WISH YOU WERE HERE by Jodi Picoult

Wish You Were Here

Diana is making a name for herself in the art world. She has her life planned and is on track to be married by thirty, have kids, move to the burbs and she isn’t even engaged! Her boyfriend, Finn, is busy being a surgical resident in New York City.

Days before her birthday they will leave for a vacation to the Galapagos. Everything is moving along fine.

But the night before they leave, Finn tells her he can’t go. There is some type of highly contagious virus sweeping through the country and he can’t leave. He wants her to go. She wants to stay but in the end she goes.

On arrival, the island is shut down. Quarantine. With no internet, phone service or mail service, she is completely alone. Her only link to Finn is an occasional email and she writes on postcards she found in her apartment on the island. 

She makes friends with a local teenage girl and ends up making friends with the entire family and she is awfully attracted to the girls father, Gabriel. Alone, she is looking at every choice she has made and wondering if when she returns she will still be the same.

There isn’t a lot I can say about the rest without spoiling all of your fun. I can say this is a beautiful, timely, and heartbreaking story of love, resilience, and adapting to overcome your circumstances.

I cried throughout the book and I think I needed that.

Well Done!

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021  Ballentine

MARRIAGE CAN BE MISCHIEF by AMANDA FLOWER

Marriage Can Be Mischief (An Amish Matchmaker Mystery #3)

An Amish Matchmaker Mystery

This is the third Amish Matchmaker Mystery. Millie Fisher is a widow. Her husband died long ago and she still mourns for him. But she is also a nosy little thing. Which makes her the go-to person when a body is found. People tell her everything and her friend Lois goes where she can not. Together they are an unstoppable force.

Harvest, Ohio is Millie’s hometown and she loves the town and her life there. She is a spot-on matchmaker and a good listener as well.

When her old friend, Uriah returns to Harvest, Millie is happy to see him. At one time they were sweet on each other but then along came her true love. Uriah married and moved to Indiana. Lately, Uriah has been working in the village as a groundskeeper and when he doesn’t show up for work, Millie and Lois have a bad feeling.

While they are out looking they come across the police and a film crew by the ravine. A skeleton has been uncovered and it looks old. Could it be Uriah’s sister who disappeared years ago? Is that really why Uriah is here?

Long ago his sister, Galilee, disappeared in a snowstorm and her husband was found dead in the buggy with a knitting needle in his neck. The sheriff had assumed she killed her husband and then fell into the ravine.

Millie and Lois are once again sticking their necks out to solve a murder. But someone is willing to kill to keep that secret and Millie may be in danger.

I love this series. Millie is such a fun character and those goats need a story of their own!

NetGalley/November 30th, 2021 Kensington


NO SHADOW WITHOUT LIGHT by LUKE GRACIAS

No Shadow Without Light

The long-awaited sequel to The Devil’s Prayer.

On 06/06/06, the world’s population crossed 6.66 billion. Any further increase could only occur at the cost of other species and future generations.

The rise of the population has reached critical mass. This in turn has triggered the Devil’s Game. A hunt around the world for twelve missing pages of the Devil’s Bible which holds the Devil’s Prayer.

It is a game with very real consequences. Jess Russo, daughter of Denise and sister to Siobhan, is also the daughter of the devil. After her mother’s murder, the hunt began for the pages she had stolen. Every time Jess releases a page chaos ensues. This is a real game of good versus evil.

Siobhan is in a race with her sister to find the pages and release them before mankind disappears. And while she and a lot of very interesting characters are on the hunt, someone is hunting her.

This one had everything. Templars, Doomsday Chest, and tombs of Amir Temur and all the way to Wuhan.

I had to read this slowly. There was a lot to digest and think about. To be honest I’m still thinking about it. The end was a total surprise.

A very timely read and I would highly recommend it!


NetGalley/October 4th ,2021 by Authors Upfront


Unsettled Ground by Claire Fuller

Unsettled Ground

What if the life you have always known is taken from you in an instant? What would you do to get it back?

This is a rather dark story. Julius and Jeanie are twins. 51 years old and still living with Mom, Dot, in an isolated cottage with very little to call their own. They don’t even own the house. It is a rental and inside is everything they know. The garden supplies their food both animals and vegetables.

Out of the blue Dot dies of a stroke. And the vultures begin circling. How will they survive? Will they be removed from the only home they know? Dot didn’t leave a lot behind unless secrets count. And oh, they do!

There is a lot of darkness and poverty in this tale. Fuller always has spot-on characters and these two are no different. We watch as they keep pushing on. And begin to see things they never did before.

It isn’t a light read, but it is a worthy one.

City of Time and Magic by PAULA BRACKSTON

City of Time and Magic (Found Things #4)

Book Four in the Found Things Series finds our Xanthe still upset about Liam who was snatched in time by Mistress Flyte. She is determined to find a way to get him back in his own time and by her side.

I was thrilled that Xanthe gets to meet Elizabeth from Brackston’s The Witch’s Daughter!

Out of the blue, she is summoned to a home where not one but three things are singing loudly to her. But which one will take her to Liam? The writing slope is definitely loud but the mourning brooch and a beautiful hat pin are vying for her attention.

, Unable to take all three, she chooses the writing slope and ends up in the home of a Time Stepper and Elizabeth! From there, things get very complicated. By finding Liam, Xanthe also finds out that Lydia may have stolen Liam, but it was for a good reason. There are Spinners who are using their gift to enrich themselves and others. They are a ruthless group that has plans for Liam to help make more money.

This was such a good one! Elizabeth crossing over to Xanthe and the story of her life with Erasmus intersects nicely with Lydia’s story. Which is a shocker. For this case, she needs to bring in the big gun. Harley! Oh my, what a time I had with Harley in Regency England!

Brackston’s vivid descriptions are spot on and her attention to detail is exceptional. I can honestly say this is my favorite Historical Fiction/Time-Slip Series.

NetGalley/November 16th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Press

The First Christmas by Stephen Mitchell

The First Christmas: A Story of New Beginnings
A Story of New Beginnings

In The First Christmas, Stephen Mitchell brings the Nativity story to vivid life as never before. A narrative that is only sketched out in two Gospels becomes fully realized here with nuanced characters and a setting that reflects the culture of the time. Mitchell has suffused the birth of Jesus with a sense of beauty that will delight and astonish readers.

This is a very interesting look at the Nativity. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the individual. Even an ox and a donkey contribute. We watch as a young Mary struggles to understand what is being asked of her and what it means. Joseph struggles as well.

We hear from the shepherds, the Wise Men, and even the Inn Keeper. Not in any Biblical way either. Just imagine what actual human beings would think and talk about.

I enjoyed the research and all of the interpretations. The story moved me more than the differing biblical ones.

NetGalley/  November 9th, 2021 by St. Martin’s Essentials

THE DARK HOURS by MICHAEL CONNELLY

The Dark Hours (Renée Ballard, #4; Harry Bosch Universe, #35)

Ballard and Bosch Novel

It’s New Year’s Eve and LAPD Detective Renee Ballard is sitting under an overpass waiting for the traditional rain of bullets at the stroke of midnight. Paired with another female officer on loan from the Hollywood sex crimes unit. They are trying to catch a duo of rapists before they strike again. Only Lisa seems more interested in her boyfriend.

At midnight someone is using the noise and confusion to murder a former gang member gone straight. Called out Renee goes to the scene. This isn’t a case of bullets raining down. This shot came from close up. And the bullet leads her to one of Bosch’s cases.

As they team up to find a killer, the killer is making plans for them.

Who doesn’t love Bosch? And Connelley kept it very real. With everything from Black Lives Matter to defunding the police and the pandemic as well. There is a lot of distrust of the police by the community and he gives us all of that. We get a lot of Ballard and she really won me over in this one.

Suspenseful and solid all the way!

NetGalley/November 9th, 2021 by Little, Brown and Company

A Dress the Color of the Moon by JENNIFER IRWIN

A Dress the Color of the Moon (Dress #2)

The follow-up to A Dress the Color of the Sky is finally here. And yes, it was worth the wait.

Prudence Aldrich is a sex addict fresh out of 5 weeks of rehab. She learned a lot at Serenity Hills. She faced quite a few demons and struggled to maintain her control over that addiction.

Five weeks isn’t going to magically cure her. She knows this in her head. But a lifetime of building walls, and being out of control, acting impulsively, and expecting to be hurt will not be easy to overcome.

When Prudence comes home to a new house that Lily has obtained for her and Christian, Prue is annoyed and grateful. Lily plays a big part in this book and her story goes a long way in explaining her own need for control and the firm friendship she has with Prue.

While Prudence settles in with Christian and goes back to work at the design firm, every day is a test. Every day she must decide to make good decisions, to go to meetings, and to stay away from men. That one is hard since a lot of how she sees herself is caught up in sex.

You don’t just wake up one day and become an addict. Of anything. That behavior comes much earlier in life. Whatever trauma you go through as a child, you carry with you forever. You find tools that help you cope and they are not usually the healthy kind. Prudence falls and lets herself down a lot. But she gets back up and keeps trying. When you grow up feeling less than, you grow up thinking everyone has their life together except you.

Everything is more complicated when Alistair shows up. Yes, he is a hottie with a British accent that makes Prue drop her pants around him. But he has way more problems than either of them understand yet. And while her emotional growth really comes through with this guy, she is still vulnerable.

In the meantime, Mike is having his own troubles after the death of Gloria. He is questioning his path as well. Can all of these beautiful but flawed people ever be free of the past?

Abuse comes in many forms. But it’s all abuse. And as a child that shapes our view of ourselves and the men and women in our world. You can put on a facade of perfection but inside you still feel unworthy and broken. We judge ourselves so harshly.

This book is raw, gut-wrenching, heartbreaking and it resonated with me so much so that I read it three times and made copious notes! I sobbed over this sentence. “All of this stemmed from feeling less than as a child”. That was an arrow to my heart.

I have been in therapy for years. All of my sisters have. And it did nothing. I shared the first book with my sister and it changed our lives. We don’t have to be perfect for someone to love us. We can mess up as many times as it takes and someone will still love us unconditionally. We can break the chain with our own families. We are enough. That and so much more touched me deeply.

I am hoping we hear more about Prudence and the imperfect and yet perfect cast of characters in her world.

Jennifer Irwin bleeds her story onto the pages for all of us to see and know that we are not alone and for that, I will be forever grateful.

Glass Spider Publishing October 30, 2021.

FAN CLUB by ERIN MAYER

Fan Club

In this raucous psychological thriller, a millennial office worker finds relief from her crippling ennui in the embrace of a cliquey fan club, until she discovers the group of women is bound together by something darker than devotion.

The first thing I want to say is this isn’t a psychological thriller. But if you are into super fans and celebrity worship, this may be for you.

Our narrator is yet another gloomy millennial looking for something other than the life she has. She has a job at an online website for women. Basically data entry. She is bored. Until one night at a bar,she hears something in the latest child actor turned pop star. And all of a sudden she is obsessed. Almost stalkerish. When a like- minded colleague finds out, she is invited to be part of a group of supposed adults who worship her music. And so begins her tenuous hold on reality.

These women are Mean Girls. Of course, they do horrible things and the ending left me with more questions than answers.

NetGalley/ October 26th, 2021 by Mira



Oh William! by Elizabeth Strout

Oh William!

The Pulitzer Prize-winning, #1 New York Times bestselling author traces the enduring bond between a divorced couple in a poignant novel about love, loss, and the family secrets that can erupt and bewilder us at any point in life.

The amazing Ms. Strout has brought us back to Lucy. Reading a book by this author is like having someone talking to you about their life. There aren’t a bunch of descriptions to clutter the simple, and beautiful conversation.

Lucy tells us about her first husband, William, in this story. Their relationship is what it is. They take each other as they are. Friends, parents and secret keepers. We see the story of how they met and how and why they divorced. There is no drama in the telling of infidelity. Again, it is what it is. And that empathy towards each other is what is so beautiful. There is no judgment. Just support given and received.

Secrets long kept come to light and I loved how these two handled them. Lucy learns quite a bit about herself as well. And how others view her. And she accepts this and adjusts. Again, no drama, no extra stuffing, just a crystal clear voice of calm.

I connected at once with her almost stream- of- consciousness style of writing. It was so easy to slip into her world. A story of life, love and ,a lot of empathy.

NetGalley/ October 19th, 2021 by Random House