Ghosts of Harvard (by Francesca Serritella) … great paranormal mystery and view into mental illness

This is a very good paranormal mystery. Though at times you don’t know if it’s paranormal or mental illness that is affecting Cady’s experience during her freshman year at Harvard. This is an emotional read…between the suicide of Cady’s brother, the effects of mental illness, family relationship issues, insecurity, the manipulation of Cady’s emotions, and the stress of handling the academic rigors at Harvard University.

Because I work in an academic environment, this book really appealed to me. I connected with many of the aspects of Cady’s experiences during her time in college.

My heart ached for Cady as she dealt with the emotional trauma of her brother dealing with schizophrenia and his eventual suicide. The drama she endured and the stigma and guilt she experience, were heart wrenching. Not only does this book deal with mental illness, but you are treated to a historical tale of people whose lives were touched by their time at the University…as students and slaves. You are also brought into a mystery that weaves itself through the pages.

Thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishers for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I am looking forward to the author creating another delightful book in which I can get lost and enjoy! A great debut novel.

The Secrets We Keep (by Kate Hewitt) … what kind of secrets are they keeping?

What an amazing story of secrets…between families and between family members. As the book begins, you are wondering what really happened to bring these two women and their children to their respective lake houses.

Well, get ready! You will be in for unbelievable revelations. The characters are well developed and their personalities very unique. You definitely will develop strong opinions about them. Lots of family dynamics, love, loss, and emotional and physical trauma.

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

Murder in Waiting (by Lynn Cahoon) … fun, murder, laughter, and shenanigans!

I have fallen in love with the characters in the Tourist Trap series. There is fun, murder, laughter, shenanigans, and a great plot to keep you entertained. The characters are well developed and likable. You feel like they are your friends.

I love the twists and turns and the way the mystery(ies) develop.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lyrical Press for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I can’t wait for the next adventure in this series.

The Half Sister (by Sandie Jones) … DNA and family dynamics to the extreme

Oh my goodness! Sandie Jones has written another edge-of-your-seat book about family drama, secrets, infidelity, genetics, and the search for truth. There were twists and turns that has the reader gasping in shock.

I enjoyed the back-and-forth perspectives by sisters, Kate and Lauren. It was interesting to see how their perspectives were based on misconceptions. It’s amazing how a person assumes their view is the only accurate one! Is putting your DNA out there to see what potential relatives might exist in your history…or present…something you should give serious consideration to before submitting it for all to be able to have access?

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

The Book of Lost Names (by Kristy Harmel) … an emotionally moving dual timeline WWII historical fiction book that will touch you deeply

Kristin Harmel has done it again! Her latest journey in this WWII historical fiction novel is emotionally moving. You will learn about part of the resistance that was such an important part of this period of time. The willingness and bravery of so many individuals is astounding. I continue to be amazed at the boundless sacrifices people were willing to make because it was the right thing to do…even it cost them their life.

I would definitely grab a box of tissues before you open the book and get lost in Eva’s story and the part the foragers played in the downfall of the Third Reich. While a story with a dual timeline, the majority of the book is spent during WWII. The moment between time periods flows smoothly. The characters are well developed. In fact, so much so, that you will care deeply about their lives and their efforts for the resistance.

Your heart will soar, you’ll hold your breath as you experience dangerous situations, you will doubt the integrity of some individuals, and your heart will ache at moments. Such a myriad of emotions. The twists and turns have you anxiously waiting to see what will happen next. Love, loss, fear, hope, family relationships, trust, betrayal, and bravery are primary aspects of this fabulous book.

Thank you to NetGalley and Gallery Books for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own. I cannot say enough about how much I enjoyed the trip with Eva. This book will stay with me a long time. The tears are still pooling in my eyes as I write this review. Please! Put this book on your list of books to read! It i worth every second you spend absorbing the words and the story of such beautiful and dedicated individuals. I can’t wait for the author’s next gift in the form of a story for us.

Nothing Bundt Trouble (by Ellie Alexander) … great dual timeline mystery

I love dual time line books and the author did a great job with this one. There’s a wonderful mystery threaded through both times. The characters are well developed and you find yourself getting lost in the story. This is the first book I’ve read in the series, but it worked well as a standalone. However, it was also good enough that I will go back and read the earlier books and future books in the series.

There are tense moments while the crime is trying to be solved. But the depth of the new and rekindling relationships with Juliet keeps things lighter. I really enjoyed the story, the delicious food descriptions, and the mystery.

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

You Can’t Catch Me (by Catherine McKenzie) … a twisted psychologically charged story

Whew! This was a book full of twists. You will be drawn into the story and wonder where it will end up once you’ve turned the last page. There are almost two stories woven throughout … the history of Jessica and her life while living in a cult and after she leaves. And the twisted psychological second story line that has you sucked in as the three Jessicas…yes, I said three…go on the hunt.

You will be sure you’ve figured out what’s happening. But hold on to the edge of your seat because you’ll find yourself gasping in shock. You just thought you knew where things were headed! I loved the twists and turns, the relationships, and tension between characters.

Thank you to NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing for my advanced review copy. All opinions and thoughts are my own.

Flash: The Homeless Donkey Who Taught Me about Life, Faith, and Second Chances (by Rachel Anne Ridge) … delightful and encouraging tale that will challenge you emotionally and spiritually

The title of this book grabbed my attention and I knew I had to read it! Luckily a dear friend purchased a copy for me and off I went…turning the pages as fast I could. What a wonderful story! You will laugh, you will cry, you will want to either find a donkey to adopt or decide that you need to become best friends with Rachel Ridge so you can meet Flash.

This delightful tale is encouraging, will challenge you emotionally and spiritually, help you focus on what matters most…faith, family, relationships. I found myself underlining many passages so I can refer to them over and over. This is a book I will keep on my book shelf so I can share it with everyone! You need to put this at the top of your to-be-read list.

Miss Cecily’s Recipes for Exceptional Ladies (by Lynn Zimmerman) … charming book full of life lessons

This was a charming book. To be honest, I was so irritated with the main character, Kate, after the first 5 or 6 chapters. I decided that I could not finish it. But I went back and read the reviews and decided I needed to give it another chance. I am so glad I did! I ended up loving the book.

The story of friendships, various relationships, food, and quirky characters will have you laughing, being angry, crying, and cheering. It was so uplifting to see how people can impact others’ lives. I loved that Kate eventually learned that being in a relationship did not determine her worth as an individual. Watching her struggle and grow as you race through the pages was so heartwarming. I wish all young women could learn this important lesson.

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

A Million Little Lies (by Bette Lee Crosby) … emotional story that will touch your heart

“What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive.” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808) And Suzanna has an unbelievable web of lies that go back to her childhood. You will understand why she lies…and continues to do so.

This is a powerful story of love, loss, family, trust, truth, lies, forgiveness, and a sense of belonging. Your heart will be touched by Suzanna; her daughter, Annie; and Ida. You will also be irritated at some of the characters and their lack of integrity.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bent Pine Publishing for an ARC in exchange for my honest review. Bette Lee Crosby manages to draw you into the story and helps you to open up your heart and feel with such depth.