Wednesday, July 12, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson

Synopsis

With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.



About the Author

Joshilyn Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of seven novels, including gods in Alabama and A Grown-Up Kind of Pretty. Her books have been translated into a dozen languages. A former actor, Jackson is also an award-winning audiobook narrator. She lives in Decatur, Georgia, with her husband and their two children. 

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My Thoughts
My son, Digby, began at exactly 3:02 in the morning on the first Friday in June. 
Leia (gotta love the name for a character who straddles the geek world) is a top-knotch graphic artist who has a one-night stand with a costumed attendee at a type of Comic Con convention. She doesn't know his name or really know what he looks like, other than the fact that he was black and had a nice smile and gentle eyes, but she is shocked (and later finds she is pleased) to discover that her reckless one-night stand has left her "in the family way". At 38 and single, she recognizes that this may be her last chance for children, so she happily embraces the situation.

As a little girl, Leia's father died and left her mother to raise her alone until her remarried. Her stepfather Keith was a good father to her and Leia loves him, and with their marriage she also gained a step-sister. Rachel was her same age, and they were close as sisters growing up.

So, of course, when it comes time to tell someone about her pregnancy, Rachel is the first person she tries to share the news with. However when she arrives at Rachel's house, she discovers Rachel in the midst of her own personal crisis, causing leia to squash her news for the time being. Then Leia gets news that her paternal grandmother is ill and has her small town in an uproar. Leia leaves to see her grandmother, taking her niece Lavender with her to save her from the unrest going on in her home.

And just when you think that things can't get any tougher for this family, a mystery is unearthed at Leia's grandmother's house that begins a legal investigation involving the contents of a trunk found in the attic.

I don't believe I've read anything by this author before, although I was familiar with her name and previous books. But I've gotta say, I was really pleasantly surprised once I got going with the story. The author's writing is really easy-to-read and engaging. The characters are fleshed out. I got a real feel for their distinct personalities, their motivations and their needs and desires. Even the cadence of their voices came through loud and clear! I always know that a book has grabbed me if I can see the movie playing in my head, and this was one of those books!

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

Tuesday, July 11th: Book by Book
Wednesday, July 12th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Thursday, July 13th: bookchickdi
Friday, July 14th: Time 2 Read
Monday, July 17th: Tina Says…
Tuesday, July 18th: StephTheBookworm
Wednesday, July 19th: BookNAround
Thursday, July 20th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, July 21st: Bibliotica
Monday, July 24th: A Chick Who Reads
Tuesday, July 25th: Leigh Kramer
Wednesday, July 26th: Always With a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Ms. Nose in a Book
Thursday, July 27th: Wining Wife
Friday, July 28th: SJ2B House Of Books
Monday, July 31st: she treads softly


My final word:
I really loved this book! The author's writing is very approachable, and makes for a fast read. Even I, who is a very slow reader, could knock this book out in a few days. There is enough intrigue and enough twists and turns and drama to keep you wanting to read on and not put the book down, but there is also humor (I actually chuckled aloud at one point, which is very rare for me!) and sentimentality, and you'll likely find yourself tearing up more than once. I quite happily and heartily recommend this one as the perfect summer read!

Buy Now:

HarperCollins
Barnes and Noble
Amazon

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. The book that I received was an uncorrected proof, and quotes could differ from the final release.  

Monday, June 12, 2017

Mailbox Monday (6/12/17 edition)

 Image licensed from bigstockphoto.com
Copyright stands

Mailbox Monday is hosted here. I've received a few new books recently:


Pachinko by Min Jin Lee

Pachinko follows one Korean family through the generations, beginning in early 1900s Korea with Sunja, the prized daughter of a poor yet proud family, whose unplanned pregnancy threatens to shame them all. Deserted by her lover, Sunja is saved when a young tubercular minister offers to marry and bring her to Japan.

So begins a sweeping saga of an exceptional family in exile from its homeland and caught in the indifferent arc of history. Through desperate struggles and hard-won triumphs, its members are bound together by deep roots as they face enduring questions of faith, family, and identity.



The Stranger in the Woods: The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit by Michael Finkel

Many people dream of escaping modern life, but most will never act on it. This is the remarkable true story of a man who lived alone in the woods of Maine for 27 years, making this dream a reality--not out of anger at the world, but simply because he preferred to live on his own.

In 1986, a shy and intelligent twenty-year-old named Christopher Knight left his home in Massachusetts, drove to Maine, and disappeared into the forest. He would not have a conversation with another human being until nearly three decades later, when he was arrested for stealing food. Living in a tent even through brutal winters, he had survived by his wits and courage, developing ingenious ways to store edibles and water, and to avoid freezing to death. He broke into nearby cottages for food, clothing, reading material, and other provisions, taking only what he needed but terrifying a community never able to solve the mysterious burglaries. Based on extensive interviews with Knight himself, this is a vividly detailed account of his secluded life--why did he leave? what did he learn?--as well as the challenges he has faced since returning to the world. It is a gripping story of survival that asks fundamental questions about solitude, community, and what makes a good life, and a deeply moving portrait of a man who was determined to live his own way, and succeeded.




The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid

From Taylor Jenkins Reid comes an unforgettable and sweeping novel about one classic film actress’s relentless rise to the top—the risks she took, the loves she lost, and the long-held secrets the public could never imagine.

Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one in the journalism community is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?

Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband, David, has left her, and her career has stagnated. Regardless of why Evelyn has chosen her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jumpstart her career.

Summoned to Evelyn’s Upper East Side apartment, Monique listens as Evelyn unfurls her story: from making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the late 80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way. As Evelyn’s life unfolds through the decades—revealing a ruthless ambition, an unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love—Monique begins to feel a very a real connection to the actress. But as Evelyn’s story catches up with the present, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique’s own in tragic and irreversible ways.

Filled with emotional insight and written with Reid’s signature talent, this is a fascinating journey through the splendor of Old Hollywood into the harsh realities of the present day as two women struggle with what it means—and what it takes—to face the truth.
  




The Wolf Road by Beth Lewis

ELKA BARELY REMEMBERS a time before she knew Trapper. She was just seven years old, wandering lost and hungry in the wilderness, when the solitary hunter took her in. In the years since then, he's taught her how to survive in this desolate land where civilization has been destroyed and men are at the mercy of the elements and each other.
But the man Elka thought she knew has been harboring a terrible secret. He's a killer. A monster. And now that Elka knows the truth, she may be his next victim.
Armed with nothing but her knife and the hard lessons Trapper's drilled into her, Elka flees into the frozen north in search of her real parents. But judging by the trail of blood dogging her footsteps, she hasn't left Trapper behind--and he won't be letting his little girl go without a fight. If she's going to survive, Elka will have to turn and confront not just him, but the truth about the dark road she's been set on.
The Wolf Road is an intimate cat-and-mouse tale of revenge and redemption, played out against a vast, unforgiving landscape--told by an indomitable young heroine fighting to escape her past and rejoin humanity.


I'm grateful to the publisher for sending me this book. I only got half-way through it when I got it from Netgalley before it expired, so now I can finish it and do a real review!
 

From TLC Book Tours:

The Almost Sisters by Joshilyn Jackson


With empathy, grace, humor, and piercing insight, the author of gods in Alabama pens a powerful, emotionally resonant novel of the South that confronts the truth about privilege, family, and the distinctions between perception and reality---the stories we tell ourselves about our origins and who we really are.

Superheroes have always been Leia Birch Briggs' weakness. One tequila-soaked night at a comics convention, the usually level-headed graphic novelist is swept off her barstool by a handsome and anonymous Batman.

It turns out the caped crusader has left her with more than just a nice, fuzzy memory. She's having a baby boy--an unexpected but not unhappy development in the thirty-eight year-old's life. But before Leia can break the news of her impending single-motherhood (including the fact that her baby is biracial) to her conventional, Southern family, her step-sister Rachel's marriage implodes. Worse, she learns her beloved ninety-year-old grandmother, Birchie, is losing her mind, and she's been hiding her dementia with the help of Wattie, her best friend since girlhood.

Leia returns to Alabama to put her grandmother's affairs in order, clean out the big Victorian that has been in the Birch family for generations, and tell her family that she's pregnant. Yet just when Leia thinks she's got it all under control, she learns that illness is not the only thing Birchie's been hiding. Tucked in the attic is a dangerous secret with roots that reach all the way back to the Civil War. Its exposure threatens the family's freedom and future, and it will change everything about how Leia sees herself and her sister, her son and his missing father, and the world she thinks she knows.

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

Synopsis

A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting story of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture, from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed.

Awaiting trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: eighteen-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an “honor killing”; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, a teen runaway who stays because it is safe shelter; twenty-year-old Mezghan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for a court order to force her lover’s hand. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, like them, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment; removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his homeland have brought him back. With the fate this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like the Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, The House with No Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.


Hardcover, 415 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by William Morrow (first published August 15th 2016)
ISBN 0062449680 (ISBN13: 9780062449689)



About the Author

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs.

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My Thoughts
I suppose this bloody mess might partly be my fault.
Zeba has been a good wife, mother, daughter and neighbor (although, because she is the daughter of a sorceress, there is a wariness between her and the rest of her extended family), but her marriage has continued to degrade over the years. Her once doting husband has become abusive, neglectful of the family, drinking away their food money. Then one day Zeba is found over his dead body with no memory of what happened, and the village calls for her blood.

The chief of police arrests Zeba and quickly takes her to the women's prison for her own safety, knowing the villagers may come for justice. Zeba is roomed with three other women: Latifa, Nafisa and Mezhgan. Women are housed in this prison for all sorts of crimes, but many are there for "love crimes"-- adultery, falling in love with the wrong man, being caught alone with a man unsupervised, etc. Most have been found to have brought dishonor to their families. While Zeba awaits her trial, she befriends these women and becomes like a sister to them. She learns their stories, their likes and dislikes, their pain and fear, and their passions.

Yusuf was once an Afghan boy, his family having immigrated to America when he was about twelve. Now he is an attorney who has returned to his homeland and has been hired as Zeba's council. As if her case weren't difficult enough, Yusuf finds his hands tied by her refusal to share with him anything she remembers about the day her husband died, nor about their life together leading up to his death.

I was introduced to the author with her book When the Moon is Low, and I loved this one just as much as I did that one. The author has an engaging yet easy-to-read writing style.




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

Wednesday, May 17th: Real Life Reading
Wednesday, May 17th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 18th: Helen’s Book Blog
Friday, May 19th: Tina Says…
Monday, May 22nd: Reading is My Super Power
Tuesday, May 23rd: Girl Who Reads
Wednesday, May 24th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, May 24th: BookNAround
Thursday, May 25th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, May 26th: Read Her Like an Open Book
Monday, May 29th: Based on a True Story
Tuesday, May 30th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, May 31st: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, June 1st: G. Jacks Writes
Friday, June 2nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves
TBD: Book by Book


My final word: The author has a very "approachable" writing style which is very comfortable to read, like slipping into a pair of comfy PJs at the end of a hard day. She knows how to write well-fleshed characters of some depth that pull you into the story and keep you there. This story runs the gamut of happiness to melancholy, love to hate, fear of the present to dreams for the future.You care not only for Zeba and Yusuf and their futures, but for the lives of the other women who share Zeba's life in prison. A beautiful yet heart-wrenching tale that I recommend to anyone who loves to immerse themselves into another culture.

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.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

TLC BOOK TOURS and REVIEW: All That is Solid Melts Into Air by Carole Giangrande

Synopsis

In the morning fog of the North Atlantic, Valerie hears the frenetic ticking of clocks. She's come from Toronto to hike on the French island of St. Pierre and to ponder her marriage to Gerard Lefevre, a Montrealer and a broadcast journalist whose passion for justice was ignited in his youth by the death of his lover in an airline bombing. He's a restless traveller (who she suspects is unfaithful) and she's the opposite: quiet, with an inner life she nurtures as a horticulturalist. Valerie's thinking about Gerard on assignment in her native New York City, where their son Andre works. In New York City, an airplane has plunged into a skyscraper, and in the short time before anyone understands the significance of this event, Valerie's mind begins to spiral in and out of the present moment, circling around her intense memories of her father's death, her youthful relationship with troubled Matthew, and her pregnancy with his child, the crisis that led to her marriage to Gerard, and her fears for the safety of her son Andre and his partner James. Unable to reach her loved ones, Valerie finds memory intruding on a surreal and dreamlike present until at last she connects with Gerard and the final horror of that day.

Praise

"With shattering grace Giangrande divines catastrophic grief, the redemptive power of ephemeral joys, and the interconnectedness of all things as past and present conflate in terrorism's chaos. Memory becomes balm as life, all life, is porous. Exquisite, devastating, this book is a bomb."

—Carol Bruneau, author of These Good Hands

"An elegy for lost innocence, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air is at once extremely sad and exquisitely hopeful. Its hopefulness resides mainly in the stubborn resonance of the quotidian, and in the kind hearts and good wills of those who refuse to accept evil, no matter how often it crashes into their lives. Carole Giandgrande has achieved a great deal in this short, beautiful book; confronting the incomprehensible without despair and describing profound grief without sentimentality."

—Susan Glickman, author of The Tale-Teller and Safe as Houses

"All That Is Solid Melts Into Air is above all a compassionate book. Carole Giangrande takes that horrifying day—September 11, 2001—and filters it though the consciousness of a woman, Valerie, whose loved ones are in Manhattan as the crisis unfolds. She doesn’t know whether they are dead or alive, and Giangrande is masterful in her expression of Valerie’s surreal state of mind. The book captures with gut-wrenching acuity the anxiety, fear and distress of not only that particular day but of our current social climate as well. No one is safe anymore—was anyone, ever?—and our perceptions rule us: “The truth was that everything you looked at had to pass through the lens of what you imagined you saw. It was up to you to decide what was real.” Timely words from a timely book."

—Eva Tihanyi, author of The Largeness of Rescue
 


Paperback, 200 pages
Published April 10th 2017 by Inanna Publications
ISBN 1771333618 (ISBN13: 9781771333610)


About the Author
Born and raised in the New York City area, Carole Giangrande is a Toronto-based novelist and author of nine books, including the award-winning novella A Gardener on the Moon, the novels An Ordinary Star and A Forest Burning, the short story collection, Missing Persons and the novellas Here Comes The Dreamer and Midsummer. Her third novel, All That Is Solid Melts Into Air will be published in Spring 2017. She's worked as a broadcast journalist for CBC Radio (Canada's public broadcaster) and her fiction, poetry, articles and reviews have appeared in Canada’s major journals and newspapers (Her essay "Goshawk" was Lyric Essay Award Winner in the Eastern Iowa Review, 2016). She's read her fiction at Toronto's Harbourfront Centre, at the Banff Centre for the Arts (as an Artist-in-Residence), the University of Toronto, on radio and at numerous public venues. She has recently completed another novel. 

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My Thoughts
As she walked uphill on Rue Marechal Foch in the old town of Saint-Pierre, Valerie heard clocks.
Valerie and husband Gerard are adrift and unmoored and losing sight of one another when an airliner crashes into the Twin Towers on 9/11, leaving them shaken and grasping for anything to keep them from going under. The past blends with the present, one nearly indistinguishable from the other. 
Memory was too aggressive. It would root you out with a wild growl, sniffing and pawing at the ground. It would make you afraid.
This is one of those tough books to review, because I feel that just about anything I share will be too much. Other than flashbacks to the past, the bulk of the story only covers a couple of days. So I fear if I'm not careful, I'll ruin the story. But the story follows Valerie and her husband Gerard, her friend Matthew from the past, and Valerie and Gerard's son Andre. 
At eight forty-six a.m., Eastern Daylight Time, the watch stopped. 

I would like to thank TLC Book Tours and the publisher for including me on this tour. Check out the website for the full tour schedule:
Monday, May 15th: Readaholic Zone
Tuesday, May 16th: Tina Says…
Wednesday, May 17th: Literary Quicksand
Tuesday, May 23rd: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Friday, May 26th: Books and Bindings
Thursday, May 25th: Girl Who Reads
Monday, May 29th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, May 31st: A Bookish Way of Life
Wednesday, May 31st: 5 Minutes For Books

My final word: This is a very slow-moving story. Cleverly derived, it's gentle and guttural-- primal even, like a gut-punch. It's a bit disjointed, with little snippets of dialogue and blips in time, and somewhat ethereal and mystical. The first half was almost too slow for me, but I really liked the second half of the story, and the last third was my favorite. At times quite powerful, this is a great story about acceptance, balance, and settling debts. The cyclic nature of life, and how everything comes back around again. A touching story.

Buy Now:

Inanna Publications
Amazon
Barnes and Noble

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. 

Sunday, April 30, 2017

READATHON April 2017: Closing Meme


Here we are at the end of the road once again. I was along for only part of the ride-- life is just too distracting these days.

1. Which hour was most daunting for you? They all are. I'm my own worst enemy.
2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a reader engaged for next year? Nothing can hold my interest for long anymore. My attention-deficit just continues to worsen.
3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next season? Nope
4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I didn't notice any drastic differences.
5. How many books did you read? I didn't complete anything. I read a little of two different books.
6. What were the names of the books you read? I had four books to select from, but mostly just read Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran and a little of All That Is Solid Melts Into Air by Carol Giangrande.
7. Which book did you enjoy most? Rebel Queen
8. Which did you enjoy least? Well, of the two that would leave All That Is Solid Melts Into Air, but I really just started to read it. I have a long way to go yet!
9. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? I'll usually participate, and will always be a reader (when I can commit).

 So that would be it. I'm going to continue trying to get some reading in today, and I'll see you all back here in the fall.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

READATHON April 2017: Opening Meme


Here we are again, gathering together around the world to commit to a single goal-- READ. I will do what I can to get some real reading done, but I have mightily failed the last year or two. But this is a clean slate! So let's get this party started!

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today? South Florida
2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to? Rebel Queen by Michelle Moran
3) Which snack are you most looking forward to? I didn't really stock up on snacks, as I'm trying to watch what I eat and not snack too much. However I do have some grapes in the fridge! And I have some tapioca pudding I may get to!
4) Tell us a little something about yourself! I'm a divorced woman working in the tech industry. I share my home with a passel of animals: Three dogs Tiki (13 year old Coton du Tulear), Zook (6 1/2 year old Chihuahua), and Roo (1 1/2 year old mix breed that DNA testing shows is mostly Chihuahua, Cattle Dog, and Chow), and five cats Momma (14 years), her son Simon (12 years), Shotsie (10 years), Izzy (2 years) and Gilly/Jellybean (1 year).
5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to? Nothing. I always just endeavor to do more book-related stuff: read, blog, write reviews about recently read books, etc.

And with that, my friends, let's get to it! Enjoy!

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.

Follow the author on Instagram
Friend the author on Facebook



  

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.