.

Show Me 5 Saturday

A meme  by That’s A Novel Idea

Mr. Linky at Find Your Next Book Here

1 Title: Barely a Lady by Eileen Dreyer

2 Words that describe the book:  Historical Romance

3 Settings or characters:

Jack Wyndham, Earl of Gracechurch – finds himself being tended to by his (former wife) after he was injured at Waterloo.  He has amnesia and doesn’t remember divorcing Olivia or anything else that’s happened in the past five years.

Olivia Grace – once married to Jack and is trying her best to move on and protect the one person who means more to her than life itself.  And now she finds herself in the unfortunate position of protecting the man she once loved.

Lady Kate – the duchess who befriends and then employs Olivia, thereby protecting her when she most needs it.

4 Things I liked/disliked about the book:

I liked the characters – main and minor were all entertaining and interesting.

I liked that most of the novel takes place outside of England – on the battlefield or in Brussels.

I appreciated the epilogue.

I look forward to the next book in Eileen Dreyer’s  Drake’s Rakes series (can’t type that series title without smiling).

5 Stars or less for the rating:  4/5 stars

* * * * * * *

Barely a Lady (The Drake's Rakes series)

Synopsis from Goodreads (not my review):

Olivia Grace has secrets that could destroy her. One of the greatest of these is the Earl of Gracechurch, who married and divorced her five years earlier. Abandoned and disgraced, Grace has survived those years at the edge of respectability. Then she stumbles over Jack on the battlefield of Waterloo, and he becomes an even more dangerous secret. For not only is he unconscious, he is clad in an enemy uniform.

But worse, when Jack finally wakes in Olivia’s care, he can’t remember how he came to be on a battlefield in Belgium. In fact, he can remember nothing of the last five years. He thinks he and Olivia are still blissfully together. To keep him from being hanged for a traitor, Olivia must pretend she and Jack are still married.

To unearth the real traitors, Olivia and Jack must unravel the truth hidden within his faulty memory. To save themselves and the friends who have given them sanctuary, they must stand against their enemies, even as they both keep their secrets.

In the end, can they risk everything to help Jack recover his lost memories, even though the truth may destroy them both?

101 Things I Learned in Culinary School by Louis Eguaras with Matthew Frederick

101 Things I Learned in Culinary School may be a small book (approx. 7×5 inches) but it’s packed with a lot of helpful information and advice.  A few things I learned:  how cookware and bakeware are measured; when and when not to add salt; proper frying temperatures; and how to pair wine and food.

The illustrations throughout the book are wonderfully simple yet perfectly show the point being made by the author.  The artwork is black and white which I think suits the format better than color photography.

Louis Eguaras is a culinary professor at The California School of Culinary Arts, Le Cordon Bleu Program and a former White House chef.  Matthew Frederick is an architect, urban designer, teacher, author of the bestselling 101 Things I Learned in Architecture School, and the creator, editor, and illustrator of the 101 Things I Learned series.

This handy little book is going on my gift list for a few friends and family.  I know 101 Things will be a go-to reference on my kitchen cookbook shelf.

Grand Central Publishing/Hachette Book Group

Show Me 5 Saturday -Roses by Leila Meacham

1. Book title: Roses by Leila Meacham

2. Words that describe the book: multigenerational saga

3. Settings or characters:
* Howbutker, TX founded by the Toliver, Warwick, and duMont families.
* Mary Toliver, heir to the cotton plantation
* Percy Warwick, heir to his father’s lumber company

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
* I liked the cinematic feel to the writing. It was like watching a movie from the 1930s or ’40s – I love that era of sweeping epics.
* I think the author did a great job of making her characters come off the page. Appearances, emotions, actions were quite vivid.
* I thought it became a bit overly dramatic a few times – maybe that’s why it reminded me of a movie.
* I loved that it took me away – this would be a good vacation read.

5. Stars or less: 4/5

Goodreads synopsis (not my review):
RosesSpanning the 20th century, the story of Roses takes place in a small East Texas town against the backdrop of the powerful timber and cotton industries, industries controlled by the scions of the town’s founding families. Cotton tycoon Mary Toliver and timber magnate Percy Warwick should have married but unwisely did not, and now must deal with the deceit, secrets, and tragedies of their choice and the loss of what might have been–not just for themselves but for their children, and children’s children. With expert, unabashed, big-canvas storytelling, Roses covers a hundred years, three generations of Texans and the explosive combination of passion for work and longing for love.

Show Me 5 Saturday – Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok

1. Book title: Girl In Translation by Jean Kwok

2. Words that describe the book: Fiction, Immigrants

3. Settings or characters:
* Kimberly Chang, 11 year old who emigrates to the U.S. (from Hong Kong) with her mother. They live in a run-down Brooklyn apartment that has no heat but plenty of insects.
* Aunt Paula, older sister of Kimberly’s mother. She’s bitter and jealous and doesn’t want her sister and niece to ever forget how much they owe her. She and her husband run the factory where Kimberly and her mother work.
* Matt, the boy at the factory who befriends Kimberly. At first he seemed aloof and a little curious about Kimberly but later he became a good friend. He had a tough life working a few jobs to provide for a sick mother and a brother with special needs.

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book:
* I liked that the novel reads like a memoir but is fiction that draws on the author’s own life experiences.
* I love the character of Kimberly. Jean Kwok gives us a young girl full of life and optimism even under the bleakest of circumstances.
* I liked the device Kwok used that showed the difficulty someone who has learned English in her home country has in understanding spoken English in the US (or other country where English is the primary language). She spelled some words incorrectly but as they were heard by Kimberly – which makes for a lot of misunderstanding. It was very effective.
* Kwok describes the factory scenes in detail. That had me thinking she probably experienced this to a certain extent.

5. Stars or less: 4.5/5. Recommended!

Girl in Translation

Goodreads synopsis:
When Kimberly Chang and her mother emigrate from Hong Kong to Brooklyn squalor, she quickly begins a secret double life: exceptional schoolgirl during the day, Chinatown sweatshop worker in the evenings. Disguising the more difficult truths of her life-like the staggering degree of her poverty, the weight of her family’s future resting on her shoulders, or her secret love for a factory boy who shares none of her talent or ambition-Kimberly learns to constantly translate not just her language but herself back and forth between the worlds she straddles. 

Through Kimberly’s story, author Jean Kwok, who also emigrated from Hong Kong as a young girl, brings to the page the lives of countless immigrants who are caught between the pressure to succeed in America, their duty to their family, and their own personal desires, exposing a world that we rarely hear about. Written in an indelible voice that dramatizes the tensions of an immigrant girl growing up between two cultures, surrounded by a language and world only half understood, Girl in Translation is an unforgettable and classic novel of an American immigrant-a moving tale of hardship and triumph, heartbreak and love, and all that gets lost in translation.


The Unnamed by Joshua Ferris

The Unnamed

From the back of the audiobook: Tim Farnsworth is a handsome, healthy man, aging with the grace of a matinee idol.

His wife, Jane, still loves him, and for all its quiet trials, their marriage is still stronger than most. Despite long hours at the office, he remains passionate about his work, and his partnership at a prestigious Manhattan law firm means that the work he does is important. And even as his daughter, Becka, retreats behind her guitar, her dreadlocks, and her puppy fat, he offers her every one of a father’s honest lies about her being the most beautiful girl in the world.

He loves his wife, his family, his work, his home.

And then one day he stands up and walks out. And keeps walking.

* * * * * * *

My thoughts: The Unnamed is a book that I couldn’t stop reading, or rather, listening to. I was lucky enough to get an audiobook. According to the interview at the end this is the first time Joshua Ferris has narrated one of his books – I think he should always narrate his books. His voice is perfect and I felt I was experiencing The Unnamed the way he intended.

The Unnamed is a story about a man with an illness. The illness hasn’t been diagnosed specifically because it can’t be confirmed as either a disease of the mind or the body. You get an idea, early on, what the disease could be. This is also the story of a marriage and what happens when those easily repeated wedding vows come into play. The whole “for better or worse, in sickness and in health” is put to the test. Tim and Jane give it their all and we get to see how it plays out.

Another aspect of The Unnamed is the subject of mental illness. At what point does one lose his tether to a stable life? At what point does one begin to drift? A lot to think about and maybe rethink.

This is not an easy novel. I’m so glad I listened to it. One thing I want to mention about the audiobook is the music composed by Brendan Feeney. It is hypnotic and beautiful and perfect for the book.

Audiobook from Hachette Audio

Show Me 5 Saturday – A Matter Of Class by Mary Balogh

now hosted by Jenners at Find Your Next Book Here

1. Book title: A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh

2. Words that describe the book: Historical Romance

3. Settings or characters: England, Oakridge Park, The Mason house on Portman Square

4. Things I liked/disliked about the book: I liked it all: the clever story, the witty dialogue, the setting, the characters.

5. Stars or less: 5 stars – A nice escape from this never-ending winter. It’s the first Mary Balogh novel that I’ve read. If you’re a fan, please tell me which book I should read next!

Giveaway win from Borders

A Matter of Class

Goodreads synopsis:
Reginald Mason is wealthy, refined, and, by all accounts, a gentleman. However, he is not a gentleman by title, a factor that pains him and his father within the Regency society that upholds station over all else. That is, until an opportunity for social advancement arises, namely, Lady Annabelle Ashton. Daughter of the Earl of Havercroft, a neighbor and enemy of the Mason family, Annabelle finds herself disgraced by a scandal, one that has left her brandished as damaged goods. Besmirched by shame, the earl is only too happy to marry Annabelle off to anyone willing to have her.

Though Reginald Mason, Senior, wishes to use Annabelle to propel his family up the social ladder, his son does not wish to marry her, preferring instead to live the wild, single life he is accustomed to. With this, Reginald Senior serves his son an ultimatum: marry Annabelle, or make do without family funds. Having no choice, Reginald consents, and enters into a hostile engagement in which the prospective bride and groom are openly antagonistic, each one resenting the other for their current state of affairs while their respective fathers revel in their suffering.

So begins an intoxicating tale rife with dark secrets, deception, and the trials of love—a story in which very little is as it seems.

Broken by Daniel Clay

Broken by Daniel Clay: Book Cover

Back of the book: Until that fateful afternoon, Skunk Cunningham had been a normal little girl, playing on the curb in front of her house. Rick Buckley had been a normal geeky teenager, hosing off his brand-new car. Bob Oswald had been a normal sociopathic single father of five slutty daughters, charging furiously down the sidewalk. Then Bob was beating Rick to a bloody pulp, right there in the Buckley’s driveway, and life on Drummond Square was never the same again.
I won this book through a giveaway on Dar’s blog. Thank you so much, Dar! The book took me way out of my comfort zone but that’s not always a bad thing. I’m glad I read Broken.
There is cruelty in this world. Some people use it against others to get through life and then there are those on the receiving end – trying to avoid it and not sure why they can’t. There are decent, honorable people in this world and sometimes bad things happen to them. Broken is a tale that starts with a lie that sets in motion a series of cruel events which have devastating results. Daniel Clay’s debut novel is unlike any book I’ve ever read. It took me on an emotional ride that at times made me laugh but mostly had me wincing. There’s a blurb on the back of the book that says the author “tells the truth about childhood in the modern world”. I think that may be a bit of a stretch – maybe kids are like this in some neighborhoods but I’d like to think it’s the exception and not the norm.

Broken is the nickname assigned to Rick when he can no longer deal with life after the beating he takes from Bob Oswald. He ends up medicated, uncommunicative and rarely leaves his bedroom. No longer is he the young man who was so proud of his new car. I think each character has a bit of ‘broken-ness’ about them – from the single fathers to the motherless children.

Daniel Clay says he was inspired by To Kill a Mockingbird and there are a few similarities. The edition I read has a P.S. at the end of the book where Clay explains the inspiration. I found that quite interesting. Dar at Peeking Between the Pages has a fine interview with the author here.


Cover Image

I won an ARC of Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs (author of Friday Night Knitting Club) AND a tote!

My thanks to Stephanie at for this give-away.