#BookReview The Getaway by Emily March @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #EmilyMarch #TheGetaway #LakeintheClouds

#BookReview The Getaway by Emily March @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #EmilyMarch #TheGetaway #LakeintheClouds Title: The Getaway

Author: Emily March

Series: Lake in the Clouds #1

Published by: Forever on Sep. 6, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Widowed young, Genevieve Prentice dedicated her life to raising her four children. Now, though, they’re all grown and scattered to the wind, and Genevieve is ready for a change. In a flash of inspiration, she puts her home on the market and heads to Lake in the Clouds, Colorado, to renovate a rustic waterfront lodge with her sister. But just as they begin, Genevieve gets the shock of a lifetime: the arrival of her son.

Jake Prentice built a career out of being dependable, one that left him perennially stressed and overworked. Finally heeding his mother’s words of wisdom, he’s quit his job and is ready to find out what truly makes him happy. And now, as he stands surrounded by open sky and fresh, pine-scented air, he’s got no regrets . . . until former colleague Tess Crenshaw appears at the lake, forcing him to reassess what—and who—he really wants.

As they work together to renovate the lodge, Genevieve and Jake embark on a heartfelt and inspiring journey to learn about themselves, each other, and the true meaning of family.


Absorbing, heartfelt, and sweet!

The Getaway is a heartwarming, compelling tale that takes you on a journey to Lake in the Clouds, Colorado, and into the lives of the middle-aged widow and mother of four, Genevieve and her oldest, overworked, most serious son Jake, as they discover together the importance of taking chances, accepting change, embracing the future and finding contentment.

The prose is light and amusing. The characters are complex, authentic, and supportive. And the plot is a beguiling tale about life, loss, family, determination, kindness, forgiveness, parenthood, tough love, self-discovery, happiness, romance, and the importance of moving on.

Overall, The Getaway is a tender, uplifting, nostalgic tale by March, complete with strong, endearing characters, a touching storyline, and an insightful look into the complex, unbreakable ties that bind us as family.


This book is available now.

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




Thank you to Forever & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Emily March

Emily March is the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today bestselling author of over thirty novels, including the critically acclaimed Eternity Springs series. Publishers Weekly calls March a "master of delightful banter," and her heartwarming, emotionally charged stories have been named to Best of the Year lists by Publishers Weekly, Library Journal, and Romance Writers of America.
A graduate of Texas A&M University, Emily is an avid fan of Aggie sports and her recipe for jalapeño relish has made her a tailgating legend.

#BookReview The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen @MeganBannen @orbitbooks #TheUndertakingofHartandMercy #MeganBannen #OrbitBooks

#BookReview The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy by Megan Bannen @MeganBannen @orbitbooks #TheUndertakingofHartandMercy #MeganBannen #OrbitBooks Title: The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy

Author: Megan Bannen

Published by: Orbit Books on Aug. 23, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Fantasy

Pages: 448

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Orbit Books

Book Rating: 9/10

Hart is a marshal, tasked with patrolling the strange and magical wilds of Tanria. It’s an unforgiving job, and Hart’s got nothing but time to ponder his loneliness.

Mercy never has a moment to herself. She’s been single-handedly keeping Birdsall & Son Undertakers afloat in defiance of sullen jerks like Hart, who seems to have a gift for showing up right when her patience is thinnest.

After yet another exasperating run-in with Mercy, Hart finds himself penning a letter addressed simply to “A Friend”. Much to his surprise, an anonymous letter comes back in return, and a tentative friendship is born.

If only Hart knew he’s been baring his soul to the person who infuriates him most – Mercy. As the dangers from Tanria grow closer, so do the unlikely correspondents. But can their blossoming romance survive the fated discovery that their pen pals are their worst nightmares – each other?


Heartwarming, humorous, and unique!

The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a sweet, action-packed, enemies-to-lovers romance that takes you into the lives of Mercy Birdsall, a kindhearted undertaker who finds herself inadvertently attracted to an infuriatingly rude marshal while also falling for her anonymous pen pal, and Hart Ralston, the lonely, hardworking drudge slayer who longs for something more than just his job working day and night to protect the outside world from the magical creatures and devious souls of Tanria.

The writing is playful and tender. The characters are quirky, hesitant, and endearing. And the plot is an adventure-filled tale of life, loss, heartache, expectations, familial drama, mystique, chemistry, attraction, witty banter, humorous mishaps, supernatural characters, and love.

Overall, The Undertaking of Hart and Mercy is a creative, charming, uplifting tale by Bannen that I absolutely adored and was a true delight to read with its highly entertaining storyline and abundance of precious characters I couldn’t help but root for.


This novel is available now.

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


About Megan Bannen

Megan Bannen is a former public librarian whose YA debut The Bird and the Blade was an Indies Introduce Summer/Fall 2018 pick, a Summer 2018 Kids’ Indie Next List pick, and a Kirkus Best YA Historical Fiction of 2018 pick. While most of her professional career has been spent behind the reference desk, she has also sold luggage, written grants, collected a few graduate degrees from various Kansas universities, and taught English at home and abroad. She lives in the Kansas City area with her husband and their two sons.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Ali-Afzal @AAAiswriting @GrandCentralPub #AliyaAliAfzal #WouldIIieToYou #GCPInsider

#BookReview Would I Lie To You? by Aliya Ali-Afzal @AAAiswriting @GrandCentralPub #AliyaAliAfzal #WouldIIieToYou #GCPInsider Title: Would I Lie to You?

Author: Aliya Ali-Afzal

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Feb. 2, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller

Pages: 480

Format: Paperback

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 8/10

When money and lies come between Faiza and her husband, Faiza will do anything to fix it, even if it means taking risks that could ruin their lives forever–if she’s caught.

At the school gates, Faiza fits in. It took a few years, but now the snobbish white mothers who mistook her for the nanny treat her as one of their own. She’s learned to crack their subtle codes, speak their language of fashion and vacations and haircuts. You’d never guess, seeing her at the trendy kids’ parties and the leisurely coffee mornings, that her childhood was spent being bullied and being ashamed of her poor Pakistani immigrant parents. When her husband Tom loses his job in finance, he stays calm. Something will come along, and in the meantime, they can live off their savings. But Faiza starts to unravel. Creating the perfect life and raising the perfect family comes at a cost – and the money Tom put aside has gone. Faiza will have to tell him she spent it all.  

Unless she doesn’t…

It only takes a second to lie to Tom. Now Faiza has mere weeks to find $100,000. If anyone can do it, Faiza can.  She’s had to fight for what she has, and she’ll fight to keep it. But as the clock ticks down and Faiza desperately tries to put things right, she has to ask herself: how much more should she sacrifice to live someone else’s idea of the dream life?


Simmering, tight, and intriguing!

Would I Lie to You? is an intense, ominous, domestic drama that takes you into the life of Faiza Saunders, a mother of three who has secretly blown through her family’s emergency fund making sure that she and her family fit in and look like they belong in their upper-class Wimbledon neighbourhood but when Faiza’s husband Tom suddenly loses his job Faiza’s life spirals more and more out of control as she decides to do whatever it takes to keep her spending and their financial ruin a secret.

The writing is brisk and tight. The characters are secretive, troubled, and deceptive. And the plot is an intricate, immersive tale full of lies, deception, drama, jealousy, betrayal, competition, revelations, racism, manipulation, mayhem, mental illness, and bad decisions.

Overall, Would I Lie to You? is a complex, suspenseful, promising debut by Ali-Afzal that I found a tad too long but was nevertheless a fast-paced page-turner that kept me engaged from start to finish.


This book is available now.

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




Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Aliya Ali-Afzal

Aliya Ali-Afzal lives in London and is studying for an MA in Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London. Her writing has been longlisted for The Bath Novel Award, The Mslexia Novel Competition, The Mo Prize Hachette UK, and The Primadonna Prize. Aliya has a degree in Russian and German from the University of London. She has always lived in London, since moving there from Pakistan as a young child. Aliya worked as a head-hunter and then retrained as an Executive MBA career coach.

Photo by Kimberely Archer.

#BookReview My Husband’s Daughter by Emma Robinson @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #EmmaRobinson #MyHusbandsDaughter

#BookReview My Husband’s Daughter by Emma Robinson @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #EmmaRobinson #MyHusbandsDaughter Title: My Husband's Daughter

Author: Emma Robinson

Published by: Forever on Mar. 22, 2022

Genres: Women's Fiction

Pages: 272

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 9/10

Cara took a deep breath and let it out slowly. ‘She’s not just my daughter,’ she said as she turned in her seat to face Jack. This man she had once loved, but who she hadn’t seen for nearly five years. ‘Sophie is your daughter too.’

It is past ten o’clock on a cold Friday night when Rebecca and her husband Jack’s doorbell rings. Outside is a woman who introduces herself as Jack’s ex-girlfriend Cara. And she’s holding the hand of a shivering, blue-eyed, four-year-old girl. Who she claims is Jack’s daughter.

Rebecca is shocked to discover he has a child from his last relationship – even one he hadn’t known about. Because becoming parents isn’t part of their life plan. They like children, but they also love their freedom and spending time together uninterrupted; the way that, if they wanted to, they could travel the world at a moment’s notice.

But Cara needs them. Because Cara has a devastating secret that she can’t tell anyone yet. Not even her daughter. A secret with the power to change all of their lives.

A secret that will ultimately mean Rebecca has to ask herself – could she find it in herself to welcome her husband’s child into her home, and into her heart?


Poignant, immersive, and moving!

My Husband’s Daughter is a tender, hopeful tale that immerses you into the life of Rebecca and Jack, a happily married couple who are both content with their decision not to have children and are enjoying great careers and an unburdened lifestyle, until one day their whole world gets turned upside down and everything they thought they knew and wanted gets shaken to its core when Jack’s ex Cara knocks on the door with a beautiful four-year-old little girl in tow.

The prose is sensitive and smooth. The characters are conflicted, desperate, and secretive. And the plot, told from alternating POVs, is a heart-wrenching tale about life, loss, love, grief, family, friendship, introspection, choices, changes, parenthood, and secrets.

Overall, My Husband’s Daughter is a compelling, touching, heartbreaking tale by Robinson that does a lovely job of highlighting just how powerful love is and reminds us to savour every moment because life can often change in a heartbeat.


This book is available now.

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




Thank you to Forever & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Emma Robinson

Emma Robinson is a USA Today bestselling author with a passion for stories which explore the power of family and friendship in the most challenging circumstances. Whilst her early novels are humorous; her recent work focuses on emotional themes and these novels are both heart-breaking and life affirming. Emma currently lives in Essex, England with a husband, two children and a small black dog.

#BookReview The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper @ElodieITV @UnionSqandCo #TheWolfDen #ElodieHarper #UnionSqandCo

#BookReview The Wolf Den by Elodie Harper @ElodieITV @UnionSqandCo #TheWolfDen #ElodieHarper #UnionSqandCo Title: The Wolf Den

Author: Elodie Harper

Series: Wolf Den Trilogy #1

Published by: Union Square & Co. on Mar. 29, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 488

Format: ARC, Paperback

Book Rating: 8.5/10

Sold by her impoverished mother. Enslaved in an infamous brothel in Pompeii. Determined to fight for her freedom at all costs. . . . Enter into the Wolf Den.

Amara was once the beloved daughter of a doctor in Greece, until her father’s sudden death plunged her mother into destitution. Now Amara is a slave and prostitute in Pompeii’s notorious Wolf Den brothel or lupanar, owned by a cruel and ruthless man. Intelligent and resourceful, she is forced to hide her true self. But her spirit is far from broken. Buoyed by the sisterhood she forges with the brothel’s other women, Amara finds solace in the laughter and hopes they all share. For the streets of the city are alive with opportunity—here, even the lowest-born slave can dream of a new beginning. But everything in Pompeii has a price. How much will Amara’s freedom cost her? The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii.


Fascinating, raw, and alluring!

The Wolf Den is a captivating, immersive, tragic tale that takes you back to Southern Italy during A.D. 74 and to the life of Amara, the educated daughter of a doctor from Greece who, after being sold by her mother and ending up the slave of a barbaric pimp in Pompeii, is determined to do whatever it takes to regain her freedom, body and soul, once and for all.

The prose is rich and vivid. The characters are bold, ambitious, vulnerable, and shrewd. And the plot is an absorbing saga of all the hopes, fears, sacrifices, struggles, treachery and entangled relationships faced by one group of enslaved women.

The Wolf Den is, ultimately, a story about life, loss, love, politics, power, corruption, greed, riches, desires, sacrifice, friendship, savagery, abuse, violence, and early prostitution. It’s an atmospheric, compelling, insightful tale by Harper that does a beautiful job of highlighting her impressive research and considerable knowledge of the Roman city of Pompeii and the lifestyles, hardships, and treatment women most likely endured during that time.


This novel is available now.

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




Thank you to Union Square & Co. for gifting me a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Elodie Harper

Elodie Harper is a journalist and prize-winning short story writer. Her story 'Wild Swimming' won the 2016 Bazaar of Bad Dreams short story competition, which was judged by Stephen King.

She is currently a reporter at ITV News Anglia, and before that worked as a producer for Channel 4 News. Her job as a journalist has seen her join one of the most secretive wings of the Church of Scientology and cover the far right hip hop scene in Berlin, as well as crime reporting in Norfolk where her first two novels were set – The Binding Song and The Death Knock.

Elodie studied Latin poetry both in the original and in translation as part of her English Literature degree at Oxford, instilling a lifelong interest in the ancient world. The Wolf Den is the first in a trilogy of novels about the lives of women in ancient Pompeii.

Photo courtesy of Author's Website.

#BookReview What Eden Did Next by Sheila O’Flanagan @sheilaoflanagan @Mobius_Books #WhatEdenDidNext #SheilaOFlanagan #MobiusBooksUS

#BookReview What Eden Did Next by Sheila O’Flanagan @sheilaoflanagan @Mobius_Books #WhatEdenDidNext #SheilaOFlanagan #MobiusBooksUS Title: What Eden Did Next

Author: Sheila O'Flanagan

Published by: Headline Books on Jun. 28, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance, Women's Fiction

Pages: 432

Format: Hardcover

Source: Mobius Books US

Book Rating: 9/10

Eden found perfect love with Andy. How it ended was shocking. For the five years since, her little daughter Lila – and Eden’s secret letters to Andy – have been all she needed. And Andy’s family like it that way.

Rafe wants nothing more than to start a new life back home in Ireland. It’s time for him to turn the page on his own tragedy. And every woman in the neighbourhood is ready to help a single dad settle in.

When Eden and Rafe meet, it seems that everyone has a good reason for thinking their tentative relationship is bad idea, despite the distant past that links them.

New relationships are rarely easy, especially if you’ve loved deeply before. And when there’s opposition, it can bring you closer – or drive you apart . .


Uplifting, tender, and romantic!

What Eden Did Next is a heartfelt, beautifully written story set in Dublin that takes us into the life of Eden, a young mother juggling to come to grips with losing the love of her life, raising her daughter alone, and rekindling a friendship with her childhood friend Rafe, a young widower himself who has just returned home from the United States to raise his daughter and hopefully learn how to move on from the all-consuming grief he can’t seem to shake.

The prose is genuine and smooth. The characters are hesitant, scarred, and sympathetic. And the plot is a addictive, alluring mix of friendship, family, forgiveness, support, loss, drama, selflessness, parenthood, introspection, community, new beginnings, and the power of love.

What Eden Did Next was one of my most anticipated reads of 2022, and it did not disappoint. Once again, Sheila O’Flanagan has written a moving, absorbing, charming tale that has an abundance of irresistible characters and a storyline I couldn’t get enough of!

This novel is available now.

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





Thank you to Mobius Books US for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Sheila O'Flanagan

Sheila O’Flanagan is the author of nearly 30 bestselling novels including Three Weddings and a Proposal, The Women Who Ran Away, Her Husband’s Mistake, The Hideaway and The Missing Wife. She lives in Dublin with her husband.

Photo courtesy of Author's Goodreads Page.

#BookReview The Beachside Bed and Breakfast by Hope Ramsay @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #HopeRamsay #TheBeachsideBedandBreakfast #MoonlightBay

#BookReview The Beachside Bed and Breakfast by Hope Ramsay @readforeverpub @grandcentralpub #ReadForever #ReadForever2022 #HopeRamsay #TheBeachsideBedandBreakfast #MoonlightBay Title: The Beachside Bed and Breakfast

Author: Hope Ramsay

Series: Moonlight Bay #5

Published by: Forever on Aug. 23, 2022

Genres: Contemporary Romance

Pages: 331

Format: Paperback

Source: Forever

Book Rating: 8/10

The local quilting club has matchmaking in mind in this enchanting small‑town romance perfect for fans of Debbie Mason, Sheila Roberts, and RaeAnne Thayne.

Innkeeper Ashley Howland Scott inherited Howland House and the adjacent Rose Cottage from her grandmother. Her grandmother hosted weekly meetings of the local quilting club, and those ladies know all the gossip in town.
The new minister, Micah St. Pierre, is the subject of more than his fair share of that gossip. Micah has spent a decade as a Navy Chaplain and his experience in combat has deeply challenged his faith. He’s come back home because he also feels guilty about the way he abandoned his younger brothers and father when they needed him most. 
The Quilting Club thinks Micah’s problems can be solved by finding him a wife.  And they have a woman in mind. But despite the fact that Ashley finds him attractive, she closely guards her heart. She loved her husband very much, but his early death has left its mark. She’s also deeply worried about her young son. Jackie clearly needs a male role model, but is Micah St. Pierre the right one?


Cosy, sentimental, and sweet!

The Beachside Bed and Breakfast is a magical, heartfelt tale set in the idyllic Moonlight Bay that takes you into the lives of two main characters. Ashley Howland Scott, a young mother and widow whose main focus is raising her son and taking care of the visitors who stay at the inn she recently inherited from her grandmother, and Micah St. Pierre, a former Navy Chaplain turned small-town minister who seems to be the newest project for the local quilting club to find a wife and who unfortunately has a forbidden crush on one of his parishioners.

The prose is light and hopeful. The characters are lonely, supportive, and considerate. And the plot is a tender, engaging tale about life, loss, love, marriage, parenthood, family, friendship, attraction, self-discovery, heartfelt moments, taking chances, happiness, a sliver of the paranormal, and small-town life.

Overall, The Beachside Bed and Breakfast is another winsome, charming, uplifting tale by Ramsay that I think is a lovely addition to the Moonlight Bay series with its endearing characters and heartening storyline.


This book is available now.

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




Thank you to Forever & Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Hope Ramsay

Hope Ramsay is a USA Today bestselling author of heartwarming contemporary romances set below the Mason-Dixon Line. Her children are grown, but she has a couple of fur babies who keep her entertained. Pete the cat, named after the cat in the children’s books, thinks he’s a dog, and Daisy the dog thinks Pete is her best friend except when he decides her wagging tail is a cat toy. Hope lives in the medium-sized town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, and when she’s not writing or walking the dog, she spends her time knitting and noodling around on her collection of guitars.

#BookReview The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford @JamieFord @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JamieFord #TheManyDaughtersofAfongMoy

#BookReview The Many Daughters of Afong Moy by Jamie Ford @JamieFord @AtriaBooks @SimonSchusterCA #JamieFord #TheManyDaughtersofAfongMoy Title: The Many Daughters of Afong Moy

Author: Jamie Ford

Published by: Atria Books on Aug. 2, 2022

Genres: Historical Fiction

Pages: 384

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Simon & Schuster Canada

Book Rating: 8.5/10

The New York Times bestselling author of the “mesmerizing and evocative” (Sara Gruen, author of Water for Elephants) Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet returns with a powerful exploration of the love that binds one family across the generations.

Dorothy Moy breaks her own heart for a living.

As Washington’s former poet laureate, that’s how she describes channeling her dissociative episodes and mental health struggles into her art. But when her five-year-old daughter exhibits similar behavior and begins remembering things from the lives of their ancestors, Dorothy believes the past has truly come to haunt her. Fearing that her child is predestined to endure the same debilitating depression that has marked her own life, Dorothy seeks radical help.

Through an experimental treatment designed to mitigate inherited trauma, Dorothy intimately connects with past generations of women in her family: Faye Moy, a nurse in China serving with the Flying Tigers; Zoe Moy, a student in England at a famous school with no rules; Lai King Moy, a girl quarantined in San Francisco during a plague epidemic; Greta Moy, a tech executive with a unique dating app; and Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to set foot in America.

As painful recollections affect her present life, Dorothy discovers that trauma isn’t the only thing she’s inherited. A stranger is searching for her in each time period. A stranger who’s loved her through all of her genetic memories. Dorothy endeavors to break the cycle of pain and abandonment, to finally find peace for her daughter, and gain the love that has long been waiting, knowing she may pay the ultimate price.


Sentimental, thought-provoking, and memorable!

The Many Daughters of Afong Moy is an intriguing novel that takes you into the lives of seven generations of Moy women over a two hundred and fifty-year span, from Afong Moy, the first Chinese woman to live on American soil, to Dorothy, a young woman determined to do whatever it takes, even experimental research, to discover the source of her distress and hallucinations in order to protect her daughter from suffering a similar fate.

The prose is expressive and eloquent. The characters are conflicted, fragile, and raw. And the plot told in a back-and-forth, past/future style is a compelling tale of life, loss, love, family, friendship, tragedy, mental illness, discrimination, self-discovery, desperation, heartbreak, self-preservation, anamnesis, and epigenetics.

Overall, The Many Daughters of Afong Moy made me think, made me feel, and resonated long after the final page. It’s a unique, emotional, absorbing tale by Ford that raises some interesting questions about what emotional trauma on top of our physical traits we may actually be inheriting as well as passing down.


This novel is available now.

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




Thank you to Simon & Schuster Canada for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Jamie Ford

Jamie Ford is the great-grandson of Nevada mining pioneer Min Chung, who emigrated from Hoiping, China to San Francisco in 1865, where he adopted the western name Ford, thus confusing countless generations. His debut novel, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, spent two years on the New York Times bestseller list and went on to win the 2010 Asian/Pacific American Award for Literature. His work has been translated into thirty-five languages. Having grown up in Seattle, he now lives in Montana with his wife and a one-eyed pug.

Photo by Eric Heidle.

#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.


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.

#BookReview First Blood by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @GrandCentralPub #AngelaMarsons #FirstBlood #DIKimStoneSeries #GCPInsider

#BookReview First Blood by Angela Marsons @WriteAngie @GrandCentralPub #AngelaMarsons #FirstBlood #DIKimStoneSeries #GCPInsider Title: First Blood

Author: Angela Marsons

Series: DI Kim Stone #0

Published by: Grand Central Publishing on Aug. 23, 2022

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 352

Format: Paperback

Source: Grand Central Publishing

Book Rating: 10/10

In the darkness of a cold December morning, Detective Kim Stone steps through the doors of Halesowen Police Station. She’s about to meet her team for the first time. The victim of her next case is about to meet his killer…

When the body of a young man is found beheaded and staked to the ground in a secluded area of the Clent Hills, Kim and her new squad rush to the crime scene.

Searching the victim’s home, Kim discovers a little girl’s bedroom and a hidden laptop. Why is his sister relieved to hear he’s dead – and where is the rest of his family?

As Kim begins to unearth the dark secrets at the heart of the case, D.C. Stacey Wood finds a disturbing resemblance to the recent murder of Lester Jackson. But that’s not all Stacey finds …

She’s convinced there is a link between the victims and a women’s shelter run by Marianne Forbes, Lester’s niece. A child of the care system herself, Kim knows all too well what it means to be vulnerable. Could Marianne be the key to cracking this case?

With the killer about to strike again, Kim is in deep water with a rookie squad. Inexperienced Stacey is showing signs of brilliance but struggling to hold her nerve and, while D.S. Bryant is reliable and calm, D.S. Dawson is a liability. With his home life in pieces, his volatile behaviour is already fracturing her fragile new team.

Can Kim bring Dawson in line and pull her crew together in time to catch the killer before another life is taken? This time, one of her own could be in terrible danger…


Chilling, suspenseful, and addictive!

First Blood is a clever, captivating mystery that takes us back to the very beginning and gives us a glimpse into how this dynamic investigative team of Stone, Bryant, Dawson, and Wood worked together to solve their very first challenging case involving a serial killer on a rampage to exact their own form of justice on the predators who prey on innocent children.

The writing is bold and intense. The characters are meticulous, persistent, and impulsive. And the plot is a gripping, sinister whodunit full of twists, turns, lies, deception, revelations, obsession, depravity, abuse, violence, and murder.

The DI Kim Stone series is one of my all-time favourite series, and it was brilliant to be able to see how it all began. First Blood is an intricate, riveting, absorbing police procedural by an author, Angela Marsons, who creates characters I can’t get enough of and juicy, complex stories that always suck me in and leave me shocked, surprised, highly entertained, and extremely satisfied.


This book is available now.

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




Thank you to Grand Central Publishing for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Angela Marsons

Angela Marsons is the USA Today bestselling author of the Detective Kim Stone series, and her books have sold more than four million copies and have been translated into twenty-seven languages. She lives in the Black Country, in the West Midlands of England, with her partner and their two Golden Retrievers. She first discovered her love of writing at junior school when actual lessons came second to watching other people and quietly making up her own stories about them. Her report card invariably read “Angela would do well if she minded her own business as well as she minds other people’s.” After writing women’s fiction, Angela turned to crime — fictionally speaking, of course — and developed a character that refused to go away.

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