Nothing is what it seems. No one is who they seem. Everyone has a past and everyone has secrets. So what happens when the past and the present collide? Chaos.

Teenagers are cruel. We know that. Intolerant of anyone who is not the norm. This is a story of a lot of people who look pretty on the outside but are rotten on the inside. It’s a story of being true to yourself, no matter the cost. It’s a story of a mother’s love for her child and what she will do to protect that child.

There were quite a few topics front and center in this book. Domestic Abuse, Trans hate crimes, Intolerance, and judgment.

Maybe there were too many topics. Told from Olivia’s point of view and from Lily’s point of view we go from past to present. I have to say there were so many subplots that I didn’t care about a bit. Some of it was a little unbelievable. Wrapped up in a bow. Unfortunately, I didn’t feel a connection to any of these people and they all seemed a bit shallow.

NetGalley/October 4, 2022, RHPG/Ballentine


A wonderful story of mothers and daughters. The things they say and the secrets they don’t. An overbearing mother and a widowed and wounded daughter and granddaughter.

Mila has been betrayed. By the father of her child. Now she is being bossed around by her mother. When Mila agrees to buy a rundown guest house in the wilds of Cornwall. The idea is to restore it to its former glory and run it as a B and B. And Magda is going full steam ahead. Running all over Mila and her daughter. Magda is a cold woman. She is used to getting her way and runs roughshod over everyone unless they can help her in some way.

Mila just wants quiet to raise her daughter. And now that they are here in the house, her daughter’s stuffed rabbit is now talking. Is it magic? Because he/she has company. Legends say that an enchanted white hare runs these woods. But does it bring bad luck or good luck? Right now it’s not looking too rosy.

Everyone is keeping secrets. Some are worse than others and finding out those secrets may break her bond with her mother, or is her mother also keeping secrets?

I loved this tale. Little Jane was such a character, as were most of them. Mothers and daughters are one of the most difficult relationships and most are based on assumptions and secrets. This was wonderful!

NetGalley/October 4th, 2022 by Simon Schuster


This is the story of Leah Fern. She is better at being alone than with people. Born in a carnival trailer, her mother a magician, Leah was put to work at six years old, telling fortunes. And she is a natural. She definitely has a gift, but her mother’s chaotic life finds her leaving her daughter with a friend and never coming back. All her life Leah has wondered and fantasized about where her mother is.

Life has been hard for her. Being different is often hard. She is overwhelmed with feelings whenever she touches anyone and now on her 21st birthday, she is ready to move on. Like to heaven move on.

A knock at her door changes that and everything else she thought she knew as a mysterious package may lead to finding out what happened with her mother. And along the way, she learns a lot about herself.

Following the wishes of her former neighbor, she sets out to retrace the steps her mother took with this woman that Leah barely knew. At times frustrated and angry, she still pushes on to find who she is and why her mother left.

This is a book that I couldn’t put down. Leah’s character was so well done. We watched her evolve along the way and I was so invested in the outcome.

Beautiful Story!

NetGalley/ October 4th, 2022 by Melville House

An enchanting novel about the transcendent powers of the imagination, the magic of the threshold between past and present, and the courage it takes to love, The Strange Inheritance of Leah Fern explores the unlikely, at times adversarial, and ultimately redemptive relationship between a young woman who has forgotten how to live and a dead woman who summons her to remember. (less)

HESTER by Laurie Lico Albanese

A vivid reimagining of the woman who inspired Hester Prynne, the tragic heroine of Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter, and a journey into the enduring legacy of New England’s witchcraft trials.

Who is the real Hester Prynne?

A lot of historical facts blended with some imagination give us a look at who Hester may have been.

It’s the early 1800s when Isobel Gamble sails from Scotland to Salem with her new husband, Edward. She is a gifted seamstress who sees in full color. He is an apothecary who has sampled too much of his own medicine forcing them to leave England and Scotland for a fresh start. On the journey, the captain’s life is saved by Hester and Edward and he is forever in her debt.

Soon after they arrive, Edward leaves, joining the captain as a medic on his ship. He also stole all of Isobel’s money she had hidden. He leaves her alone and with no money. Nothing but her sewing. Isobel isn’t one to sit and moan. She finds work sewing.

One day she meets a young Nathaniel Hathorne and they are drawn to each other. His family with a history of cruelty and witch-hunting. Her family, the witches. They come together as she sews for him, always with a message sewn into her work. A red letter A. Because A is red to Isobel.

There is so much going on in this book. The story of immigrants who weren’t treated kindly, of women who were easy to call witches if they didn’t follow the ‘rules’. With the early times of the underground railroad and how even freed slaves were rarely free.

It was a beautifully researched and written story and I loved it.

NetGalley/ October 4th, 2022 by St. Martin’s Press


A dark comedy!

Only one thing stands in the way of Laurel Applebaum’s happiness…Doug Applebaum.

Ever found yourself fantasizing about single life? No husband to cook for, clean for, and basically, you feel like you’ve adopted a man-child? Yes, yes I have. And this dark comedy is just that.

Laurel has had enough of Doug. And to tell you the truth about 3 chapters in I also had had enough of Doug. And when she receives a phone call from the hospital telling her he has been in an accident, her imagination takes over and she feels maybe, at last, he is gone! But, alas, he is just needier!

While Laurel works herself to death at a supermarket and comes home to do everything but wipe his bum!

This takes a few dark turns, but really after Coved, isn’t everyone ready to get rid of a spouse?

Only in your head of course, because murder is illegal. And in the end, Laurel will discover her strength and how to put her own needs ahead of those who won’t lift a finger to help themselves.

I have to admit to yelling more than a few times, “Just leave him!”. But as I have been married twenty years I can say it just isn’t that easy. I really enjoyed this one!

NetGalley/August 30th, 2022 by MIRA

Lucky Girl (How I became a horror writer) A Krampus Story by M. Rickert

Who doesn’t love a good scary story at Christmas? Isn’t that what everyone does at Christmas? Tell scary stories? This is a really good scary story that takes place over many Christmas Days.

Ro, real name Roanoke, is trying to establish herself as a writer. In the Horror Genre. When she meets four different people at a local diner, all of them alone on a holiday, they become a group of friends, in a loose sense, and continue to share a Christmas dinner and gift exchange. At the first one she suggests everyone tell a scary story and boy does Grayson have a good one! Krampus is always a hit!

Ro has her own scary Christmas story. And it is going to tie in with one of these people. But, which one?

Years later Grayson asks to host Christmas and it turns bad quickly. This is a short story but I loved it! The author is so good at writing scary stuff and this one is just perfect.

NetGalley/September 13, 2022, Macmillan/Tor-Forge

Lucy by the Sea by Elizabeth Strout

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Elizabeth Strout brings us more of Lucy!

From Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author Elizabeth Strout comes a poignant, pitch-perfect novel about a divorced couple stuck together during lockdown–and the love, loss, despair, and hope that animate us even as the world seems to be falling apart.

As the world grinds to a slow halt with a pandemic, Lucy is told by William to pack up and be ready to leave. Now. She thinks he is overreacting and he is in a full-blown panic!

Staying in a small house in Maine with her ex-husband isn’t Lucy’s idea of a good time. She misses her home and the city and her daughters, who have also taken refuge out of the city. She is also still mourning the death of David. Isolated in Maine for who knows how long, they make the best of it. They even make friends, at a social distance. But the day-to-day enforced solitude is grinding. People get on each other’s nerves.

But there is so much more, as in all of her books. How do we show empathy, kindness, and most importantly, forgiveness? Lucy will learn much about her own strengths and weaknesses and will discover that love is love and no matter how far apart we are, love stays strong.

I am always in awe of this author’s writing. The characters aren’t perfect by a long shot! But that is where we learn to do better.

NetGalley/September 20, 2022, Random House/Penguin

Personally, I was thrilled to find out the author will be in Dallas and then tickled pink to find out she will be in OKC as well! I’ll report back


An American President Goes Insane

Sound familiar? Well, it should because now we know it can happen.

He’s America’s most brilliant president ever. He’s also a psychopath.

Keegan Barrett, former director of the CIA, has easily transitioned to the Oval Office. Only six months into his term, h comes up with an off-the-books plan to use the CIA on home soil to get rid of his enemies. And he is ruthless. The type of ruthlessness that comes from thinking you are the smartest person on earth and no one can stop you.

With no one to keep him in check, he orders two agents, Liam and Noa, to carry out his plan. No questions asked. Only they aren’t quite comfortable with their roles and when the President finds out there will be hell to pay. Unless they can find a way to outsmart the psycho in the oval office before the blowback destroys the country.

I really enjoyed this one! Very on topic for right now. It’s scary because we now know it is possible!

NetGalley/  September 12th, 2022 by Little, Brown, and Company


A Vera Stanhope Novel #10

Since I have recently finished binge-watching the BritBox series Vera, I was happy to receive a copy of this newest DCI STANHOPE novel!

We are back on Holy Island for this one. Fifty years ago a group of high school kids and their young teacher went on a retreat there and stayed at the one-time convent with a nice chapel. A place to sit and be still.

They formed that tight bond that teenagers do, feeling everything so deeply. But on their first reunion, one of the girls argues with one of the guys and leaves in a huff, none of them worrying about the tides. And that is a death that ties them together. The priest, the playboy turned novelist, the broken woman who lost a husband and a baby, the strongest couple who now is the weakest. They all have secrets. No one is telling the truth.

When one of them is found hanging from a beam in his room, Vera and her team step in. Vera has no qualms about digging for answers in sensitive matters. Even though the man had recently been fired because of sexual misconduct, he didn’t seem upset about it. So why is he dead?

What are all of these people hiding? And Vera needs to figure that out quickly or there will be more deaths.

As in all good Vera stories, there was laughter, confusion, tears, and a few gasps!

Cleeves always gives us good mysteries!

NetGalley/ September 06, 2022, St. Martin’s Press

the ways we hide by Kristina McMorris

From the author of the wonderful Sold on a Monday comes another heartfelt story full of all the feels.

A story set during World War II of an illusionist who was recruited by British Intelligence and the ingenious use of Monopoly as a tool.

Fenna Vos is from Michigan. She knows what hardships are and she knows how to survive. As the war rages on overseas, she is working as an assistant to an escape artist. While she is the mastermind of the act. She controls it all. And this is one of her survival mechanisms. Control.

Just as she is fed up with her partner in the act, a man approaches her about working with British military intelligence. She works to design escape aids. MI9 is looking for those with special skills to end this war.

So Fenna becomes an inventor. Her loyalty will be tested and she may never be able to escape her own past.

This is a beautiful story of survival, courage, and overcoming when the odds are against you. And who knew about the Monopoly angle? I did not and I love it!

NetGalley/September 6th, 2022 by Sourcebooks Landmark

About the Author:

KRISTINA MCMORRIS is a New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today bestselling author of two novellas and six historical novels, including the runaway bestseller SOLD ON A MONDAY with over a million copies sold. The recipient of more than twenty national literary awards, she previously hosted weekly TV shows for Warner Bros. and an ABC affiliate, beginning at age nine with an Emmy Award-winning program, and owned a wedding-and-event-planning company until she had far surpassed her limit of “Y.M.C.A.” and chicken dances. Kristina lives near Portland, Oregon, where she somehow manages to be fully deficient of a green thumb and not own a single umbrella. For more, visit