The Wonder Boy of Whistle Stop by Fannie Flagg

I love love love Fannie Flagg’s books and have read them all. Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe is probably my favorite, so I was thrilled to see this new title come up on Net Galley, telling more of Buddy’s story and the story of the people of Whistle Stop. Ms. Flagg’s books are like wrapping yourself in a cozy comforter and are reminiscent of Jan Karon’s Mitford series. You love the place, you love the people, you don’t want it to end.

Thank you for the gift of another story about these characters, Ms. Flagg!

(And yes, this is the same Fannie Flagg as from Match Game in the 70’s!).

Description

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • A heartwarming novel about secrets of youth rediscovered, hometown memories, and the magical moments in ordinary lives, from the beloved author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe

“A gift, a blessing and a triumph . . . celebrates the bonds of family and friends—and the possibilities of recovery and renewal.”—The Free Lance–Star

Bud Threadgoode grew up in the bustling little railroad town of Whistle Stop with his mother, Ruth, church-going and proper, and his Aunt Idgie, the fun-loving hell-raiser. Together they ran the town’s popular Whistle Stop Cafe, known far and wide for its fun and famous fried green tomatoes. And as Bud often said of his childhood to his daughter Ruthie, “How lucky can you get?”

But sadly, as the railroad yards shut down and Whistle Stop became a ghost town, nothing was left but boarded-up buildings and memories of a happier time.

Then one day, Bud decides to take one last trip, just to see what has become of his beloved Whistle Stop. In so doing, he discovers new friends, as well as surprises about Idgie’s life, about Ninny Threadgoode and other beloved Fannie Flagg characters, and about the town itself. He also sets off a series of events, both touching and inspiring, which change his life and the lives of his daughter and many others. Could these events all be just coincidences? Or something else? And can you really go home again?

The Doctor of Aleppo by Dan Mayland

This past summer, the very pleasant Dan Mayland reached out to me about his novel The Doctor of Aleppo. This is a gripping and vividly told story, at times heart-breaking, at times edge-of-your-seat, of a Syrian doctor who crosses paths during wartime with a young couple.

Here’s the overview:

Description

Dan Mayland, author of the bestselling Mark Sava spy novel series, pairs a thriller writer’s sensibilities with a gripping story of hope and redemption against the backdrop of war.

While working in the ancient Silk Road city of Aleppo, American Hannah Johnson and her Swedish lover Oskar are drawn into the mounting turbulence of the impending Syrian civil war.

After Oskar is wounded at a street protest one evening, he and Hannah cross paths with Dr. Samir Hasan, a renowned surgeon. As the protests swell into all-out war, Dr. Hasan tends not only to Oskar, but also risks his life, his practice, and his family to tend to a nephew the government has branded an insurgent.

Dr. Hasan’s humanitarian activities come to the attention of a vengeful, Javert-like secret police officer whose son’s death on Dr. Hasan’s watch triggers a series of events that will drag Hannah and Oskar deeper into the war and put Hannah and Dr. Hasan in the officer’s crosshairs.

Both intimate and sweeping in scope, The Doctor of Aleppo lends insight into how the most brutal, devastating war of the twenty-first century is mirrored on the personal scale, leaving scars that can never be healed.

I have to say – this was a incredibly well-written book, as I have vivid memories of scenes from it (and I read it in Aug/Sept). I haven’t read many novels taking place in Syria, to be honest, but this one really stayed with me. At the end, I had mixed feelings (where’s my tidy bow to tie up everything??) but the author has offered to send an epilogue and recipe (!!) from a reader to those who are interested, so look up Mr. Mayland at danmayland.com if you are interested!

I love stories of redemption and courage and, as Mr. Mayland reminded me I once wrote on my blog “ordinary people doing extraordinary things”, so I loved this book. You will, too. It’s definitely on my holiday list for gifting!

Thanks for sending me your novel (via Net Galley), Mr. Mayland!

About the author:

Dan Mayland is an author and professional geopolitical forecaster, helping nonprofit, private, and government organizations navigate a changing world. His Mark Sava spy series was informed by his experiences in the Caspian region and Middle East. Raised in New Jersey, Mayland now lives in Pennsylvania with his wife and two children, in an old stone farmhouse he and his wife have restored.

White Ivy by Susie Yang

Wow — this was an incredible read. White Ivy is the story of a young Chinese-American girl who grows into a selfish and amibitous young woman. It is a fascinating look at race and social class, with an emphasis on white privilege and what it means to be privileged and why that privilege is so alluring. I wanted to like Ivy as a character, but I honestly didn’t, as I felt she was incredibly self-centered and self-serving. Don’t look for redemption or pureness of heart in this novel — it is somewhat dark, at times almost gritty, and yet so true in its depictions and story that you can’t help but be awed by it. An incredible first novel, Yang has a way or presenting action in a paragraph and then ending with a sentence or two of analysis that gets right to the core of the emotion and motives of the characters.

Unforgettable — definitely will be on my top reads list of 2020.

Thank you for my review copy!

Description

***LONGLISTED FOR THE CENTER FOR FICTION’S FIRST NOVEL PRIZE***

From prizewinning Chinese American author Susie Yang, this dazzling coming-of-age novel about a young woman’s dark obsession with her privileged classmate offers sharp insights into the immigrant experience.

Ivy Lin is a thief and a liar—but you’d never know it by looking at her.

Raised outside of Boston, Ivy’s immigrant grandmother relies on Ivy’s mild appearance for cover as she teaches her granddaughter how to pilfer items from yard sales and second-hand shops. Thieving allows Ivy to accumulate the trappings of a suburban teen—and, most importantly, to attract the attention of Gideon Speyer, the golden boy of a wealthy political family. But when Ivy’s mother discovers her trespasses, punishment is swift and Ivy is sent to China, and her dream instantly evaporates.

Years later, Ivy has grown into a poised yet restless young woman, haunted by her conflicting feelings about her upbringing and her family. Back in Boston, when Ivy bumps into Sylvia Speyer, Gideon’s sister, a reconnection with Gideon seems not only inevitable—it feels like fate.

Slowly, Ivy sinks her claws into Gideon and the entire Speyer clan by attending fancy dinners, and weekend getaways to the cape. But just as Ivy is about to have everything she’s ever wanted, a ghost from her past resurfaces, threatening the nearly perfect life she’s worked so hard to build.

Filled with surprising twists and a nuanced exploration of class and race, White Ivy is a glimpse into the dark side of a woman who yearns for success at any cost.

Harlequin Blog Tour for THE FORGOTTEN SISTER by Nicola Cormick

I so happy to be part of the blog tour for this engaging new novel that bridges between Tudor times and current day. The Fogotten Sister tells parallel stories that deftly weave together into one novel of intrigue, romance, and mystery.

BOOK SUMMARY: 

In the tradition of the spellbinding historical novels of Philippa Gregory and Kate Morton comes a stunning story based on a real-life Tudor mystery, of a curse that echoes through the centuries and shapes two women’s destinies…

1560: Amy Robsart is trapped in a loveless marriage to Robert Dudley, a member of the court of Queen Elizabeth I. Surrounded by enemies and with nowhere left to turn, Amy hatches a desperate scheme to escape—one with devastating consequences that will echo through the centuries…

Present Day: When Lizzie Kingdom is forced to withdraw from the public eye in a blaze of scandal, it seems her life is over. But she’s about to encounter a young man, Johnny Robsart, whose fate will interlace with hers in the most unexpected of ways. For Johnny is certain that Lizzie is linked to a terrible secret dating back to Tudor times. If Lizzie is brave enough to go in search of the truth, then what she discovers will change the course of their lives forever.

BIO: 

USA Today bestselling author Nicola Cornick has written over thirty historical romances for Harlequin and HQN Books. She has been nominated twice for a RWA RITA Award and twice for the UK RNA Award. She works as a historian and guide in a seventeenth century house. In 2006 she was awarded a Masters degree with distinction from Ruskin College, Oxford, where she wrote her dissertation on heroes.

This was a great read! I am a HUGE Tudor fan, and I thought it was quite clever the author blended and paralleled history with present. The mystery kept me guessing and the romance was fun as well.

A fun and satisfying read, especially if you a bit past-obsessed as I am!

Thank you for my review e-copy and making me part of the tour!

Here’s some links for more info:

SOCIAL:

Author Website: https://www.nicolacornick.co.uk/

TWITTER: https://twitter.com/NicolaCornick

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nicola.cornick/ 

Insta: https://www.instagram.com/nicolacornick/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/63843.Nicola_Cornick 

BUY LINKS: (not affiliated with BBNB)

Harlequin 

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble 

Books-A-Million

Google

iBooks

Kobo

Harper Collins Blog Tour for: The Friendship List by Susan Mallery

I love a good read about friends in the summer, and this heart-warming story about two friends learning to discover all that life has to offer was just the thing I needed! Ellen and Unity have been best friends forever, but Ellen has sacrificed her personal life in order to be a wonderful single mom and Unity is still mourning the loss of her young husband in the military. They both are ready for a new lease on life and challenge each other to do things out of their comfort zone (hence the “friendship list”). This was a fun read, at times laugh-out-loud funny, and both these characters reminded me of myself when I was single at 35. One note – there is sex in this book. Just letting you know!!

Thank you for my review e-copy and for making me part of the tour!

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Already a worldwide success in mass market and trade paperback formats, Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story about two best friends who are determined to help one another shake things up and live life to the fullest…only to discover that possibilities are everywhere–especially in the most unexpected of places.

Ellen and Unity have been best friends basically since birth, but they couldn’t be more different. Unity married her childhood sweetheart just after high school and became an Army wife, moving from base to base…until her husband’s shocking death in the line of duty leaves her a widow. Grief-stricken, it’s time for Unity to come back home to Ellen—the only person she can trust to help her rebuild her life. But Ellen has troubles of her own. Boys never seemed to notice Ellen…until one got her pregnant in high school and disappeared. Her son is now 17 and she’s wondering what to do with herself now that he’s heading off to college and he’s literally her entire world.

But now that Ellen and Unity are reunited, they’re done with their stale lives. It’s time to shake things up and start living again, knowing that they’ll always have one another to lean on. So they create a list of challenges they have to accomplish–everything from getting a tattoo to skydiving to staying out all night. And whoever completes the most challenges is the winner. But with new adventures and love just around the corner, there’s no such thing as losing…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship and romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—forty million copies of her books have been sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two Ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as Mom.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @susanmallery

Instagram: @susanmallery

Author website: https://www.susanmallery.com/

BUY LINKS: provided by Harper-Collins and not affiliated with BBNB

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-a-Million

Indie Bound

Kindle

Nook

Google Play

Apple Books

Kobo

Walmart

Target

Bookshop.org

YA Blog Tour for The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale

I’m so happy to take part in the blog tour for this suspenseful YA novel: The Summer I Drowned by Taylor Hale. This was one I could not put down. You know I love a good YA suspenseful mystery!

Here’s the overview:

Title: The Summer I Drowned

Author: Taylor Hale

Publisher: Wattpad Books

Release Date: May 26, 2020

Genre: Teens & YA

ISBN: 9781989365182

Price: $10.99 (USD)

Description:

Five years after almost drowning, Olivia Cathart returns home to Caldwell Beach determined to face her fears and take some risks—not just by swimming, but by opening her heart. Hoping to rekindle her friendships, she’s excited about a carefree summer with her best friends Keely and Miles. But life in the sleepy town has changed, and no one and nothing is as it seems.

When a series of startling crimes threaten Olivia’s fragile state, she is plunged into a terrifying game of cat and mouse. Her only solace from the chaos is West, Miles’s disowned and ruggedly handsome brother, but even he can’t answer the question on everyone’s minds—is Olivia really in danger or is it simply all in her head?

Author Bio:

Taylor Hale was born in Southwestern Ontario, and started writing on Wattpad in 2015. When she isn’t writing, she can be found bartending at a live music venue, and thinking up her next idea. The Summer I Drowned is her first novel.

Fun, fun, fun! I always like a book with a strong, female, teen protagonist. If I could have changed anything, I would have had less focus on the romance piece and more on the action. I also had a chuckle in that every character seemed to have a unique “smell” that I really haven’t found in real life, something like “He smelled like balsam and cinnamon”. “She smelled like vanilla and lavender”. “He smelled like ocean breeze and hickory”. Things like that. In real life I’m more inclined to say, “Mmmm – what’s that smell??”

Thank you for my copy and for having me as part of the tour! I would recommend this book for older YA readers due to sexual content and “heavy” content or potential triggers (e.g. drowning, relationship abuse, animal abuse, parental neglect, teen drinking, drinking and driving, sexual assault, etc.).

Wedding at the Lakeside Resort by Susan Schild

I was lucky to be part of the early reading team for this title and I just loved it! I love this series and I relate so much to the main character, Jenny, who has found a new career and love post-40. In this installment, Jenny and Luke are planning their wedding but Luke is tied up with work, Jenny doesn’t really want to have a big shin-dig and has lots to do with running the resort, and who is mucking up the neighbor’s abandoned property? Jenny and Luke keep their spirits high while dealing with the intricacies of life, romance, work, and impending nuptials. And they have two lovable dogs and a miniature horse named Levi. Every time I read one of these books I just want to have a miniature horse – adorable!


Clean reading and heart-warming!

Thank you SO much for letting me in early on this one, Ms. Schild, and for my e-ARC! Happy Pub Day – June 25!

Harlequin Blog Tour for: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

I’m thrilled to be part of the blog tour for Heather Gudenkauf’s This Is How I Lied, a suspenseful mystery featuring police detective Maggie O’Keefe (I hope it is the start of a series!).

This was a fast-moving and suspenseful read, focusing on the murder of Maggie’s best friend twenty years earlier.

Here’s the overview:

Description

Gudenkauf proves herself the master of the smart, suspenseful small-town thriller that gets right under your skin.” —Gilly Macmillan, New York Times bestselling author of The Nanny

Everyone has a secret they’ll do anything to hide…

Twenty-five years ago, the body of sixteen-year-old Eve Knox was found in the caves near her home in small-town Grotto, Iowa—discovered by her best friend, Maggie, and her sister, Nola. There were a handful of suspects, including her boyfriend, Nick, but without sufficient evidence the case ultimately went cold.

For decades Maggie was haunted by Eve’s death and that horrible night. Now a detective in Grotto, and seven months pregnant, she is thrust back into the past when a new piece of evidence surfaces and the case is reopened. As Maggie investigates and reexamines the clues, secrets about what really happened begin to emerge. But someone in town knows more than they’re letting on, and they’ll stop at nothing to keep the truth buried deep.

Check out these other riveting novels of suspense by bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf:

The Weight of Silence
These Things Hidden
One Breath Away
Little Mercies
Missing Pieces
Not a Sound
Before She Was Found

Me again!! I had not read any of Ms. Gudenkauf’s books before – I need to look them up! I recommend this one to mystery lovers, especially if you like a strong, female protagonist. The pacing was solid and the characters well-developed.

Thank you for making me part of the tour!

Author Bio:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

Buy Links: (provided by Harlequin; NOT affiliated with BBNB)

Harlequin

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @hgudenkauf

Instagram: @heathergudenkauf

Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor

Goodreads

Blog Tour for: Cross Her Heart by Melinda Leigh

I was so happy to be asked to be part of the blog tour for Melinda Leigh’s latest thriller: Cross Her Heart which was published 3/31/20 by Montlake Publishing. This was a thrilling and suspenseful read and I could not put it down! I really liked the main character of Bree, and it looks like this is the first in a series that centers on her – yeah! I always like a mystery that gives a deep look at the main character (e.g. their past, their family, how they keep house, their pets, etc.) so this was a good choice for me.

Here’s the overview:

Description

A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.

For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

A Note From the Publisher

#1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh is a fully recovered banker. After joining Romance Writers of America, she decided writing was more fun than analyzing financial statements. Melinda’s debut novel, She Can Run, was nominated for Best First Novel by the International Thriller Writers. She’s also garnered Golden Leaf and Silver Falchion Awards, along with two nominations for a RITA and three Daphne du Maurier Awards. Her other novels include She Can Tell, She Can Scream, She Can Hide, She Can Kill, Midnight Exposure, Midnight Sacrifice, Midnight Betrayal, Midnight Obsession, Hour of Need, Minutes to Kill, Seconds to Live, Say You’re Sorry, Her Last Goodbye, Bones Don’t Lie, What I’ve Done, Secrets Never Die, and Save Your Breath. She holds a second-degree black belt in Kenpo karate, has taught women’s self-defense, and lives in a messy house with her family and a small herd of rescue pets. For more information, visit http://www.melindaleigh.com.

I highly recommend this book if you like a well-written mystery!

Thank you for making me part of the tour and for my kindle copy!

Please See Us by Caitlin Mullen


Description

In this sophisticated, suspenseful debut reminiscent of Laura Lippman and Chloe Benjamin, two young women become unlikely friends during one fateful summer in Atlantic City as mysterious disappearances hit dangerously close to home.

Summer has come to Atlantic City but the boardwalk is empty of tourists, the casino lights have dimmed, and two Jane Does are laid out in the marshland behind the Sunset Motel, just west of town. Only one person even knows they’re there.

Meanwhile, Clara, a young boardwalk psychic, struggles to attract clients for the tarot readings that pay her rent. When she begins to experience very real and disturbing visions, she suspects they could be related to the recent cases of women gone missing in town. When Clara meets Lily, an ex-Soho art gallery girl who is working at a desolate casino spa and reeling from a personal tragedy, she thinks Lily may be able to help her. But Lily has her own demons to face. If they can put the pieces together in time, they may save another lost girl—so long as their efforts don’t attract perilous attention first. Can they break the ill-fated cycle, or will they join the other victims?

Evocative, eerie, and compelling, Please See Us is a fast-paced psychological thriller that explores the intersection of womanhood, power, and violence.

You know I love my mysteries! This was a fast-paced and well-plotted one, focusing on a teen and another young woman in Atlantic City who cross paths and also cross paths with a serial killer. Lily is trying to regroup after a break up but “Clara” is the character that I really liked: a teenage girl who has been deserted by her mother and who makes her living by reading fortunes. She actually does seem to have some sort of “gift”, but is basically taking advantage of people. I liked the character development in this story and the ending as well.

Recommended if you like mysteries. Thank you, Gallery Books, for my ARC through Net Galley!