Two Truths And A Lie

Two Truths And A Lie by Meg Mitchell Moore

Published:  June 2020 – William Morrow

ARC courtesy of the publisher and Goodreads

Description:

Truth: Sherri Griffin and her daughter, Katie, have recently moved to the idyllic beach town of Newburyport, Massachusetts. Rebecca Coleman, widely acknowledged former leader of the Newburyport Mom Squad (having taken a step back since her husband’s shocking and tragic death eighteen months ago), has made a surprising effort to include these newcomers in typically closed-group activities. Rebecca’s teenage daughter Alexa has even been spotted babysitting Katie.

Truth: Alexa has time on her hands because of a recent falling-out with her longtime best friends for reasons no one knows—but everyone suspects have to do with Alexa’s highly popular and increasingly successful YouTube channel. Katie Griffin, who at age 11 probably doesn’t need a babysitter anymore, can’t be left alone because she has terrifying nightmares that don’t seem to jibe with the vague story Sherri has floated about the “bad divorce” she left behind in Ohio. Rebecca Coleman has been spending a lot of time with Sherri, it’s true, but she’s also been spending time with someone else she doesn’t want the Mom Squad to know about just yet.

Lie: Rebecca Coleman doesn’t have a new man in her life, and definitely not someone connected to the Mom Squad. Alexa is not seeing anyone new herself and is planning on shutting down her YouTube channel in advance of attending college in the fall. Sherri Griffin’s real name is Sherri Griffin, and a bad divorce is all she’s running from.

A blend of propulsive thriller and gorgeous summer read, Two Truths and a Lie reminds us that happiness isn’t always a day at the beach, some secrets aren’t meant to be shared, and the most precious things are the people we love. (publisher)

My take:  I love a good beachy read to start the summer season with so I was thrilled to win Two Truths and a Lie from Goodreads. I’ve read and enjoyed several books by author Meg Mitchell Moore. I like the way she writes about families – there’s always something familiar and relatable about her characters and that is true in this book – but there are big differences here as well. The story moves between two women, Rebecca and Sherri, with other characters filling in their POVs. There’s a lot going on in this book! If a story about a tightly-knit (and over-the-top) group of moms, a new family with secrets, and a picturesque seaside town setting is your kind of read you’ll want to pick up Two Truths and a Lie.

Note:  I also listened to the audio (used an Audible credit). Courtney Patterson’s narration was enjoyable.


The Sweeney Sisters

The Sweeney Sisters by Lian Dolan

Expected publication:  April 28, 2020 – William Morrow

E-Galley courtesy of the publisher and Edelweiss

Description:

Maggie, Eliza, and Tricia Sweeney grew up as a happy threesome in the idyllic seaside town of Southport, Connecticut. But their mother’s death from cancer fifteen years ago tarnished their golden-hued memories, and the sisters drifted apart. Their one touchstone is their father, Bill Sweeney, an internationally famous literary lion and college professor universally adored by critics, publishers, and book lovers. When Bill dies unexpectedly one cool June night, his shell-shocked daughters return to their childhood home. They aren’t quite sure what the future holds without their larger-than-life father, but they do know how to throw an Irish wake to honor a man of his stature.

But as guests pay their respects and reminisce, one stranger, emboldened by whiskey, has crashed the party. It turns out that she too is a Sweeney sister.

When Washington, DC based journalist Serena Tucker had her DNA tested on a whim a few weeks earlier, she learned she had a 50% genetic match with a childhood neighbor—Maggie Sweeney of Southport, Connecticut. It seems Serena’s chilly WASP mother, Birdie, had a history with Bill Sweeney—one that has remained totally secret until now.

Once the shock wears off, questions abound. What does this mean for William’s literary legacy? Where is the unfinished memoir he’s stashed away, and what will it reveal? And how will a fourth Sweeney sister—a blond among redheads—fit into their story? (publisher)

My take: The Sweeney Sisters is the story of three siblings mourning the death of their father, a famous author whose estate is in disarray and it would appear he had some monumental secrets. As they sort through the fallout they are faced with welcoming another sister into their fold. This is just one of the challenges they must deal with as each sister grapples with personal upheaval at the same time. Set in a tony Connecticut town, with the expected well-heeled characters, The Sweeney Sisters is an enjoyable novel that I recommend to fans of messy stories about family, sisters and secrets.


 

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

The Islanders by Meg Mitchell Moore

Published June 11, 2019 – William Morrow

Review copy from the publisher

My take:

The Islanders is a novel that, for me, is a good summer staycation read. Meaning, if I can’t vacation on an island I’d like to read about people who can!

Meg Mitchell Moore’s characters are people who have their reasons for being on Block Island. Joy, a divorced mom of a young teen, is a year-round resident whose business is going through a rough patch. On top of that, her daughter who used to be so easy going is now acting like a normal, emotional teen who doesn’t want to tell her mother everything.

Anthony is hiding out on the island hoping not to be recognized after a very public controversy that cost him his marriage, changed his relationship with his parents, and he hasn’t seen his young son in weeks.

Lu and her family are spending the summer in a rented house (courtesy of her in-laws). Her husband is a physician who is at the hospital more than he’s with his family. That leaves Lu as full time parent to two young sons while dealing with her judgmental mother-in-law.

Personal conflicts for all abound as they deal with family dynamics, secrets, and the truth. The epilogue wrapped things up neatly. It was an interesting trip to the island for this staycationer.


 

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces of Her by Karin Slaughter

August 2018 – William Morrow

Book courtesy of the publisher

Description:

What if the person you thought you knew best turns out to be someone you never knew at all?

Andrea Oliver’s mother, Laura, is the perfect small-town mum. Laura lives a quiet but happy life in sleepy beachside Belle Isle. She’s a pillar of the community: a speech therapist, business owner and everybody’s friend. And she’s never kept a secret from anyone. Or so Andrea thinks.

When Andrea is caught in a random violent attack at a shopping mall, Laura intervenes and acts in a way that is unrecognisable to her daughter. It’s like Laura is a completely different person – and that’s because she was. Thirty years ago. Before Andrea. Before Belle Isle.

Laura is hailed as a hero for her actions at the mall but 24 hours later she is in hospital, shot by an intruder, who’s spent decades trying to track her down.

What is Andrea’s mother trying to hide? As elements of the past return and put them both in danger, Andrea is left to piece together Laura’s former identity and discover the truth – for better or worse – about her mother. Is the gentle, loving woman who raised her also a violent killer? (publisher)

My take:  Being at the scene of a shooting starts a young woman on a journey that will present a side to her mother she didn’t know existed. Andrea witnesses her mother Laura methodically kill the shooter – something she would never expect to happen. A frantic solo car trip with stops in Alabama, Texas, and Illinois quickly ensues and results in the discovery of a huge truth about her mother. When I started reading this novel I didn’t know it would be a page-turner that would take just two days to read. I couldn’t stop reading! There are two time periods that allow the plot to develop: the current time when the shooting occurs and the 1980s when Laura lived a completely different life than the one Andrea knows. That’s all I’ll say. Recommended to fans of the author and a fast paced thriller. I enjoyed it.

Note: I also used an Audible credit. Narrator Kathleen Early did a great job with the various characters’ voices. 


 

Spotlight: Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter

Pieces Of Her by Karin Slaughter

On sale:  August 21, 2018

William Morrow Hardcover

In development for TV from the producer of BIG LITTLE LIES and the writer and director of HOMELAND

Description:

Andrea knows everything about her mother, Laura. She knows she’s spent her whole life in the small beachside town of Belle Isle; she knows she’s never wanted anything more than to live a quiet life as a pillar of the community; she knows she’s never kept a secret in her life. Because we all know our mothers, don’t we?

But all that changes when a trip to the mall explodes into violence. Celebrating her birthday over lunch with her mother, they find themselves in the middle of a deadly shooting and Andrea suddenly sees a completely different side to Laura. While Andrea freezes in fear, Laura is calm, cool, and collected—jumping into action to stop the killer in his tracks. How can a quiet, middle-aged speech pathologist possibly stop a shooter on a rampage? Because it turns out that before Laura was Laura, she was someone completely different. For nearly thirty years she’s been hiding from her previous identity, lying low in the hope that no one would ever find her. But now she’s been exposed, and nothing will ever be the same. 

The police want answers and Laura’s innocence is on the line, but she won’t speak to anyone, including her own daughter. Andrea is on a desperate journey following the breadcrumb trail of her mother’s past. And if she can’t uncover the secrets hidden there, there may be no future for either one of them. Told from Laura’s point of view in 1986 and Andrea’s now, PIECES OF HER begs the question, can you ever truly escape your past? (publisher)


About the author:

Karin Slaughter is one of the world’s most popular and acclaimed storytellers. Published in 120 countries with more than 35 million copies sold across the globe, her eighteen novels include the Grant County and Will Trent books, as well as the Edgar-nominated Cop Town and the instant New York Times bestselling novels Pretty Girls and The Good Daughter. Slaughter is the founder of the Save the Libraries project—a nonprofit organization established to support libraries and library programming. A native of Georgia, Karin Slaughter lives in Atlanta. Her standalone novels Pieces of Her, The Good Daughter and Cop Town are in development for film and television.- Library Journal

 


Early Praise for Pieces of Her:

“Her talent for writing convincingly flawed yet sympathetic characters is in high relief here…Readers will find themselves totally immersed in the suspenseful, alternating story lines and won’t want either of them to end.” – Booklist starred review

“Slaughter reinforces her place at the top of the thriller pack.” – Publishers Weekly

“With an intrigue and suspense-filled plot, Slaughter’s well-crafted, tense, and exhilarating story will keep readers on the edge of their seats.” – Library Journal

Slaughter has outdone herself with Pieces of Her – a novel that sets the standard for psychological thriller writing. Rarely in fiction have the past and the present collided with such force and in such a distinctive and compelling voice.” – Jeffrey Deaver

“Slaughter’s eye for detail and truth is unmatched…I’d follow her anywhere.” —Gillian Flynn

“Her characters, plot, and pacing are unrivaled among thriller writers…” —Michael Connelly

“Karin Slaughter has – by far – the best name of all of us mystery novelists…” — James Patterson

 “One of the boldest thriller writers working today.” — Tess Gerritsen

“A writer of extraordinary talents. Every Karin Slaughter novel is a cause for celebration.” — Kathy Reichs


 

Spotlight/US Giveaway: The Book of M by Peng Shepherd

Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99

About The Book of M: (content courtesy of the publisher)

Set in a dangerous near future world, THE BOOK OF M (Morrow, on sale 6/5/18, ISBN: 9780062669605, $26.99) tells the captivating story of a group of ordinary people caught in an extraordinary catastrophe who risk everything to save the ones they love—a sweeping debut that illuminates the power that memories have not only on the heart, but on the world itself.

One afternoon at an outdoor market in India, a man’s shadow disappears—an occurrence science cannot explain. He is only the first. The phenomenon spreads like a plague, and while those afflicted gain a strange new power, the magic comes at a horrible price: the loss of all their memories.

Ory and his wife, Max, have escaped the Forgetting by hiding in an abandoned hotel deep in the woods. Their new life feels almost normal, until their greatest fear happens to them, and Max’s shadow disappears too. Knowing that the more she forgets, the more dangerous she will become to the person most precious to her, Max runs away while Ory is out foraging for supplies—but he refuses to give up what little time they have left together. Desperate to find Max before her memory disappears completely, Ory follows her trail across a perilous, unrecognizable world, braving the threat of roaming bandits, the call to a new war being waged on the ruins of the capital, and the rise of a sinister cult that worships the shadowless.

As they journey, they search for answers: for Ory, about love, about survival, about hope; and for Max, about a mysterious new force growing in the south that may hold the cure.

This haunting, thought-provoking, and beautiful novel explores fundamental questions of memory and love—the price of forgetting, the power of connection, and what it means to be human in a world turned upside down.  THE BOOK OF M has the unique post-apocalyptic world building of Station Eleven, the dangerous quest for salvation of The Passage and the stunning magical realism and incredible love story that made Exit West a finalist for the Man Booker Prize.


About the author:

Prior to her earning her Creative Writing MFA from NYU on a full scholarship, Peng earned an MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. She worked for several years in the private security industry in both London and Washington DC, where she helped provide protective services to companies operating in hostile environments and war zones, even completing a short-term deployment to Iraq. This experience has given Peng a diverse perspective that she uses to highlight compelling, complex characters from around the globe—India, Iran, etc.—to create a dynamic cast.

 


Praise for The Book of M

“… Sheperd’s debut is graceful and riveting, slowly peeling back layers of an intricately constructed and unsettling alternate future.”— Publishers Weekly 

“Eerie, dark, and compelling, this will not disappoint lovers of The Passage (2010) and Station Eleven (2014).” — Booklist

“First-time novelist Shepherd has crafted an engaging and twisty tale about memory’s impact on who or what we become. For aficionados of literary dystopian fiction such as Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven or those who enjoy stories of cross-country travel.”    — Library Journal

“I was both disturbed and inspired by Max’s and Ory’s journey through apocalypses large and small. Peng Shepherd has written a prescient, dark fable for the now and for the soon-to-be. The Book of M is our beautiful nightmare shadow.” — Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

The Book of M is exciting, imaginative, unique, and beautiful. Shepherd proves herself not just a writer to watch, but a writer to treasure.” — Darin Strauss, bestselling author of Half a Life

The Book of M does a million smart things, but the smartest is to entertain us at the highest level. Peng Shepherd has written a brilliant story that takes the hours and breath away. As you chase Ory and Max, it’s hard to pin down just what makes this book so satisfying—a voice that’s as emotionally compelling as Gone Girl, a novel that’s as thrilling as The Stand.  Prepare to fall in love with your own shadow. And to lose sleep. Shepherd is urgently good, and has written one of those books that makes you look up at two in the morning, to a world that’s new, newly scary, and freshly appreciated: what all the great stories do.” — David Lipsky, New York Times bestselling author of Absolutely American


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The Beach At Painter’s Cove by Shelley Noble

  • Title:  The Beach At Painter’s Cove
  • Author:  Shelley Noble
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  June 2017 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

My take:  The Beach at Painter’s Cove is the story of the Whitakers – a wealthy and eccentric New England family who are on the brink of losing the fabled Muses by the Sea mansion. Through the decades Muses hosted the most notable stars of the art world – a place where artists could practice their craft or just get away and be themselves.

Granddaughter Issy will go down fighting in order to keep her grandmother’s home in the family. That’s not the only issue she’ll face. There are also frustrating family dynamics, intrigue, and general misunderstandings that work into the plot of this multi-generational story. Despite all that, she reconnects with old friends, her grandmother and great-aunt, and a delightful niece who seems to share a lot in common with Issy.

The novel is filled with interesting characters, a lovely setting, and the lesson that change is not always a bad thing. I enjoy a good family drama and that’s exactly what I got with Shelley Noble’s The Beach at Painter’s Cove. A book club guide is included.


About the author:

Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers.


 

Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson

  • Title:  Goodnight From London
  • Author:  Jennifer Robson
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Pages:  400
  • Published:  May 2017 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Description:  From USA Today bestselling author Jennifer Robson—author of Moonlight Over Paris and Somewhere in France—comes a lush historical novel that tells the fascinating story of Ruby Sutton, an ambitious American journalist who moves to London in 1940 to report on the Second World War, and to start a new life an ocean away from her past.

In the summer of 1940, ambitious young American journalist Ruby Sutton gets her big break: the chance to report on the European war as a staff writer for Picture Weekly newsmagazine in London. She jumps at the chance, for it’s an opportunity not only to prove herself, but also to start fresh in a city and country that know nothing of her humble origins. But life in besieged Britain tests Ruby in ways she never imagined.

Although most of Ruby’s new colleagues welcome her, a few resent her presence, not only as an American but also as a woman. She is just beginning to find her feet, to feel at home in a country that is so familiar yet so foreign, when the bombs begin to fall.

As the nightly horror of the Blitz stretches unbroken into weeks and months, Ruby must set aside her determination to remain an objective observer. When she loses everything but her life, and must depend upon the kindness of strangers, she learns for the first time the depth and measure of true friendship—and what it is to love a man who is burdened by secrets that aren’t his to share.

Goodnight from London, inspired in part by the wartime experiences of the author’s own grandmother, is a captivating, heartfelt, and historically immersive story that readers are sure to embrace.  (publisher)

My take:  Goodnight From London is the story of Ruby Sutton, a young American writer who was sent to London to cover the war for her magazine as well as a London magazine. She experienced the Blitz, learned to live without things she’d considered basic necessitiess of life, and along the way met some people who would change her life. It’s a story of hope, determination, survival, friendship and love during very difficult times.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and I thought Jennifer Robson did a wonderful job portraying the spirit of the British people in time of war. Highly recommended to fans of the genre and Jennifer Robson.


 

Every Wild Heart by Meg Donohue

  • every-wild-heartTitle:  Every Wild Heart
  • Author:  Meg Donohue
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Pages:  304
  • Published:  March 2017 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher; LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description:  Passionate and funny, radio personality Gail Gideon is a true original. Nine years ago when Gail’s husband announced that he wanted a divorce, her ensuing on-air rant propelled her local radio show into the national spotlight. Now, “The Gail Gideon Show” is beloved by millions of single women who tune-in for her advice on the power of self-reinvention. But fame comes at a price. After all, what does a woman who has staked her career on being single do when she finds herself falling in love? And is the person who is harassing her in increasingly troubling ways a misguided fan or a true danger to Gail and her daughter, Nic? 

Fourteen-year-old Nic has always felt that she pales in comparison to her vibrant, outgoing mother. Plagued by a fear of social situations, she is most comfortable at the stable where she spends her afternoons. But when a riding accident lands Nic in the hospital, she awakens from her coma changed. Suddenly, she has no fear at all and her disconcerting behavior lands her in one risky situation after another. And no one, least of all her mother, can guess what she will do next… (publisher)

My take:  Every Wild Heart is the story of a mother and daughter. Gail Gideon (GG) is a late-night radio talk show host who lives with her fourteen year old daughter Nic. GG has been divorced from Nic’s father for several years but has an amicable relationship with him.

GG has a fan who seems to be moving into stalker mode so she’s on edge about her daughter’s safety as well as her own. Nic is an anxious girl who would rather stay home than go to school. The one thing she looks forward to is riding her horse. She goes to the stables every day after school and that’s what gets her through the school day. When Nic is injured at the stables life for her and Gigi takes a turn.

The theme of letting go – of anger and fear – runs through the novel. What would happen if Gigi started to follow her heart and see where life could take her?  She can learn a lot from watching her daughter as she starts to live with a braver heart.

I enjoyed how Meg Donohue’s story played out through the perspectives of mother and daughter in alternating chapters. The characters were interesting and seemed authentic and at the end of the novel I wished there were another hundred pages.


 

Fall of Poppies

  • Fall of Poppies (LTER win)Title:  Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War
  • Authors:   Heather Webb, Hazel Gaynor, Beatriz Williams, Jennifer Robson, Jessica Brockmole, Kate Kerrigan, Evangeline Holland, Lauren Willig, Marci Jefferson
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Historical Fiction
  • Published:  March 2016 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher; Library Thing Early Reviewers

Description:  On the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month . . .

November 11, 1918. After four long, dark years of fighting, the Great War ends at last, and the world is forever changed. For soldiers, loved ones, and survivors, the years ahead stretch with new promise, even as their hearts are marked by all those who have been lost.

As families come back together, lovers reunite, and strangers take solace in each other, everyone has a story to tell.

In this moving, unforgettable collection, nine top historical fiction authors share stories of love, strength, and renewal as hope takes root in a fall of poppies.  (Goodreads)

My brief take:  Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War is an anthology of stories about World War I. They revolve around Armistice Day (Nov. 11, 1918) – “where were you then?” and “what happened before and after?”.

I liked all of the stories but one stood out from all the rest: All For the Love of You by Jennifer Robson. It’s about a young American woman in Paris who meets an injured American soldier at her place of work and forms a unique friendship. Circumstances out of their control determine what happens next… until one day when they meet again. I loved the story and will definitely look for more from author Jennifer Robson.

Recommended to fans of historical fiction/romance anthologies – especially with a Great War theme.

US Giveaway: The Ramblers by Aidan Donnelley Rowley

Now Available in Trade Paperback

You can read my review here.

the-ramblers-trade-pb

About:  Set over the course of one life-changing Thanksgiving week, THE RAMBLERS is a sumptuous, accomplished novel about loss, hope, passion and the strength of the human spirit. Native New Yorker Aidan Donnelley Rowley has written a love letter to New York City—its glittering moments and the magic and wonder that are waiting to be discovered in some of its secret corners.

Clio Marsh, an ornithologist at the American Museum of Natural History, has found solace from her broken childhood by studying the ways in which hummingbirds adapt to harsh environments. The Ramble in Central Park is the only place in Manhattan that has truly ever felt like home in the city, and she’s dedicated to introducing other New Yorkers to the beauties of the natural world on her popular bird-watching walks there. But then Clio meets someone and the solitary world she’s carefully constructed threatens to crumble as she struggles to come to terms with her past.

Smith Anderson has been Clio’s best friend since their first days as undergraduates at Yale, when a painful secret bound them together. As a professional organizer to wealthy Manhattanites, Smith’s career is centered on order and peace, but her own life has been falling apart ever since her fiancé mysteriously called off their engagement and quickly married another woman. Now, with her younger sister’s wedding just days away, Smith is spiraling out of control, grasping for answers from her family and from herself.

Tate Pennington, an aspiring photographer, is going through a bitter divorce. Though the iPhone app he created on a whim made him a millionaire nearly overnight, his failed marriage has left him reeling and he’s returned to New York for a fresh start. But Tate finds himself desperate for a real connection and wonders if he’ll have a sense of truly belonging somewhere, with someone, again.

As the emotional chaos of their lives unfolds, Clio, Smith and Tate must learn to let go of the past in order to make room for the future and the uncertainty and promise that it holds.


Praise for THE RAMBLERS

“Rowley once again captures the bright dialog, urban and romantic insecurities, and stylish lifestyle of a group of appealing upper-echelon mid-30s Manhattanites who defy the jaded stereotypes and will have readers rooting for them as they stumble their way to happiness. Irresistible.” – Library Journal, starred review

“I can’t recommend The Ramblers more highly: the book is gorgeously written, deeply moving, and stays with you long after you finish it.” – Huffington Post

“In this spirited, compulsively-readable, sophisticated tale of entangled urban lives, Aidan Donnelley Rowley has written a love letter to New York, full of sparkling innocence and its ensuing heartache. The Ramblers is a pure delight.” – Dani Shapiro, New York Times bestselling author of Devotion

“A wonderfully woven story of how family can hold us back or set us free. The richly drawn characters in The Ramblers remind the reader that we sometimes fear the things we most want. It’s not often that a book embeds you so deeply with the characters that you feel as if you are in their story. Rowley’s finely drawn story of love, loss, fear and friendship wound me around its little finger…” – Lee Woodruff, New York Times bestselling author of Those We Love Most 


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Giveaway ends on October 5, 2016

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

  • Family Tree by Susan Wigg (8:9:16 Wm Morrow)Title:  Family Tree
  • Author:  Susan Wiggs
  • Pages:  368
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  August 2016 – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher; Edelweiss

My take:  Annie Rush is a producer of a television cooking show starring her husband Martin. Annie learned to cook from her grandmother who taught her that just as every recipe has a key ingredient, one’s life is mapped by key events. When Annie discovers her husband in a compromising position she knows this is one of those key events. If that isn’t enough Annie is about to experience a monumental key event.

Susan Wiggs’ story is one of second chances and the willingness to keep going, even under the most dire circumstances. Annie, Fletcher (a man from her past), and even her own parents discover what it takes to go for a second chance in life. Sometimes that means starting from where you are and other times it is starting over from scratch.

If you’re a fan of Susan Wiggs I think you’ll like Family Tree as much as I did. I loved the Vermont setting and all the foodie details. (My review galley didn’t contain any recipes so I don’t know if finished copies will.) It’s a fast read that I thoroughly enjoyed.  Recommended to fans of the author and contemporary fiction.

Spotlight/US Giveaway: When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi

when the moon is low

Now available in Trade Paperback

WHEN THE MOON IS LOW

by

Nadia Hashimi

Praise for WHEN THE MOON IS LOW:

“A must-read saga about borders, barriers, and the resolve of one courageous mother fighting to cross over.”  –  O, the Oprah Magazine

“Expertly depicting the anxiety and excitement that accompanies a new life, Hashimi’s gripping page-turner is perfect for book clubs.”  – Library Journal (starred review)

“A fascinating look at the unspoken lives of Afghani women, separated by generations and miles, yet achingly similar. This is a story to transport you and make you think.” – Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author of The Secret Daughter 


About the book:

In her bestselling debut, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, Nadia Hashimi deftly wove a spellbinding tale of the heartache, hardship and triumph of Afghan women. In her follow-up, When The Moon Is Low, we meet Fereiba – a motherless young girl whose passion for learning helps her survive early heartbreak to become a successful educator paired in an arranged marriage that beats the odds and proves a love match. But when the Taliban come to power, Fereiba’s happy life crumbles, and she and her three children are forced to flee Kabul, headed for a glimmer of hope thousands of miles away in London, where Fereiba’s sister offers the promise of family and asylum.

With forged papers in hand, Fereiba and her children trek into the darkness of the Iranian mountains, eventually traversing Greece, Italy and France on their quest for stability and freedom. Through Fereiba’s eyes, we learn the kindnesses and cruelties experienced by thousands of refugees throughout Europe each day. But in a terrible turn of fate, Fereiba is separated from her oldest son, teenaged Saleem, in a busy market place in Greece. Will destiny ultimately make right the many losses and heartaches Fereiba has endured and reunite her with her son? Will Saleem, forced into adulthood under the worst circumstances, be able to fend for himself and be reunited with his family?

Nadia Hashimi paints a richly detailed, moving, and ultimately hopeful story about the strength and resilience of women and their families, the plight of migrants, and the refugee crisis we see in numerous regions of the world today.

Like The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, When The Moon Is Low is a heartfelt revelation of a novel, extremely readable and thought-provoking, with characters who haunt the reader long after the last page is turned.


About the author:

Nadia Hashimi’s parents left Afghanistan in the 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Hashimi visited Afghanistan for the first time. She lives with her family in suburban Washington, D.C. where she works as a pediatrician.

Social Media links:


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Pound For Pound by Shannon Kopp

  • pound for pound by Shannon KoppTitle:  Pound for Pound – A Story of One Woman’s Recovery and the Shelter Dogs who Loved Her Back to Life
  • Author:  Shannon Kopp
  • Genre:  Memoir
  • Pages:  288
  • Published:  October 2015 – William Morrow
  • Source:  Publisher via FSB Associates

Description:  “The dogs don’t judge me or give me a motivational speech. They don’t rush me to heal or grow. They sit in my lap and lick my face and make me feel chosen. And sometimes, it hits me hard that I’m doing the exact thing I say I cannot do. Changing.”

Pound for Pound is an inspirational tale about one woman’s journey back to herself, and a heartfelt homage to the four-legged heroes who unexpectedly saved her life.

For seven years, Shannon Kopp battled the silent, horrific, and all-too-common disease of bulimia. Then, at twenty-four, she got a job working at the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, where in caring for shelter dogs, she found the inspiration to heal and the courage to forgive herself. With the help of some extraordinary homeless animals, Shannon realized that her suffering was the birthplace of something beautiful. Compassion.

Shannon’s poignant memoir is a story of hope, resilience, and the spiritual healing animals bring to our lives. Pound for Pound vividly reminds us that animals are more than just friends and companions—they can teach us how to savor the present moment and reclaim our joy. Rich with emotion and inspiration it is essential reading for animal lovers and everyone who has struggled to change.  (publisher)

My take:  Pound for Pound is a deeply personal look at bulimia, the disease that dominated author Shannon Kopp’s life for several years. As hard as it was to read the details I found it difficult to put the book down as she explained how she went into the downward spiral of the disease and ultimately began to climb out of it.

If you’re an animal lover you’ll understand why it was her connection to volunteering at dog shelters that started her on the road to self-discovery and wellness. She also had people in her life who stood by her during the toughest days. Also important was learning when to ask for help. I’m impressed by the inner-strength she found to keep going.

I applaud Kopp’s willingness to share such private details in order to possibly help someone else on the same journey. If you have someone in your life who struggles with an eating disorder or you just want to learn more about it I highly recommend this memoir.


Author Bio
Shannon Kopp, author of Pound for Pound, is a writer, eating disorder survivor, and animal welfare advocate. She has worked and volunteered at various animal shelters throughout San Diego and Los Angeles, where shelter dogs helped her to discover a healthier, more joyful way of living. Her mission is to help every shelter dog find a loving home, and to raise awareness about eating disorders and animal welfare issues.

For more information visit her website www.shannonkopp.com and follow her on Facebook and Twitter.


Reviews
“Anyone who has ever loved an animal, battled depression, or struggled with an addiction of any kind will not be able to put down Pound for Pound . . . brave account of the healing power of shelter dogs is not only a page-turner, but a true inspiration.” — Laura Maloney, former Chief Operating Officer of the Humane Society of the United States, current COO of Panthera

“Every now and again a book comes along that can help millions of people deal with all sorts of difficult and challenging times and guide them to change their ways for a better and healthier life. Pound for Pound is one of those inspirational gems. Shannon Kopp’s personal story — the incredibly hard work she had to do and her opening her heart to the dogs with whom she worked — is a must read. She shows how compassion, trust, and love can open the door for people and dogs in need to heal and to grow together” — Marc Bekoff, author of Rewilding our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence

“Don’t miss Pound for Pound — a uniquely touching memoir about a woman bravely struggling with bulimia and self-judgment, ultimately healed by the miraculous power of the rescue dogs she devotes herself to.  It’s a story you’ll always remember, a testament to the healing energy of our canine companions, who ask only for love and then give it back in spades.” — Glenn Plaskin, Author of Katie Up and Down the Hall, The True Story of How One Dog Turned Five Neighbors Into a Family

Pound for Pound is an emotional reminder of the strength of the human spirit and how dogs are more than our best friend; they can also be guides, inspiring us to be compassionate, share joy, and live life in the moment.” — Booklist

Forever Beach by Shelley Noble

  • Forever Beach (6:7)Title:  Forever Beach
  • Author:  Shelley Noble
  • Genre:  Women’s Fiction
  • Pages:  432
  • Published:  June 2016 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher

Description: 

One woman struggling to hold on to what she has,

One woman learning to forgive

Their lives entwined by one little girl. 

Sarah Hargreave is anxious to finalize the adoption of her foster daughter Leila. Once a foster child herself, Sarah longs to become Leila’s “forever” family and give her all the love and stability she was denied in her own childhood. When Leila’s biological mother suddenly reappears and petitions the court for the return of her daughter, Sarah is terrified she’ll lose the little girl she loves to the drug addicted mother who abandoned her.

Having grown up in foster care, Ilona Cartwright fights for the rights of children who have no one to fight for them. But to Sarah she is Nonie Blanchard, who grew up in the same group foster home as Sarah. They’d promised to be best friends forever, then Nonie was adopted by a wealthy family, and Sarah never heard from her again. Sarah still hurts from the betrayal. But Nonie harbors her own resentment toward the past. 

Mistrustful of each other, the two women form a tenuous alliance to ensure Leila’s future, but when Leila’s very survival is on the line, they’ll have to come to terms with their own feelings of hurt and rejection to save the child they both have come to love. (publisher)

My take:  Sarah is on track to adopt Leila, her four-year old foster daughter, when she receives a letter stating the girl’s birth mother is contesting the case. Supervised visits will begin soon putting Leila back in harm’s way for sure unless Sarah and her support team of friends and professionals can stop it.

Shelley Noble takes readers inside the world of Child Protection services that attempts to save children from horrible circumstances. My heart breaks thinking about the defenseless children caught up in a legal system. Noble’s story made me feel the frustration of the people who only want to help them, save them – each one a hero.

I loved Sarah’s friends who became her family and stood by her when life got tough. I was bothered by the emotional drama between Sarah and the ad litem attorney caused by a misunderstanding when they were girls (in the foster care system). But, perhaps the insecurity experienced by both when they were young was the cause for the drama. That issue aside, I liked Forever Beach and recommend it. Book club questions are included at the end. I think this would be a good choice for book groups.


Shelley Noble ap1Shelley Noble is a former professional dancer and choreographer. She most recently worked on the films, Mona Lisa Smile and The Game Plan. She is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Liberty States Fiction Writers. Shelley lives in Spring Lake Heights, New Jersey.

Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery by Jenny Colgan

  • summer at little beach street bakery (3:22)Title:  Summer At Little Beach Street Bakery
  • Author:  Jenny Colgan
  • Series:  Little Beach Street Bakery #2
  • Pages:  416
  • Genre:  Contemporary Fiction
  • Published:  March 2016 – William Morrow Paperbacks
  • Source:  Publisher via LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Description:  A thriving bakery. A lighthouse to call home. A handsome beekeeper. A pet puffin. These are the things that Polly Waterford can call her own. This is the beautiful life she leads on a tiny island off the southern coast of England.

But clouds are gathering on the horizon. A stranger threatens to ruin Polly’s business. Her beloved boyfriend seems to be leading a secret life. And the arrival of a newcomer—a bereft widow desperately searching for a fresh start—forces Polly to reconsider the choices she’s made, even as she tries to help her new friend through grief.

Unpredictable and unforgettable, this delightful novel will make you laugh, cry, and long for a lighthouse of your own. Recipes included.  (publisher)

My take:  Jenny Colgan takes readers back to Mount Polbearne. I loved seeing what was new in the lives of Polly, Huckle and all the rest. We meet a few new characters and yes, Neil the puffin is back.

Colgan’s novel lived up to my expectations. There’s love, loss, humor and drama in the lives of the residents of the tiny seaside village in Cornwall we first visited in Little Beach Street Bakery. It was great to visit and my hope is that we might someday meet up again.

Even though Colgan provides a brief catch-up of the first book I highly recommend reading it before this book because I enjoyed it so much. Fans of small town settings and characters will find a lot to love in these books.