General Fiction

#BookReview The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin @WLBaldwin @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheSistersWeWere #WendyWallisBaldwin #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview The Sisters We Were by Wendy Willis Baldwin @WLBaldwin @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #TheSistersWeWere #WendyWallisBaldwin #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: The Sisters We Were

Author: Wendy Willis Baldwin

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Jan. 17, 2023

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 400

Format: Paperback

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 10/10

Pearl and Ruby’s choices drove them apart.

Finding their way back to each other might be the only way forward.

The weight of their family secrets could not have shaped Pearl and Ruby Crenshaw any differently. Ruby’s a runner, living in Dallas and only reluctantly talking to their mother, Birdie, when she calls from prison. Pearl is still living in her mother’s fixer-upper and finds herself facing a line in the sand: her weight is threatening to kill her. She’s hundreds of pounds beyond the point where she can celebrate her curves or benefit from the body positivity movement, and unless she takes drastic action, the future looks dire.

But when Ruby’s buried rage explodes in a hilariously viral way, the mistake has life-altering consequences. Now the sisters are back living under the same roof and forced to put the pieces of their separate lives together again. Funny, cinematic, and bursting with heart, this is a story of hope and redemption that celebrates the unbreakable bonds of sisterhood.


Review:

Sincere, memorable, and sweet!

The Sisters We Were is an intimate, uplifting tale that sweeps you away to Austin, Texas and immerses you into the lives of the Crenshaw sisters, Pearl and Ruby, as they must finally accept the things they cannot change, make risky, life-altering decisions, confront a past littered with tragedy and heartbreak, repair fractured relationships, and embrace a future that doesn’t involve running away or eating for solace.

The writing is effortless and polished. The characters are multi-layered, genuine, scarred, and courageous. And the plot, including all the subplots, skillfully intertwines and unravels into a delightfully touching tale about life, love, loss, guilt, grief, family drama, secrets, friendship, happiness, self-discovery, romance, the day-to-day struggles of morbid obesity, and the special bonds that exist between sisters.

Overall, The Sisters We Were is a beautiful mix of hope, heart, and healing that is not only a humorous, emotive, lovely novel by Willis Baldwin but one which I don’t think anyone could possibly read and not be completely absorbed and utterly moved.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Wendy Willis Baldwin

Author and freelance writer Wendy Willis Baldwin is a natural born storyteller. Her communications background includes broadcasting, marketing, talk radio, and sales. A native of Texas and a graduate of Texas Tech University, Wendy is a recent empty nester now living on a farm in New England, with one husband, three dogs, and thousands of honeybees. She is the co-host of the Life After Fat Pants Podcast.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview The Choice by Penny Hancock @Pennyhancock @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheChoice #PennyHancock #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Choice by Penny Hancock @Pennyhancock @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheChoice #PennyHancock #PGCBooks Title: The Choice

Author: Penny Hancock

Published by: Mantle Books on Jan. 10, 2023

Genres: General Fiction, Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

Renee Gulliver appears to have it all: a beautiful house overlooking a scenic estuary on England’s East Coast; a successful career as a relationship therapist; three grown up children; and a beloved grandson, Xavier. But things aren’t always as they seem on the surface, as Renee is all too aware. And when Xavier vanishes after she fails to pick him up from school one day, the repercussions are manifold.

Renee is wracked with remorse; her daughter Mia can’t forgive her; the local community question her priorities; and her clients abandon her. But as long-held family secrets threaten to tear her world apart once and for all, those same secrets might also hold hope for the future — because it’s not always the secret itself that has the power to destroy; sometimes it’s the act of keeping of it . . .

For fans of Hannah Beckerman and Lucy Diamond, Penny Hancock’s The Choice is a beautiful, haunting novel about family secrets and silences — and the power of love.


Review:

Complex, thought-provoking, and engaging!

The Choice is a multilayered, emotional, domestic drama that delves into all the complexities, dynamics, and dysfunction that exist in the familial relationships of the Gulliver family, including the long-lasting effects of secrets and the art of forgiveness.

The prose is mysterious and smooth. The characters are hesitant, conflicted, and troubled. And the plot is a well-paced, pensive tale about life, loss, love, tragedy, resentment, regret, guilt, grief, familial drama, self-reflection, friendship, and absolution.

Overall, The Choice is a rich, immersive, absorbing tale by Hancock that reminds us that life is complicated and messy, and even the smallest choices we make often have far-reaching consequences.

 

This book is available now.

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Thank you to Publishers Group Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Penny Hancock

Penny grew up in South East London and then did an English degree in Newcastle Upon Tyne. For several years she taught English as a foreign language in Italy, Greece and Morocco. She then took a PGCE, got a job as a Primary school teacher in an inner city London school, and moved into her partner Andy’s short-life house in East London, which is now part of the hardcore under the M11 that links their new home in Cambridge with her birth place in Greenwich!

While bringing up their three children, she continued to teach in primary schools, taught English to asylum seekers, and ran adult education classes in writing. She also wrote articles for various papers (The Independent, The Guardian, The Times Ed, The Sunday Express magazine, and Child Education, amongst others) specialising in family and education. Penny has also written readers for English language learners for Cambridge University Press, and a Primary English course for children published by Longmans. It was an Arvon writing course and an MA in creative writing at Anglia Ruskin University that encouraged her to complete her first novel.

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #HowtoFindYourWayHome #KatyRegan #PGCBooks

#BookReview How to Find Your Way Home by Katy Regan @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #HowtoFindYourWayHome #KatyRegan #PGCBooks Title: How to Find Your Way Home

Author: Katy Regan

Published by: Mantle Books on Feb. 15, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

What if the person you thought you’d lost forever walked back into your life?

A warm, life-affirming novel about what happens when a sister discovers that the brother she hasn’t seen in more than a decade is homeless, and in reconnecting with him learns the true meaning of belonging, from the author of Little Big Love.

When they were children, Emily and her brother Stephen were inseparable. Running wild through the marshes of Canvey Island, it was Stephen who taught her to look for the incandescent flash of a bird’s wings, who instilled within her a love and respect for nature’s wonders. But one June day, their lives came crashing down around them and fate forced them apart.

Fifteen years later, Emily should be happy. She has a sun-filled garden flat, a lovely boyfriend, and a job that is supposed to let her make a difference. But instead she’s lost, always on the lookout for her brother’s face, and worn down, spending her days working at the local housing offices having to turn away more applicants than she can help.

And then one day, her brother walks through the door.

Stephen has been living in and out of shelters for the last decade and the baggage between them is heavy. But Emily is overjoyed to see her brother again and invites him to come live with her. In an attempt to rebuild their relationship, they embark on a birding adventure together. Amid the soft calls of the marsh birds, they must confront the secrets of all that stands between them–even as they begin to realize that home may just be found within.


Review:

Tense, heart-wrenching, and tragic!

How to Find Your Way Home is a thought-provoking, emotional story that sweeps you away to London and into the life of Emily Nelson, a thirty-one-year-old woman with her own flat, a successful boyfriend, and a secure job at the council offices who, after finally crossing paths with her beloved brother who she hasn’t seen for almost twenty years after he was sent to prison and spent the subsequent years after his release living on the streets, finds her life irrevocably turned upside down when she must confront the tragedy, secrets, deception, and lies of the past and forge new relationships based on honesty, patience, understanding, and a mutual love of birds.

The writing is raw and expressive. The characters are vulnerable, scarred, and troubled. And the plot is a poignant tale of life, loss, secrets, resilience, childhood trauma, shocking revelations, familial drama, self-reflection, poverty, and homelessness.

Overall, How to Find Your Way Home is a beautiful tale by Regan full of heart, hope, and healing that is definitely the perfect choice for anyone who loves a well-written, meaty family saga.

 

This book is available on now.

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Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Katy Regan

Katy Regan was born and raised in the northern seaside town of Morecambe, England. She went on to study English and French at Leeds University where she became the features editor of the student newspaper before moving to London. She wrote for various magazines and newspapers before becoming Commissioning Editor at Marie Claire magazine. Katy's previous novels include One Thing Led to Another, The One Before the One, How We Met, and The Story of You. Little Big Man is her first for Mantle. Katy, who has one son, now lives in Hertfordshire.

#BookReview So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde @ThomasAllenLTD @AmazonPub #SoLongChesterWheeler #CatherineRyanHyde #LakeUnion

#BookReview So Long, Chester Wheeler by Catherine Ryan Hyde @ThomasAllenLTD @AmazonPub #SoLongChesterWheeler #CatherineRyanHyde #LakeUnion Title: So Long, Chester Wheeler

Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde

Published by: Lake Union Publishing on Dec. 6, 2022

Genres: General Fiction, LGBTQIA

Pages: 304

Format: Paperback

Source: Thomas Allen & Son

Book Rating: 10/10

Unlikely road trip companions form an unexpected bond in an uplifting novel about the past—lost and found—by the New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Lewis Madigan is young, gay, out of work, and getting antsy when he’s roped into providing end-of-life care for his insufferable homophobic neighbor, Chester Wheeler. Lewis doesn’t need the aggravation, just the money. The only requirements: run errands, be on call, and put up with a miserable old churl no one else in Buffalo can bear. After exchanging barbs, bickering, baiting, and pushing buttons, Chester hits Lewis with the big ask.

Lewis can’t say no to a dying wish: drive Chester to Arizona in his rust bucket of a Winnebago to see his ex-wife for the first time in thirty-two years—for the last time. One week, two thousand miles. To Lewis, it becomes an illuminating journey into the life and secrets of a vulnerable man he’s finally beginning to understand. A neighbor, a stranger, and a surprising new friend whose closure on a conflicted past is also just beginning.

So Long, Chester Wheeler is an uplifting novel about looking deeper into the heart and soul to form bonds with the last people we’d expect—only to discover that they’re the ones who need it most.


Review:

Heartwarming, memorable, and affecting!

So Long, Chester Wheeler is a timely, sentimental story that sweeps you away into a bittersweet tale where grievances are aired, truths are acknowledged, truces are made, friendships are savoured, tears are shed, memories are created, last requests are honoured, lives are celebrated, and love is forged and shared.

The writing is smooth and heartfelt. The characters are sincere, genuine, and lovable. And the plot is a delightful blend of heart, hope, humour, nostalgia, drama, and emotion.

Overall, So Long, Chester Wheeler is, ultimately, a story about life, love, loss, dreams, heartbreak, friendship, family, and finding happiness, and I absolutely adored it. It made me laugh, it made me cry, and in the end, it left me smiling.

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Thomas Allen & Son for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Catherine Ryan Hyde

I am the author of more than 30 published and forthcoming books, including ALLIE AND BEA, SAY GOODBYE FOR NOW, LEAVING BLYTHE RIVER, ASK HIM WHY, WORTHY, THE LANGUAGE OF HOOFBEATS, TAKE ME WITH YOU, WHERE WE BELONG, WHEN I FOUND YOU, WALK ME HOME, SECOND HAND HEART, DON'T LET ME GO, and WHEN YOU WERE OLDER.

I'm an avid hiker, traveller, equestrian, and amateur photographer, and have released my first book of photos, 365 DAYS OF GRATITUDE: PHOTOS FROM A BEAUTIFUL WORLD.

I am co-author, with fellow author and publishing industry blogger Anne R. Allen, of HOW TO BE A WRITER IN THE E-AGE: A SELF-HELP GUIDE.

My novel PAY IT FORWARD was adapted into a major motion picture, chosen by the American Library Association for its Best Books for Young Adults list, and translated into more than 23 languages for distribution in over 30 countries. The paperback was released in October 2000 by Pocket Books and quickly became a national bestseller. Simon & Schuster released PAY IT FORWARD: YOUNG READERS' EDITION in August of '14. It is suitable for kids as young as eight. A special Fifteenth Anniversary Edition of the original PAY IT FORWARD was released in December of '14

Photograph courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview Paper Cup by Karen Campbell @PGCBooks @canongatebooks #PaperCup #KarenCampbell #PGCBooks

#BookReview Paper Cup by Karen Campbell @PGCBooks @canongatebooks #PaperCup #KarenCampbell #PGCBooks Title: Paper Cup

Author: Karen Campbell

Published by: Canongate Books Ltd on Sep. 19, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 336

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

What if going back means you could begin again?

Rocked by a terrible accident, homeless Kelly needs to escape the city streets of Glasgow. Maybe she doesn’t believe in serendipity, but a rare moment of kindness and a lost engagement ring conspire to call her home. As Kelly vows to reunite the lost ring with its owner, she must return to the small town she fled so many years ago.

On her journey from Glasgow to the south-west tip of Scotland, Kelly encounters ancient pilgrim routes, hostile humans, hippies, book lovers and a friendly dog, as memories stir and the people she thought she’d left behind for ever move closer with every step.

Full of compassion and hope, Paper Cup is a novel about how easy it can be to fall through the cracks, and what it takes to turn around a life that has run off course.


Review:

Poignant, heartwarming, and raw!

Paper Cup is a pensive, heart-tugging novel that takes us to Glasgow and into the life of Kelly, a homeless alcoholic estranged from her family who, after finding an engagement ring and witnessing a horrific accident, embarks on a journey south, meeting some interesting characters and visiting some historical places along the way, heading to Gatehouse of Fleet, Galloway to not only return the ring to its rightful owner but to finally confront the demons she fled from and the family she hasn’t seen in years.

The prose is rich and vivid. The characters are vulnerable, flawed, and troubled. And the plot is a memorable tale of unlikely friendships, familial drama, poverty, homelessness, addiction, guilt, compassion, honesty, survival, mental illness, kindness, and ultimately finding your way home.

Overall, Paper Cup is an astute, touching, compelling tale by Campbell that does a beautiful job of reminding us that family is not always those just related by blood but rather those who love, care, support, and accept us.

 

This book is available on now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Karen Campbell

Karen Campbell is a Scottish novelist and former police officer. She is the author of seven novels, most recently The Sound of the Hours, which was a Waterstones Scottish Book of the Month. She is a recipient of the Best New Scottish Writer Award and has led workshops for the Scottish Refugee Council, Amnesty, Moniack Mhor and Scottish PEN, among others. She has written for BBC Radio 3, Edinburgh International Book Festival and Glasgow Women’s Library, and was recently Writer in Residence at Dumfries and Galloway Council. She lives in Galloway, Scotland.

Photo courtesy of Canongate Website.

#BookReview Endless Summer by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrown @HBGCanada #EndlessSummer #ElinHilderbrand #HBGCanada

#BookReview Endless Summer by Elin Hilderbrand @elinhilderbrand @littlebrown @HBGCanada #EndlessSummer #ElinHilderbrand #HBGCanada Title: Endless Summer

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Published by: Little Brown and Company on Oct. 4, 2022

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 368

Format: Hardcover

Source: HBG Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

The “queen of beach reads” (New York Magazine) presents nine captivating stories of summer on Nantucket—and days that last forever—to carry us through the off-season.

Bestselling author Elin Hilderbrand revisits her most treasured and iconic characters in this magical collection of stories. Collected in a single volume for the first time, Endless Summer ranges from fan favorites to original, never-before-seen works. In “The Surfing Lesson,” the marriage at the heart of Beautiful Day crosses uncertain territory when Margot Carmichael encourages her husband to reunite with his ex-girlfriend. The legendary weekend of a Harvard-Yale football game in “The Tailgate” recharts the course of Matchmaker Dabney Kimball’s first—and abiding—true love. And in a brand-new novella, “Summer of ’89,” we reconnect with the Levin sisters, whose distant adult lives collide once again at a tumultuous family reunion on Nantucket.


Review:

Charming, lighthearted, and generous!

Endless Summer is a nostalgic, heartwarming short story collection that takes us back into the lives of some of the most memorable characters from Hilderbrand’s previous novels and gives us a special glimpse into how all those relationships and storylines all began, what followed next, or in some cases just a little bit more.

The writing is layered and sweet. The characters are complex, engaging, and fun. And the plot is a delightful mix of life, loss, family, friendship, secrets, drama, history, chemistry, betrayal, romance, and small-island living.

As most of you know, I’m a huge fan of Elin Hilderbrand and have read almost all her novels, so it will be no surprise to anyone that Endless Summer was a delightful treat and pure indulgence for me to be able to pop back into some of my favourite tales and revisit some of my most beloved main characters and spend just a little bit more time immersed in those worlds.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

Thank you to HBG Canada for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Elin Hilderbrand

Elin Hilderbrand is a mother of three, an avid runner, reader, and traveler, and the author of twenty-three novels. She grew up outside Philadelphia, and has lived on Nantucket for more than twenty years.

#BookReview The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings by Joanna Nadin @joannanadin @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheDoubleLifeofDaisyHemmings #JoannaNadin #PGCBooks

#BookReview The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings by Joanna Nadin @joannanadin @PGCBooks @MantleBooks #TheDoubleLifeofDaisyHemmings #JoannaNadin #PGCBooks Title: The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings

Author: Joanna Nadin

Published by: Mantle Books on Sep. 5, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: Hardcover

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 8/10

The characters in this book are works of fiction. But, then, isn’t everyone . . . ?

1988, Pencalenick, Cornwall.
At seventeen, Jason wants much more from life than working at his father’s pub and when fate, in the form of twins Daisy and Bea and their small circle of friends, offers him a glimpse of another, more glamorous, world, he’s determined to become a part of it. It’s Daisy who Jason is most entranced by, though. Everyone is: she’s the sun around which others orbit.
The trouble with the sun, of course, is that those who get too close risk getting burned – and by the end of the summer, one of the group will be dead.

2018, Camberwell, London.
When famous actress Daisy Hemmings decides it’s time to publish her autobiography, she chooses James Tate to write it. James is a ghost writer: it’s his job to step into other people’s shoes; to tell their stories for them. And he’s good at it. Very good. After all, he’s had years of practice at pretending to be someone he’s not.
But what happens when past and present – and truth and lies – collide?

Joanna Nadin’s The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings is an unflinching, unforgettable novel about the people we are, the people we’d like to be, and the price we pay for getting what we want . . .


Review:

Intricate, intriguing and twisty!

The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings is an intense, complex tale set in Cornwall during 1988, as well as 2018, that takes you into the life of Jason Pengelly, a.k.a. James Tate, a working-class teen who, after getting swept up with a group of wealthy visitors, including twins Daisy and Bea Hicks, has his life irrevocably changed one night when an accident leaves one twin dead and Jason himself presumed dead.

The writing is tense and tight. The characters are secretive, self-involved, and troubled. And the plot, using a past/present, back-and-forth style, unfolds slowly into a simmering tale full of emotion, manipulation, deception, desperation, jealousy, obsession, overindulgence, social status, and competition.

Overall, The Double Life of Daisy Hemmings is a captivating, eerie, bewildering tale by Nadin that does a wonderful job of delving into the dynamic relationship between sisters, especially twins, and reminds us that we only see what people want us to see, and even then we only see what we want to see.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

         

 

 

 

Thank you to PGC Books for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Joanna Nadin

A former broadcast journalist, Downing Street political adviser and government speechwriter, Joanna Nadin is the author of more than eighty books for children and teenagers, including the Flying Fergus series with Sir Chris Hoy, the bestselling Rachel Riley diaries, based on the author’s teenage years, and the Carnegie Medal-nominated Joe All Alone, which is now a BAFTA-winning BBC drama. She is also a lecturer on the MA in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University.

The Talk of Pram Town is her second novel for adults; her first was The Queen of Bloody Everything.

Photo courtesy of Pan Macmillan's Website.

#BookReview A Very Typical Family by Sierra Godfrey @sierragodfrey @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #AVeryTypicalFamily #SierraGodfrey #bookmarkedbylandmark

#BookReview A Very Typical Family by Sierra Godfrey @sierragodfrey @Sourcebooks @sbkslandmark #AVeryTypicalFamily #SierraGodfrey #bookmarkedbylandmark Title: A Very Typical Family

Author: Sierra Godfrey

Published by: Sourcebooks Landmark on Sep. 13, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 352

Format: Hardcover

Source: Sourcebooks Landmark

Book Rating: 9/10

For fans of Emma Straub and Jennifer Weiner, comes a heartfelt, darkly funny novel about learning to love (and forgive) your family…even when they accidentally put you behind bars.

All families are messy. Some are disasters.

Natalie Walker is the reason her older brother and sister went to prison more than fifteen years ago. She fled California shortly after that fateful night and hasn’t spoken to anyone in her family since. Ten years later, Natalie receives a letter from a lawyer saying her estranged mother has died and left the family’s historic Santa Cruz house to her–sort of. To inherit it, Natalie and her siblings must claim it together.

Natalie drives cross-country to Santa Cruz with her willful cat in tow expecting to sign some papers, see siblings Lynn and Jake briefly, and get back to sorting out her life in Boston. But Jake, now an award-winning ornithologist, is missing, and Lynn, working as an undertaker in New York City, shows up with a teenage son. While Natalie and her nephew look for Jake–and meeting a very handsome marine biologist along the way–she unpacks the guilt she has held on to for so many years, wondering how, or if, she can salvage a relationship with her siblings after all this time.


Review:

Sincere, immersive, and nuanced!

A Very Typical Family is a tender, compelling tale that delves into the complex bonds and emotional scars that can exist between family members and immerses you in a tale about rediscovering one’s self, confronting the past, accepting the things you cannot change, learning to heal, and moving on.

The prose is smooth and fluid. The characters are hesitant, conflicted, and damaged. And the plot is an exceptionally absorbing tale about life, loss, love, tragedy, resentment, regret, guilt, grief, familial drama, self reflection, friendship, and forgiveness.

Overall, A Very Typical Family is a beautiful mix of heart, hope, and healing that is not only a moving, emotive, lovely debut by Godfrey but a must-read novel for anyone who loves a meaty, well-written family saga.

 

This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

           

 

 

Thank you to Sourcebooks Landmark for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sierra Godfrey

Sierra Godfrey is a technical writer, graphic designer, and a former credentialed sportswriter covering Spanish soccer. When she’s not writing about messy families, she’s taking long walks, reading, and being cozy. Originally from Santa Cruz, California, she has lived all over the world including Santorini, Greece, but now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area with her family, which includes a dog, two cats, and a turtle, all of which seemed like a good idea at the time.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen @SarahAddisonAll @StMartinsPress #OtherBirdsNovel #SarahAddisonAllen #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencer

#BookReview Other Birds by Sarah Addison Allen @SarahAddisonAll @StMartinsPress #OtherBirdsNovel #SarahAddisonAllen #StMartinsPress #SMPInfluencer Title: Other Birds

Author: Sarah Addison Allen

Published by: St. Martin's Press on Aug. 30, 2022

Genres: General Fiction, Women's Fiction

Pages: 304

Format: Hardcover

Source: St. Martin's Press

Book Rating: 10/10

From the acclaimed author of Garden Spells comes an enchanting tale of lost souls, lonely strangers, secrets that shape us, and how the right flock can guide you home.

Down a narrow alley in the small coastal town of Mallow Island, South Carolina, lies a stunning cobblestone building comprised of five apartments. It’s called The Dellawisp and it is named after the tiny turquoise birds who, alongside its human tenants, inhabit an air of magical secrecy.

When Zoey Hennessey comes to claim her deceased mother’s apartment at The Dellawisp, she meets her quirky, enigmatic neighbors including a girl on the run, a grieving chef whose comfort food does not comfort him, two estranged middle-aged sisters, and three ghosts. Each with their own story. Each with their own longings. Each whose ending isn’t yet written.

When one of her new neighbors dies under odd circumstances the night Zoey arrives, she is thrust into the mystery of The Dellawisp, which involves missing pages from a legendary writer whose work might be hidden there. She soon discovers that many unfinished stories permeate the place, and the people around her are in as much need of healing from wrongs of the past as she is. To find their way they have to learn how to trust each other, confront their deepest fears, and let go of what haunts them.

Delightful and atmospheric, Other Birds is filled with magical realism and moments of pure love that won’t let you go. Sarah Addison Allen shows us that between the real and the imaginary, there are stories that take flight in the most extraordinary ways.


Review:

Charming, poignant, and beautifully written!

Other Birds is an emotionally-charged, moving tale that takes you into the lives of a handful of people, including the kind, independent Zoey Hennessey, as their worlds are irrevocably changed when the sudden death of a long-term resident has them finally sharing their time, secrets, and heartbreaking pasts.

The prose is lyrical and expressive. The characters are complex, scarred, and conflicted. And the plot is a compelling, sobering tale of life, loss, family, friendship, grief, guilt, denial, secrets, abuse, neglect, self-preservation, loneliness, and the importance of learning to love and be loved.

Overall, Other Birds made me think, made me cry, and resonated with me long after the final page. It’s an immersive, impactful, hopeful tale by Allen that combines exceptional character development with the magic of the supernatural to weave a heart-tugging, bittersweet story steeped in an abundance of loneliness, optimism, tenderness, and pain.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

                

 

 

Thank you to St. Martin’s Press for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Sarah Addison Allen

SARAH ADDISON ALLEN is the New York Times bestselling author of Garden Spells, The Sugar Queen, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, The Peach Keeper, and Lost Lake. She was born and raised in Asheville, North Carolina.

Photo Credit: Katie Linsky Shaw

#BookReview The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza @HenryHolt #TheLastKarankawas #KimberlyGarza #HenryHoltBooks

#BookReview The Last Karankawas by Kimberly Garza @HenryHolt #TheLastKarankawas #KimberlyGarza #HenryHoltBooks Title: The Last Karankawas

Author: Kimberly Garza

Published by: Henry Holt and Co. on Aug. 9, 2022

Genres: General Fiction

Pages: 288

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Henry Holt and Co.

Book Rating: 8/10

Welcome to Galveston, Texas. Population 50,241.

Carly Castillo has only ever known Albacore Avenue. Abandoned as a child by her Filipina mother and Mexican-American father, Carly returns each morning from her nursing shift to the house she shares with her grandmother, Magdalena. But when Magdalena slips into dementia, Carly begins to imagine a life elsewhere. Jess Rivera, her boyfriend and all-star shortstop turned seaman, treasures the salty, familiar island air. Years ago, he had a chance to leave Galveston for a bigger city with more possibilities. But he didn’t then, and he sure as hell won’t now. Deftly moving through these characters’ lives and those of the individuals who circle them—Mercedes, Jess’s undocumented cousin; Kristin, Magdalena’s daytime nurse; Luz, the wife of Carly’s best friend; Schafer, Jess’s coworker out on the gulf—Garza presents a mosaic depiction of everyday survival in Southern Texas. As word spreads of a storm gathering strength offshore, building into Hurricane Ike, they each must make a difficult decision: board up the windows and hunker down, or flee inland and abandon their hard-won home.

Unflinching, lyrical, and singular, The Last Karankawas is a portrait of America scarcely witnessed, where browning palm trees and oily waters mark the forefront of ecological change. It is a deeply imagined exploration of familial inheritance, human perseverance, and the histories we assign to ourselves, establishing Kimberly Garza as a brilliant new literary voice.


Review:

Compelling, absorbing, and complex!

The Last Karankawas is an intriguing, tender tale that sweeps you away to Galveston, Texas during 2008 as the city braces for Hurricane Ike and immerses you into the joy, heartbreak, struggles, and lives of multiple generations of people from the Filipino and Mexican communities, especially one young girl, Carly Castillo, who yearns to live anywhere else, even though her grandmother who raised her believes they are descendants of the Karankawa Indigenous tribe and thus naturally have strong ties to the land they inhabit.

The prose is expressive and smooth. The characters are multilayered, conflicted, and kind. And the plot told from multiple POVs is an affecting tale about life, loss, love, community, regrets, acceptance, forgiveness, familial drama, and friendship.

Overall, The Last Karankawas is a touching, astute, lovely debut by Garza that does a wonderful job of delving into all the messy emotional and psychological entanglements that exist between family members, friends, our histories and the places we call home.

 

This novel is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.

            

 

 

 

Thank you to Henry Holt and Company for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

About Kimberly Garza

Kimberly Garza is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and the University of North Texas, where she earned a PhD in 2019. Her fiction and nonfiction have appeared in Copper Nickel, DIAGRAM, Creative Nonfiction, TriQuarterly, and elsewhere. A native Texan—born in Galveston, raised in Uvalde—she is an assistant professor of creative writing and literature at the University of Texas at San Antonio. The Last Karankawas is her first novel.

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