Fiction, Young Adult, Historical Fiction, Suspense

Book Hangover Titles, 2023 Pt. 1

This morning I saw an interesting post. Someone asked the question: “What was the last book you read that left you with a book hangover?” It got me thinking.

If you’re unaware, a book hangover can best be described as that feeling of numbness and mourning that happens when you finish a book that leaves you emotionally gutted. Some authors, like Diane Chamberlain and Brigid Kemmerer, are especially skilled at writing stories that have that effect on me. It’s probably why I keep going back to their books again and again.

Can a story still be great and not leave you with a book hangover? Absolutely! In fact, three of my favorite authors usually don’t (Katherine Center, Boo Walker, Mimi Matthews,) but I still find their writing engrossing and love their books. Like all reading, it’s a highly personal feeling. The important thing, hangover or not, is that special connection between an author’s work and the reader.

After seeing the original question, I went to Goodreads and browsed books I’ve read so far this year. There are lots, many of which I’ve rated very highly on this blog, but only fourteen qualify for the book hangover category. If you’re a reading slump, and it happens to all of us, I’m certain that one of these books will save you. Most have reviews on this site. Happy Reading!

Moonrise, by Sarah Crossan

Making Faces, by Amy Harmon

Whiskey When We’re Dry, by John Larison

The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain

More Than We Can Tell, by Brigid Kemmerer

The Escape Artist, by Diane Chamberlain

The Spectacular, by Fiona Davis (just released!)

The Last House On The Street, by Diane Chamberlain

The Homecoming of Samuel Lake, by Jenny Wingfield

One, by Sarah Crossan

Restart, by Gordon Korman

Entitled, by Cookie Boyle

What to Say Next, by Julie Buxbaum

The Child Finder, by Rene Denfeld

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction

The Last Exchange, by Charles Martin

AVAILABLE October 3, 2023

You never know quite what to expect with a Charles Martin book, and that philosophy certainly carries over with his upcoming novel, The Last Exchange.

Despite the serene-looking cover, a lot happens in this story, centering around the bond between the oddly-named young actress Maybe Joe Sue and her Scottish bodyguard, Pockets. Yes, Charles Martin wins the award for unique character names!

“Joe” skyrocketed to early fame after being discovered while waitressing, garnering awards, millions of dollars, and plenty of unwanted attention. But a troubled childhood has left a lot of emptiness that she attempts to fend off with pills and bad relationships.

Kelly MacThomas Pockets, with his experience in the military, has now been hired as Joe’s bodyguard while her husband films on location and philanders with other women. Pockets is a firm believer in “the line,” that boundary of emotion and physicality that you never, ever cross with an employer.

Yet, within this platonic team is fierce devotion, and it goes in both directions. Between Joe’s resources and Pockets’ unusual methods, they go to great lengths for each other in a story that has suspense, action, and a plot that grabs hold of you until the very end. I don’t want to give anything away, so this vague review is done by design, but I really enjoyed this surprising book!

9/10 Stars

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction, Women's Fiction

The Happy Life of Isadora Bentley, by Courtney Walsh

AVAILABLE June 13, 2023

See that date up there? June 13th? Mark it on your calendar. Mark it… Are you marking? You better be marking…

Oh, Isadora. I just love you. I want to be friends with you. Twenty years ago I think I was you. Why did I let your story sit in my Kindle for 4 months? This was a story that spoke to my heart. It is a story that will speak to the heart of any introverted, cerebral, never-married-but-wants-to-be woman in her thirties who wonders why that kind of happiness seems to only be reserved for other people.

Chicago University researcher, Isadora Bentley, is celebrating her thirtieth birthday. Alone. (Does that qualify as celebrating?) Alone except for the local mini mart’s sugary delicacies that await her in Aisle 8. Twinkies, chocolate, and a 2 liter of Coke have medicinal properties that the science world has yet to recognize. (If you know, you know.) While checking out, Isadora spots a headline on a magazine: 31 Steps to Happiness, by Dr. Grace Monroe. Ha! 31 Steps. What a crock. On a whim of rebellion, Isadora buys the magazine with the intent of testing Dr. Monroe’s theory. She will implement one step per day–in any order–record her findings, and prove, unequivocally, that happiness can never be achieved so simplistically.

Unfortunately, most of these steps involve interacting with other people. Yuck. People. People lead to feelings, and feelings lead to loss and sadness and hurt. And Isadora has been hurt. A lot. Who wants that? Alone is safe. Alone is comfortable. Alone is…sometimes not all it’s cracked up to be.

Except that when you are a university researcher like Isadora, who is supposed to be working with other people, being alone isn’t always an option. Her self-imposed solitude is interrupted when Isadora’s boss assigns her to work with opposite-of-ugly Dr. Cal Baxter, a psychologist preparing a book for publication and conducting his own experiment.

Over the next year, Isadora Bentley embarks on a roller coaster ride of self-discovery, soul-searching, emotions, and regret. This sounds heavy–and it is–except that all of this wisdom is dressed in so much hilarity (her inner dialogue made me LOL on multiple occasions) that you almost don’t realize that you, the reader, are learning something too. And there are feelings–deep, deep feelings–as our beloved heroine goes on this journey, realizing that, while defensive walls are sometimes necessary, they aren’t always the answer.

I adored this book, its writing, characters, and many insightful nuggets. It’s a treasure. I highly recommend it. Remember: June 13.

9.5/10 Stars


The Night of Many Endings, by Melissa Payne

Assumptions. We’ve all made them. We create narratives for strangers based on their housing (or lack thereof,) their jobs, their weight, race, religion, political party, tattoos, piercings, clothes, hair color…need I go on? No. Anyone reading this knows what I’m talking about. You probably did it today and so did I. The assumptions are usually wrong and yet, we keep on doing it. We’ve all been on the receiving end too, likely in a hurtful way, promising ourselves we would never do that to someone else…and yet…

The irony is that we all know the solution. Once we truly get to know someone, once they become distinct and a friend, those categories we originally focused on vanish. It’s amazing what a little effort and a little compassion can accomplish.

This is the theme of The Night of Many Endings, by Melissa Payne, a unique book with five main characters, each dealing with their own losses and challenges, each making incorrect assumptions about the others, and each set on a new path after one momentous night.

It is closing time at the library in Silver Ridge, Colorado. Head librarian, Nora, is ready to resume the search for her missing older brother, an addict and transient. Assistant librarian Marlene, a recent widow and self-appointed watchdog, has just caught teenager, Jasmine, stuffing an unchecked book into her bag. Horrors. Vlado, the steady, calm security guard, prepares for an evening of reading to further his education. Outside, Lewis, a grizzled old homeless man, numbs the pain with some obscure white powder. Five lives, five people who have no intention of letting their stories overlap.

Until a blizzard changes their plans. A tree falls and the roads become impassable. Suddenly Nora, Marlene, Jasmine, Vlado, and Lewis are stuck in the library all night. With no power, minimal sustenance, and dwindling cell phone batteries, options are limited. So is patience, understanding, and generosity. However, as conditions at the library get colder, defenses drop and hearts start to thaw.

If you were a teen in the eighties as I was, you remember the iconic John Hughes film The Breakfast Club, about the motley crew of five high school students stuck in Saturday detention. The Night of Many Endings reminded me of that film, but is still a story all its own. One that is profound and thought-provoking.

This was a terrific read. I put a lot of scenes through my own filter of experience. Sometimes I felt light and hopeful, sometimes I felt shame and regret. But I left with a personal vow to try and be better. In my opinion, that is what this story is trying to teach us. I recommend it.

9/10 Stars

Fiction, Historical Fiction, Magical Realism, Women's Fiction

Weyward, by Emilia Hart

“The connections between and among women are the most feared, the most problematic, and the most potentially transforming force on the planet.”
― Emilia Hart, Weyward

Three women across five centuries are bound by an ancient name, a special gift, a humble cottage, and hardship. This is the story of Weyward, a loving tribute to the strength of females everywhere.

England, 1619. Altha, like many others of her era, has been accused of witchcraft and must stand trial for her alleged crimes. Violet, languishing in her family’s mansion in 1942, longs to know more of the outside world. And Kate, pregnant and afraid, escapes an abusive relationship in 2019, fleeing to a cottage left to her by a great aunt she never knew.

One by one, we learn more about these extraordinary women. We discover their connections to the mysteries of nature and to each other, showing their collective ability to rise above their constraints and the men who try to dominate them. They have their accusers, their predators, and their allies. But first they must endure their separate challenges and tap into the history and secrets that weave their stories together.

Weyward is an exceptional debut novel. It is unique, beautiful, haunting, and uplifting. Be aware that there are definite triggers, such as rape and emotional/physical abuse. But also know that in its storytelling lies the message that overcoming such things is possible. The power is within all of us.

9.5/10 Stars


April Reading Wrap Up!

Here are the books I read this month! Twenty-six in all. Several were average, there was one huge disappointment (which you can read about in my previous post,) and a handful of delights, mostly from familiar authors I can usually rely on to deliver a great story.

The biggest surprises were The Matrimonial Advertisement by Mimi Matthews and The Stolen Marriage by Diane Chamberlain. Surprises because, while I expected them to be very good since these are go-to authors for me, I didn’t expect them to be superb, which they were! The one by Mimi Matthews is the first in a four-part series, so I’ll talk about it more in another post, BUT I will say that the Kindle book for The Matrimonial Advertisement is only $0.99 right now. Totally worth it! This is a clean, semi-gothic romance with fantastic characters. If you buy the book, the audio is only $1.99.

If you want books that are also excellent with some unusual plots, I recommend Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde and Meredith, Alone by Claire Alexander. The stories are a bit on the somber side, but very thought-provoking and unique. You can go to the blog search and/or menus to find their individual reviews.

So on to May! It’s nearly May, how is this possible?? I have a few reads lined up already. Let’s see how many get conquered.

Happy Reading!

Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction

Happy Place, by Emily Henry

What a frustrating book. I was so looking forward to it. The release date has been on my calendar for ages. Now the disappointment I’m feeling is palpable.

Have you ever been to a party where you don’t know anybody? Where all the people have memories and history with everyone else but not with you? Where, when you try to enter a conversation, all they do is talk around you and keep saying things like “hey, remember that time we (not you)…?” You’re constantly left out and reminded that you don’t belong. That is a little what it was like to spend time with Wyn, Harriet, and their four friends.

Which brings me to the next set of problems. These are six friends who are educated professionals (a doctor, two lawyers, two urban farmers, and a talented furniture maker) that aren’t very interesting except for the collective gift of acting unbelievably stupid. There is drunkenness and amnesia-inducing hangovers, pot gummies, a random bra that goes flying, and other nonsense. Segue into childish bickering, no concept about the difference between sex and love, terrible communication, and…need I go on? This is immature teenage idiocy, not the behavior of supposedly intelligent adults. It wasn’t funny or charming, and it certainly wasn’t enjoyable to read.

But wait, there’s more. We have Wyn and Harriet who were engaged and are now broken up but don’t want to tell their friends and ruin the week they’re spending together. So now we fall into the tropes that are so overdone they have their own taglines: fake dating, forced proximity, friends to lovers, second chances, found family, blah, blah, blah. And don’t even get me started on why they broke up in the first place and the ending that fails to redeem itself. It’s ridiculous. *sigh* Did I mention I was frustrated?

This book is a total misfire. I tried to like it, but it kept going downhill. Add the slow pacing, dual timelines that switched over at the worst times, unnecessary drama, and “angsty but cool” characters (which rarely works,) and I have to wonder if Emily Henry was abducted by aliens and someone else is standing in for her. I don’t like saying it, but Happy Place is so beneath her talent. Where are the likeable characters? The wit? The solid writing? It’s not here.

5/10 Stars


Meredith, Alone, by Claire Alexander

I have a real admiration for characters who are still kind to others despite their own immense challenges. Let’s be honest–that is NOT easy. But Meredith Maggs of Glasgow, Scotland is a rare one.

There are plenty of us who wish we could stay home all the time–work from home, shop exclusively from home, etc. But there is staying home by choice and there is staying home because to leave would induce crippling anxiety and panic attacks. Sadly, Meredith is in the second group. She hasn’t left her house in over three years. Introverts might say, “She’s so lucky.” But Meredith isn’t lucky. She’s trapped by years of trauma and emotional abuse, culminating in one horrific incident. At the moment when Meredith needed support the most, it wasn’t there.

So here she is, weeks from her fortieth birthday, keeping her routine, working remotely to pay the bills, but sometimes still sinking into that dark place that reminds her why her life differs from others. Is Meredith bitter? Well, yes. Does she take it out on others? Surprisingly, no. And, fortunately, there are “others.” Sadie, Meredith’s best friend from her university days, a freckle-faced neighbor boy who mows the lawn, an online girlfriend in her mental health group, and now Tom. Tom is her “weekly look in friend,” arranged by the health service to make sure Meredith is still alive and, in her words, “hasn’t been eaten by her cat.”

Meredith, Alone delves into some deep issues regarding mental health problems, emotional and sexual abuse, toxic parents, and even suicide. But, personally, I think it is a very important book. Anyone who has gone through these things will never forget them, but healing can happen. As Meredith’s therapist says, “Abuse has no hierarchy.” What you or I or anyone else has gone through isn’t a contest to see whose life has been the hardest. Our experiences are our own and should be respected and always validated and believed.

Meredith’s trauma may have chipped away at her self confidence, but she is strong in ways she doesn’t even realize. She is a hero in her own right, exemplifying effort and triumph in how she conducts herself and treats others. I think many readers would be helped by this book. Between the events from Meredith’s past and her own determination to move forward, a lot of us will see ourselves in her in one way or another. I highly recommend it.

9.5/10 Stars

Fiction, Historical Fiction

The Stolen Marriage, by Diane Chamberlain

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: where have Diane Chamberlain’s books been all my life? Yesterday I devoured The Stolen Marriage, another excellent story by an author who is quickly becoming a favorite. She is, certainly, the best author discovery I’ve made in 2023.

Set in the mid 1940s, World War II and the polio epidemic are raging and claiming lives both in the US and overseas. Baltimore nursing student, Tess DeMello, is grateful that her fianceé, Dr. Vincent Russo, doesn’t have to go to war, but despondent when he decides to help with the increasing polio cases in faraway Chicago. It’s only temporary, he says, and their wedding is still scheduled to take place on time. But as his return gets delayed again and again, Tess is convinced that Vincent is staying away for other reasons. Feeling rejected, despite Vincent’s reassurance that she’s the only one, Tess makes a decision that alters the course of her life.

Suddenly, everything Tess had planned is in the rear-view mirror. That momentary choice she made has placed her in a new situation surrounded by new people, none of whom accept and love her. But sometimes the greatest challenges are the things that show us our true strengths, and new places are not always what they seem.

The Stolen Marriage was a superb read that I could not put down. Diane Chamberlain has a fluid writing style that captivates the reader from the very beginning and characters who feel like real people giving us a glimpse into their lives. She touches on domestic themes, often weaving in racial issues that were happening at the time, giving the reader a lot to think about without being heavy handed. Her storytelling is unparalleled, with endings that leave you gasping for air. You will feel sorrow, empathy, shock, and relief. Like the other books I’ve read by Chamberlain, The Stolen Marriage is a wild emotional ride that I would willingly go on again and again as I continue to work my way through all of her novels.

9.5/10 Stars

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction

The Wishing Game, by Meg Shaffer

AVAILABLE May 30, 2023

This book was extremely enjoyable! The closest comparison I can give it, of which I’m sure the author would approve, is that it is like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory for grownups. In this case, the reclusive genius is world-renowned children’s author, Jack Masterson. But unlike Willy Wonka with his golden tickets, Jack personally selects the “children” to compete for the prize. (I’ll let you discover what that is.)

The children, however, are not children at all. They are adults who grew up reading and immersing themselves in Jack Masterson’s extensive Clock Island series. Sixty six books in all. Books that helped and affected these readers so much during difficult times that all of them, at one point, went seeking their favorite author in person. Most of us can only imagine the thrill of doing such a thing.

The plot mostly revolves around one person in particular. Lucy Hart, a kindergarten teacher’s aide whose greatest wish is to foster and adopt one special little boy, and whose greatest fear is that Life’s obstacles will prevent her from doing so. But if there’s one thing to learn from the Clock Island characters, it’s that “the only wishes ever granted are the wishes of brave children.”

As someone who loved and devoured all of Roald Dahl’s books as a child and is fiercely protective of his legacy, I raised an eyebrow when I realized that The Wishing Game was a bit of a reboot of his most famous story. I didn’t need to worry. It is a lovely homage–faithful to the principles of the original in that kindness, courage, and humility are rewarded, but unique enough that it stands firmly on its own as a terrific read and a worthy addition to any library.

9/10 Stars

Fiction, Women's Fiction

Faithful, by Alice Hoffman

What a good book! This is the first time I’ve read something by Alice Hoffman, but it was engrossing and kept my attention from start to finish. It reminded me a lot of The People We Keep by Allison Larkin, a recent read, in that the main character is a traumatized young woman.

In Faithful it is Shelby Richmond, who is struggling with deep depression and survivor’s guilt after being in a car crash that incapacitated her best friend. Shelby changes her appearance, has extremely low self-esteem, and considers herself a nothing. But there is an anonymous person who reaches out, sending Shelby postcards for years with short, cryptic messages:
“Be something.”
“Feel something.”
“Do something.”
“Trust someone.”

Clearly this person feels that Shelby has untapped potential if she would only believe in herself.

It is fascinating to follow Shelby on her journey over the next few years. We find out who her secret pen pal is by the end of the story, but there are some wonderful supporting characters along the way. Alice Hoffman has done a terrific job keeping the personalities distinct and unique. The core group is a great example of the power of friendship, hope, and the rewards we reap when we put ourselves on the line for others.

My only real confusion is the title. I’m still trying to work that out in my mind. But the fact that it keeps me thinking about the story and the characters is a testament to the excellent writing and plot development. I have an idea what it means, but sharing my thoughts would be giving away something important. I certainly don’t want to do that to any potential readers. *wink*

9/10 Stars

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction

Just a Regular Boy, by Catherine Ryan Hyde

AVAILABLE May 2, 2023

I’ve read several books by Catherine Ryan Hyde and, while they often seem to follow the pattern of pairing a child in distress with an unlikely adult companion, that is where the similarities end.

In this novel, five year old Remy is forced to live in the wilderness with his survivalist father as they both mourn the loss of Remy’s mother. Conditioned to think that the world’s societies are crumbling and all remaining humans will be killed or enslaved, Remy fears everyone outside their makeshift camp. But when he finds himself completely alone and must depend on others or die, he discovers the extremes in his father’s thinking. Embraced by a foster family with an especially determined and intuitive mother, Remy learns Life’s actual truths. Yes, the world is a tough place and bad things happen, but when you are loved, validated, protected, and wanted, it can make all the difference.

Catherine Ryan Hyde never fails to amaze me with her unique stories. Once again her young protagonist is wise beyond his years but with an emotional fragility that only love can heal. The character development is excellent. The theme of trust vs fear is very strong throughout, making readers examine their own lives and insecurities.

If I had one criticism, I would say that the COVID theme with its “we’re fine, we’ve been vaccinated” is a bit heavy-handed at times. The author lives in California, where that is very much the way of thinking, but the story takes place in Idaho, where beliefs are more varied. I wish that ideology had been fine-tuned more to match the setting. Overall, though, this is a special book that I would definitely recommend to others.

9/10 Stars

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction

Theme: Women Going It Alone

I recently heard a terrific talk about the “backpacks of (metaphorical) rocks” we all carry–those burdens that follow us through life and affect so much of what we do and how we treat people. There are the rocks created by others, the rocks we made ourselves, and those uncontrollable rocks that are just part of being human. In this talk, the speaker focused mostly on women and how we often choose to carry our burdens alone, even when we don’t have to. I thought about this concept a lot in relation to these two books.

In Worlds Apart, a debut novel by Jane Crittenden, teens Amy and Olivia both carry backpacks heavily burdened by the actions of others. But while Amy stays upbeat and friendly, Olivia is sullen and moody. Years later, the roles are reversed and it is Amy who is bitter. Now a single mother with a popular bakery and supportive friends, she is the picture of negativity. When Chris, her daughter’s father, reenters her life after nineteen years, Amy treats him with snarky saltiness, wondering why he never inquires about his child. She wrestles with her feelings of confusion and contempt, always playing the victim and never coming out and just saying what’s on her mind. The resulting drama is unnecessary and maddening. Amy never earns our sympathy or endearment. Everything works out after a dreary three hundred pages, but only because of luck, and not in a way that feels sincere or satisfying. Sadly, this novel did not even come close to meeting my expectations. 3/10 Stars

The People We Keep, by Allison Larkin, is a fascinating study in human behavior. As we follow the life of young singer-songwriter April Sawiki, we see that problems can affect us without defining us. We are also reminded that parental scars are the deepest, whether they be physical or emotional. In April’s case, they are both. With only her guitar and her dad’s ex-girlfriend as her solace and support, sixteen year old April is left to fend for herself. Soon, survival mode is all she knows and that early hunger for love and belonging stretches into years. During April’s journey to find her place in the world, she gravitates towards other broken people, always slow to trust but amazingly observant. She is scrappy and rough, but she’s also kind, helpful, protective, and never toxic. Author Allison Larkin does a remarkable job with April’s character development, making her both strong and fragile, always wanting more but feeling she deserves less. By the time we leave April, her future is still imperfect, but it seems hopeful. Her personal rule of always leaving people with good memories extends to the reader as well. This book is beautifully written and deeply profound. 9/10 Stars

ARC (Advanced Reader Copy), Fiction, Women's Fiction

The Stars Don’t Lie, by Boo Walker

“She was still there, this night sky, this elegant gown woven with diamonds…”

AVAILABLE August 22, 2023

Some “pre review” thoughts: As exciting as it is to communicate with a favorite author, it can also be tricky. Boo Walker has been incredibly generous to me, a humble blogger, offering and sending me CDs and MP3s of his two previous books, bringing me on board as a beta reader for his upcoming novel in 2024, freely giving and receiving feedback via email, and being a friend on social media. Bottom line: I wanted to love this book. Thankfully, I did. Now, on to the review.

Dr. Carver Livingstone has a lot of things figured out in life. Still in his thirties, he is a successful North Carolina veterinarian with several clinics, a surgical patent, and a staff who adores him. But he has a past, one without closure that he has kept buried and at a distance for twenty years. So when his mother asks him to return home to Vermont and mediate a family issue, it isn’t an easy decision.

Carver is, after all, a man of science. He seeks facts and doesn’t like shades of gray. He can also be slow on the uptake when it comes to emotional cues from others. It’s that “different kind of smart,” an observation not lost on Mrs. Eloise Cartwright, his favorite teacher from high school. Mrs. Cartwright was there for Carver during his darkest moments as a teen and, while he has never forgotten the impact she had on his life, he has cut ties with her as much as with everyone else.

Mrs. Cartwright would hate the cliché, but Carver had to wait for the stars to align. Or maybe they have aligned and he just needed a good push. Either way, things are being set into motion through a series of events beyond his control. Call it Fate or call it Faith, change is on the horizon.

There was so much I loved about The Stars Don’t Lie. Boo Walker effortlessly accomplishes a multitude of objectives with a diverse cast of characters. Diverse in the sense that we meet different people at various stages of life, which means there is someone for whom every reader can relate to and understand. And even though many of them have their own epiphanies, it is Carver who is at the center of it all, trying to stay afloat, constantly doubting his abilities, but still learning what’s most important. All he has to do is look up.

On a grander scale is the writing itself, which is done with terrific skill. The pace is just right and the phrasing is very clever. I highlighted several for future reference. I also found myself tapping into personal memories and feelings that few, if any, books have ever brought to the surface. Last but not least there are the messages, mainly of redemption and reminders that we are all a part of something bigger than ourselves, each conveyed with gentle tenderness. Reading, no, experiencing this book was like finally opening a stuck window and airing out a musty room. A refreshing, emotional detox.

I highly recommend it. (Yes, I’m a bit biased, but I don’t care. I loved it.)

10/10 Stars

*This book can currently be preordered on Amazon and is only $4.99 for the Kindle edition. Like all of Boo’s previous books, it will likely be available in print, digital, and audio formats if you have a subscription to Kindle Unlimited.

Fiction, Romance, Women's Fiction

Good For You, by Camille Pagán

Change is never easy, especially when it involves a devastating loss, but it can also lead to good things you never expected. Aly Jackson should know. As she’s mourning the death of her older brother, Luke, her career and relationship also get upended. The only lifeline she has is a house that Luke left to her on the shore of Lake Michigan.

Of course, nothing is as she expects it to be when Aly arrives. There are still plenty of estate details to figure out, family issues to resolve, and emotions to sort through. But, even in death, Aly’s older brother is her protector, whether she realizes it or not.

This is the first book I’ve read by Camille Pagán. It won’t be my last! She delves into very real feelings, exploring them through Aly with that frustrating combination of confusion, resistance, and wisdom that happens when the rug gets pulled out from under you. Having dealt with similar grief, I felt for Aly and related to her. But even if you have been fortunate enough not to experience such sorrow, this is a book worth reading. I recommend it!

9/10 Stars

Available with a Kindle Unlimited subscription.