Monday, April 17, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Synopsis

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn's experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations--preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son--Penn's half-brother--who sets in motion the murder case against his father. The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi's violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave.

Tom Cage's murder trial sets a terrible clock in motion, and unless Penn can pierce the veil of the past and exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. Unable to trust anyone around him--not even his own mother--Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father's case. Together, Penn and Serenity--a former soldier--battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making--one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited.

Paperback, 704 pages
Published March 21st 2017 by William Morrow
ISBN 0062642618 (ISBN13: 9780062642615)

About the Author
Greg Iles spent most of his youth in Natchez, Mississippi. His first novel, Spandau Phoenix, was the first of thirteen New York Times bestsellers, and his new trilogy continues the story of Penn Cage, protagonist of The Quiet Game, Turning Angel, and #1 New York Times bestseller The Devil’s Punchbowl. Iles’s novels have been made into films and published in more than thirty-five countries. He lives in Natchez with his wife and has two children.

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My Thoughts
Grief is the most solitary emotion; it makes islands of us all..
This is the final book in the Natchez Burning trilogy of the Penn Cage series. This series has covered the investigation into the actions of a white supremacist group in Mississippi called the Double Eagles. The trilogy started in Natchez Burning with the father of Penn Cage, Dr. Tom Cage, charged with the murder of his former nurse Viola Turner. In the process of investigating his father's case, Penn is dragged into the past and a torrent of ugly events involving the Double Eagles going as high up as the Kennedy assassination. In The Bone Tree, the story continued with Henry Sexton leading the investigation into the Double Eagles, and now in Mississippi Blood we sit in on the trial of Dr. Tom Cage as we learn more of the past.

I have really loved this trilogy, and Greg Iles has become an author that I trust. He can craft a great story, and knows how to build tension. He brings his characters to life and welcomes you into their story. You can feel the sticky heat of the south, smell the rich earth, hear the frogs croaking in the swamp, and see the "Old South" in your mind.

Penn Cage is a former prosecutor and current mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. His father has been the beloved town physician, well-respected among the black community for decades as a man who has always treated them with respect and compassion, understanding their plight as a person with dark skin in a southern town steeped deep in racism. The doctor has been charged with the death of his former nurse, a black woman whom he once had a brief affair decades earlier when such a relationship could bring a death sentence. A woman who has her own intimate history with the Double Eagles.

Penn's father is assisted by old family friend Quentin Avery, who is a well-respected attorney living in the shadow of the man he used to be, now confined to a wheelchair due to diabetes. And there is the unexpected inclusion of writer and ex-soldier Serenity Butler, who is interested in the story of the Cage family and that of Viola Turner.

I would like to thank HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 22nd: Mama Reads Hazel Sleeps
Friday, March 24th: Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
Monday, March 27th: Dreams, Etc.
Tuesday, March 28th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 29th: she treads softly
Thursday, March 30th: Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile
Friday, March 31st: Art @ Home
Monday, April 3rd: Joyfully Retired
Tuesday, April 4th: Bewitched Bookworms
Wednesday, April 5th: Literary Quicksand
Thursday, April 6th: Patricia’s Wisdom
Monday, April 10th: Lit and Life
Tuesday, April 11th: A Bookworm’s World
Wednesday, April 12th: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, April 13th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, April 14th: Ace and Hoser Blook
Monday, April 17th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Tuesday, April 18th: Bibliophiliac

My final word: Loved it! Iles is masterful in his use of suspense. I find my anticipations pulled taut as I wait to see what will happen next. The characters are so well-defined, the story descriptive without being flowery or heavy with description. Iles simply tells a "great yarn" that feels also like a history lesson exposing an ugly past. This final book in the Natchez Burning trilogy does a great job of bringing the trilogy to completion, and was just as enjoyable and satisfying as the first two. If you like mystery and suspense, I strongly and exuberantly urge you to this author a try!

Buy Now:

HarperCollins
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Indiebound

Rating:






The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.  

Thursday, April 13, 2017

Introducing... Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Introducing books by the first chapter or so...

Grief is the most solitary emotion; it makes islands of us all.

I've spent a lot of time visiting graves over the past few weeks. Some times with Annie, but mostly alone. The people who see me there give me a wide berth. I'm not sure why. For thirty miles around, almost everyone knows me. Penn Cage, the mayor of Natchez, Mississippi. When they avoid me as they do-- waving from a distance, if at all, then hurrying on their way-- I sometimes wonder if I have taken on the mantle of death. Jewel Washington, the county coroner and a true friend, pulled me aside in City Hall last week and told me I look like living proof that ghosts exist. Maybe they do. Since Caitlin died, I have felt nothing more than the ghost of myself.

Perhaps that's why I spend so much time visiting graves.

-- Mississippi Blood by Greg Iles

Friday, March 31, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: Epic Measures by Jeremy N. Smith

Synopsis

Moneyball meets medicine in this remarkable chronicle of one of the greatest scientific quests of our time—the groundbreaking program to answer the most essential question for humanity: how do we live and die?—and the visionary mastermind behind it.

Medical doctor and economist Christopher Murray began the Global Burden of Disease studies to gain a truer understanding of how we live and how we die. While it is one of the largest scientific projects ever attempted—as breathtaking as the first moon landing or the Human Genome Project—the questions it answers are meaningful for every one of us: What are the world’s health problems? Who do they hurt? How much? Where? Why?

Murray argues that the ideal existence isn’t simply the longest but the one lived well and with the least illness. Until we can accurately measure how people live and die, we cannot understand what makes us sick or do much to improve it. Challenging the accepted wisdom of the WHO and the UN, the charismatic and controversial health maverick has made enemies—and some influential friends, including Bill Gates who gave Murray a $100 million grant.

In Epic Measures, journalist Jeremy N. Smith offers an intimate look at Murray and his groundbreaking work. From ranking countries’ healthcare systems (the U.S. is 37th) to unearthing the shocking reality that world governments are funding developing countries at only 30% of the potential maximum efficiency when it comes to health, Epic Measures introduces a visionary leader whose unwavering determination to improve global health standards has already changed the way the world addresses issues of health and wellness, sets policy, and distributes funding.


Hardcover, 352 pages
Published April 7th 2015 by Harper Wave
ISBN 0062237500 (ISBN13: 9780062237507)



About the Author

Jeremy N. Smith has written for Discover, the Christian Science Monitor, and the Chicago Tribune, among many other publications. His first book, Growing a Garden City, was one of Booklist's top ten books on the environment for 2011. Born and raised in Evanston, Illinois, he is a graduate of Harvard College and the University of Montana. He lives in Missoula, Montana, with his wife and young daughter.

Check out the author's website






My Thoughts
If we want to improve how we live as well as how we die, we need to know the full measure of our diseases and disabilities-- what doesn't kill us as well as what does.
Dr. Christopher Murray had an unusual upbringing. At 10 years of age, he was living in Diffa, Niger where his missionary parents were running a clinic. Chris and his sister Megan and brother Nigel were all put to work at the clinic, where 10-year-old Chris found himself working as pharmacist and errand boy.

While there, the family made the discovery that the malnourished seemed almost entirely free of "malaria and common viral illnesses", yet days after being given food and medicine these same people would become horribly ill from those same illnesses they appeared free of just days before. The family theorized that the virus was as dependent on iron as humans, and the fact that these malnourished people had anemia left the virus starved and spent. Once they were on a healthy diet, including iron, the virus thrived. So food and vitamins could kill these people, if the virus was left untreated!

The family (minus young Chris, who was too young to have participated in the study) published an article about their findings in The Lancet on March 22, 1975.

It was experiences like this that led Chris Murray to conclude:
Conventional wisdom can kill.
Murray went on to attend Harvard in 1980, and was chosen as a Rhodes scholar his senior year. It was while on tour of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1985 that he found himself awed by the same organization he would one day challenge. Murray would later introduce himself to Alan Lopez of WHO and tell him that "...everything you've written about mortality in Africa is wrong". Murray and Lopez would go on to become friends and co-founders of the Global Burden of Disease Study, which would turn the world of epidemiology on its head.

The author first met Chris Murray in 2012, and he describes him as "blunt, often abrasive, hyperenergetic, supremely confident, yet fiercely collaborative", and overall just plain fascinating. He notes that Murray was argumentative and loved an open dialogue; "the push and pull of other people's ideas and willing to listen to any serious proposition, no matter the source".

Many others entered Murray's orbit and played a part in the change that came about in the world of epidemiology and continues to this day. One of those people is Bill Gates, who was impressed with Chris Murray's vision and funded the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation with $105 million in 2007.

I could go on and on. Chris Murray is my new imaginary boyfriend. What he does with "Big Data" makes me weak in the knees. He was behind the creation of the GBDx, which was a software platform for compiling, organizing and displaying all of the data regarding the health of the world. They can click on a country and instantly see a visual representation of all of the conditions and diseases impacting the health of the people of that country, This is exactly the type of thing I would do, if I had Murray's skills! My brain naturally wants to organize data in this manner and make sense of it. This is the type of project that I would find "fun".

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 28th: Lit and Life
Thursday, March 30th: bookchickdi
Friday, March 31st: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Tuesday, April 4th: Sapphire Ng
Wednesday, April 5th: Readaholic Zone
Thursday, April 6th: Man of La Book
Monday, April 10th: Doing Dewey
Tuesday, April 11th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, April 12th: Kissin Blue Karen
Friday, April 14th: Read Till Dawn
Friday, April 14th: Jathan & Heather


My final word: I was concerned going into this that I would find this book and/or the material boring. No worries! I loved this book! I think Chris Murray is a fascinating character. He has a brilliant mind, and a knack for seeing (and convincing others) that spending some money on world health can save the world billions in the long run. Unhealthy people are a drag on society, and healthcare for all should be a priority!

The author does a great job of making this information readable. Knowing how ornery Murray can be only makes him more human to me. The author takes what could have been a very dry and boring read full of data and turns it into what almost feels like a thriller as you follow along with Murray's endeavors. Especially fitting for this day and age, I strongly suggest everyone read this one. It brings forth an important message-- and my imaginary boyfriend is fantastic in it!

Buy Now:

HarperCollins
Amazon
Barnes and Noble
IndieBound

My Rating:







The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Friday, March 17, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: Dishing Up the Dirt by Andrea Bermis

Synopsis

Andrea Bemis, the creator of the popular farm-to-table blog Dishing Up the Dirt builds on her success with this beautiful, simple, seasonally driven cookbook, featuring more than 100 inventive and delicious whole-foods recipes and dozens of color photographs.

For Andrea Bemis, who owns and runs a six-acre organic farm with her husband outside of Portland, Oregon, dinners are inspired by what is grown in the soil and picked by hand. In Dishing Up the Dirt, Andrea offers 100 authentic farm-to-table recipes, arranged by season, including:

Spring: Honey Roasted Strawberry Muffins, Lamb Lettuce Wraps with Mint Yogurt Sauce, Spring Harvest Pizza with Mint & Pea Pesto, Kohlrabi and Chickpea Salad

Summer: Blueberry Lemon Ricotta Biscuits, Roasted Ratatouille Toast, Kohlrabi Fritters with Garlic Herb Cashew Cream Sauce, Farmers Market Burgers with Mustard Greens Pesto

Fall: Farm Girl Veggie Bowls, Butternut Molasses Muffins, Early Autumn Moroccan Stew, Collard Green Slaw with Bacon Gremolata

Winter: Rutabaga Home Fries with Smokey Cashew Sauce, Hoisin Glazed Brussels Sprouts, Country Girl Old Fashioned Cocktails, Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella

Andrea’s recipes focus on using whole, locally-sourced foods—incorporating the philosophy of eating as close to the land as possible. While many recipes are naturally gluten-free, dairy-free, or vegetarian, many others include elemental ingredients like bread, cheese, eggs, meat, and sweeteners, which are incorporated in new and inventive ways.

In short essays throughout the book, Andrea also presents an honest glimpse of life on Tumbleweed Farm—the real life of a farmer, not the shabby-chic fantasy often portrayed—offering fascinating and frequently entertaining details about where the food on our dinner tables comes from. With stunning food photography as well as intimate portraits of farm life, Dishing Up the Dirt allows anyone to be a seasonal foodie and an armchair farmer.


Hardcover, 304 pages
Published March 14th 2017 by Harper Wave
ISBN 0062492225 (ISBN13: 9780062492227)


About the Author

Andrea is the writer, recipe developer, and photographer behind the food blog DishingUp TheDirt.com. Her recipes and Tumbleweed Farm have been featured in publications such as the New York Times, Well and Good NYC, and Eating Well Magazine. She lives on her farm in Oregon with her husband and dog.

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My Thoughts
I've learned many lessons in the seven years since my life took a radical turn for the dirt. I'm physically capable of doing tasks that I would never have dreamed I could do in my prefarming life. I now organize an entire calendar year between the first and last predicated frosts of the season. I know community is everything. Food is medicine. And most important, cocktail hour should never be passed up after a long and hard day of work.
Author Andrea Bermis lives with her husband Taylor on a six-acre farm named Tumbleweed Farm located outside the town of Parkdale, population 266. While living in Oregon in 2008, they made the unexpected decision to move to Taylor's family farm in Massachusetts to learn how to live the lives of farmers. After several years of hard, back-breaking but satisfying farm work, the author and her husband could deny their longing for the west coast no longer, and they moved back to Oregon to start their own farm from the ground up.

The recipes in this book utilize fresh local grown ingredients and are organized by season, so you get them at their freshest. The author begins with a brief introduction before shifting the book to seasons.

Each seasonal chapter begins with a description of life on the farm during that season. Spring is hectic and full of anxiety as they rush to get seedlings into the ground and nurse them through damaging weather and protect them from foraging wildlife, and raise and rotate chickens and harvest their eggs. This chapter leads into recipes utilizing springtime ingredients like strawberries, various lettuces and herbs, radishes and beans and eggs.

Summer on the farm is a time of teeming life and prayers for rain. Lots and lots of time is spent weeding to produce healthy plants without pesticides.
This is our life all summer long. Weed. Water. Harvest. Weed. Water. Harvest. Rinse and repeat.
And Tuesdays in the summer brings CSA boxes that must be packed and delivered to their members who love the fresh and organic produce delivered straight from the farm. And summer evenings consist of enjoying the sunset with a beer and a view of the crops, followed by dinner on the deck by candlelight. Dinner might include dishes like Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Herbed Yogurt, Corn Salad with Walnuts and Feta, or Summer Squash and Corn Pasta with Garlic Tahini Sauce.

Autumn channels in the beginning of the cooler weather. Autumn is about "reaping the rewards of the last several months of tireless work". This is when the root vegetables like potatoes and carrots and turnips are dug up for delivery or storage. Gone are the frenetic days of spring and summer, and this is the season to start to sit back and enjoy all of their hard work. The author and her husband host a "thank you" party at their farm for their CSA members who put their faith in the them each year that they will produce food for all of them to enjoy the following year. Then there comes the preserving of food-- pickles, jams, vegetables, pesto. Winter projects are planned, and winter recipes include ingredients like beets, peppers, carrots, mushrooms and all sorts of squash.

Winter is a time of dormancy. The fields and greenhouse are barren and hibernating for the winter, the stores and freezers are packed with food to get the couple through the winter. The biggest concerns are winter storms and warm chickens. It's a time to make plans and purchase supplies of seeds, fertilizers and soil for the coming season. And cold winter nights are spent filling up on hearty meals like Tumbleweed Farm Winter Panzanella, Venison Stew, Spiced Winter Porridge, and Roasted Chicken Thighs with Root Vegetables.

I'll admit that the recipes in this book didn't really "grab" me. They are more rustic than I'm use finding in a lot of the cookbooks I get, or they have ingredients that are somewhat foreign to me, so I just couldn't get really excited with the flavor the recipe held in store. However I decided to try the recipe for Chicken and Chickpea Pesto Summer Salad. Yes, I know this book is organized seasonally, but I live in Florida where we have no seasons! So summer cooking is fine in the middle of winter!


And may I just say that I was pleasantly surprised with how refreshing this salad was? Full of shredded poached chicken and chickpeas, thinly-sliced cucumbers, radishes and celery, tossed with pesto and topped with parmesan, it was full of flavor! I'm sure it will be even better tonight after the flavors have had time to meld. I admit that I cheated and used jarred pesto, so it could probably be even better with homemade, but I was still duly impressed!

I also made a batch of Farmer's Candy, which are oven-dried cherry tomatoes (like sun-dried tomatoes, but better!)

The author suggests "If you can resist eating them in one sitting, try adding them to pasta and eggs, or top your morning toast with goat cheese and a small handful of these guys". I've stored a batch in the freezer for use over the next few months.


I would like to thank TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, March 14th: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, March 15th: Just Commonly
Thursday, March 16th: Ms.Bookish.com
Friday, March 17th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, March 17th: Under My Apple Tree
Monday, March 20th: Wall-to-Wall Books
Tuesday, March 21st: #redhead.with.book
Wednesday, March 22nd: Sidewalk Shoes
Friday, March 24th: Create With Joy
Monday, March 27th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, March 28th: G. Jacks Writes
Wednesday, March 29th: Luxury Reading
Thursday, March 30th: Literary Quicksand
Friday, March 31st: Library of Clean Reads


My final word: I must admit that when I first got this book, I wasn't initially impressed from the outset. The actual structure of the book reminds me a bit of a school textbook, so it left me feeling that I was about to have to do my homework or something equally unpleasant. However once I dived in I was pleasantly surprised at how charming this book actually is. It's down-home and genuine and honest, and the recipes are rustic seasonal recipes for the way I should be cooking. The recipes, like the author, are honest and bared for all to see.

This is a really lovely cookbook. I just wish it didn't resemble a textbook so much. I fear that it could cause it to be overlooked, when it deserves to recognized for what it is: A beautiful love story about the love shared by the author and her husband, and the hard yet fulfilling farm life that they've chosen to live together.

And it reminded me that I really need to grow some radishes again.


Buy Now: 

HarperCollins
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound

My Rating:







The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and the publisher, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel.

Friday, February 24, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Drifter by Christine Lennon

Synopsis

Megan Abbott meets M.O. Walsh in Christine Lennon's compelling debut novel about a group of friends on the cusp of graduating from college when their lives are irrevocably changed by a brutal act of violence.

Present Day…

For two decades, Elizabeth has tried to escape the ghosts of her past…tried to erase the painful memories…tried to keep out the terrifying nightmares. But twenty years after graduating from the University of Florida, her carefully curated life begins to unravel, forcing her to confront the past she’s tried so hard to forget.

1990s, Gainesville, Florida…

Elizabeth and her two closest friends, Caroline and Ginny, are having the time of their lives in college—binge watching Oprah, flirting for freebies from Taco Bell, and breaking hearts along the way. But without warning, their world is suddenly shattered when a series of horrific acts of violence ravage the campus, changing their lives forever.

Sweeping readers from the exclusive corners of sorority life in the South to the frontlines of the drug-fueled, slacker culture in Manhattan in the ‘90s and early ‘00s, when Elizabeth is forced to acknowledge her role in the death of a friend in order to mend a broken friendship and save her own life, The Drifter is an unforgettable story about the complexities of friendships and the secrets that can ultimately destroy us.


Paperback, 384 pages
Published February 14th 2017 by William Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN 0062457578 (ISBN13: 9780062457578)

About the Author
(from the back cover)

Christine Lennon is a Los Angeles-based writer. Before she moved to the West Coast and started her freelance career, she was an editor at W, Vogue, and Harper's Bazaar. Since then, she has written for publications including The New York Times Style Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Town & Country, W, Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Martha Stewart Living, Sunset, California Style, Marie Claire, Self, Net-a-Porter's Porter, and The Edit online magazine-- among others. Christine lives in California with her husband, Andrew Reich, and their twins. The Drifter is her first book.


My Thoughts
From her perch on the brownstone stoop, Elizabeth lifts up her sunglasses, runs her ring finger along her lower lashes to flick away the welling tears, and glances at her phone to check the time.
Betsy is a smart girl who tries to hide her intelligence. While her friend Ginny is a charming bright light that no person can resist, Betsy seems to do all she can to go through life unnoticed and to be as unremarkable as possible. And where Ginny is a bright light, their friend Caroline is darkness-- moody, self-centered and oftentimes unkind.

These three friends are students at the University of Florida during the summer of 1990 when a serial killer sets everyone on edge. After graduation Elizabeth runs off to start a new life in New York with her boyfriend, but she can't escape the nightmares of her past.

This book came along at just the right time. I've been in a bit of a reading slump for a few months, finding it hard to get excited about reading anything, and constantly distracted. This book was a bit of fresh air to clean my reading palate and hopefully get me recommitted once again.

I enjoyed the author’s debut novel. She has an easy-to-read writing style, and good character development. I don’t know whether any of the characters were really “mysteries” to me. The author left me feeling as if I knew the them. While Betsy was likable enough, I think that her boyfriend/husband Gavin was probably my favorite. Sweet and unassuming and very accommodating and understanding, he is the ultimate mate or friend.

I liked how easy this story was to read, as my brain isn't wanting to be challenged right now. I just want to enjoy an easy read and not have to struggle with symbolism, metaphors and big vocabulary words. Plus a good portion of the story took place in my home state of Florida, so I felt at home in the story.

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours for including me on this tour, and to HarperCollins for the opportunity to read this debut novel. Check out the TLC Book Tour website for the full tour schedule:

Tuesday, February 21st: No More Grumpy Bookseller
Wednesday, February 22nd: she treads softly
Thursday, February 23rd: Bewitched Bookworms
Friday, February 24th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Monday, February 27th: StephTheBookworm
Tuesday, February 28th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, March 1st: A Bookish Way of Life
Thursday, March 2nd: Ms. Nose in a Book
Monday, March 6th: G. Jacks Writes
Monday, March 6th: Thoughts On This ‘n That
Thursday, March 9th: Booked on a Feeling

My final word: Sometimes I was left a little confused over what this story wanted to be: a coming-of-age story about a rootless young woman finding her place in the world, or a murder mystery "whodunit". However it didn't really bother me too much. I was engaged and it kept me wanting to read on, which is the most difficult thing with someone like me who is so easily distracted. The story could be a little light and at times "flimsy" in its structure, confused and sometimes read a bit like a young adult novel. However overall I did really enjoy it, and I would definitely read this author again. I think this would make a great summer beach read, for those dreaming of warmer days ahead!

Buy Now:
HarperCollins
Barnes and Noble
Amazon
IndieBound

My Rating:






The Cerebral Girl is a forty-something blogger just digging her way out from under a mountain of books in the deep south of Florida.

I received a copy of this book to review through TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins, in exchange for my honest opinion. I was not financially compensated in any way, and the opinions expressed are my own and based on my observations while reading this novel. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.