January 2017 recap


WHAT I…DID

• Not gonna lie, getting a new mattress was the highlight of January ha. So comfy and roomy (we upgraded from a Queen to a King) and a month later I’m still all hearty-eyed.

• I came down with a brutal cold and essentially spent an entire week doing nothing but cuddling my pup and binging on Murdoch Mysteries and A Series of Unfortunate Events.

• I discovered Burt’s Bees launched their own protein powder and now I’m obsessed ♥

• January was actually really relaxing with lots of get-togethers with my favorite girls and a taco party that Matt and I hosted! I’m so glad I had a few weeks of laid-back nothingness, because I took on a new position at work at the end of January and it’s been nothing but insanity – not in a bad way, but in a constantly-on-the-go, learning-the-ropes deal.

• Thank God for scheduled posts, because the new job seriously left me exhausted after my first week! I only read 10 books in January (compared to the 11 I read in January last year, which I guess isn’t too bad!) and now that I’m getting into the swing of things at work I’m hoping to jump back into my reading groove – though I don’t plan on coming anywhere close to the 200 books I read last year! This year I’m all about pleasure reads and right now I’m working my way through a huge stack of non-fiction books I grabbed from my library.

WHAT I…REVIEWED

THE HUNDRED LIES OF LIZZIE LOVETT BY CHESLEA SEDOTI was extremely misleading and ultimately a huge letdown. When she was in high school, Lizzie Lovett was the It Girl. Now she’s graduated and ends up disappearing while on a camping trip with her boyfriend. What should have been a really fun YA mystery was instead awkward and absurd: the main character becomes wholly obsessed with Lizzie, going so far as to take her job and much-too-old boyfriend (she’s 17, he’s 25). There’s a side plot with a traveling band of hippies and an absolutely ridiculous theory as to what happened to Lizzie and I just couldn’t get behind this one. Spoiler warning for my review.

LOVE AND FIRST SIGHT BY JOSH SUNDQUIST, however, is a fantastic YA novel and a much needed palate cleanser. Born blind, Will has been able to navigate through life just as well as any sighted teen. The first day at a mainstream high school leads to a few unfortunate (and highly embarrassing) moments – talk about making an impression! When he’s given the opportunity to undergo an experimental surgery that could grant him vision for the first time, he goes for it. But he soon comes to learn that the world isn’t quite what he expected. Though the story was fairly average, Sundquist’s attention to detail took this book to a new level and I was deeply impressed.

THE WICKED CITY BY BEATRIZ WILLIAMS is yet another utterly delectable read and most likely another novel of hers that will make its way to my top reads of the year. The Wicked City alternates between the 1990s and the Jazz Age and I was head over heels in love. Firecracker main characters, hidden speakeasies, a swoony-worthy romance, this book had it all and my only complaint is that the ending perfectly set things up for the next book…which won’t be out until this summer. You’re killing me, Williams!

THE GIRL BEFORE BY JP DELANEY deserves all the buzz it’s getting. The story follows two women two years apart as they each rent the same house. It’s clear from the start that something bad happened to the first woman (thus allowing the house to become available once more) and the book twists and turns its way to the reveal.

DREADNOUGHT BY APRIL DANIELS is terrible.

MY HUSBAND’S WIFE BY JANE CORRY is a debut bursting to the brim with elements (an unhappy marriage, a murder trial, a little girl who knows more than she lets on, a neighbor’s affair, Asperger’s) but they all meshed together and worked. There’s a time jump halfway through the novel that really ramps up the drama. I enjoyed this one a lot and was purposefully vague in my review so as not to spoil anything!

JANUARY MINI-REVIEW ROUND UP is a mix of everything: two DNFs, a dud, and an excellent historical romance novella!

RIGHT BEHIND YOU BY LISA GARDNER has Gardner sitting comfortably among my favorite authors. Each book I’ve read has been great – and nicely work as standalones (lucky for me, since I’m someone who jumps around in series). Eight years ago, nine-year-old Telly saved himself and his little sister by murdering their abusive father. Since then, the siblings have been in the foster care system and their lives have taken wildly different paths. Sharlah is about to have her adoption finalized while Telly has been bouncing from home to home and is close to finally aging out of the system. A double murder points to Telly and Quincy and Rainie have reason to believe Sharlah is in grave danger. I was totally hooked!

BY YOUR SIDE BY KASIE WEST is a novel that was fun for the afternoon, but I don’t see myself ever rereading it. Two teens are trapped in the local library over the weekend – though because neither are big readers, the setting really serves no purpose and the book could have taken place anywhere. There are a surprising number of heavy topics and I am pleased to say I thought Kasie handled each one gracefully. That said, there’s a scene that had me seeing red.

WHAT I…BLOGGED

DECEMBER 2016 RECAP
2017 BOOKS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON: NON-FIC
2017 BOOKS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON: SCI-FI/FANTASY
2017 BOOKS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON: CONTEMPORARY
2017 BOOKS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON: HISTORICAL FICTION
2017 BOOKS I NEED TO GET MY HANDS ON: MYSTERY/SUSPENSE

THE SATURDAY SIX.
1/7
1/14
1/21
1/28

WEEKLY WRAP-UPS
1/1
1/8
1/15
1/22
1/29

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi

I Liked My Life by Abby Fabiaschi
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Source: ARC via publisher (Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
Summary: Maddy is a devoted stay-at-home wife and mother, host of excellent parties, giver of thoughtful gifts, and bestower of a searingly perceptive piece of advice or two. She is the cornerstone of her family, a true matriarch…until she commits suicide, leaving her husband Brady and teenage daughter Eve heartbroken and reeling, wondering what happened. How could the exuberant, exacting woman they loved disappear so abruptly, seemingly without reason, from their lives? How they can possibly continue without her? As they sift through details of her last days, trying to understand the woman they thought they knew, Brady and Eve are forced to come to terms with unsettling truths.

Maddy, however, isn’t ready to leave her family forever. Watching from beyond, she tries to find the perfect replacement for herself. Along comes Rory: pretty, caring, and spontaneous, with just the right bit of edge…but who also harbors a tragedy of her own. Will the mystery of Maddy ever come to rest? And can her family make peace with their history and begin to heal?
Genre: Contemporary, Fiction

On the outside it would appear that Maddy had it all: a husband whose high-profile job enables her the luxury of staying at home, she’s a mother to a smart and independent daughter who will be heading off to college soon, her advice is always poignant and spot-on (whether it’s wanted or not), and she never misses the opportunity to really hammer home a point with song lyrics. Maddy was kind and warm and loving, always full of laughter and sass. …so why did she commit suicide?

Heartbroken and feeling as though their worlds have shattered, Brady and Eve are left to make sense of Maddy’s death and carry on with their lives. But first they have to learn how to live with each other. Until Maddy was no longer there, Brady and his daughter never knew how much of a rock Maddy had been. She was the foundation of their family, the organizer, the mediator. Now father and daughter tip-toe around one another, exiting a room as the other enters, unable to handle awkward conversations that quickly dissolve into arguments.

For her part, Maddy isn’t quite ready to let go. She’s still hanging around and does her part to nudge her husband and daughter together. As she watches over her family, she does her best to comfort them – and ultimately find her replacement.

Hear me out: I was initially hesitant to read this one (a woman who committed suicide and is now a ghost who tries to find her husband a new wife? Really?) but I am so glad I took a chance on this book. Told through the eyes of Maddy, Brady, and Eve, I Liked My Life allows the reader a glimpse into each character’s mind as they battle with their own personal loss: of a family, a wife, a mother. Maddy’s personality was big and booming even after death and I absolutely loved her voice. She was witty and funny, always ready with a sarcastic remark or whispering gentle suggestions to those still living. Brady is overcome with grief, hoping to find answers in Maddy’s diary – every marriage has ups and downs, but did Maddy hate her life to the point that she felt the only option was to jump off the roof of the university library? As for Eve, my heart went out to her. While her friends are eager to exchange gossip and shop for prom dresses, Eve’s grief sets her apart, ultimately making her realize how trivial her friends’ problems are. Twenty years from now (ten, even five) will it matter if your team lost the big game or that the most popular guy in school likes someone else?

Maddy is determined to get her family to move on and she discovers Rory, a recently-divorced woman who ends up becoming Eve’s math tutor. Maddy’s plan? Use the after school tutoring as a way to introduce Rory to Brady, where Maddy will work a little afterlife magic in the form of seemingly out-of-the-blue thoughts, dinner invitations, drugstore run-ins. It says a lot about Maddy and her love for her family that she was so driven to find someone to step into her role as wife, mother, nurturer. Someone Brady can come home to at night, someone Eve can confide in.

As the novel progresses and the truth behind the cause of Maddy’s jump is revealed, I couldn’t look away. I was absolutely glued to the page, alternating between wanting to know more and not wanting the book to end. I’m extremely impressed that this is Fabiaschi’s debut. The characters practically leap off the page and are so wonderfully crafted that they truly felt like people I could run into at the grocery store. The story could have easily given itself over to grief and spiral into the overly dramatic and cheesy category, but Fabiaschi handled Maddy’s death with grace, ultimately making I Liked My Life a novel not full of sadness, but one of hope, of love – I have to admit, I did NOT expect to find myself giggling while reading this book! Don’t let the subject matter scare you off, I Liked My Life is a remarkably sweet, oftentimes funny and tremendously witty novel (with some fantastic shout-outs – Maddy had a great taste in music!) I’m very, very excited to see where Abby Fabiaschi goes from here!

weekly wrap-up 2/5

Last week I mentioned a new position I was taking at work – I started that role this week and…hoo boy. It’ll certainly be a process, but so far so good!

• My oldest niece turned EIGHT on Wednesday (what!) and I’m still trying to wrap my mind around it. She was just a baby like yesterday!

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? Lisa Gardner is seriously becoming one of my favorite authors. Her latest, Right Behind You is yet another glued-to-the-page read about two siblings who came from an abusive home. One night, nine-year-old Telly murdered his father in an attempt to protect himself and his little sister, only for them both to wind up in foster care without any further contact. Eight years later Sharlah is about to have her adoption finalized, while Telly is still being bounced around from home to home, just about ready to age out of the system. When a double murder points to Telly, Quincy and Rainie soon have a VERY good reason to believe Sharlah is in danger. Seriously, if you love fast-paced novels that completely pull you in, look no further.

I’m normally a big fan of Kasie West’s books, but By Your Side wasn’t as excellent as I had hoped. Two teens trapped inside a library all weekend should have been a total ME book, but I felt the summary was a little misleading. There are multiple ‘heavy topics’ in this one, though, and I was really surprised by that – and by how well West handled them!

This week’s the saturday six. features a very interesting dinosaur discovery, a Stephen King reading guide, Albert Einstein, and more!


Murderous Mayhem at Honeychurch Hall by Hannah Dennison
Oh, Honeychurch Hall. I love this series (my double review for books 1 & 2 + my review of book 3 and author chat) and legit shrieked when this book appeared at my door this week! Kat was the host of a popular Antiques Roadshow-esque television program who left her job to open an antiques shop with her mum. Only her mother ended up purchasing a cottage home on the Honeychurch Hall estate instead. A new mystery with each book plus SUCH a colorful cast of characters had me zooming through each one and I’m so excited for the fourth! Thank you, Minotaur!

The Garden of Small Beginnings by Abbi Waxman
Three years after her husband was killed in a car accident, Lilian is finally starting to feel as though she can carry on with her life. She’s able to get her two girls up and off to school and she can make it in to work. When her boss signs Lilian up for a gardening class, she has no idea what awaits. I typically avoid novels about widows and grief, but this one is already getting buzz and I’m intrigued. Thank you, Berkley!

the saturday six.

• I’m loving this Stephen King reading guide over on Bookriot. It’s an excellent starting point for new readers – he’s not all horror!

• These make ahead smoothie packs not only sound delicious (Berry Refreshing, Blueberry Bliss, Sunshine in a Glass!!) but they’re perfect for those crazy busy mornings!

• UM soft tissue remains might have just been discovered in a dinosaur rib!!

• As if you needed yet another reason to avoid fast food, a recent study showed 33% of fast food packaging contains toxic chemicals. Think about that the next time you’re in line for your double bacon grease burger. yuck.

• Albert Einstein was also an incredibly talented violinist.

• Lastly, 8 ways to be kinder to the planet.

By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side by Kasie West
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Source: e-ARC via edelweiss (Thank you, HarperTeen!)
Summary: When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance, Mental Illness

SPOILER WARNING

Back in 2013 Kasie West took the YA community by storm with her sci-fi novel Pivot Point (which I LOVED). After the sequel, however, she shifted her focus to contemporary and it’s in this genre that she truly shines. Ask any YA fan for recommendations or a list of their favorite books and I guarantee you’ll hear West’s titles pop up again and again. When she drops a book it’s kind of a Big Deal and I couldn’t wait to get my hands on By Your Side!

With a paper written and a weekend away with her friends (and the cute boy who seems to be into her) just around the corner, Autumn makes a last-second run back inside the library (damn that extra large drink!)…and discovers the doors have locked behind her. And her friends are gone. And the lights are off. AND because of the holiday weekend, the library will be closed an extra day. As if that isn’t bad enough, she realizes she’s not alone. Dax Miller, grade A loner and town bad boy (the rumors surrounding his stint in juvie have him pegged as a murderous criminal kingpin in the making) is also locked inside the library. Hoo boy, it’s going to be one long weekend.

What could have been a Made For TV Movie-esque fluffy romcom about two polar opposites trapped inside a library all weekend instead is a novel with surprisingly heavy-hitting topics: anxiety disorders and the resulting panic attacks, a horrific accident that leaves a boy in a medically-induced coma, and an abusive home life/foster care. Autumn’s anxiety is so severe she requires medication (though she shows no symptoms of withdrawal or any negative results from not taking her pills), all the while insisting on keeping it from her friends, the people who should know her better than anyone. Instead, they write her off as being flaky, ready to bail on them at a moment’s notice and never one to sleep over (so this long weekend away at a cabin is huge). Before Autumn finally tells them what’s going on, there’s a scene that made me SO enraged, so fiercely angry, that if these kids had been my friends, they would have instantly been dropped.

These besties (and I use the term VERY loosely) leave her at the library, not noticing that she’s not with them. There’s some sloppy excuse about how there were multiple cars and each driver assumed she had gone with someone else. Later on, the boy she likes ends up getting into an accident and a search is launched…leading people to believe Autumn is dead. She’s safe and sound the entire time inside the library, but with no way of contacting the outside world, no one knows.

And don’t get your hopes up: By Your Side only features the library in the first few chapters. Autumn and Dax spend a few days watching television in the break room and playing games (neither are big readers, so really this setting could have been anywhere) before Dax discovers a way to get them out. From there, it’s Autumn’s struggle to decide what’s going on with her feelings for these two boys. She feels obligated to continue visiting Jeff in the hospital (his mother seems to believe Autumn has some ability that’ll make him wake up) and that preferential treatment shown to her seriously angers some of their friends. Ridiculously passive-aggressive bulling ensues. Also, from her time spent with Dax, she comes to see a new side of him, she sees past the tough guy facade he presents to the world.

While this is by no means the best Kasie West I’ve read, it’s not terrible. I read through it extremely quickly and was genuinely taken aback by the inclusion of such hard-hitting subjects. I’m a sucker for the Good Girl/Bad Boy trope, but certain actions of the secondary characters had me seeing red. Any images of cute, light-hearted romance and a library akin to the Beast’s are instantly quashed: neither of the two main characters read or spend their time in the library reading (apart from a battered copy of Hamlet Dax carries around). This bookworm’s heart is crushed: the book could have taken place anywhere and the outcome would have read exactly the same. I wouldn’t recommend this one to a newcomer to West’s novels, but readers wanting a quick, not entirely memorable, read will be sure to gobble this one up.

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner

Right Behind You by Lisa Gardner
Pub. Date: January 31, 2017
Source: e-ARC via publisher (Thank you, Dutton!)
Summary: Eight years ago, Sharlah May Nash’s older brother beat their drunken father to death with a baseball bat in order to save both of their lives. Now thirteen years old, Sharlah has finally moved on. About to be adopted by retired FBI profiler Pierce Quincy and his partner, Rainie Conner, Sharlah loves one thing best about her new family: They are all experts on monsters.

Then the call comes in. A double murder at a local gas station, followed by reports of an armed suspect shooting his way through the wilds of Oregon. As Quincy and Rainie race to assist, they are forced to confront mounting evidence: The shooter may very well be Sharlah’s older brother, Telly Ray Nash, and it appears his killing spree has only just begun.

As the clock winds down on a massive hunt for Telly, Quincy and Rainie must answer two critical questions: Why after eight years has this young man started killing again? And what does this mean for Sharlah? Once upon a time, Sharlah’s big brother saved her life. Now, she has two questions of her own: Is her brother a hero or a killer? And how much will it cost her new family before they learn the final, shattering truth? Because as Sharlah knows all too well, the biggest danger is the one standing right behind you.
Genre: Contemporary, Thriller, Mystery

2016 was the year I (finally) discovered Lisa Gardner. Throughout my years as a bookseller I became very familiar with her work, but never actually took the time to sit down and see what all the fuss was about. All that changed with Crash & Burn, a novel that was fun in a totally wacky, bonkers sort of way. After that, however, came Find Her, the novel that truly sealed the deal and had me eager for more. The awesome publicists at Dutton must have taken note of my fanatical flailing, because I received not only a copy of The 4th Man, a short story, but also a copy of Right Behind You. You know those books you are SO excited for that you’ll push everything else aside and dive right in? Yeah.

Eight years ago the lives of two children changed forever. Though Telly and Sharlah were loved by their mother, she was often too high to protect them from their father’s alcohol-induced rampages. One night he went too far, chasing the children throughout the house with a knife after stabbing their mother. Telly, only nine years old and terrified out of his mind, grabbed a baseball bat and swung. Years later the siblings are leading very different lives: Telly has bounced around from foster home to foster home and now he’s finally at the cusp of aging out, while Sharlah is well on her way to being adopted by Pierce Quincy and Rainie Conner.

After eight years of no contact with her brother, Sharlah’s past and present finally meet: a double murder at a gas station, the armed suspect mowing down anyone who comes near, two foster parents gunned down in their bed. Could Telly be responsible? Why would he kill again after eight years? Is he coming for Sharlah next?

Right Behind You is a doozy of a novel. From the first page I was hooked and if you’re at all worried about jumping into a series late in the game, don’t worry: Right Behind You is the seventh book in the Quincy & Rainie series, but I had no problem following along; each book seems to be able to stand on its own. That said, I’m now more eager than ever to go back to the beginning and really get to know these characters!

Quincy and Rainie are both, as Sharlah puts it, experts on monsters, and soon find themselves in the middle of the manhunt for Telly, not only because it’s their job, but also because they now have a personal connection to the case. Several recent photos of Sharlah are discovered among Telly’s belongings, but how does he know where his sister lives when they haven’t had any contact with each other in nearly a decade and, more importantly, what do those pictures mean? Is Telly trying to send them a message? Does he want his sister back? Eight years ago Sharlah said her brother hated her… Telly brutally attacked and murdered his father, his mother is dead, is he looking to finish the job and do away with his last remaining relative?

Diving deeper into Right Behind You, it’s evident that there’s SOMETHING going on, something far bigger than the local police department ever imagined and I was right. there. every step of the way. Saying anything more would be giving away massive spoilers – that’s all you’re getting from me, sorry!

While I absolutely loved this book, I had one teensy, tiny quibble. Sharlah is 13 years old. She’s certainly bright I’ll admit (and even ends up sitting in on meetings with Quincy and Rainie, going so far as to give her own thoughts) but one thing struck me as odd. Early on in the novel she’s talking about Quincy and Rainie’s house and she goes into architectural detail. At length. I was caught off guard that someone her age would be so familiar with building knowledge and the terms she was using – though if this is the biggest complaint I have about the novel, that’s definitely saying something!

Right Behind You is a lightning-fast read that kept me turning the pages until the very end. I love playing detective, trying to figure out what’s really going on, and this book gave me a run for my money! It’s a book that doesn’t give its secrets up easily, it makes you work for them, and I loved that. Although this is the seventh book in the series (and my first) it reads nicely as a standalone and I had no trouble following along – if anything it made me more curious about how these characters got to this point and now I’m dying to start the series from the beginning! My absolute favorite thing about Lisa Gardner novels is that, if you donate money to charities she supports (or win contest on her site) she’ll turn you into a character! Your namesake might die a gruesome death within minutes of their introduction, but how awesome is that? So, so cool. One of my favorites in Right Behind You is Molly, a rescue Pit who plays a pretty hefty role in the book.

Whether you’re already a dedicated fan of the series or are simply someone looking for an intense thriller, Right Behind You is a book you’ll definitely want to check out! I devoured it in record time and cannot wait to see what Lisa does next.

weekly wrap-up 1/29

• This past week has been wonderfully laid back and relaxing, which I’ve been taking full advantage of, since this coming week is going to be VERY hectic: I’m starting a new position at work tomorrow but there’s a flurry of get-togethers and dinners with friends that I am so looking forward to.

• Is it just me or do you tend to go on reading binges where you’ll only want to read books from a certain genre or about a specific topic or written by a particular author? I’m currently on a huge non-fiction kick: this week I picked up 10 non-fic books from my library and each one looks better than the last! They’re all super nerdy too – my current read is Richard Conniff’s Spineless Wonders, a book all about invertebrates. The first chapter was devoted to flies and the second, the one I’m on right now, is about leeches..

MISSED SOMETHING THIS WEEK? JP Delaney’s The Girl Before had a movie deal before the book even came out – and Ron Howard is said to be directing. I loved this book a LOT, though it doesn’t bring anything new to the flood of Gone Girl-esque thrillers. Still, it was crazy quick (chapters were a few pages at best) and incredibly intriguing – two women, two years apart, end up renting an unusual house. The architect laid out detailed rules and expected them to be followed. Then the first woman wound up dead. Terrible summary on my part, but I rambled a bit in my review – I REALLY enjoyed this one.

Unfortunately the same can’t be said for Dreadnought by April Daniels. I was rooting for it in the beginning – a transgender superhero! – but this book was just plain terrible.

However, Jane Corry’s debut My Husband’s Wife more than made up for that dud. Another psychological thriller, another happy Leah. This book had a lot going on: a murder trial, an unhappy marriage, unreliable narrators, a little girl who isn’t quite as sweet as she appears, a mysterious death years before, asperger’s, time skips, but it WORKED and I wouldn’t be surprised if this novel appears on all those 2017 Thrillers You Can’t Miss lists.

January was full of highs and lows with my reading. In this mini-review round up it went from one extreme to the other. One FANTASTIC novella, a dud, and two DNFs.

Lastly, in the saturday six I discussed bees, dystopian novels, 5 tips for living a happier life, and more!


A Death in the Dales by Frances Brody
Last month I shared 19 series I wanted to read this winter and one of them was Brody’s Kate Shackleton novels about a WWI widow-turned-amateur detective. Does that sound written for me or what? In this latest novel, the landlord of the local tavern is murdered in plain sight and the only witness is now consumed with guilt – she believes the wrong man may have been convicted. Following her death, it seems the truth will stay hidden forever…until a boy goes missing and Kate uncovers another suspicious death. Thank you, Minotaur!

The Simplicity of Cider by Amy E. Reichert
Earlier this month I spent a week discussing upcoming novels I can’t wait to read. One of those posts was all about contemporary fiction and I mentioned Reichert’s latest novel. I was absolutely delighted when it appeared at my door this week!! This book looks like it’ll be such a fun, fluffy read: a fifth generation cider maker wants nothing more than to live a nice, quiet life on her family’s orchard. A man and his young son have packed up and are on the move, eager for a fresh start. …then he happens to make a pit-stop at the orchard. So looking forward to this one! Thank you, Gallery Books!

The Mother’s Promise by Sally Hepworth
I received an ARC of this one months ago and the finished copy looks beautiful! A single mother is dying, her teenage daughter has crippling social anxiety, and two strangers (a nurse and a social worker) join forces when they’re needed the most. Talk about a heart-wrenching read. Thank you, St. Martin’s Press!

The Night the Lights Went Out by Karen White
This was another novel I mentioned in the post about upcoming contemporary novels I want to read. I adore Karen’s work and was thrilled when I was contacted about participating in the blog tour for this one! A recently divorced woman looks for a new start at life in a tiny town in Georgia. However, her past refuses to stay hidden. Thank you, Berkley Books!