A Spool of Blue Thread (by Anne Tyler) … the importance of each family member

This was a book that, for me, kind of trod along at an event pace. I didn’t get excited and start flipping through the pages as fast as I could to see what would happen next. But it was a comfortable and endearing read.

This book was a view into a normal, though quirky, family. You have the opportunity to get to know each character really well and will find yourself chuckling at times, groaning at others, and realizing that these could be your next door neighbors…or even your own family!

I loved that you don’t really discover the background the history of the family until later in the book. But that doesn’t take away from the story or make you feel like you wish you had known this at the beginning. Each individual was an important piece of the family dynamic and made a difference in how the family operated, existed, and dealt with each other.

The Sisters of Summit Avenue (by Lynn Cullen) … history and family dynamics at their best!

I love it when a book makes you jump on the internet to research aspects of the story. While the story line itself is fiction, there were many wonderful historical facts that piqued my interest. I had never heard of “sleeping sickness” and immediately searched for more information. What an amazing worldwide epidemic and it makes it even sadder that no cure was ever discovered.

And then the Betty Crocker “ladies” were a delight to read about. The Betty Crocker of my day is a different concept all together. So to read about the many women economists who served as the hands and feet of the Gold Medal Flour Company and how they tested and demonstrated the myriad of recipes to be shared with women was amazing.

And even with all of the wonderful historical aspects of the story, you have family dynamics that will have you gritting your teeth. You will discover a lot about the relationship between the two sisters who are the main characters. And then their mother’s story comes out as she sits and talks to her son-in-law who is suffering from the “sleeping sickness.”

So much information is shared and you will be turning the pages quickly to see what will happen next!

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

This Tender Land (by William Kent Krueger) … a story of tragedies, horror, developing relationships, and forgiveness

This was an excellent historical fiction book. You are drawn into the story of four orphans and the journey they take in an effort to find a home that allows me a safe place to grow into the people they are meant to be. But you don’t just follow their story, you are presented with information about the Great Depression, the injustices Native Americans endured, the way people abuse the power bestowed upon them, the dynamics of family relationships, as well as friendships that develop through the difficulties the characters experience.

There were so many facets to the story. Your heart will ache at the tragedies and horrors the children in the story face. You will cheer them on as they begin to develop relationships and understand more about themselves and who they are deep inside. The back-and-forth understanding and forgiveness of themselves and others will tug on your heart strings.

And, in the end, how they find the forgiveness of others, of themselves, and of God, is miraculous.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

The Midwife of Hope River (by Patricia Harman) … history and many relationships

I really enjoyed this book for the wonderful history and many relationships it covered. The main character, Patience, has secrets, but you slowly learn about these as she has moments of flashbacks/memories. The women and their birthing experiences was interesting and the author does a great job of allowing you to experience the pain, the excitement, the anxiety, and sometimes sorrow of the mothers.

There were many wonderful characters you met through the pages of the book. You walked through life in West Virginia, including the great depression, danger of mining, racial tensions, etc. And then as you get to know the vet who lives close to Patience, you will learn about veterinarian medicine and can make connections between that and that of being a midwife.

Life on Loan (by Ashley Farley) … a story of personal growth, new relationships, and healing

Ashley Farley knows how to reach out to her readers, grab their hearts, and squeeze them tightly. This book was another one that spoke to me personally…something that happens a lot with the author’s books.

This story covers the relationship between two women and the relationship with their family…specifically their husbands and daughters. It was interesting to see how Olivia and Lena react to their personal situations and decide what to do with their future. You will find yourself enveloped in the efforts these ladies make in personal growth, new relationships, and healing. There are lots of moments of drama, anger, tears, and cheering. You will experience the gamut of emotions!

Thank you to the author for an ARC exchange for my honest review. I love this author’s books and always look forward to each new release.

Goodnight June (by Sarah Jio) … a touching story with a surprise ending

The author manages to weave a story that has aspects of family, love, anger, new and old relationships, and forgiveness. There are so many moments that grab your heart and squeeze it tight.

This story is one that goes and forth between the past and present, but you are never lost and wondering where you are at any point in time! The past is essentially told through the exchange of letters between the main character’s Aunt Ruby and the children’s book author, Margaret Wise Brown. Brown is the author of the book, Goodnight Moon.

While the book is a little slow to get started and you will decide that you don’t really like June that much, don’t give up. The story gets started and you will find yourself drawn into the lives of June and her aunt. There are times when I get tired of June’s insecurities, but knowing her history, you understand where this comes from.

Goodnight June is a moving book that will touch your heart and has an ending that will have you gasp in shock! So don’t give up!

All’s Fairy in Love and Murder (by K. M. Waller) … a delightful cozy mystery

This was a delightful book surrounding humans and fairies. I loved the characters and the relationships. There was enough intrigue to keep you interested and some funny and quirky characters that had you chuckling.

This is a fun, quick, and cozy mystery. I enjoy the author’s ability to entertain her readers. I look forward to more adventures surrounding the fairy godmother series!

Thank you to the author for an ARC exchange for my honest review.

A Measure of Darkness (by Jonathan Kellerman and Jesse Kellerman) … very disjointed read

I have been a fan of Jonathan Kellerman’s Alex Delaware series for many years. I can appreciate his efforts in helping his son, Jesse, with his writing. The authors did a good job of developing the characters and creating the various relationships throughout the book.

This was an okay book that had moments of intrigue, but it was a rather disjointed read for me. I doubt I will read any more books in this series.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

South Toward Home: Adventures and Misadventures in My Native Land (by Julia Reed) … a few entertaining moments

There were some fun and entertaining moments in this book. But then there were chapters that I couldn’t wait to get through to see if the next one would be better.

This book is made up of a a variety of essays that are linked together by some random headings. I do admit that there were moments when I chuckled and when I wanted to remember some of the statements to share with others.

As a girl from the South, I could appreciate some of the idiosyncracies that were buried among the pages. The people in the South are different and the viewpoint of family, food, relationships, nature, etc. was something that appealed to me a little more than I think it would people from other areas of the country.

Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Strangled Eggs and Ham (by Maddie Day) … small town mystery grabs you from page 1

I am now a fan of the Country Store series! This was the first book I’ve read and it will definitely not be the last. The characters are so well developed and I loved how they were so different, lovable, quirky, interesting. The mystery grabs you from the beginning and you are quickly turning the pages to see what will happen next. With the small town feel, the aspect of a small B&B and restaurant, and the dynamics of the relationships, you are in for a delightful visit to South Lick, Indiana.

You will assume you have figured out who is guilty of murder, there are enough twists and turns, random clues, and surprises that you wonder if you are correct. But it’s worth staying invested in the book until the last page!

Thank you to NetGalley and Kensington for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.