Trespassing by Brandi Reeds

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I got this one free through Amazon early reads (Kindle First) for my kindle. Fast and furious, it kept me guessing until the end!

In this Amazon Charts bestselling novel of psychological suspense, a young mother follows a dangerous path to find her missing husband.

Veronica Cavanaugh’s grasp on the world is slipping. Her latest round of fertility treatments not only failed but left her on edge and unbalanced. And her three-year-old daughter, Elizabella, has a new imaginary friend, who seems much more devilish than playful. So when Veronica’s husband fails to return home from a business trip, what’s left of her stability begins to crumble.

Given her family’s history of mental illness, and Elizabella’s insistence that her daddy is dead, Veronica starts questioning herself. Every move she makes is now suspect. Worse still, Veronica is positive that someone wants her and her daughter dead, too—unless it’s all in her mind…

Somewhere beneath her paranoia is the answer to her husband’s vanishing. To find it, she’s led to a house in the Florida Keys. But once there, she isn’t sure she wants to know the truth.

Review: LOST LAKE by Sarah Addison Allen

Love love love…I just love the writing and characters of Sarah Addison Allen’s work. LOST LAKE is no different. I happily received this from Net Galley last month and couldn’t wait to read it. Addison Allen’s stories combine true to life characters grappling with real problems, with a little bit of magic thrown in. They are memorable and heart-warming stories – the kind of books that stay with you long after you’ve read the last page.

In LOST LAKE, young widow Kate Pheris has spent a year grieving her late husband. Her overbearing, but well-meaning, mother-in-law preps Kate and her daughter Devin to move in with her, but instead Kate takes off on a short vacation with Devin to Lost Lake. Kate hasn’t been there since she was twelve, but her memories are of a magical place and long lazy summer days, many spent with her young friend Wes. Lost Lake, though, is on the verge of being sold and turned into condominiums. The owner, Kate’s great-aunt Eby (also a widow), is going to sell and move on with her retirement since times have changed and most people no longer visit or even remember the vacation site exists. Kate’s presence and “return” to Lost Lake cause quite a stir, and soon the townsfolk, along with Kate and an interesting cast of character friends, work to help Eby keep the property.

I’m always a sucker for a happy ending! I also like stories where characters are trying to heal from a loss or past hurt. There is more than one character with wounds in this story, and each has their own storyline.

If you enjoy Sarah Addison Allen’s books (such as THE PEACH KEEPER, THE SUGAR QUEEN, and GARDEN SPELLS), you will enjoy LOST LAKE!

Thank you, Net Galley and St. Martin Press, for my copy!

Here’s a short Goodreads video of Sarah talking about the book and her own life (via You Tube):

Quick Children’s Review: Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski

I recently got this book through Net Galley to review, and let me say right off: it was not what I was expecting. I figured a Lois Lenski book from the 1940’s would be pretty happy and light, telling the story of a little girl who loves/eats/picks strawberries. Instead this book was a fascinating (at least to me) look at life a hundred years ago in Florida, centering on two very different farming families who are trying to survive. The Boyers have just moved to Florida and are trying to make a living farming, including growing strawberries. The Slaters have lived there for generations and are rough and tough. The two families clash and come together throughout the book. Birdie Boyer, the ten-year-old narrator, tells most of the story through her voice. We come to sympathize with Birdie and her family, but grow a sympathy for the Slaters as well.

I can imagine this book being used in the classroom, but, as an educator, I would strongly suggest that teachers be very familiar with it in advance. There are lots of teachable moments in this book; however, there are also some disturbing scenes, too (drunken neighbor, slaughtered animals, beaten schoolteacher, etc.). It reminded me a bit of the Little House books, where you might be reading along and then strangely fascinated by something horrifyingly true, but in my opinion  it was harsher. Some of the book is written in dialect which can be challenging for young readers, too.  I would recommend this book for those in 4th grade and up. I’d be curious about others’ thoughts on it, too.

Thanks, Net Galley, for my preview copy!