From the author of the acclaimed, The Dry Grass of August comes a richly researched yet lyrical Southern-set novel that explores the conflicts of gentrification—a moving story of loss, love, and resilience.
It’s 1961 in Charlotte, North Carolina. The neighborhood of Brooklyn is almost entirely made up of black families and businesses. While there are a lot of run down and shabby homes and storefronts, Loraylee Hawkins lives in a nice home with her grandmother, her uncle and her son, Hawk. She works a full-time job and cares for her grandmother and her son.
Loarylee works at a cafeteria and is involved with her boss. A white man. All very secret, after all this is the South in the early ’60s.
The city of Charlotte has declared Brooklyn a blight on the city and has decided to do some gentrification. Which we all know means bulldozing every house and business and putting in buildings no one can afford. This is their home. They were born here and many died here. But now even the graveyard is being removed in the name of progress.
This is a very familiar story for those of us raised in the deep south. The strength of the characters of this cast was extraordinary. This was a community that supported each other, a family that stood their ground and fought for a better life and for respect.
I am so glad I read this one and I highly recommend it!
Cassie is happy. She is one of the only female firefighters in her Austin department. She’s so good at her job she’s about to receive an award for Valor when we first meet her. She loves her job and her team. Cassie is gobsmacked when the presenter isn’t the Mayor but a Councilman. An enemy from high school. Let’s just say he leaves the stage on a stretcher and Cassie may not be making Lieutenant or even have a job left.
Cassie’s mother left her and her father when Cassie was 16 and she isn’t over it or anything else. So when out of the blue she receives a call from Diana, her mother, asking her to move to the Boston area and stay with her for a year while she is having a bit of a problem with her eye.
Reminding herself it is only temporary she heads out knowing that she will have a job with a much smaller and older station with guys she knows don’t want a woman in their boys’ club. But she needs to stay away from Austin and let the dust settle.
Before leaving Austin her Captain had told her to not make waves and DO. NOT. Date. Firemen. Not a problem for Cassie as she doesn’t even believe in love and never dates. The hazing and lack of support at the station is compounded with a new guy who on day one turns her life upside down!
I loved this story. Every character was so well done. This was a tale of perspective, forgiveness, and the complicated love of family. I was so moved by the courage Cassie and her mother had.
Very Well Done!
NetGalley/ August 13th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Press
Summer is in full swing here. Lots of sun, sand, and water. And of course, a good book!
Some of my favorite reads this summer have been:
Oh, what a twisty puzzle this thriller was!
Mean Girls meets the PTA
This is an outstanding novel about freedom, racism, and family.
Another one that tugged at my heartstrings and made me cry!
What is everyone looking forward to reading? At the moment I am reading Campusland by Scott Johnson.
Have a good one! We are under a severe heat warning. I’ll be in the pool!
One is playing a long game. But which one?
They meet at a local tavern in the small town of Belleville, Delaware. Polly is set on heading west. Adam says he’s also passing through.
Yet she stays and he stays—drawn to this mysterious redhead whose quiet stillness both unnerves and excites him. Over the course of a punishing summer, Polly and Adam abandon themselves to a steamy, inexorable affair. Still, each holds something back from the other—dangerous, even lethal, secrets that begin to accumulate as autumn approaches, feeding the growing doubts they conceal.
Then someone dies. Was it an accident, or part of a plan? By now, Adam and Polly are so ensnared in each other’s lives and lies that neither one knows how to get away—or even if they want to. Is their love strong enough to withstand the truth, or will it ultimately destroy them?
Something—or someone—has to give.
Which one will it be?
This one started out at 100 mph and didn’t let up! Lippman has given us a suspenseful tale that took me on a wild ride of What? Who? What? This one was like a Rubik’s Cube. I was changing my mind all the way to the end. And that ending!
Polly is an unlikeable character. Adam is a very likable character. Irving is a jerk. Even though she appeared to be cold and calculating I wanted to find out why. What is the truth and who is going to die in order to keep a plan alive.
Are they in love? Who is using who? Is one of them a killer? Let’s just say Lippman has this layering of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat!
Thanks to William Morrow for the copy!
A heartwarming story of two very strong and independent women. Jenna and Maureen have been best friends forever. Their dream was to go to Paris together after graduation from college. At the last minute, Maureen gets pregnant and has to get married. A short-lived event. Jenna, a nurse, marries Kyle, a surgeon. Bad idea. After having been a single mom for 20 years, she is now an empty nester.
Neither of the friends is into dating. But the house is awfully quiet now. Maybe it’s time to re-create themselves. Plan that trip to Paris now. Until each of them stumbles awkwardly into men they wouldn’t have looked twice at until they did.
Debbie always looks at the bright side of things in her books. Yes, there is heartbreak, misunderstandings, and dreams deferred, but in the end, I was crying like a baby. Because that is what her books do. They make you feel. The characters are so very human and make mistakes, but they are good people. I always feel as if I just had a true heart to heart with my grandmother after one of her books.
NetGalley/July, 16th 2019 by Ballantine Books
A Sometimes in Love Novel
Sadie Gold is ready for something big after her soap opera tour. She wants to be taken seriously and not just seen as rich, spoiled and very well connected. When she is finally offered a part in a hit movie she is thrilled. Right up until she meets her stunt coordinator.
Bo Ibarra is hot, sexy and Sadie’s first love. After a decade the sparks are all still there. But they broke up for reasons that are still in play. The wrong side of the tracks, money, love is never easy. And on top of all of the issues they need to get past, Sadie has a secret she has been keeping all these years and now it’s out and there may be no way to find their way back to each other this time.
I loved the friends and other characters. Melonie Johnson is really good at writing love stories that feel real. And funny. I’m sure we will be seeing much more from this series.
NetGalley/June 25th, 2019 by St. Martin’s Paperbacks
I never meant to lie. That is, I never wanted to.
Philip and Marina Martin. Phoenix royalty. He, the son of a current Senator and She, the director of Phoenix’s Fine Art Museum. Their four-year-old daughter, Amabel completes the beautiful family.
Finn eagerly gives up her office job for a job as Amabel’s nanny. She is a bit impressed with all of the glitz of the family’s lifestyle but more important to her is that she feels included, part of their family.
Much like the movies, it is all just a facade. Behind the doors, you can cut the tension with a butter knife! When one day a young woman asks Finn to give a message to Philip, a chain of events that will lead to everyone’s secrets, including Finns, coming out of the closet! Choices will be made and truths open to the hot Phoenix sun.
Political Thriller, Psychological Thriller, this has it all!
NetGalley/ William Morrow June 18, 2019