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Recent Reviews

Here you will find books that I have read previously, along with their reviews. While some books will not rate as highly for me than other ones, each book is like a dear friend. Some books will click instantly with a person and teach them many lesson, show them different ways of viewing the world, or change how they feel about themselves on a personal level. All books, like people, are unique. Not every book will be dearly loved by every person who reads them, but that does not make a book any less valuable to those who cherish it.

All novels, series, books of every sort are a piece of artwork. Just like with painting, there are a plethora of different styles available... the only limit to that artwork is how far a person will let their imagination take them, and still be brave enough to share it with the world.

Happy reading!

“If you only read the books that everyone else is reading, you can only think what everyone else is thinking.”

-Haruki Murakami, Norwegian Wood


Katheryn Howard: The Scandalous Queen

Goodreads Description:

Alison Weir, historian and author of the Sunday Times-bestselling Six Tudor Queens series, relates one of the most tragic stories in English history: Katheryn Howard, Henry VIII's fifth queen.

A naive girl, thrust forward by her ambitious family. A pretty girl, who has captured the heart of the King. Katheryn sings, she dances, she delights in the pleasures of being queen. The King tells the world she is his rose without a thorn.

But this young woman has a past of which Henry knows nothing. It comes back increasingly to haunt her, even as she courts danger yet again. For those who gather roses must beware of the thorns.

My Thoughts: 4 Stars

As a huge fan of Alison Weir, I was ecstatic when I was accepted to receive a digital ARC of Katheryn Howard, the Scandalous Queen. I had been accepted by the publisher for her previous book about Anne of Kleve, which I loved. This book was definitely not a let down. While Anne of Kleve was my favorite of King Henry VIII’s wives, I was still interested in Katheryn Howard. I have read other books by different authors about her, but they are few and far between, let along showing any depth or detail to her story. Alison Weir brings Katheryn Howard's life to brilliant life, bringing out rich details to where you almost feel as if you can touch the surroundings, without overdoing description and making the scenery too heavy. Katheryn is a shallow girl with the ability to eventually grow out of it if encouraged. Unfortunately, in Henry's court, being frivolous and fun with youth is a very dangerous line to walk. King Henry is suspicious and easily led to believe the worse about people with as little as one whisper from someone he trusts. He is already known as a queen killer before Katheryn Howard comes along, and her past is her doom. Alison Weir takes us readers along for the wild ride of Katheryn's short life. Before her timely death there is scandal, seduction, youthful follies, broken hearts and promises, and secrets that unfortunately will not be kept quiet. This has been one of my favorite reads so far this year. Great job Alison Weir!

A free digital copy was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Weight of a Soul

Goodreads Description:

When Lena's younger sister Fressa is found dead, their whole Viking clan mourns—but it is Lena alone who never recovers. Fressa is the sister that should've lived, and Lena cannot rest until she knows exactly what killed Fressa and why—and how to bring her back. She strikes a dark deal with Hela, the Norse goddess of death, and begins a new double life to save her sister.

But as Lena gets closer to bringing Fressa back, she dredges up dangerous discoveries about her own family, and finds herself in the middle of a devastating plan to spur Ragnarök –a deadly chain of events leading to total world destruction.

Still, with her sister's life in the balance, Lena is willing to risk it all. She's willing to kill. How far will she go before the darkness consumes her?

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I was absolutely thrilled when I was accepted and received an e-ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. With most ARC's, there were quite a few spots in the book where it needed some smoothing out and depth added to make the final copy a great story. Vikings are simply fascinating with their various gods and mischievous Loki.

Lena is a young girl of 17 years and is the heir to her village. Her destiny is to marry and become the leading family after her father, the Chief, dies. Her sister is madly in love with a young man named Amal and wishes to one day make their relationship permanent. Unfortunately, the gods have taken notice of Fressa and she is the unwilling victim of their games. It is now up to Lena to do what must be done in order to bring her sister back from an ending that was not supposed to be. Horrible things are happening since Fressa's death and it looks like the tales of the end of the world may not be a scary story to tell little children anymore. Suddenly, life is spiraling out of control for Lena and her village. She will be forced to do things that a healer and a good soul should never have to do in order to find the right path that will lead her to stopping these horrible events from playing out. People are not who they seem to be. The village is suddenly part of a much bigger plan in the gods' games and struggle for power and the fate of the world rests on Lena's young shoulders.

The Scandal of the Season

Goodreads Description:

What would you do if you were faced with a dangerous temptation you feared you couldn't resist? "The Scandal of the Season" tells the story of the real-life seduction of the beautiful, clever Arabella Fermor by the charming, enigmatic nobleman Robert Petre, seventh Baron of Ingatestone. Arabella is in need of rich husband, but knows that girls have been ruined by risking an affair like the one she contemplates. The object of her desire is also flirting with a perilous Jacobite plot against Queen Anne. Watching the pair with a beady eye, is an outsider, a cripple, destined to become the genius of his age - the poet Alexander Pope. He arrives in London from the country, burning with ambition. If he fails, he will be left destitute. But can he find a story for his next poem powerful enough to make his reputation? A seductive novel about risk and dangerous liaisons in a time of Jacobite plots and Popish fears, when marriage was a market, and sex was a temptation fraught with danger, "The Scandal of the Season" is a brilliant, witty modern love-story - set in 1711. Sophisticated, sexy and hugely enjoyable, this dazzling debut novel is inspired by events that gave rise to the era's most celebrated satirical entertainment, "The Rape of the Lock". The story plays out against the backdrop of 18th-century London: dirty teeming street-life and glorious buildings, newly restored after the Great Fire; the River Thames, artery of England's trade and commerce; masked balls, operas, eating houses, clandestine courtships and political intrigue.

My Thoughts: 2.5 Stars

The Scandal of the Season was simply not my type of book. It sounded promising, but ultimately was simply not the best. I was hoping that there would be more about the Jacobite plot in this story. Had there been more of the plot, this story would have been thrilling with the romance sprinkled in. However, it was mostly about very two dimensional, as flat as could be, characters that I simply could not care less about. There was hardly any depth to the characters and it made little to no difference to me which point of view each part of the story was told from as the characters were all the same. A couple parts were interesting. However, the interesting parts were the prologue and the poem at the end. Everything in the middle as simply... flat. While this was not my type of story and I could not bond with any of the characters, this may be a good read for someone who likes shallow characters, a fluffy story, up and coming poets, barely any historical thrill, women who are not as innocent and good as they would like the world to think.

The Heart of Rebellion

Goodreads Description:

September 1400

King Richard II of England is dead. And after three years in His Majesty’s service, Rhys ap Tudor and his brother Gwilym are finally free to return to their ancestral home in North Wales. Their long- anticipated homecoming is overshadowed, however, by the harsh changes they encounter in their once peaceful land. The new king, Henry IV, rules with an iron fist, and the country is ripe for rebellion. Instantly thrust into the forefront of the conflict, the proud Tudor brothers enter the fight for their freedom.

Lady Catrin Buckley is alert to the unrest swirling around her. As the daughter of an English father and a Welsh mother, she knows too well the trouble her lineage poses. Her own battle, however, is one of the heart: she is to be married to a man she neither knows nor loves. Then an unexpected encounter with the enigmatic Rhys ap Tudor changes everything. Soon, Catrin finds herself swept into a rebellion that could not only change history but also rewrite her own future.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

This book was a decent read for being stuck at home with nothing to do. The plot moves smoothly and the style of writing is nicely done. There is enough action to keep a reader interested and there are hardly, if any, spots in the story line that drag on. Catrin is a spirited young lady who does not know her own level of courage or strength. She is an easy character to bond with and I adore her horse, Seren. Having once had a horse of my own that I had a close bond to, I truly appreciated how gentle and loving she was towards her horse. Seren is a spirited, beautiful stallion and would be considered too much for a noblewoman to ride. However, Catrin should never be underestimated in anything she puts her mind to. Rhys and his brother have recently returned home from war and notice the changes to their small town. Their youngest brother is now happily married and seems to be the most levelheaded and observant of the three brothers. They are willing to pick up their weapons and return to war once more to help their beloved Wales to thrive despite the harsh English king. The romance is a slow burner and more believable than other stories I have read lately, and the ending wrapped up nicely. Thank you Netgalley and Covenant Communications for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

The Widow of Pale Harbor

Goodreads Description:

A town gripped by fear. A woman accused of witchcraft. Who can save Pale Harbor from itself?

Maine, 1846. Gabriel Stone is desperate to escape the ghosts that haunt him in Massachusetts after his wife’s death, so he moves to Maine, taking a position as a minister in the remote village of Pale Harbor.

But not all is as it seems in the sleepy town. Strange, unsettling things have been happening, and the townspeople claim that only one person can be responsible: Sophronia Carver, a reclusive widow who lives with a spinster maid in the eerie Castle Carver. Sophronia must be a witch, and she almost certainly killed her husband.

As the incidents escalate, one thing becomes clear: they are the work of a twisted person inspired by the wildly popular stories of Mr. Edgar Allan Poe. And Gabriel must find answers, or Pale Harbor will suffer a fate worthy of Poe’s darkest tales.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

When I first picked up this book, I thought I was picking up a good historical fiction with a decent mystery. What I was not expecting was for the mystery part of the story to be almost drowned out by a romance. Perhaps this should have been labeled as historical romance instead of regular fiction at my local library. Either way, this novel was not what I was expecting. It was a decent enough tale about Sophronia Carver and Gabriel Stone.

Gabriel Stone is the small town's new pastor. He may not have arrived with the truth, but his intentions are pure enough. His arrival was nothing warm or welcoming. There was a storm brewing and the air and rain was rather frigid. The church was in need of much repair, saying nothing of the unpleasant surprise he found on the alter. Little did Gabriel know that this town he ran to in order to start over and honor the memory of his beloved deceased wife would lead him to dark secrets, rumors, and people who were small-minded enough to cause him grief.

Sophronia Carver keeps herself tucked away in Carver Castle, the ancestral home of her late husband. The town people hate her and whisper about her possibility of being a witch. She spent the last four years on her property with her companion, Helen, for company. Helen's attachment to Sophronia could be overbearing at times. When things started to go downhill for Sophronia, she never expected her story to end as it did. Dead crows kept appearing, mysterious knocking on the door, candles left outside in a peculiar pattern. Could it all have been connected? Her path and Gabriel's start to twist and twine together as the mystery starts to unfold.

The Art of Racing in the Rain

Goodreads Description:

Enzo knows he is different from other dogs: a philosopher with a nearly human soul (and an obsession with opposable thumbs), he has educated himself by watching television extensively, and by listening very closely to the words of his master, Denny Swift, an up-and-coming race car driver.

Through Denny, Enzo has gained tremendous insight into the human condition, and he sees that life, like racing, isn't simply about going fast. On the eve of his death, Enzo takes stock of his life, recalling all that he and his family have been through.

A heart-wrenching but deeply funny and ultimately uplifting story of family, love, loyalty, and hope,The Art of Racing in the Rainis a beautifully crafted and captivating look at the wonders and absurdities of human life ... as only a dog could tell it.

My Thoughts: 3.8 Stars

This book has been on my personal TBR list for quite some time. I love stories about dogs, told by dogs. While working on a project, I enjoyed listening along and occasionally reading this story for myself. Wonderful things have been said about this book, along with the movie, by numerous friends of mine. My hangup was that I LOVED A Dog's Purpose. What book could compare to the love I felt for that series? Would this book be a let down after that? Well, since I have had so much time on my hands being stuck at home, laid off of work due to the Corona virus pandemic, there was only so many miles I could walk my three dogs before they wore out and needed a nap. Why not pick this book up and finally give it a try.

Enzo is a stunning mutt of a dog. He was born on a farm with a not-so-nice farmer and his wife. One lucky day started Enzo on his new adventure. He, Enzo, is chosen by Denny. Denny loves racing. He lives for racing. For a couple years it is just the two of them as constant companions. And then...a girl enters Denny's life. This is the downfall of many friendships. Fortunately, Enzo is a dog and still was able to spend time with Denny despite having to share Denny's attention with this woman. Enzo is there for Denny through all of life's ups and downs. At times, I could not help glancing down at one of my dogs and wondering if he, too, sometimes wishes he could speak to me as much as Enzo wished he could with Denny. I could not help but reach down and rub my mutt's ear and scratch between his eyes like he adores. Times like that often made me wish I could understand or even hear his thoughts as he laid peacefully beside me.

Enzo is an old dog at the beginning of the story. As he dozed off one night, he looked back on his life and we follow his story up until the very end. Enzo is a thoughtful dog. He is intelligent and innocent and yet has such depth of feelings that he can only express with expressions or body language. He stays by Denny's side through major heartbreak and in-laws and others who wish to tear him down for their own agenda. Denny goes through such dark times that it's hard to see a happy ending as possible. Denny wanted to give up so many times, but that was not possible. Not with Enzo there to support him.

This book is wonderful. It will take you through all kinds of emotions and, while at times I saw what was going on from miles away, it was enjoyable to see Denny handle it with strength and dignity. The car goes where the eyes go. He kept looking ahead and that is all a person ever needs to do to find their happiness.

Cartier's Hope

Goodreads Description:

From theNew York Timesbestselling author of the “lush, romantic historical mystery” (Kristin Hannah,New York Timesbestselling author ofThe Nightingale)Tiffany Blues, a gorgeously wrought novel following an intrepid female journalist in Gilded Age New York as she chases the story of the Hope Diamond.

New York, 1910: A city of magnificent skyscrapers and winding subways, where poor immigrants are crammed into tenements while millionaires thrive in Fifth Avenue mansions. Vera Garland is a thirty-two-year-old journalist, fighting alongside hundreds of women for a place in society, only to meet hurdles around every turn. Most female journalists are delegated to the fashion and lifestyle pages but like her hero, Nellie Bly, Vera is a fighter.

When news of the Hope Diamond—a jewel whose infamous legends and curses have captured the world’s attention—arrives in the city, Vera is fast on its trail. She’s certain the fabulous jewel will help jumpstart her career but she’s determined to seek revenge against her current employer, a magazine owner whose greed and blackmailing schemes led to the death of her beloved father.

Set against the backdrop of New York’s glitter and grit, this enchanting historical novel explores the very human desire for truth, equality, and retribution.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

While I am off of work due to the Cornavirus spreading around like wildfire, I decided it was a good time to go through my collection of unread books and pull the ARC copies out and get going on them. Why not catch up a bit while I have time? I won this ARC in a Goodreads giveaway and the following opinion is honest.

Vera Garland is the type of woman who lives outside of her social-norm. She does not find herself wishing for marriage and children. Instead, she rather work for what she believes in. She is a reporter for different magazines and is the author of a scandal column. She puts herself in danger for many of her stories and does not always come out unscathed. Her life is about to change forever when she discovers something unusual in her deceased father's library. It is a secret that cannot be revealed for the sake of her family, but there is a way to get revenge for what has caused such a tragedy. Vera once again has to go undercover and risk herself and her heart to get her revenge.

While I liked this book, it did not completely enthrall me. It was a read that is light and almost fluffy despite the darker tones to the story itself. Vera was flawed in a way that made her feel more human but I was still missing that bond or connection that I usually develop with the main character(s) of a book. The story seemed to drag in some parts while also skimming over the more important ones. While not my favorite, I do know some people who would absolutely adore this story of a woman with a spine of steel and a desire to make the world a better place.

A Trace of Deceit

Goodreads Description:

From the author of A Dangerous Duetcomes the next book in her Victorian mystery series, this time following a daring female painter and the Scotland Yard detective who is investigating her brother’s suspicious death.

A young painter digs beneath the veneer of Victorian London’s art world to learn the truth behind her brother’s murder...

Edwin is dead. That’s what Inspector Matthew Hallam of Scotland Yard tells Annabel Rowe when she discovers him searching her brother’s flat for clues. While the news is shocking, Annabel can’t say it’s wholly unexpected, given Edwin’s past as a dissolute risk-taker and art forger, although he swore he’d reformed. After years spent blaming his reckless behavior for their parents’ deaths, Annabel is now faced with the question of who murdered him—because Edwin’s death was both violent and deliberate. A valuable French painting he’d been restoring for an auction house is missing from his studio: find the painting, find the murderer. But the owner of the artwork claims it was destroyed in a warehouse fire years ago.

As a painter at the prestigious Slade School of Art and as Edwin’s closest relative, Annabel makes the case that she is crucial to Matthew’s investigation. But in their search for the painting, Matthew and Annabel trace a path of deceit and viciousness that reaches far beyond the elegant rooms of the auction house, into an underworld of politics, corruption, and secrets someone will kill to keep.  

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I received a copy through a Goodreads giveaway. The following review is my honest opinion. When clicked "enter" for any giveaway on here, I make sure I do not hold my breath and cross my fingers for a win. There are very slim odds when it comes to winning any book during the Goodreads giveaways. There are simply so many people hoping and wishing for a chance to win and read any book in the giveaways. I was excited when I won this book and had a chance to read it. Since I have a very expensive pet with health issues, I have had to cut down on how many books I buy vs. how many I check out at my local library. The waiting for a book can be horrendous! When I finally got around to this book on my TBR list, I could no wait to crack it open and go on a new adventure. Poor Annabel, who's parents are both deceased, has only one relation left in this world; her brother. He may not be the exact brother she would have wanted, could she have chosen, but he is hers all the same. She and her brother share their not so joyous childhood at home, where their father is harsh on her brother, Edwin, because he believes his son has a gift with painting. Edwin is driven hard by his father throughout his life until his father's untimely death. He was sent off to boarding school but was never the son his father wanted. After being given the gift of going to art school herself, Annabel joins and practices the art she loves. However, our story picks up quickly when Edwin's own untimely end comes to pass. Annabel has the opportunity to join up with an officer to help find out who murdered her brother and why. The way to the truth is bumpy and messy, but she does not and will not give up. She cannot rest peacefully until her brother's murderer is found and punished. The unfortunate officer soon learns much more about the art world than he ever imagined he would. The art world is not all beauty and elegance. It is messy and twisted, and there are plenty of people with skeletons they would rather stay hidden in their closets. All they can do is follow the clues together to figure out which door leads to the end.

The Woman in the Mirror

Goodreads Description:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror. For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond. In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity. In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.

My thoughts: 3.5 Stars

This is a dark, gothic story with a pinch of paranormal activity. Alice is a young woman with a secret or two she holds close to her in fear of someone finding out. She did not have the best childhood and considers herself fortunately to find herself as a tutor for twins. Upon her arrival, she is attracted to the children's father. The housekeeper warns her not to trust the children, but Alice is smitten with them and disregards the warning. Her time working at the gothic mansion starts out with pure bliss and she cannot imagine herself any happier than she is now. Warning signs keep popping up, however, with mysterious bruises and a painting in her room that is not quite right. Something dark walks the halls and clings to the shadows, whispers to the children. Perhaps the children are not as innocent as Alice first believes. Sarah is a New Yorker and has a successful art gallery. She spends most of her waking hours working and leaves little time for herself to do anything else. A mysterious envelope arrives in the mail one day at her apartment that will change her future. She is to inherit a large house and property that has been left to her by an aunt she has never met. Sarah takes a risk and goes to see the property. Her time at this old mansion will test her mental strength. Things go bump in the night, and not everyone is as they first appear. She will have to rely on her own logic and heart to find out who and what she can trust, even as the house's dark past starts up once more to finish what it started generations ago. This book was definitely one of the best ARC's I have come across this year. It gave me the chills a few times without being obviously scary. It is subtle and switches between a few different women, along with jumping time. The chapters are clearly labeled so it was easy to follow along. This was requested just on a whim, and I could not be happier. This is a book that I would recommend people give a try. It may not be for everyone, but it definitely worked for me. For more reviews, visit Thank you Netgalley and St. Martin's press for an early copy in exchange for an honest review.

Sleeping Beauties

Goodreads Description:

In a future so real and near it might be now, something happens when women go to sleep; they become shrouded in a cocoon-like gauze. If they are awakened, and the gauze wrapping their bodies is disturbed or violated, the women become feral and spectacularly violent; and while they sleep they go to another place. The men of our world are abandoned, left to their increasingly primal devices. One woman, however, the mysterious Evie, is immune to the blessing or curse of the sleeping disease. Is Evie a medical anomaly to be studied, or is she a demon who must be slain?

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I started this book February 18th and finished today, March 4th. Books do not usually take me that long. Even books with 700+ pages do not usually take me so long. But this book was so. Messed. Up. A few times I had to put it down, stare into space, and really wonder how some minds work and come up with their route of logical thinking. Now, by messed up I do not mean that the book was bad in any way, shape, or form. There are very mixed reviews on this book that I read before starting it. However, it was on my TBR list for years. Also, honestly? I like to give books a shot despite negative reviews they may have. I liked this book. Would I read it again? Most likely not. However, that does not make it a bad book. I loved the strong female characters, but disliked how most men were portrayed. Not all men think evil thoughts. Not all men what to solve problems with guns out and explosives lit. Even the "good" guys in the story were not truly good. The good guys in this story were very complex, making them more realistic than the other men who were causing more mayhem then there really needed to be. The only way to describe how must of the male characters made me feel in this story would be to quote Janice Coates, "You're like a booger I can't get off my finger." The bad guys just stick around and refuse to do anything helpful to the situation. Move along gentleman, you're only making things worse! Do not even get me started on how the men talk about women when they are all in the bar, one man was raving about how women are today compared to about one hundred years ago. This was an enjoyable, albeit long, read. I loved how the female characters grew in strength and courage. The animals were also fantastic, but the moths? Moths always have had a way of giving me the heebie-jeebies. Every time a moth was mentioned, a chill ran up my spine. I still would rather share space with a moth over a spider any day. So my long-winded review comes down to this: this is a book worth trying. There is a lot in there to gain and I think it was an excellent father-son project with a good result. Happy reading!

When I Was You

Goodreads Description:

stolen identity leads a woman down a dark and desperate path in a gripping novel of psychological suspense by Wall Street Journal bestselling author Minka Kent. After barely surviving a brutal attack, Brienne Dougray rarely leaves her house. Suffering from debilitating headaches and memory loss, she can rely only on her compassionate new tenant, Dr. Niall Emberlin, a welcome distraction from the discomfiting bubble that has become her existence. But Brienne’s growing confidence in her new routine is shaken when she stumbles across unsettling evidence that someone else is living as…her. Same name. Same car. Same hair. Same clothes. She’s even friended her family on social media. To find out why, Brienne must leave the safety of her home to hunt a familiar stranger. What she discovers is more disturbing than she could have ever imagined. With her fragile mind close to shattering, Brienne is prepared to do anything to reclaim her life. If it’s even hers to reclaim.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

This book was a quick and easy thriller to read and enjoy. I first saw this on Amazon First reads and decided, "Eh, it's a free monthly book and the other choices don't look too interesting. Why not?" I'm glad that I chose this book after all. It has suspense and bends (not exactly twists...a bit too obvious) in the story. Being an avid reader, I can spot plot twists coming a mile away and am able to predict them quite accurately. Brienne has recovered physically from a mugging, but she is far from recovered mentally. Her anxiety gets the better of her and causes migraines. She does not feel safe living alone so finds the perfect roommate: meet Nial. He's a doctor who is good looking and well-mannered. He's every girl's sweet and charming dream man. He's a bit too perfect for me, leaving me suspicious about who he really is. However, it could just be that I am jaded by other "perfect" people from many other books. Things start to get even darker for Brienne when she discovers another person with her same name that even looks like her. This other Brienne dresses like her, drinks her favorite drink, wears similar clothing, reads the same books, etc. The farther Brienne digs into this copy of herself, the harder it is to figure out what is real and what is fiction. Abandoned by her friends after her accident, she really has no one to turn to. Will anyone take her seriously? Is she losing her grip on reality? Or is there truly something going on that could cause her terrible grief in the near future?

Goodreads Description:

They say she’s a murderess. She claims she’s innocent. But Lucy has been known to tell lies… 1855, New Hampshire. Lucy Blunt is set to hang for a double murder. Murderess or victim? Only Lucy knows the truth. In the shadow of the gallows, Lucy reflects on the events that led to her bitter downfall—from the moment she arrived at the rambling Burton mansion looking for work and a better life to the grisly murders themselves. In a mysterious household of locked doors and forbidden affections, Lucy slips comfortably into the shadows, where she believes the indiscretions of her past will remain hidden. But when Lucy’s rising status becomes a threat to the mistress’s current companion, the delicate balance of power and loyalty begins to shift, setting into motion a brewing storm of betrayal, suspicion, and rage. Now, with her execution looming closer, Lucy’s allies fight to have her sentence overturned as the tale she’s spinning nears its conclusion. But how much of her story can we trust? After all, Lucy’s been known to bend the truth…

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

Lucy Blunt sits in a dark, dirty, wet prison cell waiting for her death by hanging. Her memories torment her along with the spirits of those who's lives she touched in one way or another. She has been accused of murdering two people and believes herself innocent of the crime. As the story progresses, there are almost jarring switches between the past and the current time in her dark story. While waiting for her eventual punishment for her crimes, she is often visited by a man interested in writing her story. He often brings her treats that his wife makes but she never eats them. At one point, she is dressed up for a photo to be taken of her for the story the man is writing. She is no longer beautiful, but the Matron is fond of her and does her best to make sure Lucy looks as lovely as possible for her final picture that will be her legacy. Her only hope now is the friend of the women she once worked for to sway the judge and others that Lucy is innocent. There is no love lost between the two of them, but Aurora will do her best. She also forms a bond with the Matron of the prison. Each prisoner has a task that makes money. The men build things and the women do laundry. Many people do not like to see women hanged for their crimes, but the future is bleak for Lucy and her hopes to escape the noose. As her time grows ever shorter and the father along we get in her memories of what lead up to her current situation, there start to be holes in her story...or parts that do not seem quite right. Is she telling the truth to herself in her memories? Is she truly innocent or is she a cold blooded murderess? Thank you Netgalley and Lake Union Publishing for a free advanced copy in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

The Perfect Child

Goodreads Description:

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

A page-turning debut of suspense about a young couple desperate to have a child of their own—and the unsettling consequences of getting what they always wanted.

Christopher and Hannah are a happily married surgeon and nurse with picture-perfect lives. All that’s missing is a child. When Janie, an abandoned six-year-old, turns up at their hospital, Christopher forms an instant connection with her, and he convinces Hannah they should take her home as their own.

But Janie is no ordinary child, and her damaged psyche proves to be more than her new parents were expecting. Janie is fiercely devoted to Christopher, but she acts out in increasingly disturbing ways, directing all her rage at Hannah. Unable to bond with Janie, Hannah is drowning under the pressure, and Christopher refuses to see Janie’s true nature.

Hannah knows that Janie is manipulating Christopher and isolating him from her, despite Hannah’s attempts to bring them all together. But as Janie’s behavior threatens to tear Christopher and Hannah apart, the truth behind Janie’s past may be enough to push them all over the edge.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars (Rounded up)

Low reviews are ones that I honestly do not like to write. I always want to write something about what and how much I liked a book. Unfavorable reviews are something to be avoided at all costs. This book, however much I cringe, will not be getting a good rating from me. There was just so much wrong with this story. Yes, it will be a story that I will remember, but only because of how much it disturbed me (and not in a good way). So, on with my review!

Things that I liked: -I honestly enjoyed the time jumps between the Social Worker's interview with the police in the present and how it would swap back into the POV of Hannah and Christopher. -I appreciated how the social worker voiced her doubts at the beginning about the child's future dealing with physical abuse. -Christopher also shows a kind and huge heart hoping that his love could heal Janie and give her a bright future.

Things that did not work for me: -All of the MAJOR HIPPA violations. You do not talk about a patient outside of work, let alone with someone who has nothing to do with helping the patient! Patient information is a "as needed" subject, sharing only what is necessary to help that person. You NEVER share anything with people outside of their case unless absolutely necessary. Christopher and Hannah could get in major legal trouble for that violation. -It is counted as abuse if you hug/kiss a patient. Hugs are okay only if an adult gives another adult consent, otherwise it is abuse and could cause a ton of legal trouble. It is also very creepy to be hugging and kissing on a child you just met (no matter the circumstances). -Out of hospital field trips for a child without a guardian? That is highly unlikely and unrealistic for this situation. -Christopher falling asleep on Janie's bed with scrubs that could be covered in countless germs from all over the hospital. -Christopher is blinded to Janie's behavior when it is so obvious to other people and refuses to listen.

I could keep going, but there are some people out there that honestly enjoyed the story. It was definitely not for me. However, if it sounds like something you want to try and enjoy disturbing tales, this may be a good read.

The Family Upstairs

Goodreads Description:

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone and Watching You comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I have been waiting several months for my chance to read this book from my local library. I have seen rave reviews about this book from my fellow Goodreads friends and have been anxious to read it for myself. This story was full of semi-dark, twisty plot lines that woven together seamlessly. There were quite a few moments where I cringed in the book due to what the characters went through. It also left me with a lot of questions that were not resolved. How does not one single person know what may be going on in that house of horrors? Do the neighbors never go in their backyards and see them over the fence? Why... well, I cannot say what my other questions are because that would give away spoilers. The only difficult part of the book was that every chapter switched back and forth between three characters with not much to help you to know who was narrating until a few sentences in. Was it Libby? Lucy? Henry? It was a little bit of a mess at first, but the story gradually started to weave itself together into something a bit more logical. Since there has already been so much said about this book, I will keep this short and sweet: this story was pretty good. It was not, ultimately, my favorite thriller. However, it was a good tale and the ending was not what I was expecting (in a fantastic way!).

Westering Women

Goodreads Description:

From the bestselling author of Prayers for Sale, an inspiring celebration of sisterhood on the perilous wagon-trail west

"If you are an adventuresome young woman of high moral character and fine health, are you willing to travel to California in search of a good husband?"

It's February 1852, and all around Chicago Maggie sees the postings soliciting "eligible women" to travel to the gold mines of Goosetown. A young seamstress with a small daughter and several painful secrets, she has nothing to lose.

So she joins forty-three other women and two pious reverends on the dangerous 2,000-mile journey west. None of them are prepared for the hardships they face on the trek through the high plains, mountains, and deserts. Or for the triumphs of finding strengths they did not know they possessed. And not all will make it.

As Maggie gets to know the other women, she soon discovers that she’s not the only one looking to leave dark secrets behind. And when her past catches up with her, it becomes clear a band of sisters will do whatever it takes to protect one of their own.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I was dropping books back off at my local library when I noticed this gorgeous cover. There had been a pep-talk from me, to me before I went in about not picking up any more books until I get at least one more ARC read and reviewed but, let's be real, books are hard to resist. After reading the synopsis I thought it sounded like a great read about women learning how to be strong and stand up for themselves. I was a little taken aback when I saw how few pages there were for a sweeping epic, but I decided to try it anyways. I adored Mary in this book. She is an important figure from the very beginning and plays a strong role in the lives of the other women around her on the trip out west. She and Maggie become close very quickly. Their friendship starts when they both enter the church to hear about and sign up for the trip out west to find husbands in the coal mining areas.

All the women have more than the desire to find a suitable husband, however, otherwise they would stay in Chicago and find a man there. Instead, they are all running from one thing or another. I loved the growth in the characters as each woman starts to discover her own strength and learn new skills that she would otherwise not have the opportunity to learn. There is true character growth in the women and even the preachers taking them on the long journey. What did not work for me, however, was how nearly all of the men were portrayed. The men were nearly all abusive physically, emotionally and verbally up until the end. Some of the loses along the way were also unnecessary. They were to add dramatic effect, I'm sure, but simply came off rather dry and unsatisfying. I had trouble bonding to most of the characters for various reasons that is too difficult to try to explain. Overall, it was a satisfying read about the hardships these women faced along the way from Chicago to California and how they all grew in character and became to love one another.

Darling Rose Gold

Goodreads Description:

Sharp Objects meets My Lovely Wife in this tightly drawn debut that peels back the layers of the most complicated of mother-daughter relationships...

For the first eighteen years of her life, Rose Gold Watts believed she was seriously ill. She was allergic to everything, used a wheelchair and practically lived at the hospital. Neighbors did all they could, holding fundraisers and offering shoulders to cry on, but no matter how many doctors, tests, or surgeries, no one could figure out what was wrong with Rose Gold.

Turns out her mom, Patty Watts, was just a really good liar.

After serving five years in prison, Patty gets out with nowhere to go and begs her daughter to take her in. The entire community is shocked when Rose Gold says yes.

Patty insists all she wants is to reconcile their differences. She says she's forgiven Rose Gold for turning her in and testifying against her. But Rose Gold knows her mother. Patty Watts always settles a score.

Unfortunately for Patty, Rose Gold is no longer her weak little darling...

And she's waited such a long time for her mother to come home.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

Thank you Netgalley and Berkley Publishing Group for an advanced copy of this book. All opinions stated below are my own.

A parent would do anything to protect and keep their child happy. There is an instinct deep within most adults to do anything and everything they can for the sake of their beloved offspring. Unfortunately, sometimes things go wrong in a person's mind. Having had an unhappy childhood herself, Patty is determined to have a child of her own, resulting in the birth of Rose Gold. All through Rose Gold's infancy, Patty is there hovering. She counts every breath, finds every fault, convinces herself of every diagnosis she can think of as a CNA. There is obviously something very wrong with Patty's mental health and poor Rose Gold is the victim of it. After being released from jail after serving her time for everything she put Rose Gold through for nearly two decades, she cannot wait to get back into her daughter's life and take care of her once more. The perspective switches between Patty in the present and Rose Gold in the past. Their intertwining stories weave their tangled web of lies and deceit up to the present day of the novel. Both women are incredibly intelligent and strong willed. Will Rose Gold get her revenge for what her mother did? Will Patty ever feel regret for harming her own child? This is a gritty, dark, amusing ride of a thriller where not everyone is as innocent as you believe. This was a real page turner and a must read for those who enjoy seriously messed up characters.

The Starless Sea

Goodreads Description:

Far beneath the surface of the earth, upon the shores of the Starless Sea, there is a labyrinthine collection of tunnels and rooms filled with stories. The entryways that lead to this sanctuary are often hidden, sometimes on forest floors, sometimes in private homes, sometimes in plain sight. But those who seek will find. Their doors have been waiting for them.

Zachary Ezra Rawlins is searching for his door, though he does not know it. He follows a silent siren song, an inexplicable knowledge that he is meant for another place. When he discovers a mysterious book in the stacks of his campus library he begins to read, entranced by tales of lovelorn prisoners, lost cities, and nameless acolytes. Suddenly a turn of the page brings Zachary to a story from his own childhood impossibly written in this book that is older than he is.

A bee, a key, and a sword emblazoned on the book lead Zachary to two people who will change the course of his life: Mirabel, a fierce, pink-haired painter, and Dorian, a handsome, barefoot man with shifting alliances. These strangers guide Zachary through masquerade party dances and whispered back room stories to the headquarters of a secret society where doorknobs hang from ribbons, and finally through a door conjured from paint to the place he has always yearned for. Amid twisting tunnels filled with books, gilded ballrooms, and wine-dark shores Zachary falls into an intoxicating world soaked in romance and mystery. But a battle is raging over the fate of this place and though there are those who would willingly sacrifice everything to protect it, there are just as many intent on its destruction. As Zachary, Mirabel, and Dorian venture deeper into the space and its histories and myths, searching for answers and each other, a timeless love story unspools, casting a spell of pirates, painters, lovers, liars, and ships that sail upon a Starless Sea.

My Thoughts: 4 Stars

This is counting as my first book of the year, even though I started late December. I finished it this month so it counts, right? I'm going to rate this book as 4 stars. I loved this book. I loved that there were many stories intertwined with the bigger picture even if it did not seem as if they belonged at first. Zachary Ezra Rawlins is at the period of time between midterm break and the new

January term of graduate college. Little does Zachary know that he's about to go on a wild adventure, find a world beneath a world, another world beneath that world, stories that feel real, stories that are real but logic says they should not, and the love of his life. He always has the choice to go forward or to stop and go back. Zachary follows his heart and his mind to accomplish the impossible. He travels down dark tunnels into mysterious crypts, discovers more than he may want to know at times. The weaving of this story is one that I will not be forgetting anytime soon. Why, then, does it only get 4 stars? I... cannot explain. While the tale was delicious, sweet, rich and thick as honey (hehe...see what I did there? Okay. Dork moment over) there was something...missing. I still cannot put my finger on it. Maybe it will become more clear to me during an eventual re-reading of the tale. A story like this one deserves to be read more than once. You never know what you will discover the second time around that you missed the first time! Happy reading!

The Vine Witch

Goodreads Description:

A young witch emerges from a curse to find her world upended in this gripping fantasy of betrayal, vengeance, and self-discovery set in turn-of-the-century France.

For centuries, the vineyards at Château Renard have depended on the talent of their vine witches, whose spells help create the world-renowned wine of the Chanceaux Valley. Then the skill of divining harvests fell into ruin when sorcière Elena Boureanu was blindsided by a curse. Now, after breaking the spell that confined her to the shallows of a marshland and weakened her magic, Elena is struggling to return to her former life. And the vineyard she was destined to inherit is now in the possession of a handsome stranger.

Vigneron Jean-Paul Martel naively favors science over superstition, and he certainly doesn’t endorse the locals’ belief in witches. But Elena knows a hex when she sees one, and the vineyard is covered in them. To stay on and help the vines recover, she’ll have to hide her true identity, along with her plans for revenge against whoever stole seven winters of her life. And she won’t rest until she can defy the evil powers that are still a threat to herself, Jean-Paul, and the ancient vine-witch legacy in the rolling hills of the Chanceaux Valley.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

"Mud and silk, blood and milk, never the twain should meet. For if they do, bad luck to you. Tis the Devil you'll greet."

I was fortunate to get this through Amazon First Reads. That particular month, I was given a choice for two books instead of one. This was one of the choices I made and it was, in the end, an okay read. The synopsis sounded fascinating. There was to be revenge, a nature type of witch, and a bit of a mystery. Why, then, was this book just okay to me? I'm not sure I can put my finger on it. The writing style was decent, the pacing was decent, but something was just...missing. The story starts with our main character as a frog. Soon after our introduction with her, the frog then turns back into a human and returns home where life has moved on without her. Her mentor is there still, but the vineyard no longer belongs to her. The new owner is a handsome young man with a legal background that comes in handy later on. After a bit of a stroll through the book, it starts to pick up after the halfway point. The pacing speeds up with the introduction of new characters along with new layers to established ones. The ending is bittersweet and enjoyable. Would I want to re-read this book in the future? As it stands right now, that would be a "no" from me, but things change. That being said, take my review as a grain of salt and give it a try for yourself if it sounds like something you may enjoy!

The Second Sleep

Goodreads Description:

All civilisations think they are invulnerable. History warns us none is.

1468. A young priest, Christopher Fairfax, arrives in a remote Exmoor village to conduct the funeral of his predecessor. The land around is strewn with ancient artefacts – coins, fragments of glass, human bones – which the old parson used to collect. Did his obsession with the past lead to his death?

As Fairfax is drawn more deeply into the isolated community, everything he believes – about himself, his faith and the history of his world – is tested to destruction.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

This book is not at all what I thought it would be. I did not read what other people had to say about it in their reviews and went strictly by the description provided by the library online. Nowhere in the description does it say anything about our times and people, called "ancients", being in the past. The world has gone back centuries in time in how things work. People live in hovels, religion is extremely important once more, and the Catholic church is the main source of power. Trying to find out what happened to the "ancients" is a horrible crime. Knowledge is not power, but it is punishable and discouraged. My first "what in the world is going on here?" moment was not long into the book. The character was using words such as plastic and describing different items, including an iPhone, from our own current time. I had to flip to the back of the book to see if maybe I did not read the description correctly. I was definitely in for a surprise when I finally found out what kind of story I was reading. While I go through two books or more in a week, this one took over a week for me to finish. It is not a long book and is the average 300+ page novel. However, I could not stay with the story for very long before wanting to move on to another task and put the book down. The story was just okay for me and the ending was a let down. There was a lot of hype and build up (albeit slow build up) to the (not-quite) grand finale. I almost felt like I wasted my time reading this book. Despite not enjoying it, I could tell the author put their heart into writing this novel and so I bumped my rating up to three stars. That being said, just like other books that I did not really enjoy, I hope you don't take my word for it and give it a try for yourself. You never know if it may become your next favorite book!

The Invited

Goodreads Description:

A chilling ghost story with a twist: the New York Times bestselling author of The Winter People returns to the woods of Vermont to tell the story of a husband and wife who don't simply move into a haunted house, they start building one from scratch, without knowing it, until it's too late . . .

In a quest for a simpler life, Helen and Nate abandon the comforts of suburbia and their teaching jobs to take up residence on forty-four acres of rural land where they will begin the ultimate, aspirational do-it-yourself project: building the house of their dreams. When they discover that this charming property has a dark and violent past, Helen, a former history teacher, becomes consumed by the legend of Hattie Breckenridge, a woman who lived and died there a century ago. As Helen starts carefully sourcing decorative building materials for her home--wooden beams, mantles, historic bricks--she starts to unearth, and literally conjure, the tragic lives of Hattie's descendants, three generations of "Breckenridge women," each of whom died amidst suspicion, and who seem to still be seeking something precious and elusive in the present day.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

This was a decent thriller. A woman and her husband inherit some money and decide to build their dream home in a boggy, swampy area. The locals are not thrilled about their new neighbors and blame everything that goes wrong on their appearance awakening an old spirit. Despite the locals not liking them, they purchase a plot of land that's known as the previous home of Hattie. The women in Hattie's bloodline appear to be cursed. Every woman from that family line meets a horrible end. Soon enough, Helen becomes obsessed with Hattie and the history of her land and starts incorporating parts of haunted buildings into her own home. Gradually her relationship starts to become frayed between hauntings, ghosts, and a mysterious white doe. Can Helen and Nate discover what truly happened to Hattie and save the next woman in the bloodline from meeting the same fate as those before her? Ghosts, murder, new friends and enemies, and a whole lot of sad and undeserved dark pasts. This is a perfect ghost story for those who need light but spooky reading.


Goodreads Description:

#1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory begins a sweeping new series with the story of a poor, uneducated midwife named Alinor who is tempted by a forbidden love affair--but all too aware of the dangers awaiting a woman who dares to step out of the place society carved for her.

My Thoughts: 4 Stars

This review is a bit late in coming, but we all know how life can distract us and lead us off into directions other than the one we originally intended. I was ecstatic when a copy of this book was put into my hands as a gift. I have enjoyed all of the Philippa Gregory books that I have read in the past about the Tudors. In this story, the main character is a mother of two who has been essentially abandoned by her husband. She is lingering in the church graveyard one evening and waiting to see if her husband's ghost appears. If she sees her husband's ghost on this particular evening of the year, it means that he has died and she is a widow and a free woman once more. Her children, a son and a daughter, both work in order to help make ends meet. While waiting in the church cemetery, a stranger comes out of the dark who will change her future forever. This is a slow burner type of book which is not well suited for some people, but I rather enjoyed it. As a reader, I was able to truly get a feel and visual for the landscape and the beauty (and fierceness) of living on a constantly changing land and the danger of the waters. Gregory peels back the layers on seemingly perfect characters until you see their dark, selfish, twisted souls hidden beneath all of their "goodness." The story ended on a cliffhanger. I will be anxiously awaiting the next book in this new series!

No Judgments

Goodreads Description:

The storm of the century is about to hit Little Bridge Island, Florida—and it’s sending waves crashing through Sabrina “Bree” Beckham’s love life…

When a massive hurricane severs all power and cell service to Little Bridge Island—as well as its connection to the mainland—twenty-five-year-old Bree Beckham isn’t worried . . . at first. She’s already escaped one storm—her emotionally abusive ex—so a hurricane seems like it will be a piece of cake.

But animal-loving Bree does become alarmed when she realizes how many islanders have been cut off from their beloved pets. Now it’s up to her to save as many of Little Bridge’s cats and dogs as she can . . . but to do so, she’s going to need help—help she has no choice but to accept from her boss’s sexy nephew, Drew Hartwell, the Mermaid Café’s most notorious heartbreaker.

But when Bree starts falling for Drew, just as Little Bridge’s power is restored and her penitent ex shows up, she has to ask herself if her island fling was only a result of the stormy weather, or if it could last during clear skies too.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

I first became a fan of Meg Cabot when I was little. I remember going to a small business type bookshop in a darling part of town when I was little. My mother was with me and let me run my fingers along the spines of the books until a bright pink cover on a paperback book caught my eye. Being the little girl that I was, I stopped to look and was excited when my mom gently took it from me and placed it on the counter to purchase. This was one of my favorite things to do when I was small, and my mother and I still go book shopping together to this day. The book I picked out that day was The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot. That Princess Diaries series started me on my journey to being a fan of this author. As an adult, I have drifted away and returned to authors that I enjoyed in the past. Having been away from Meg Cabot for a while, I saw this book was coming out and so requested it from my local library.

This was a light, fluffy, beach read type of book. While heavy subjects (sexual assault and animal abuse) are touched on lightly, there is not really anything heavy about this book. It was your typical good girl falling for the wealthy and snarky handsome man. Having heard all about his reputation, the main character is determined to stay away from him...well, kind of. You know how these stories go. Her traumatic past is touched on along with her strained relationship with her mother and the secrets she kept from her all of these years. When not reflecting on her past or the present handsome guy with the reputation for his trucking sitting outside of a different house every night, there's the ever present risk of the hurricane heading their way.

The hurricane focus of the story was not as fleshed out as I believe it could have been. There's this every present threat of a absolutely horrible, life threatening, category 5 hurricane coming to the tiny island and... our main character refuses all offers of help to leave? Will not evacuate despite numerous people offering to let her come along? However, there would not be a story if she evacuated when this book is supposed to be a frilly, girl meets boy, read. For crying out loud! There's a life threatening hurricane coming! And when the storm finally hits? Well, it's written a bit...blasé. "Oh look! A hurricane is raging outside. Let's eat food and chill out as if nothing could happen. Like, oh, I don't know... potentially death inducing going on? The actual hurricane itself takes place for only a couple pages and then the almost mild seeming (though horrendous) damage is mentioned at the end of the storm. May it's just me? It was an easy, fast read, but not something to write home about. Still a great author!

A Dog's Promise

Amazon Description:

A Dog's Promise continues the story of Bailey, the good dog whose journey started in A Dog's Purpose and continued in A Dog's Journey (both major motion pictures). This time, Bailey is joined by Lacey, another very special dog, who helps Bailey fulfill his promise over the course of several lives.

This charming, wise canine soul brings joy, laughter, and comfort as he unites a family fractured by life's inevitable obstacles. The love and loyalty of these two memorable dogs shows us the incredible power of hope, truth, and unending devotion in this moving novel by award-winning author W. Bruce Cameron.

My Thoughts: 4 Stars

I first discovered this author years ago when, I believe, someone mentioned his first book of this series “A Dog’s Purpose” and I was hooked. I was so sad when the second book was finished and there was no promise of another book for this series. The author’s writing and stories are wholesome and will make you laugh, happy cry, ugly cry and smile with joy. In this final journey of Bailey’s he is returned to the farm where the main part of his beginning took place. Now a generation or two has passed since Bailey lived his last life and is in Heaven with his previous owners who missed and love him dearly. The story begins with Bailey being approached by two of his previous humans, one of which is Ethan, and they tell him that he is needed to go back down to Earth and take care of a descendent and his older brother. They reassure him that he is the very best boy and send him on his way. I do not want to give too much away, so I will keep this as brief as possible.

Bailey always starts out as a puppy and has something to learn in each life so that he can help whoever needs him in his next life to the best of his abilities. The author really does make you feel how much Bailey’s humans love him and I often found myself grabbing one of my dogs and hugging them close (despite two of them being 80+ pounds) to me or on my lap while reading this story. I’m never left disappointed by this author and loved seeing how the main character, who has a disability, learn how to overcome his way of thinking. Not only that, but his older brother learns about himself and what he wants out of life. Both brothers have a long journey ahead of them to figure out who they want to be and what truly matters to them.

The shorter review: It was amazing and you really need to pick up a copy for his heartwarming tale.

Goodreads Description:

In the first book in a brilliant new fantasy series, books that aren't finished by their authors reside in the Library of the Unwritten in Hell, and it is up to the Librarian to track down any restless characters who emerge from those unfinished stories.

Many years ago, Claire was named Head Librarian of the Unwritten Wing—a neutral space in Hell where all the stories unfinished by their authors reside. Her job consists mainly of repairing and organizing books, but also of keeping an eye on restless stories that risk materializing as characters and escaping the library. When a Hero escapes from his book and goes in search of his author, Claire must track and capture him with the help of former muse and current assistant Brevity and nervous demon courier Leto.

But what should have been a simple retrieval goes horrifyingly wrong when the terrifyingly angelic Ramiel attacks them, convinced that they hold the Devil's Bible. The text of the Devil's Bible is a powerful weapon in the power struggle between Heaven and Hell, so it falls to the librarians to find a book with the power to reshape the boundaries between Heaven, Hell ... and Earth.

My Thoughts: 3 Stars

This book was full of adventure, people learning more about themselves (even after death...even if they are not actual people) and what goes on in the day to day life of Claire, Hell’s librarian. Claire’s existence is a tedious one at times as she looks after all of the unwritten books and trains her assistant who just happens to be a muse. However, one day, one of the characters from a book gets loose. This is not too uncommon of an occurrence, but this character is tricky and nearly impossible to control. With no other choice, this character joins Claire, the muse and a devil on a journey none of them see coming. We, the readers, are taken into other “heavens” such as Valhalla and other forgotten places of religious beliefs. While this was not an absolute win of a read for me, it was worth the time to experience this author’s new (under and upper) world. Give this book a try if you like:


*Traveling to other dimensions

*People who are not as they appear

*Demons and their semi-complex hierarchy

*A sassy librarian who can hold her own



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