The War Widow (by Tara Moss) … great mystery and adventurous story

I really enjoyed this book in the Billie Walker series.  The characters are well developed and the author has done a wonderful job of drawing you into their lives and making you care what is happening to them.

Billie Walker is a sassy lady private investigator and I look forward to future adventures with her.  I loved the setting in Australia and the mystery and excitement that flowed through the pages.  You never knew what would happen next to Billie.

Sam Baker, her assistant, was a great compliment to her personality.  I liked his willingness to do the most mundane of tasks to the extremely dangerous assignments.

What a wonderful introduction to Billie and Sam and many of the characters who appear as you flip quickly through the pages and get lost in the mystery. Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own

The Chelsea Girls (by Fiona Davis) … eclectic group of characters with twists and turns

I loved reading about the Chelsea Hotel and the lives of the people who made it their home.  What an eclectic group of individuals.  The post-WWII era involving McCarthy’s reign of terror and the focus on the entertainment industry was informative.  The twists and turns that are woven through the pages leaves you gasping in shock.

This is my second book I have read by Fiona Davis and I look forward to reading more books by her.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dutton Publishers for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

What You Said to Me (by Olivia Newport) … dual timelines develops into a great story

I absolutely love the Tree of Life series by Olivia Newport.  The dual timeline is so well developed.  The author does a wonderful job of character development.  Jillian’s personality really shines through with her introversion and perfectionism.  While her father, Nolan, once again demonstrates his innate ability to evaluate a situation or the characters and gently guide them to a resolution.  He is the ultimate and perfect mediator.

The flow between the two timelines is well done.  You will quickly be drawn into each time period without an awkwardness of suddenly changing from past to present to past.

Thank you to NetGalley and Shiloh Run Press for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Miss Benson’s Beetle (by Rachel Joyce) … quirkly characters and a story of growth and change

I am not sure what I expected when I started reading this book.  But while it was not what I thought it be, it was an entertaining read.  I found myself chuckling at Margery’s shenanigans and her experiences as she interviews for an assistant to travel with her on the expedition to New Caledonia.

This is an exploration into growth and change.  Both Margery and her assistant, Enid, are challenged by experiences in their past and yet find themselves changed as they make this journey of discovery.

Quirky characters, an exotic location, a developing relationship, and discovery makes for an interesting read.

Thank you to NetGalley and Dial Press for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

My Dad My Dog (by Rebecca Warner) … you’ll be taken on an emotional journey

I knew this would be an emotional journey when I opened the book and found myself living with Rachel, her husband, father, and dog.  The author does a wonderful job of allowing you to experience the positive and negative aspects of being a caregiver to an aging parent with serious health issues.  As a North Carolina native, I could visualize the setting as the author described life in the NC mountains.

Rachel’s willingness to provide her dad with the best care available in a facility was impressive.  But when finances become an issue, her dedication is even more amazing when she moves him into her home.  I was so impressed that she and her husband, David, were willing to sacrifice so much to provide the care her father needed.  I never felt that she was whining or playing the “woe is me” card.  And kudos to her for calling her sisters out on their behavior and lack of involvement in their father’s life.

And then you factor in Nick, her labrador retriever.  What a precious four-legged fur baby.  His heart was huge and he was a humble and loyal dog.  The relationship that eventually develops between Nick and Rachel’s father, Joe, is touching.

As you experience the similarities of an aging parent and aging dog, your heart will fill and the tears will flow.  The author draws a beautiful picture of relationships, love, physical illnesses, the ache of loss, and the tenderness of caring.

Thank you to NetGalley and Black Rose Writing for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

The Right Kind of Fool (by Sarah Loudin Thomas) … a book that will settle into your heart and linger

This is the first book I’ve read by Sarah Loudin Thomas, but it will not be the last.  The author has an amazing gift with words.  I was pulled into the story and felt the emotions of each character.  The characters are so well developed.  And you will love some while you will be irritated with others.  But hold one…because everyone is not as they seem.

Loyal, though he suffered from hearing loss, was one of the strongest young men.  This book was so much more than a murder mystery.  It was a story of family, relationships, and forgiveness.

This book will settle into your heart and linger…long after you’ve turned the last page.  I found myself to continue exploring life with Loyal, Creed, and Delphy.  I wanted to see how Loyal matures and develops into an amazing yougn man.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

I’ll Be Seeing You (by Elizabeth Berg) … touching memoir

This was a very touching memoir of the author’s parents and their declining years.  I am so glad she shared this story with readers.  It is important to see how she and her sister handled their parents and their situation when they got to the point where they could no longer live in their home.  You learned some background of her early years as the daughter of a father who was career military.  The relationship her parents have is front and center and a huge part of the issues they were experiencing.

The author and her sister lose their patience but are determined to help their parents as much as possible.  It was emotional to travel with the author as she and her sister navigated the ability to find appropriate care for her parents…especially her father and his mental dementia.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Once We Were Here (by Christopher Cosmos) … a wonderful twist at the end that has you gasping out loud

This book starts with a yearly summer holiday with Andrew and his family while they visit with his grandparents (Papou and Yia Yia).    But you’re just starting to turn the pages when you find yourself going back in time and learning about best friends, Alexei and Costa, and life in Greece.  I learned so much about the time period when Mussolini declares war on Greece.  These two young men were so willing to serve their country and support each other through time of war.

I had many tearful moments as I read through the story.  I loved the twist at the end which had me gasping out loud.  And I love when a book does that for me.

Thank you to NetGalley and Arcade Publishers for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Mistletoe and Wedding Bells ~ Hope Springs #3 (by Ashley Farley) … food, fellowship, and community during the holidays

This is the third book in the Hope Springs series.  I enjoyed this book and how the relationships developed and matured throughout the pages.  Stella has done an amazing job, along with her new employees, in planning such wonderful Christmas festivities that appeal to a variety of people…from kids to adults.

And, as has been true through this series, there are conflicts among a variety of characters.  I did feel like one situation was resolved a little too quickly.  But for the most part, the story was good and had me looking forward to the holiday season.  I would love to find a place like Hope Springs to visit and enjoy the food, fellowship, and community.

Thank you to the author and Leisure Time Books for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish (by Tori Whitaker) … a travel through a painful past toward forgiveness

I am so impressed with Tori Whitaker’s debut novel.  A wonderful story of three generations of women…Millicent; her daughter, Jane; and Kelsey, her granddaughter.  Told via a dual timeline, this tale takes you through life as a wife in the 1950’s.  However, Millicent is not your typical housewife.  She is such a strong person who has goals and career aspirations.  While she is excited to become a mother, she wants much more for her life.

The secrets that are threaded throughout the pages will attempt to destroy some of the relationships.  However, through the willingness to share the truth of things in the past and the ability to forgive, the lives of these three women is healed.

While there are some misunderstandings, it is Millie’s background story that has your heart aching for her and how it has affected the mother-daughter relationship.  As we travel with Millicent through her past, you will feel anger at many situations, hope that she will be able to overcome so many painful experiences, and encouraged by her ability to accept love and support from her family members.

I really enjoyed this novel and am looking forward to future publications by the author. Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my advanced review copy.  All opinions and thoughts are my own.