I will do anything to protect my daughter. She’s all I’ve ever wanted and all I really have, but the moment I opened that letter and accepted the gift inside, I walked us right into a dangerous trap.

I know I should have got her to tell me who she’s been talking to on the phone late at night, and where she was the day I went to pick her up from school and couldn’t find her, but she’s not spoken a word since she discovered a secret hidden in our new home.

And now she’s missing…


From the very first page of Single Mother, I knew that we wouldn’t be able to trust most of the characters. Perhaps even those we least suspect could be betraying Mel, our protagonist. As she takes each step forward, hoping to provide a home and safety for her daughter Kate, we dare not look away.

I was rooting for Mel and Kate throughout the book, even as I wondered about those who were nearest and dearest to her. Could those she had known and trusted for years turn out to betray her?

Who is the quiet woman sitting in the window, and why doesn’t she speak? Does she dare trust Tom, the handyman who is helping her renovate the hotel she inherited? And who left her that gift? What was the hidden agenda behind it all?

Definitely a page turner that earned 4.5 stars.




Milly, Aubrey, and Jonah Story are cousins, but they barely know each another, and they’ve never even met their grandmother. Rich and reclusive, she disinherited their parents before they were born. So when they each receive a letter inviting them to work at her island resort for the summer, they’re surprised . . . and curious.

Their parents are all clear on one point—not going is not an option. This could be the opportunity to get back into Grandmother’s good graces. But when the cousins arrive on the island, it’s immediately clear that she has different plans for them. And the longer they stay, the more they realize how mysterious—and dark—their family’s past is.

The entire Story family has secrets. Whatever pulled them apart years ago isn’t over—and this summer, the cousins will learn everything.


Meeting long lost family members can bring much more than an anticipated summer on an island for The Cousins. The reader learns the unfolding events of years past during the summer adventure that promises to offer much more than just reconnecting with family.

The tale gradually comes to us through alternating narrators, swinging between the past and the present, with more and more intensity as we zero in on what really happened back when the Story children were disinherited.

The grim reality comes to grip them all in the here and now. A great story about the Story family. I couldn’t put it down. 4.5 stars.



In the well-heeled milieu of New York’s Upper East Side, coolly elegant Philippa Lye is the woman no one can stop talking about. Despite a shadowy past, Philippa has somehow married the scion of the last family-held investment bank in the city. And although her wealth and connections put her in the center of this world, she refuses to conform to its gossip-fueled culture.

Then, into her precariously balanced life, come two women: Gwen Hogan, a childhood acquaintance who uncovers an explosive secret about Philippa’s single days, and Minnie Curtis, a newcomer whose vast fortune and frank revelations about a penurious upbringing in Spanish Harlem put everyone on alert.

When Gwen’s husband, a heavy-drinking, obsessive prosecutor in the US Attorney’s Office, stumbles over the connection between Philippa’s past and the criminal investigation he is pursuing at all costs, this insulated society is forced to confront the rot at its core and the price it has paid to survive into the new millennium.

Offering a peek behind the surface of the wealthy families scrambling to reach the top of New York society, Mrs. spotlights an elegant but flawed woman who gives new meaning to the word aloof. Philippa is stylish, smart, and a bit of a drunk. Because she has a way of appearing elegant, she can almost hide her flaws of poor mothering, drinking too much, and ignoring the other women who are her contemporaries in the motherhood game of the Upper East Side. But behind her façade are some very dark secrets, and what she is hiding could affect several others in the world she inhabits.As the other women, like Gwen and Minnie, try to delve into what Philippa is hiding, they might discover that the answers would be better left alone.

The story is told mostly from Gwen’s point of view, and she was the most likable character. Minnie was hard to read; elusive might more clearly define her. The men, like Gwen’s husband Dan and Philippa’s husband Jed, carry a lot of their own dark issues. Perhaps the most shade should be thrown on Minnie’s husband John, who can be called many things, but good is not one of them.

As the tale unfolded, I found myself losing interest. The big secrets had been revealed, and I felt like yawning a bit. There didn’t seem to be enough to keep my attention once I saw how events would come to fruition. In fact, I didn’t really care for any of them except Gwen, although Philippa was a curiosity I wouldn’t mind exploring a little more. I didn’t understand why the women were drawn to any of the men, other than the obvious financial reasons.

Just when I was about to give up on the book, abruptly and with a big splash, their lives all changed, seemingly in sharp defining moments, making this one a 4 star read.



Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by The Purple Booker.

Today’s featured book is a fairly new one:  The Marriage Lie, by Kimberly Belle, is “ highly suspenseful, and heart-rending…enthralling right up to the shocking final twist.”






Intro:  I awaken when a hand winds around my waist, pulling me head to heel against skin heated from sleep.  I sigh and settle into my husband’s familiar form, fitting my backside into his front, soaking in his warmth.  Will is a furnace when he sleeps, and I’ve always got some place on me that’s cold.  This morning it’s my feet, and I wedge them between two warm calves.

“Your toes are freezing.”  His voice rumbles in the darkened room, the sounds vibrating through me.  On the other side of our bedroom curtains it’s not quite morning, that violet-tinged moment between night and day, still a good half-hour or so before the alarm.  “Were they hanging off the side of the bed or something?”


Teaser:  The sheet of paper inside could have come from a million different notebooks, purchased at a million different stores.  But it’s the three little words, scrawled in a script as familiar to me as my own, that suck the air from my lungs.

I’m so sorry.  (47%).


Synopsis:  Everyone has secrets… 

Iris and Will have been married for seven years, and life is as close to perfect as it can be. But on the morning Will flies out for a business trip to Florida, Iris’s happy world comes to an abrupt halt: another plane headed for Seattle has crashed into a field, killing everyone on board and, according to the airline, Will was one of the passengers.
Grief stricken and confused, Iris is convinced it all must be a huge misunderstanding. Why did Will lie about where he was going? And what else has he lied about? As Iris sets off on a desperate quest to uncover what her husband was keeping from her, the answers she finds shock her to her very core.


Books & fairytales - TUESDAY EXCERPTS

Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by Books & a Beat.

Today’s feature, In Her Wake, by Amanda Jennings, is a gripping psychological thriller that questions the nature of family – and reminds us that sometimes the most shocking crimes are committed closest to home.





Intro: (Prologue)

I dreamt vividly the night she died.  I’ve had this dream before.  In it I am running.  Always running.  My heart thumps in my ears.  My breath comes in short, painful gasps.  It is dark and cold and the trees reach out to grab at me, as if they are alive, as if they are trying to capture me with their long, twiggy fingers.  Their roots are thick and hidden and I trip repeatedly.  I think my feet must hurt.  I look down to see that I am wearing only one slipper.

When did I lose the other?


Teaser:  My heart beats faster as I take in their faces with excited fascination.  I remember how it felt to grow up without grandparents, imagining what it must be like to have kindly old people to shower you with presents and unconditional hugs. (44%).


Synopsis:  “A perfect life … until she discovered it wasn’t her own”

A tragic family event reveals devastating news that rips apart Bella’s comfortable existence. Embarking on a personal journey to uncover the truth, she faces a series of traumatic discoveries that take her to the ruggedly beautiful Cornish coast, where hidden truths, past betrayals and a 25-year-old mystery threaten not just her identity, but also her life…


What do you think?  Are you drawn in?  Would you keep reading?





Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is one I hope to read this week.  It has been on Pippa since October 2015, so not that long, right?  It is The Shadow Year, by Hannah Richell.  Suspenseful and moving, with a deep secret at its heart, THE SHADOW YEAR is Hannah Richell’s breakout book.





Intro:  (Prologue)

It is the smallest details that come to her:  the damp grass underfoot threaded with buttercups, the air humming with insects, the snap of her nightdress catching in the breeze.  As she wanders out of the cottage and down toward the mirrored surface of the lake, her senses are heightened.  She hears the splash of a duck hiding in the reeds and the slow drum of her heart in her chest.  Just a few moments to herself, she thinks—to wash—to swim—to clear her mind and ready herself for what lies ahead.  Soon she will be gone from this place.


Teaser: (Lila – December)

Every morning, Lila wakes to the remnants of the same dreams—running down a landing, a sickening plunge, a shattering impact—until one ice-cold morning there’s the haunting fragment of something else echoing from deep within the shadows of her sleep.  She’s still running, she’s still falling, only this time there are three distinct words tumbling behind her into the void:  just like her. (43%).


Synopsis:  Still grieving the death of her prematurely delivered infant, Lila finds a welcome distraction in renovating a country house she’s recently inherited. Surrounded by blueprints and plaster dust, though, she finds herself drawn into the story of a group of idealistic university grads from thirty years before, who’d thrown off the shackles of bourgeois city life to claim the cottage and rely only on each other on the land. But utopia-building can be fraught with unexpected peril, and when the fate of the group is left eerily unclear, Lila turns her attention to untangling a web of secrets to uncover the shocking truth of what happened that fateful year, in order to come to terms with her own loss and build a new future for herself.


What do you think?  Would you keep reading?







Welcome to another Tuesday celebrating bookish events, from Tuesday/First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Bibliophile by the Sea; and Teaser Tuesdays hosted by A Daily Rhythm.

Today’s featured book is an e-Galley from NetGalley:  The New Neighbor, by Leah Stewart.





Intro:  Where before there was no one, suddenly I, Margaret Riley, have a neighbor.  I went out on the back deck this morning like every morning, and there she was.  Across the pond, sitting on her own back deck.  I was startled.  That house has been empty a long time.  My first impulse was to go back inside, as if I’d come upon something shameful, or embarrassed myself.  As if I were out there naked, which of course I wasn’t, and even if I had been she was too far away to see.  But I am braver than that.  I put my coffee cup on the table, as usual, and then I went back inside for my book, which is by P. D. James, a remarkable woman, as ancient as I am and still creating mysteries.  I have to make two trips because I need one hand for the cane.  Sometimes I try to manage cane and book and coffee all at once, and the result is always coffee stains, or burns, or at the very least a wet book and a diminished cup of coffee.  Every morning I’m frustrated anew by the need to make two trips.  Impatience and age are not compatible.


Teaser:  I was surprised, when she was gone, by a twinge of loneliness.  How silly.  I am always alone.  Sometimes days go by in which the only other people I see are on TV.  This house is in the woods between two small towns—villages, really—on a mountain in Tennessee. (2%).


Blurb:  In the tradition of Zoe Heller’s What Was She Thinking? Notes on a Scandal, The New Neighbor is a darkly sophisticated novel about an old woman’s curiosity turned into a dangerous obsession as she becomes involved in her new neighbor’s complicated and cloaked life.

Ninety-year-old Margaret Riley is content hiding from the world. Stoic and independent, she rarely leaves the Tennessee mountaintop where she lives, finding comfort in the mystery novels that keep her company, that is, until she spots a woman who’s moved into the long-empty house across the pond.

Jennifer Young is also looking to hide. On the run from her old life, she and her four-year-old son Milo have moved to a quiet town where no one from her past can find her.

In Jennifer, Margaret sees both a potential companion in her loneliness and a mystery to be solved. But Jennifer refuses to talk about herself, her son, his missing father, or her past. Frustrated, Margaret crosses more and more boundaries in pursuit of the truth, threatening to unravel the new life Jennifer has so painstakingly created—and reveal some secrets of her own.


I have been eager to read this book for a while.  Perhaps the draw for me is the reference to Zoe Heller’s Notes on a Scandal…or maybe it’s because an aging woman living alone is suddenly stunned to have a neighbor, and I am curious about what will unfold.  What will she do about this new fact? 

Would you keep reading?



OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAfriday 56 - spring and summer logo

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time!

What better way to spend a Friday?

Happy Friday!  Today I am spotlighting an ARC from Amazon Vine:  Where They Found Her, by Kimberly McCreight, the story of an idyllic suburban town, a mysterious find, and a free lance journalist determined to find the truth.





Beginning:  (Prologue)

It isn’t until afterward that I think about the bag or the bloody towels stuffed inside.  They’re too big to bury, but I can’t just leave them behind.  Maybe I should have been better prepared.  Thought more about the details.  But it’s hard to be ready for something you never imagined you’d do.


56:  (Ridgefield Reader – Comments)

(Anonymous) – Because they’re lazy a-holes, that’s why.  All they want is to sell ad space.  What the hell do they care what happens to the people who read their garbage?  And that’s what this is:  Total garbage.  The whole point is to freak us out.  So that we come back here and click, click, click away for more!


Blurb:   An idyllic suburban town.

A devastating discovery.

Shocking revelations that will change three lives forever.

At the end of a long winter in well-to-do Ridgedale, New Jersey, the body of a newborn is found in the woods fringing the campus of the town’s prestigious university. No one knows the identity of the baby, what ended her very short life, or how she came to be found among the fallen leaves. But for the residents of Ridgedale, there is no shortage of opinions.

When freelance journalist and recent Ridgedale transplant Molly Sanderson is unexpectedly called upon to cover the disturbing news for the Ridgedale Reader—the town’s local paper—she has good reason to hesitate. A severe depression followed the loss of her own baby, and this assignment could unearth memories she has tried hard to bury. But the disturbing history Molly uncovers is not her own. Her investigation reveals a decades-old trail of dark secrets hiding behind Ridgedale’s white picket fences.


This one is just the kind of read that keeps me glued to the pages.  What do you think?




4-30-curlupandread-001-framed-book-beginnings2friday 56

Welcome to some bookish fun today as we share Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and as we showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

If you have been wanting to participate, but haven’t yet tried, now is the time! 

What better way to spend a Friday?

Today’s featured book is one that just arrived in my mailbox this week, but I can’t wait to read it!  Keep Quiet, by Lisa Scottoline, is the story of a father’s split-second decision and the devastating consequences that follow.




Beginning:  Jake Buckman knew his son had a secret, because his wife told him so.  They didn’t know what it was but they suspected it was about a girl, since Ryan had been texting non-stop and dressing better for school, which meant he actually cared if his jeans were clean.  Jake wished he and his son were closer, but it was probably too late to turn it around.


56:  “They were gathering evidence when I left.  No suspects yet, in case you were wondering.”

Jake should have been wondering, but he was still thinking about Kathleen.  He flashed on her bloodied face, for the umpteenth time.


Amazon Description:  Jake Buckman’s relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater.  On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan’s entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all. Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.


I’m eager to read this one.  What do you think?  I hope you’ll stop by and share your thoughts…and your links.






In a story that spans decades, from 1979-2008, Tumbleweeds: A Novel chronicles the journey of three best friends who met during 1979, in Kersey, Texas, a small town in the Panhandle.

They dubbed themselves the “orphans” because of the death or abandonment of each of their parents, and their connection would last for a very long time. But something would happen as they approached young adulthood–in fact, two events–that would change their lives forever.

Cathy Benson, Trey Don Hall, and John Caldwell had a special connection, some devastating secrets, and would finally come together again in 2008. Would the three of them find resolution? Would their secrets come to light? Or would the wrongs, betrayals, and unforgiven moments mark them indefinitely? And what unexpected act would change the course they had charted for themselves?

This is a coming-of-age tale: a story that examines how secrets can change lives, and a mysterious unfolding of consequences that have built up over the years, coming together in a slow reveal.

Some of the secrets are known to the reader early on, while others come out of left field near the end.

There were parts of the story that had me rapidly turning pages, while other parts–the first sections of the book that constituted half of it–were so slow it was like watching paint dry. For those who enjoy big sagas, with secrets, betrayals, and mysteries, this would be one I’d recommend. But if you prefer a seamless unveiling of the plot and themes, you might want to pass. 3.5 stars.