When the Lights Go Out by Mary Kubica

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I love Mary Kubica’s writing. It’s always suspenseful and has a high “can’t put down” rating for me. This novel was no different. I really liked the character of Jessie, though I felt badly for her as she’d had a tough time with her mother’s death and then struggling to figure out her identity (truly her identity, as in, she had no SSN or legal birth certificate).
I don’t want to give away too much, so I won’t spoil anything, but I will say that I had figured out one part of the novel, but had another part — one the author pretty much leads you to (possibly as a red herring) incorrect. I liked this story and will look forward to Ms. Kubica’s next one!
Thank you for my e-copy from Net Galley!

WILDWOOD by Elinor Florence

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I loved Elinor Florence’s Bird’s Eye View, so I was excited to see that she had a new book out: Wildwood. Wildwood tells the story of Molly Bannister, who leaves Arizona with her young daughter to go to northernmost Canada as she has inherited a farm from her great aunt. The conditions are: live on the farm for one year (no plumbing, no electricity) and then you can sell it. Molly needs money and the farm is prime land for oil fracking. She moves north (where it’s way colder than she’s ever experienced!) and slowly pioneers her way through the year, with four-year-old Bridget by her side. Finding her great aunt’s diary from her first year at Wildwood in the 20’s is an added bonus. Along the way, Molly begins to find that connecting with the land may be the best thing that has ever happened to her and her daughter.

I just loved this story – especially since I’m a big fan of a pioneer story and this one essentially had two in it: Molly’s and her great aunt’s. I loved how Molly was tough and self-sufficient, but also overwhelmed by the demands of living off the grid. Molly’s little girl, Bridget, is selective mute, something that is near and dear to me if you know me personally, and I loved the character of little Bridget. It was interesting to read about Canadian winter (I thought we had it bad in New England!) and the indigenous people of Canada as well.

Thank you so much for my review e-copy! I truly enjoyed it!!

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A Note From the Publisher

Susan Schild’s SWEET SOUTHERN HEARTS

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I received this novel from the author via Net Galley, and it was the perfect read for my recent relaxing vacation! This is one of those “slice of life” novels, where realistic characters deal with real world problems, but with an uplifting and positive feel to it.

Here’s the overview:

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Review: THE CANTERBURY SISTERS by Kim Wright

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I got an ARC of this novel through Net Galley and it promptly got swallowed up in my kindle! After rediscovering it, I couldn’t put it down and read it in a little over a day. It is a laugh-out-loud funny, touching, and heart-warming story about a woman who follows her mother’s dying wish to take her ashes to Canterbury Cathedral in England.

Here’s the description from Net Galley:

In the vein of Jojo Moyes and Cheryl Strayed’s Wild, a warm and touching novel about a woman who embarks on a pilgrimage to Canterbury Cathedral after losing her mother, sharing life lessons—in the best Chaucer tradition—with eight other women along the way.

Che Milan’s life is falling apart. Not only has her longtime lover abruptly dumped her, but her eccentric, demanding mother has recently died. When an urn of ashes arrives, along with a note reminding Che of a half-forgotten promise to take her mother to Canterbury, Che finds herself reluctantly undertaking a pilgrimage.

Within days she joins a group of women who are walking the sixty miles from London to the shrine of Becket in Canterbury Cathedral, reputed to be the site of miracles. In the best Chaucer tradition, the women swap stories as they walk, each vying to see who can best describe true love. Che, who is a perfectionist and workaholic, loses her cell phone at the first stop and is forced to slow down and really notice the world around her, perhaps for the first time in years.

Through her adventures along the trail, Che finds herself opening up to new possibilities in life and discovers that the miracles of Canterbury can take surprising forms.

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Oh my goodness — I just loved the character of Che. She is a slightly sarcastic, workaholic introvert, stuck in the middle of this “Broads Abroad” pilgrimage. While each woman is unique and has her own story to tell (part of their walk each day is sharing a story), Che was my favorite and the one we get to know the best.

I once read that “taking a journey” is one of the key plot designs for novels, and this story is no exception. As Che journeys, she finds out more about herself, her relationships, and her true desires in life. Themes of the importance of family and relationships, being true to oneself, self-forgiveness, and that special bond that women share ring throughout this very readable novel, often leaving me nodding my head and thinking, “Yes, that’s exactly how it is, isn’t it?”

Highly recommended! Thank you, Net Galley and Gallery Books, for my review copy!