📕I didn’t like history back when I was in school, but having recently enjoyed some very well-written historical fiction novels such as today’s feature (& of course, the musical ‘Hamilton’⭐️), I now really dig a little travel back in time thanks to some very talented author’s writing skills! (I totally would have loved history if they would have taught it in musical fashion like ‘Hamilton’…just saying.😉)
📘Thank you @blackstonepublishing for my gift copy of ‘In All Good Faith‘ by Liza Taylor Nash! This novel continues the story of May Marshall, the captivating protagonist of ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ (released 8/18/20) & is a stand-alone sequel, meaning that you can read it w/o having read the first book; however, I strongly recommend that one as well. Both books are incredibly fascinating & so are the characters!
‘In All Good Faith‘: In the summer of 1932, Americans came to realize that the financial crash of 1929 was only the beginning of hard times. May Marshall has returned from Paris to settle at her family home in rural Keswick, VA. She struggles to keep her family farm & market afloat through the economic downturn. May finds herself juggling her marriage w/ a tempting opportunity to revamp the family business to adapt to changing times.
In a cold-water West End Boston tenement the fractured Sykes family scrapes by on an itinerant mechanic’s wages & home sewing. Having recently lost her mother, 16-yr-old Dorrit Sykes questions the religious doctrine she was raised in. Dorrit is reclusive, held back by the anxiety attacks that have plagued her since childhood. Attempting to understand what limits her, she seeks inspiration in Nancy Drew mysteries & finds solace at the Boston Public Library, writing fairy stories for children. The library holds answers to both Dorrit’s exploration of faith & her quest to understand & manage her anxiety.
When Dorrit accompanies her father to Washington, DC, in the summer of 1932 to camp out & march w/ 20,000 veterans intending to petition President Hoover for early payment of war bonuses, she begins an odyssey that will both traumatize & strengthen her. Along the way she redefines her faith, learning both self-sufficiency & how to accept help.
Dorrit & May’s lives intersect, & their fates will intertwine in ways that neither could have imagined or expected. Set against a backdrop of true historical events, ‘In All Good Faith‘ tells a story of two women’s unlikely success during the Great Depression.
📖This book immerses you in the atmosphere of another era as it tells the poignant, powerful, & persevering story of two incredible women. Liza Taylor Nash really did her research & it shows in her amazing writing. ‘In All Good Faith‘ is available 8/10 & ‘Etiquette for Runaways‘ is available in hardback now & paperback 8/18.
*Click any of the highlighted titles above to add either book to your Goodreads lists.
Click HERE to visit (& hopefully LIKE & maybe even SHARE😉) my post on Instagram which also shows support to the author.
Click HERE to find either book at a local or online indie bookstore using BookstoreLink.
Liza Nash Taylor was a 2018 Hawthornden International Fellow and received an MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts the same year. She was the 2016 winner of the San Miguel Writer’s Conference Fiction Prize. Her work has appeared in Gargoyle Magazine; Deep South, and others. ‘Etiquette for Runaways’ was her first novel & her second, & latest novel that releases on 8/10/21, is ‘In All Good Faith’. A native Virginian, she lives in Keswick with her husband and dogs, in an old farmhouse which serves as a setting for her novels.
This week went by super fast for me as usual but, boy oh boy, did I get to listen to & read some fantastic books while I was on the go. Right now I am currently finishing up listening to ‘Who is Maud Dixon?‘ by Alexandra Andrews (Little, Brown & Co, 3/2/21) & it is really good!
Florence Darrow is a small-town striver who believes that she’s destined to become a celebrated writer. When she stumbles into the opportunity to become the assistant to “Maud Dixon,” a celebrated-but anonymous-novelist (think: Elena Ferrante), she believes that the universe is finally providing her big chance. The arrangement feels idyllic; Helen can be prickly, but she is full of pointed wisdom on both writing and living. She even invites Florence along on a research trip to Morocco, where her new novel is set. Florence has never been out of the country before; maybe, she imagines, she’ll finally have something exciting to write about herself.
But when Florence wakes up in the hospital after a terrible car crash, and Helen is dead, she begins to imagine what it might be like to ‘upgrade’ into not only Helen’s life, but also that of Helen’s bestselling pseudonym, Maud Dixon…
The narrators do such a fantastic job of bringing this story to life & it’s very engaging. The cover is kind of boring, but that single squiggly line that makes the shape of two women’s faces kind of grew on me as I listened to the story. Definitely recommend it! (Click HERE to add it to your Goodreads.)
On Tuesday I posted about the new release, ‘Maybe One Day‘ by Debbie Johnson (William Morrow, 3/2/21). A poignant, heartbreaking, yet heartwarming story that will give you all the emotions.
In the spirit of Ruth Hogan and Adriana Trigiani, bestselling British author Debbie Johnson brings us the ultimate in “happy tears”: a heartfelt story about a woman seizing the chance to reconnect with her lost love.
The truth changes everything. For years Jess believed that Joe—the father of her child and the only man she ever loved—had abandoned her during her greatest time of need. That belief nearly destroyed her. Seventeen years later, when cleaning out her mother’s house, Jess unpacks a box of cards and letters hidden in the attic and makes a discovery that changes everything about life as she knows it.
Shaken but empowered, Jess—and her two stalwart best friends—set out on a remarkable journey to follow a set of faded postmarks around the world. Is Joe still alive? Does he know that Jess never forgot him? Maybe their love story isn’t over. Maybe one day they’ll find each other again… (Click HERE for my Instagram post & HERE to add the book on Goodreads.)
Thursday’s post posted sort of late in the day & was a more personal one, giving a bit of an explanation as to why I am currently still in so much physical pain today. The post photo also features some of my lettering that I enjoy doing in the evening as a way to decompress & wind down my day. Handwriting has always been something I have enjoyed doing & I am a total “font-nerd” or typophile (a lover of printed matter or typography). I am not even sure how many different pens I own, but I would venture to say the number is around 500-600. And Lord have mercy, but I’m in a couple of “pen obsessed” groups on Facebook & they are quite a motley group of enablers, but I love it! (Click HERE for that post on Instagram.)
Friday’s post is what I like to call #ForeverFriday when I post a book review for a Forever Publishing recent release, & this weeks book is ‘Sandcastle Beach’ by Jenny Holiday, book #3 in Holiday’s Matchmaker Bay series. This beach read is sassy, witty, sweet & sexy! All three books in the series are like $5 on Amazon & would make great additions to your seaside (or poolside) reading. You can click HERE to see the post on Instagram & for those that may ask, the cup featured in the post is by Kate Spade & was bought a couple years ago at T J Maxx (aka: the GREATEST store ever!).
About the book: From the USA Today bestselling “master of witty banter” (Entertainment Weekly) comes a hilarious and heartwarming romance about two enemies whose feud turns red-hot. Maya Mehta will do anything to save her tiny, beloved community theater. Put on musicals she hates? Check. Hire an arrogant former-pop-star-turned-actor? Done. But what Maya really needs to save her theater is Matchmaker Bay’s new business grant. She’s got some serious competition, though: Benjamin “Law” Lawson, local bar owner, Jerk Extraordinaire, and Maya’s annoyingly hot arch nemesis. Let the games begin.
Law loves nothing more than getting under Maya’s skin, and making those gorgeous eyes dance with irritation. But when he discovers the ex-pop star has a thing for Maya, too, Law decides he’s done waiting in the wings-starting with a scorching-hot kiss. Turns out there’s a thin line between hate and irresistible desire, and Maya and Law are really good at crossing it. But when things heat up, will they allow their long-standing feud to get in the way of their growing feelings? Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads.
Yesterday’s post was about one of my favorite books so far this year, ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ by Sarah Penner (Park Row, 3/2/21). I hadn’t planned to post about it until next week, but I wanted to encourage anyone who hadn’t made their Book of the Month selections yet to grab this one, since it was one of the March choices. ‘The Lost Apothecary‘ is such a fabulous book! I literally didn’t want it to end, that’s how much I loved it!
A female apothecary secretly dispenses poisons to liberate women from the men who have wronged them—setting three lives across centuries on a dangerous collision course. Rule #1: The poison must never be used to harm another woman. Rule #2: The names of the murderer and her victim must be recorded in the apothecary’s register.
One cold February evening in 1791, at the back of a dark London alley in a hidden apothecary shop, Nella awaits her newest customer. Once a respected healer, Nella now uses her knowledge for a darker purpose—selling well-disguised poisons to desperate women who would kill to be free of the men in their lives. But when her new patron turns out to be a precocious twelve-year-old named Eliza Fanning, an unexpected friendship sets in motion a string of events that jeopardizes Nella’s world and threatens to expose the many women whose names are written in her register.
In present-day London, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her tenth wedding anniversary alone, reeling from the discovery of her husband’s infidelity. When she finds an old apothecary vial near the river Thames, she can’t resist investigating, only to realize she’s found a link to the unsolved “apothecary murders” that haunted London over two centuries ago. As she deepens her search, Caroline’s life collides with Nella’s and Eliza’s in a stunning twist of fate—and not everyone will survive. (Click HERE to add the book to your Goodreads & HERE to see my Instagram post.)
Last, but certainly not least, today’s post features a fab new book, ‘When We Were Young’ by Jaclyn Goldis (Forever Pub, 2/6/21) & a splendid dose of serendipity! Have you ever discovered something you bought at a thrift store actually belonged to a family member long ago? That happened to me today!
Today began w/ me starting a new book (as mentioned above). I was really looking forward to starting this book after reading many fantastic reviews & having just finished (& loved!) ‘The Lost Apothecary’ which also has 3 amazing female protagonists & takes place in the past & present day.
As I was getting my props together, I decided to use two of my vintage luggage pieces that I bought on 2 separate shopping trips last year at a local Goodwill. The luggage belonged to the same person as was evident by personalization inside both pieces via an inked address stamper. Since this sort of stamper is meant for paper, not the silky material inside of the cases, it was very blurry, & the lettering bled so much that I never really bothered to get a closer look at the name. I could only see a nearby city fairly well & really the name didn’t matter to me that much…until today.
Today I put on my readers, used my camera’s magnifying glass, & I was absolutely flabbergasted. Now I know why the first piece appealed to me so much & why there was a second piece at the shop a week later, as if waiting for me to reunite it w/ it’s partner at home: the luggage belonged to my Grandfather’s brother, my great Uncle! Holy serendipity! My great uncle passed away at the age of 97 in 2014. All this time & I had no idea they had belonged to him.
The book, ‘When We Were Young’, spans 3 generations & is a page-turner of a debut full of family secrets, heart-wrenching drama, & second chances. My vintage luggage, now heirloom, also spans 3 generations & is all about family, too! I’m loving this book so far & think you all would, too! (Click HERE to read more about it on Goodreads & HERE to go to my Instagram post.)
Well, that’s my reading week in a nutshell. Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend & best wishes in your weeks to come! I leave you with my Friday evening lettering project, which may be hard to tell from the poor quality pic, but it’s on a shimmery pink cardstock & was done with Mildliner Clickart Pens by Zebra & Micron’s. (Ahhh, pens!💕)
‘There are things known & unknown, & in between are the doors.“- Althea Cheramie, friend of Dove.
Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist & faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the 8 yrs since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation—& her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder.
Tuscaloosa, 1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And w/ an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.
Now: to protect her family, Eve will join forces w/ the investigative filmmaker & one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free or set her world on fire?
This book continues the story line from Carpenter’s debut novel, ‘Burying the Honeysuckle Girls‘, but it’s not really a sequel. I have not read that 2016 debut, but I really want to now. I never really felt lost while reading ‘Reviving…’ & it can definitely be read as a stand alone novel. The story draws you in from the very first pages & holds your attention w/ Carpenter’s masterful writing, taunt plotting, & compelling characters.
‘Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters‘ is a beautiful blend of southern gothic, historical fiction, suspense/mystery & some magical realism. Told as Dove’s story from the past & Eve’s present day, this atmospheric, slow-burning mystery would make a fantastic addition to any readers fall tbr stack. I’m certainly going to read more of Emily’s other novels.
Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter on Instagram. Click HERE to visit MomLovesReading on Instagram & give this post some LIKE love! Click HERE to add ‘Reviving the Honeysuckle Girls’ to your Goodreads lists. Click HERE to visit Emily Carpenter’s website.
Emily Carpenter is the bestselling author of four thrillers: Until the Day I Die, Every Single Secret, The Weight of Lies, and Burying the Honeysuckle Girls. A graduate of Auburn University, Emily has worked as an actor, producer, screenwriter, and behind-the-scenes soap opera assistant for CBS television. Raised in Birmingham, Alabama, she moved to New York City before returning to the South, where she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia, with her family. Visit Emily at http://www.emilycarpenterauthor.com.
📚The October BOTM’s are up!! (Click HERE to visit my Instagram post & give it some LIKE love!)
📚It’s that time of the month that all of Book of the Month book club members look forward to! Constantly refreshing our browser every so often on those last couple days of the month, when BOTM generally releases the 5 new books & a few new add-on selections.
📚A long time member & fan of Book of the Month club, I get so excited to see what books they have selected for us each month. I skipped the last 2 mos because I already had the books that I wanted from the Aug/Sep selections from the publishers. So I was extra stoked to see what would be available for me to choose for October.
Once again, they are some goodies! The books are:
‘Magic Lessons‘: Where does the story of the Owens bloodline begin? With Maria Owens, in the 1600s, when she’s abandoned in a snowy field in rural England as a baby. Under the care of Hannah Owens, Maria learns about the “Unnamed Arts.” Hannah recognizes that Maria has a gift and she teaches the girl all she knows. It is here that she learns her first important lesson: Always love someone who will love you back.
When Maria is abandoned by the man who has declared his love for her, she follows him to Salem, Massachusetts. Here she invokes the curse that will haunt her family. And it’s here that she learns the rules of magic and the lesson that she will carry with her for the rest of her life. Love is the only thing that matters.
‘Leave the World Behind’: Amanda and Clay head out to a remote corner of Long Island expecting a vacation: a quiet reprieve from life in New York City, quality time with their teenage son and daughter, and a taste of the good life in the luxurious home they’ve rented for the week. But a late-night knock on the door breaks the spell. Ruth and G. H. are an older Black couple—it’s their house, and they’ve arrived in a panic. They bring the news that a sudden blackout has swept the city. But in this rural area—with the TV and internet now down, and no cell phone service—it’s hard to know what to believe.
Should Amanda and Clay trust this couple—and vice versa? What happened back in New York? Is the vacation home, isolated from civilization, a truly safe place for their families? And are they safe from one another?
‘The Girl in the Mirror’: Twin sisters Iris & Summer are startlingly alike, but beyond what the eye can see lies a darkness that sets them apart. Cynical & insecure, Iris has long been envious of Summer’s seemingly never-ending good fortune, including her perfect husband Adam. Called to Thailand to help her sister sail the family yacht to the Seychelles, Iris nurtures her own secret hopes for what might happen on the journey. But when she unexpectedly finds herself alone in the middle of the Indian Ocean, everything changes. When she makes it to land, Iris allows herself to be swept up by Adam, who assumes that she is Summer. Iris recklessly goes along with his mistake. Not only does she finally have the golden life she’s always envied, w/ her sister gone, she’s one step closer to the 100-million-dollar inheritance left by her manipulative father. All Iris has to do is be the first of his seven children to produce an heir. Iris’s “new” life lurches between glamorous dream & paranoid nightmare. On the edge of being exposed, how far will she go to ensure no one discovers the truth? And just what did happen to Summer on the yacht? Only Iris knows…
‘Ties That Tether’: At 12 yrs old, Azere promised her dying father she would marry a Nigerian man & preserve her culture even after immigrating to Canada. Her mother has been vigilant about helping—forcing—her to stay well within the Nigerian dating pool ever since. But when another match-made-by-mom goes wrong, Azere ends up at a bar, enjoying the company & later sharing the bed of Rafael Castellano, a man who is tall, handsome, & white. When their one-night stand unexpectedly evolves into something serious, Azere is caught between her growing feelings for Rafael & the compulsive need to please her mother who will never accept a relationship that threatens to dilute Azere’s Nigerian heritage. Azere can’t help wondering if loving Rafael makes her any less of a Nigerian. Can she be w/ him without compromising her identity? The answer will either cause Azere to be audacious & fight for her happiness or continue as the compliant daughter.
‘The Invisible Life of Addie Larue’: France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever―and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.
Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, & a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries & continents, across history & art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.
But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore & he remembers her name.
📚If you have been on the fence about joining BOTM, I encourage you to do it now! There are some GREAT books to choose from & w/ some excellent fall releases coming, you will be able to get in on that readerly action before your non-BOTM friends. You get a special intro price for your first BOTM & then you’ll be on your way to being a BOTM BFF like me! (**Please be advised, BOTM is currently only available for shipping within the 50 United States.)
📚Once you’ve rcvd 12 BOTM monthly boxes, you are officially a BFF. With that new title comes great things: a FREE BOTM tote bag, a FREE BOTM add-on during your bday month & a FREE book at the end of the year from the Book of the Year finalists. It’s pretty freakin’ awesome!
📚Many of the books each mo. are Early Releases, meaning you can get books a mo. or more before the gen public! Full-sz hardback books for nearly HALF of what you’d pay elsewhere & well-curated selections of various genres. A little something for everyone! You can add-on other books for even LESS (up to 3 books total per mo) & you can skip any month you choose to. Click HERE for my referral offer & get your first book for only $9.99!
Happy Belated Pub Day & Thank you @williammorrowbooks for my gifted copy [partner] of ‘When No One is Watching‘ by Alyssa Cole! (pub 9/1)
Q: What was the last thriller you read that taught you about something you otherwise didn’t know much about?
‘Rear Window’ meets ‘Get Out’ in this gripping thriller from a critically acclaimed & NY Times Notable author, in which the gentrification of a Brooklyn neighborhood takes on a sinister new meaning…
Sydney Green is Brooklyn born & raised, but her beloved neighborhood seems to change every time she blinks. Condos are sprouting like weeds, FOR SALE signs are popping up overnight, & the neighbors she’s known all her life are disappearing. To hold onto her community’s past & present, Sydney channels her frustration into a walking tour & finds an unlikely & unwanted assistant in one of the new arrivals to the block—her neighbor Theo.
But Sydney & Theo’s deep dive into history quickly becomes a dizzying descent into paranoia & fear. Their neighbors may not have moved to the suburbs after all, & the push to revitalize the community may be more deadly than advertised.
When does coincidence become conspiracy? Where do people go when gentrification pushes them out? Can Sydney & Theo trust each other—or themselves—long enough to find out before they too disappear?
Cole has pivoted from writing romance novels to bring us one heck of an amazing suspense/thriller that is so much more than just an entertaining read. The first line of the book says it all: “History is f–king wild.”
Gentrification: the process of renovating or improving a house or district so that it conforms to middle-class taste. (Problem w/ this is property values increase thereby increasing cost of living in that area, while affordable housing decreases & lower income residents are displaced.)
Unflinchingly well-crafted w/ knowledge & insight, Cole gives readers a much needed history lesson on the aftermath of this process, having lived in neighborhoods like this in the past. With a keen sense of atmosphere, richly drawn narrative & characters, ‘When No One is Watching‘ is clever, riveting, eye-opening & twisty. Highly recommend!
Click HERE to add this book to your Goodreads list. Click HERE to visit Alyssa Cole on Instagram. Click HERE to visit ME on Instagram & give this post a LIKE.
Alyssa Cole is an award-winning author of historical, contemporary, & sci-fi romance. Her romantic comedy A PRINCESS IN THEORY is a NY Times notable book for 2018. Her Civil War-set espionage romance AN EXTRAORDINARY UNION was the American Library Association’s RUSA Best Romance for 2018, & also the RT Book Reviews Reviewer’s Choice Award Book of the Year. She’s contributed to publications including Bustle, Shondaland, The Toast, Vulture, & others, & her books have received critical acclaim from The NY Times, Library Journal, Kirkus, Booklist, Jezebel, Vulture, Book Riot, Entertainment Weekly, & various other outlets. When she’s not working, she can generally be found watching anime w/ her husband or wrangling their menagerie of animals.