A Stranger On The Beach | Michele Campbell | St. Martin’s Press | Book Review

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“From the bestselling author of It’s Always the Husband comes a novel about a love triangle that begins on a fateful night…

There is a stranger outside Caroline’s house.

Her spectacular new beach house, built for hosting expensive parties and vacationing with the family she thought she’d have. But her husband is lying to her and everything in her life is upside down, so when the stranger, Aidan, shows up as a bartender at the same party where Caroline and her husband have a very public fight, it doesn’t seem like anything out of the ordinary.

As her marriage collapses around her and the lavish lifestyle she’s built for herself starts to crumble, Caroline turns to Aidan for comfort…and revenge. After a brief and desperate fling that means nothing to Caroline and everything to him, Aidan’s obsession with Caroline, her family, and her house grows more and more disturbing. And when Caroline’s husband goes missing, her life descends into a nightmare that leaves her accused of her own husband’s murder.

A Stranger on the Beach is Strangers on a Train meets Fatal Attraction in Michele Campbell’s edge-of your-seat story of passion and intrigue.”

A Stranger on the Beach is my second Michele Campbell book. If you are looking for a domestic/psychological thriller that will keep you guessing until the very end, this is it! This novel is written from multiple points of views, each sharing their own narratives of what ‘happened’. Campbell is able to build suspense while the twists keep coming and I didn’t know who to trust as I progressed through the pages.

This was one of those books where I just needed to know what happened. This book is dark and manipulative and I didn’t care for any of the characters, which I think was Campbell’s intention. There are many issues that are covered, including marriage, infidelity, class, money, greed, fraud, betrayal and more. If you are looking for a dark mystery that will keep you on your toes, I think you will really enjoy this newest book by Michele Campbell. A big thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for a copy of this e-book. All opinions are my own.

The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain | Book Review

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From Goodreads.com:

“When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back.

Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part.

And all for the love of her unborn child.

A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.”

The Dream Daughter was one of my most highly anticipated books of 2018 and it did not disappoint. I am a huge Diane Chamberlain fan and always look forward to her new releases. Although I would probably have not chosen a book about time travel otherwise, Chamberlain rarely lets me down. “Fantasy” kinds of books are not my thing but this was so much more than that. It was a true Diane Chamberlain book with family drama, amazing and relatable characters, all surrounding a story about moral issues. She was able to explore the mother-daughter bond, what makes a family and adoption issues in a new and amazing way.

It had me on the edge of my seat while also constantly making me think “what would I do in this situation?”. You are able to see the story from multiple viewpoints because she does such a wonderful and in-depth presentation of the main characters. This was very different from a lot of her past books with the time traveling aspect but it stayed true to her roots with the general concept and flow of the book. It ended up being one of my favorites of hers and I have many! Thank you Net Galley and St. Martin’s Press for providing me with an ARC of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood | Book Review

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Summary from Goodreads.com:

“From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.”

Wow! After reading a few books that were just “okay” I was feeling like I was in a little bit of a reading rut during these last few weeks. I started Keeping Lucy with high hopes and it was everything I hoped it would be. It was my first book by T. Greenwood and certainly won’t be my last.

I was immediately drawn into this story and the characters. Greenwood’s storytelling was wonderful and her attention to detail made me easily picture the scenes and the amazingly well-developed characters that were based in the 1960s and early 1970s. I have been wanting to read a book that just captivated me and this one did from the start.

I felt emotionally connected to the characters and was rooting for them all in different ways. Within the very powerful main storyline (that was based on real events) were smaller ones that also were very timely and powerful in their own right. Although it doesn’t seem that long ago, the last 1960s were shockingly different in many ways and I was impressed at how Greenwood could bring me there with such vividness in her writing.

This book was filled with themes of fear, persistence, friendship, hope and the most wonderful thing of all, the power that we can all learn and change. The ending of the book all came together for me in a very satisfying way and I was sad it was over which is a sign of a book you really loved.

Thanks to NetGalley, T. Greenwood, and St. Martin’s Press for sharing a copy of this book with me in exchange for my honest opinions.

The Girl He Used To Know | Book Review

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From Goodreads.com:

Annika (rhymes with Monica) Rose is an English major at the University of Illinois. Anxious in social situations where she finds most people’s behavior confusing, she’d rather be surrounded by the order and discipline of books or the quiet solitude of playing chess.

Jonathan Hoffman joined the chess club and lost his first game–and his heart–to the shy and awkward, yet brilliant and beautiful Annika. He admires her ability to be true to herself, quirks and all, and accepts the challenges involved in pursuing a relationship with her. Jonathan and Annika bring out the best in each other, finding the confidence and courage within themselves to plan a future together. What follows is a tumultuous yet tender love affair that withstands everything except the unforeseen tragedy that forces them apart, shattering their connection and leaving them to navigate their lives alone.

Now, a decade later, fate reunites Annika and Jonathan in Chicago. She’s living the life she wanted as a librarian. He’s a Wall Street whiz, recovering from a divorce and seeking a fresh start. The attraction and strong feelings they once shared are instantly rekindled, but until they confront the fears and anxieties that drove them apart, their second chance will end before it truly begins.


I wasn’t sure what to expect with this new novel by Graves but I read The Island a few years ago and absolutely loved it. I enjoyed that she was able to take a unique perspective and this book was completely engrossing from the start.

This story focused around the main character, Annika, who is on the Autism spectrum. Annika has previously struggled with relationships and friendships until she meets Jonathan in college in 1991.

I was very impressed by her ability to portray Annika’s perspective through the eyes of someone on the spectrum, and how just exhausting and confusing social situations can be. The book takes place in two different time periods (1991 and 2001) and the reader is aware something happened between Annika and Jonathan that initially pushed them apart but it isn’t clear at first what happened.

When they meet again, both have changed and learned about themselves and I loved seeing this progression over time. I love books about second chances and also loved seeing the transformation of not only this relationship but also the characters individually. This was not only a romance but also a book about self-love and acceptance and also hard work. This was a beautiful book and it will stick with me for a long time. Thank you to St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for gifting me a copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Mother-in-Law | Book Review

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From Goodreads.com:

“A twisty, compelling novel about one woman’s complicated relationship with her mother-in-law that ends in murder…

From the moment Lucy met her husband’s mother, Diana, she was kept at arm’s length. Diana was exquisitely polite, and properly friendly, but Lucy knew that she was not what Diana envisioned. But who could fault Diana? She was a pillar of the community, an advocate for social justice who helped female refugees assimilate to their new country. Diana was happily married to Tom, and lived in wedded bliss for decades. Lucy wanted so much to please her new mother-in-law.

That was five years ago.

Now, Diana has been found dead, a suicide note near her body. Diana claims that she no longer wanted to live because of a battle with cancer.

‘But the autopsy finds no cancer.
The autopsy does find traces of poison and suffocation.
Who could possibly want Diana dead?
Why was her will changed at the eleventh hour to disinherit both of her adult children and their spouses?’

With Lucy’s secrets getting deeper and her relationship with her mother-in-law growing more complex as the pages turn, this new novel from Sally Hepworth is sure to add to her growing legion of fans.”

This was one of those books that I just couldn’t put down. I always enjoy Sally Hepworth’s writing but this was especially addicting. It’s part thriller, part mystery and also a terrific family drama. It has the relationship conflicts and murder/suicide mystery along with the everyday life of this family that kept me drawn in. Hepworth does an amazing job with portraying motherhood so accurately and vividly.

I enjoyed the evolving relationship Lucy has with her mother-in-law, Diana. Seeing the layers pulled back from this family was fascinating and while the ending did seem a little far-fetched, it was a page turner through and through. I also loved the last section that shared about the family 10 years later, which really helped tie up the book in such an enjoyable way. Thank you St Martin’s Press and NetGalley for gifting me an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.

Things You Save in a Fire | Book Review

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This was my second Katherine Center book and I had high expectations. I really enjoyed How to Walk Away but I loved this one even more! I am not usually that into the romance genre but her books are different…there is that element but there is so much more. Her characters are multifaceted and imperfect and she covers some pretty deep issues while still being an enjoyable read. This story was unique and the subtle elements of sexism, past trauma and what forgiveness really means all played a part in making this story so thought-provoking. There were many “quotable” lines that really stuck with me.

“Telling the story changed the story for me. Not what had happened-that, I could never change-but how I responded to it…Even though nothing about the story had changed, I had changed.”

This book had heartbreaking moments and heartwarming moments and I loved the idea that becoming who we are is a journey and not a destination. We can choose how to react to life’s ups and downs and opening up to one another can help us do that. Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This was a 5 star read for me!