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JudithDCollinsMustReads

An online marketing consultant, an avid reader of  400-500 + books a year. Professional reader, reviewer, and blogger.  Enjoy ARCs and new releases. 

 

 

 

The Hope Chest

The Hope Chest: A Novel - Viola Shipman

 

By:  Viola Shipman

ISBN: 1250105072

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Master storyteller, Viola Shipman (Wade Rouse) returns following the heartwarming debut, The Charm Bracelet (2016) and nostalgic Christmas novella Christmas Angels with the latest love story— THE HOPE CHEST, poignant and beautifully crafted, a story of hope, faith, memories, second chances, life’s special moments and surprises.

Emotionally rich, heartbreaking, and yet inspiring and warm-spirited— Shipman once again demonstrates the impact of family, history, and friends. Life is precious. Life is a gift. Time. How do we choose to use it? A legacy to be continued through others. To be passed along. You can utilize what time you have, or lose it all in a blink of an eye.

Thought-provoking! One man may be losing his wife, but through her strength—he may discover a new family. From family heirlooms, nostalgia, grief, sadness, to inspiration and hope for the future.

“ . . . Hope is something you carry with you forever, not only this chest but also in your heart. So look inside it and inside yourself when you need hope the most, and it will guide you, and remind you of what was and what is to be. . . “

Set in idyllic and charming small town of Michigan, Don and Mattie Tice have had a happy life. They have been in love since they first met many years earlier. They promised one another, till death do us part. They are approaching their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Don wishes more than anything he could freeze time. Just a little longer.

They had their cottage at Hope Dunes. Their history. However, the house was big and now Don needed help with Mattie. They now required a caregiver. Mattie has ALS— for five years, and now they are forced to move to a smaller place. Are they really ready to give up a big part of their past? What about the future?

Mattie is multi-talented. She was a successful landscape designer, with many famous clients over the years. She was also a painter. Don was an executive at Herman Miller furniture, and they both love the beauty and importance that objects and plants hold in people’s homes and lives.

Now they are left with no children and only a faithful dog, Mabel. What will he do when his loving faithful wife passes on. How will he go on? He is clinging to every moment.

Enter Rose Hoffs, and her charming, "larger- than- life" daughter, Jeri. Rose lost her parents to cancer and her husband left years ago. A divorced single mom, her parents had left her their family home; however, she is struggling to make ends meet.

She needs full-time hours versus part time in order to survive without using all her savings and her inheritance, which was dwindling quickly. She needed to hang on to her family home. She was too young to have no help. She is excited to get an opportunity to work for this couple through the service, There’s No Place Like Home, the senior care group as a caregiver.

Little does she know how she and her daughter’s life will be enhanced by this wonderful caring couple, and the impact she and her daughter will have while based on this newfound relationship.

In the years following Mattie’s diagnosis, Don had been angry, with God and at every person so insinuated that his wife would one day be better off dead. However, Mattie made him aware his anger was misplaced. It was not all about him. She told him he was being selfish and wasting his strength and emotion over something he could not control. Time will march on. Life will continue.

. . . “We get one chance on this earth. One short little stop to get things right, and too few of us do. We focus on everything that is unimportant.”

Special keepsakes. A special hope chest for a special history. Everything has a story. Each of the heirlooms in the hope chest teaches something about one’s self. Past, present, future. Living lessons. A hope chest once filled with hope and now there is none.

From a cedar chest, scents, fragrances of the past. Filled with memories such as scrapbooks, heirlooms, family pictures, teddy bears, family bibles, special mementos, rag dolls, aprons, dishes, jewelry—precious items to be passed along to a family. Connecting the past with the future. Filled with love, hopes, and dreams.

“Hope is only one short letter from home.

H is for Hope Now and for always.
O is for the Overwhelming love I have for you.
P is for the Practical items that will make your house a home.
E is for the Eternal memories this chest will provide every time you open it up.

You are my hope, and my home, in this world, My daughter, my love. . . ”



Beautifully written, I bookmarked so many passages. Shipman has a way with words and vivid descriptions—predict he will be the next Nicholas Sparks! Loved everything about this charming story! Readers will fall in love with the characters, as well as the comforting words to those who have recently lost loved ones or those left behind trying to make sense of their loss. You will smile and cry at the same time. No chance encounters. An ideal book for book clubs and further discussions.

Another element which was nicely done— the way Shipman used the different timelines. Often an author will spend more time with the secondary story than the main one. I liked the fact, Don and Mattie's touching and the timeless story took center stage, as well as their background history. Rose’s life intersected perfectly, without taking away from the couple's journey.

For fans of Nicholas Sparks, Fredrik Backman, Debbie Macomber, Joanne Demaio, Sally Hepworth, Zoe Fishman, and Charles Martin.

Highly Recommend!

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Hope-Chest

The Cutaway

The Cutaway: A Novel - Christina Kovac

By:  Christina Kovac

ISBN: 9781501141690

Publisher: Atria / 37 INK

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

Christina Kovac delivers an intriguing suspense; highly-entertaining action debut, THE CUTAWAY —a brilliant and tenacious TV news and producer uncovers a video and sets out to discover the whereabouts of a missing female attorney while discovering something even more sinister.

From power, greed, dirty politics and corruption in Washington, this heroine will not stop until she has uncovered this dangerous web of deceit.

The author brings a wealth of her own experience managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories as well as a TV journalist from the top networks to the pages as her story comes alive.

A beautiful woman, Evelyn Marie Carney an attorney; has gone missing in Georgetown. The Metropolitan Police Department is looking for this woman, last seen on Sunday.

TV news producer Virginia Knightly thinks she may have seen this young attorney somewhere. Most likely not in person; perhaps a cutaway shot, one of those quick flashes of video used to show a reaction. She was uncertain.

Evelyn was a recent law school graduated and worked at a prestigious firm. On the night she disappeared, she had dinner at a restaurant in Georgetown. She left alone. Police recovered her car abandoned not fifty yards from the restaurant.

Knightly has a memory, which is not exactly photographic; however, things, places, details, and events burn a permanent place in her memory, which is a gift at deadline. She can recall the angle of every frame, where it was shot, and what time of year, and the specifics. Armed with this kind of information can also be dangerous.

She loves telling stories, on or off camera. However, she may get more than she bargained for. Dark money.

Soon Knightly suspects foul play and begins her own investigation. Investigators seemed more interested in Evelyn’s martial problems. A martial separation was requested by Evelyn the night of the disappearance. What about her war-hero husband, Peter? Who was romantically involved with Evelyn?

What did Ian Chase’s official portrait from the Department of Justice have to do with the missing woman? Who was Evelyn looking at in the video? Was someone expected to turn a blind eye to illegal activities?

Virginia becomes enthralled and caught up in a high-stakes case, murder, greed deceit, dark money, power, and corruption. Hot on the trail, she soon realizes for every great story, there is a risk. Some far greater than others.

She discovers road blocks every way she turns, even in her own backyard, plus Michael Ledger, the detective which she had a relationship. Also PACs, political fundraising with anonymous donors (so-called dark money) to nonprofit groups, made in secret.

Money missing from the fund. Was Evelyn being set up? By whom?

Compelling! An edgy mystery with "behind the scenes" intensity in a contemporary suspenseful cutthroat news business. An intense tightly wound debut suspense. Looking forward to more from this author, who definitely knows her way around a story.

For fans of authors, Neely Tucker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Lis Wiehl, and Jennifer Vaughn (some of my top favorites).

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

About the Author

 

Photograph by Tina Krohn 

 

Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District. Her career as television journalist began with Fox Five’s Ten O’Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she worked at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others. 

Christina Kovac lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel. Read More

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Cutaway

20 Must Read Books Coming March

Reblogged from JudithDCollinsMustReads:

Countdown for March!  What a lineup of some of the best, all month long.  Pre-Order Now.  Titles not to be missed. Catch the Spring Fling fever . . .   

 


 

Close Enough to Touch 

 

By: Colleen Oakley

ISBN:1501139266

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


From the author of Before I Go comes an unconventional but beautiful love story perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died...And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 

 

Beach Breeze 

 

By: Joanne Demaio 

ASIN: B06WD4QFZ2

Publisher: Joanne Demaio 

Publication Date:  3/7/2017 

 

Blog Tour Host Mar 28 


From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Blues comes a novel of summers you never forget and friendships that never fade.

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat.  When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave.  Read More   Buy the Book       

 

 


The Weight of This World
  

 

By: David Joy

ISBN: 9780399173110

Publisher: Penguin/Putnam

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

 

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years.  Read More  Buy the Book      

  


The Roanoke Girls
 

 

By:  Amy Engel 

ISBN: 9781101906668

Publisher: Crown 

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 


Lies We Believe About God
  

By:  Wm. Paul Young

ISBN: 9781501101397

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


From the author of the twenty million plus copy bestselling novel The Shack and the New York Times bestsellers Cross Roads and Eve comes a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.


Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares thirty-three commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Paul exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator. Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 


Ill Will
 

 

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? Read More   
Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Trophy Child
 

 

By:  Paula Daly

ISBN: 9780802125941

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

  

 


Never Let You Go
 

 

By: Chevy Stevens

ISBN: 9781250034564

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date:  3/14/2017 

The author of Still Missing targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more.

Lindsey Nash has left an abusive relationship and her ex-husband was sent to jail. She has started over with a new life, her own business, and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

A Bridge Across the Ocean 

 

By: Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780451476005 

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy. Read More  Buy the Book  

 


The Forgotten Girls
 

 

By: Owen Laukkanen

A Stevens and Windermere Novel #6

ISBN: 9780399174551

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. Read More     Buy the Book   

  

  

 

Children's Books  

 

The Pages Between Us: 

In the Spotlight

Series: Pages Between Us

By:  Lindsey Leavitt, Robin Mellom 

ISBN: 9780062377746

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 

Ages 8 to 12,  Grades 3 to 7

BFFs Olivia and Piper are back in the sequel to The Pages Between Us, another fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship told in sweet journal-style book packed with fun, engaging art by beloved middle grade authors Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom. 

 

It’s time for the Battle of the Books! Read More
Buy the Book  

 

 

  


 

 

Mississippi Blood 

 

By: Greg Iles

Natchez Burning #3

ISBN: 9780062311153

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies working to destroy them in this exhilarating final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy set in modern Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s bold and ambitious story of blood and honor, violence and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present. Read More   Buy the Book     

 


If I'm Found
 

 

If I Run Series #2

By:  Terri Blackstock 

ISBN:  9780310332497

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


It started with the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run. Now Casey's journey continues in If I'm Found.

Casey doesn't know why Dylan let her escape just as the police were closing in, but she knows she's got to hide again. New name, new look, new city, new job. 

Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


A Simple Favor
 

 

By: Darcey Bell 

ISBN: 0062497790

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.


A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.  Read More    Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Hope Chest
 

 

By:  Viola Shipman

ISBN: 1250105072

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


The Hope Chest is a deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets.

Mattie is a fiercely independent woman battling ALS; Don, her deeply devoted husband is facing a future without his one true love; and Rose, their struggling caregiver, is a young, single mother who feels trapped in her life. Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


If Not For You
 

 

By:  Debbie Macomber

ISBN: 9780553391961

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right.

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 


The Cutaway
 

 

By:  Christina Kovac

ISBN: 9781501141690

Publisher: Atria / 37 INK

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

 

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

The Secrets You Keep

 

By:  Kate White

ISBN:  978-0062448859
Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wrong Man and Eyes on You comes a harrowing new psychological thriller about a successful self-help author who suddenly finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control.

What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?

 

Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning.  Read More Buy the Book 

 

 

 

It Happens All the Time 

  

By: Amy Hatvany

ISBN:1476704457

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/28/2017

Format: Hardcover


From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

 

 

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.  Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 

 

 

Almost Missed You 

 

By: Jessica Strawser

ISBN: 9781250107602

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him.  Read More    Buy the Book   

 

 

More Exciting March News! 

 

 

 

 

BRONX REQUIEM

(UK) Coming March 23, 2017 

Upcoming Blog UK Tour  

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/mar-2017

A Bridge Across the Ocean

A Bridge Across the Ocean - Susan Meissner

By: Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780451476005 
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 3/14/2017 
Format: Other 
My Rating: 4 Stars

Susan Meissner returns following (2016) Stars Over Sunset Boulevard with her latest, A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN — a character-driven tale of three women from modern day to the past of the 1940s, of fear, courage pain, love, and loyalty.

From the past to present, lost souls who had to cross many bridges from pain and suffering on their journey to self-discovery.

Brette Caslake, present day lives in the present. She has a gift. She sees spirits, the ones which linger. She is drawn into a mystery which began with the RMS Queen Mary brought thousands of War brides to the US.

Annaliese Lange, who is escaping from a marriage to a Nazi, and Simone Devereux, who lost her family in the war.

"Life will send us across a bridge we did not want to cross, but when we finally open our eyes on the other side, we see that there had been nothing to fear after all."

Brette becomes drawn into the lives of three women from the past. Two of the women are escaping the horrors of war and a brutal past of pain and suffering. Brette tries to solve the mystery of the death of one of the war brides when traveling to America on the Queen Mary in 1946.

Three women shared a cabin; however, one did not leave the ship when it arrived in America. Brette connects with the lost souls while struggling with her own abilities. The Drifters or spirits. The author unravels the events while connecting the stories of past and present.

While I enjoyed the stories of the courageous women from the past, the present day Brette was not as intriguing.

As always, Meissner has a unique way of transporting you to another time and place re-living the past which lives on. Timeless. With well-researched topics and interesting stories of strong yet complex women, family, and relationships.

Lovers of historical fiction, a little mystery, and complex multi-layered stories will appreciate as well as enjoying the special twist!

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy. An elegant cover!

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/A-Bridge-Across-the-Ocean

Never Let You Go

Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens
ISBN: 9781250034564
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  3/14/2017 
Format:  Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Chevy Stevens returns following Those Girls (2015), with yet another top notch Sleeping with the Enemy psychological domestic suspense thriller on steroids!

A long-time Stevens fan, reading every book she creatively crafts, and anxiously awaiting the next — Stevens once again showcases her highly creative plotting skills, an engrossing narrative, and her "signature ingredient" of keeping readers surprised, with her famous twists, while moving seamlessly between timelines.

Starting in November 2005, we meet Lindsey, married to Andrew and daughter Sophie. She knows one thing: She had to leave her husband. There was no more time. No matter what it took, no matter how risky it was, she had to get Sophie away from him. She needed to protect her daughter. She is terrified.

As with all domestic abusers, they remove all their victim's friends and financial resources, to keep them under their thumb.

Flash forward to 2016. Lindsey and Sophie are now living in Dogwood Bay. She has started a new life. She hopes the past is in the past. Or is it? Andrew has spent time in prison. He wants her to suffer. He was going to make her pay for every year he spent behind bars. He was now a free man and he was going to find her.

Is someone watching? Is Andrew back to act out his revenge?

Stevens flashes back and forth from between these two timelines and even further back to 1997 when the couple met. We hear from Lindsey and Sophie’s POV. The master manipulator. Is there more than one? Who can be trusted?

When she left him years ago, after drugging him, to enable their escape—there was a car accident. A young woman was dead. Someone had to pay.

From Sleeping with the Enemy, The Perfect Guy, Fatal Attraction and more, we always love the intensity of unfortunate protagonists finding themselves stuck with Mr, Crazy. Intense. The man masked behind the chilling monster inside. Unfortunately, not until too late, does he reveal his true self. Then the victim finds themselves risking their lives and others to escape.

As always, a master storyteller, Stevens adds her own clever twist. There is nothing ordinary or similar to this tale. A cautionary tale screaming “Do not trust anyone.” When you least expect someone, crosses your path. When you are most vulnerable, most trusting. They may seek you out for their own revenge.

Stevens delivers her most riveting grip-lit yet. The brutality of domestic violence. Frighteningly real, and all too familiar for many. In addition, it is among the hardest to witness, as for why many are free to continue on their destructive path, until it is often, too late.

The author knows how to build suspense, and keep readers on the edge of their seat From the darkest obsessions, the entrapment, control, and evil.

By adding Sophie’s POV, she reaches outside the couple to hear the fear of a child, a sense of loyalty, the consequences, and strong pull between the troubled parent's abusive relationship.

If you enjoy the TV series, Big Little Lies —you will be thinking of Celeste (Nichole Kidman) and Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård). This guy totally gives me the creeps. He reminds me of my ex-husband. Rich, powerful, and crazy.

Highly recommend. For all my Chevy Stevens' GR Book Reviews. Trust me, you will want to read this one. Mark out the time. Unputdownable.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/30/Never-Let-You-Go

Ill Will

Ill Will - Dan Chaon

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating: 4 Stars 

 

Psychologically complex Dan Chaon’s ILL WILL is a dark, haunting, and twisty suspense thriller full of madness, tragedy, murder, grief, and despair. Cancer, drugs, addictions, and satanic evil.

"We meet our destiny on the road we take to avoid it." —Jean De La Fontaine.

Dustin Tillman is a suburban Cleveland psychiatrist. Father of two teenage boys, Aaron and Dennis. His wife, Jill dying of cancer, and one of his patients is now recruiting him to help investigate the drownings of young men that seem to match a pattern. He is struggling with his own past. He is the survivor.

In 1983, when he was thirteen years old, his mother, father, aunt, and uncle were murdered. Dustin accused his adopted older brother, Rusty (attracted to Satanism) of the crime. Rusty was incarcerated.

What really happened with the violent murder during a summer holiday in 1983? Two unsolved crimes. Past and Present.

 



"In the end it is the mystery that lasts and not the explanation."—Sacheverell Sitwell, For Want of the Golden City.

Now he has been exonerated and released. Thirty some years after Dustin’s testimony put him away for murdering their parents, aunt, and uncle. Now DNA evidence clears him of the crime.

From dark family secrets and deceit, this is one creepy grisly disturbing book. Unnerving, moody and atmospheric. Emotionally wrenching and complex.

Plot-driven, the author uses impressive skill and control, as he crosses multiple narratives with different perspectives— for a mind-bending saga which will leave your head spinning. An exploration of memories, delusion, and self-deception.

". . . Every memory he thinks of now is discolored and ugly. The past suddenly has vanished from underneath him, distorted, memories turned into something he doesn't recognize, something malevolent."

The author keeps the evil, despair, terror and suspense high. Exploring humanity’s darker side. If you are looking for a relaxing read, move on. However, you if like crossing over to the darker side, and enjoy well-written complex literary/pulp fiction thrillers, you may enjoy the scary intense ride.

A special thank you to Random House, LibraryThing Early Reviewers, and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/02/08/Ill-Will

Close Enough To Touch

Close Enough to Touch: A Novel - Colleen Oakley

By:  Colleen Oakley

ISBN:1501139266

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017

Format: Other 

My Rating:  5 Stars

 

Talented storyteller, Colleen Oakley returns following her smashing debut, Before I Go (2015) with her latest poignant love story, CLOSE ENOUGH TO TOUCH – full of emotion, readers will laugh and cry and fall in love with the memorable characters.

“ . . . Love is messy. It doesn’t come to us in a perfect box all wrapped up in a bow. It’s more like a gift from a child, crayon-scrawled and crumpled. Imperfect. But always a gift just the same.”

Jubilee Jenkins did not wake up one morning and think she was going to become a recluse. She is allergic to other people.

Born in 1989 to a single mother, she was the typical infant, and it wasn’t until she was three the issues began. Starting with hives and welts to hospital emergency room visits, and advancing to an EpiPen and anaphylaxis. The physicians were perplexed.

When she was six years old, she was diagnosed with type IV contact dermatitis to foreign human skin cells. She is allergic to other people. The only one of a handful of people in the history of the world with the same condition. Rare.

She explodes in welts and hives when someone else’s skin touches hers. Anaphylaxis if she came into oral contact with another human (kissing). She almost died. A boy kissed her. The tongue swelled and throat closed.

Then three months later her mom married Lenny a gas station owner, packed a bag, and left. Sending checks, Jubilee has not left her home in nine years. She felt like a freak. Making do with ordering her food and receiving her education sitting at home online.

Her worst nightmare. Her mom dies, now she is forced to leave her home in order, to support herself. She is terrified. She needs money. She must find a job. How will she leave her home and remain safe?

She finds work at the library and meets Eric Keegan. Eric is divorced and having a problem communicating with his children. An estranged teenage daughter, Ellie and adopted son Aja.

Jubilee will soon become connected with this family in so many ways, on so many levels. Will she ever be able to have a normal human contact relationship? An experimental cure? Would it be too much to hope for? Can she fall in love for the first time at age 28?

 

 



What a delightful story and what a fabulous front cover! Can you imagine a life without touch? Three wounded souls connect in unexpected ways.

From Oakley’s debut and her background before becoming a novelist — a health journalist, having written a few articles about allergies, among many other topics, I love her insights and interest in the medical field, which is always intriguing to me since I read everything I can get my hands on and continued research when it comes to allergies.

She integrates newsworthy topics into modern contemporary family lives, allowing her characters to come alive on the pages. Interesting, absorbing, and compelling. Plus enjoy her writing style. For fans of Jodi Picoult, Liane Moriarty, Lisa Genova, Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Chamberlain, and Jo Jo Moyes.

As Oakley mentions in her recent interview with Atlanta Magazine:

“The burden of responsibility as a parent is already really high, but when your kids have food allergies, it is a constant 24/7 level of vigilance. It’s already terrifying to let your kids out into the world, but knowing that something as little as a peanut or an egg could end their life, and you’re the sole person responsible for that, is really heavy.”

All too true, sadly enough, most people are not educated as to the life-threatening consequences of one single ingredient in a food.

On a side note:
What a timely topic and one I am well versed on. Allergies are quite the mystery. Their triggers can change without rhyme or reason. From welts, hives, and Anaphylaxis numerous times, over foods, additives, chemicals, environmental toxins, and especially, medications of any sort. One drop of cream on your skin, and it can happen. Equipped with Benadryl and an EpiPen, at all times.

I can only imagine how difficult this may be for parents with children they have to protect. When they are at school or at friend’s homes, away from their controlled environment. Many times it is frustrating, as people do not take allergies serious (especially restaurant staff, friends, and the overall hospitality, and medical industry) unless you have been through the nightmare yourself or someone close to you.

I do love my Atlanta authors! Highly recommend both books- an author to follow.

A special thank you to Gallery Books and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Allergic to human touch? Colleen Oakley’s latest novel explores the idea

We chatted with the metro Atlanta author about her inspiration for the novel about an intriguing imaginary medical condition

March 2017

Colleen Oakley
Colleen Oakley

PHOTOGRAPH BY JIM HANCOCK

Try to imagine your life without touch. No hugs or kisses (or sex), but also no brushing hands with the cashier as you pay for your deli sandwich, no handshakes at business meetings, no shoulder rubs with strangers in a packed MARTA train. In her new book, Close Enough to Touch, metro Atlanta novelist Colleen Oakley considers the practical and emotional ramifications of such a life. We recently chatted with Oakley about her inspiration for the book.

 

Read More Atlanta Magazine

 

 

 

 

  

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/Close-Enough-to-Touch

The Trophy Child

The Trophy Child: A Novel - Paula Daly

By:  Paula Daly

ISBN: 9780802125941

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Publication Date: 3/7/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 3 Stars

 

Paula Daly returns following The Mistake I Made landing on my Top Books of 2015, with her fourth and latest domestic suspense THE TROPHY CHILD with an array of dysfunction and madness, mixed with mystery.

Our favorite DS Joanne Aspinall (from previous books), revisits—always finding herself in the middle of trouble and mischief.

Karen Bloom (achievement-obsessed) is a tiger mom to ten- year-old Bonte. Karen is married to womanizer Noel and does not pay much attention to her stoner son, Ewan, and her teenage stepdaughter, Verity (drug possession). She had to agree to weekly onsite drug tests and counseling sessions.

Of course, Karen compares the other two children, to her precious Bonte. Brontë goes missing, and Karen is, of course, crazy with worry, since her daughter is her life.

Karen did not care that people called her a tiger mom. She was proud of it “It was an easy way to justify their own lazy lives, their own acceptance of mediocrity.”

And Karen was very sorry, but she wasn’t having that for Bronte. It was her duty to prepare her daughter for the life ahead of her in the best way she knew how.

Life was a competition. Only the best and the brightest succeeded, and if that meant Karen had to put her own hopes and dreams on the back burner, while she invested everything she had in Bronte’s future, so be it.

In the meantime, we catch up with Joanne, joining secondchance.com and her share of bad men and dating. She is always good for a few laughs.

Joanne is called in to investigate when Bronte goes missing from Windermere. She soon learns and is shocked to find a connection to Noel. (Seamus-whom she had gone to bed with six nights previously). She had no idea he was married. She had sex with the father of a missing child. Not cool.

Noel is a small-town GP. He had to be careful so as not to run into his patients. There was his first wife, then Karen. Second marriage problems, and stepchildren.

The child returns unhurt, (where was she), but not before Karen has stirred up all sorts of problems and outrage. Then Karen turns up murdered. Not liked by many, did Noel kill his wife? Was she sleeping around? There is a long line of suspects.

Now Joanne must find the killer and figure out what happened to Bronte. Was the same person involved?

A crazy bunch, this was my least favorite of all Daly’s books. I have read all her books and each has been 5-star, except for this one. Too much drama and not enough likable characters, except for Joanne (she is always a spark); however, beginning to question even her choices.

Fans of Liane Moriarty's Big Little Lies may enjoy the dysfunction, drama and dark humor.

A special thank you to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/03/The-Trophy-Child

20 Must Read Books Coming March

Countdown for March!  What a lineup of some of the best, all month long.  Pre-Order Now.  Titles not to be missed. Catch the Spring Fling fever . . .   

 


 

Close Enough to Touch 

 

By: Colleen Oakley

ISBN:1501139266

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


From the author of Before I Go comes an unconventional but beautiful love story perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died...And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 

 

Beach Breeze 

 

By: Joanne Demaio 

ASIN: B06WD4QFZ2

Publisher: Joanne Demaio 

Publication Date:  3/7/2017 

 

Blog Tour Host Mar 28 


From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Blues comes a novel of summers you never forget and friendships that never fade.

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat.  When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave.  Read More   Buy the Book       

 

 


The Weight of This World
  

 

By: David Joy

ISBN: 9780399173110

Publisher: Penguin/Putnam

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

 

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years.  Read More  Buy the Book      

  


The Roanoke Girls
 

 

By:  Amy Engel 

ISBN: 9781101906668

Publisher: Crown 

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 


Lies We Believe About God
  

By:  Wm. Paul Young

ISBN: 9781501101397

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


From the author of the twenty million plus copy bestselling novel The Shack and the New York Times bestsellers Cross Roads and Eve comes a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.


Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares thirty-three commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Paul exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator. Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 


Ill Will
 

 

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? Read More   
Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Trophy Child
 

 

By:  Paula Daly

ISBN: 9780802125941

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

  

 


Never Let You Go
 

 

By: Chevy Stevens

ISBN: 9781250034564

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date:  3/14/2017 

The author of Still Missing targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more.

Lindsey Nash has left an abusive relationship and her ex-husband was sent to jail. She has started over with a new life, her own business, and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

A Bridge Across the Ocean 

 

By: Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780451476005 

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy. Read More  Buy the Book  

 


The Forgotten Girls
 

 

By: Owen Laukkanen

A Stevens and Windermere Novel #6

ISBN: 9780399174551

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. Read More     Buy the Book   

  

  

 

Children's Books  

 

The Pages Between Us: 

In the Spotlight

Series: Pages Between Us

By:  Lindsey Leavitt, Robin Mellom 

ISBN: 9780062377746

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 

Ages 8 to 12,  Grades 3 to 7

BFFs Olivia and Piper are back in the sequel to The Pages Between Us, another fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship told in sweet journal-style book packed with fun, engaging art by beloved middle grade authors Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom. 

 

It’s time for the Battle of the Books! Read More
Buy the Book  

 

 

  


If I'm Found
 

 

If I Run Series #2

By:  Terri Blackstock 

ISBN:  9780310332497

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


It started with the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run. Now Casey's journey continues in If I'm Found.

Casey doesn't know why Dylan let her escape just as the police were closing in, but she knows she's got to hide again. New name, new look, new city, new job. 

Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


A Simple Favor
 

 

By: Darcey Bell 

ISBN: 0062497790

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.


A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.  Read More    Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Hope Chest
 

 

By:  Viola Shipman

ISBN: 1250105072

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


The Hope Chest is a deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets.

Mattie is a fiercely independent woman battling ALS; Don, her deeply devoted husband is facing a future without his one true love; and Rose, their struggling caregiver, is a young, single mother who feels trapped in her life. Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


If Not For You
 

 

By:  Debbie Macomber

ISBN: 9780553391961

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right.

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 


The Cutaway
 

 

By:  Christina Kovac

ISBN: 9781501141690

Publisher: Atria / 37 INK

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

 

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

The Secrets You Keep

 

By:  Kate White

ISBN:  978-0062448859
Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wrong Man and Eyes on You comes a harrowing new psychological thriller about a successful self-help author who suddenly finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control.

What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?

 

Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning.  Read More Buy the Book 

 

 

 

It Happens All the Time 

  

By: Amy Hatvany

ISBN:1476704457

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/28/2017

Format: Hardcover


From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

 

 

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.  Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 

 

Mississippi Blood 

 

By: Greg Iles

Natchez Burning #3

ISBN: 9780062311153

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies working to destroy them in this exhilarating final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy set in modern Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s bold and ambitious story of blood and honor, violence and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present. Read More   Buy the Book    

 

 

 


Almost Missed You
 

 

By: Jessica Strawser

ISBN: 9781250107602

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him.  Read More    Buy the Book   

 

 

 

 

More March News!

 

 

 

 

BRONX REQUIEM

(UK) Coming March 23, 2017 

 

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/mar-2017

20 Must Read Books Coming March

Countdown for March!  What a lineup of some of the best, all month long.  Pre-Order Now.  Titles not to be missed. Catch the Spring Fling fever . . .   

 


 

Close Enough to Touch 

 

By: Colleen Oakley

ISBN:1501139266

Publisher: Gallery Books

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


From the author of Before I Go comes an unconventional but beautiful love story perfect for fans of the emotional novels of Jodi Picoult and Jojo Moyes.

One time a boy kissed me and I almost died...And so begins the story of Jubilee Jenkins, a young woman with a rare and debilitating medical condition: she’s allergic to other humans. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 

 

Beach Breeze 

 

By: Joanne Demaio 

ASIN: B06WD4QFZ2

Publisher: Joanne Demaio 

Publication Date:  3/7/2017 

 

Blog Tour Host Mar 28 


From the New York Times bestselling author of Beach Blues comes a novel of summers you never forget and friendships that never fade.

After a heartbreaking summer on the Connecticut shore, a group of beach friends is as adrift as an unmoored rowboat.  When a dismayed Jason Barlow drives as far away from the sea as he can, leaving behind his wife, Maris, as well as their stately cottage on the bluff, that news hits like a sudden wave.  Read More   Buy the Book       

 

 


The Weight of This World
  

 

By: David Joy

ISBN: 9780399173110

Publisher: Penguin/Putnam

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Critically acclaimed author David Joy, whose debut, Where All Light Tends to Go, was hailed as “a savagely moving novel that will likely become an important addition to the great body of Southern literature” (The Huffington Post), returns to the mountains of North Carolina with a powerful story about the inescapable weight of the past.

 

A combat veteran returned from war, Thad Broom can’t leave the hardened world of Afghanistan behind, nor can he forgive himself for what he saw there. His mother, April, is haunted by her own demons, a secret trauma she has carried for years.  Read More  Buy the Book      

  


The Roanoke Girls
 

 

By:  Amy Engel 

ISBN: 9781101906668

Publisher: Crown 

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 

“Roanoke girls never last long around here. In the end, we either run or we die.”

After her mother's suicide, fifteen year-old Lane Roanoke came to live with her grandparents and fireball cousin, Allegra, on their vast estate in rural Kansas. Lane knew little of her mother's mysterious family, but she quickly embraced life as one of the rich and beautiful Roanoke girls. But when she discovered the dark truth at the heart of the family, she ran…fast and far away. Read More   Buy the Book  

 

 


Lies We Believe About God
  

By:  Wm. Paul Young

ISBN: 9781501101397

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


From the author of the twenty million plus copy bestselling novel The Shack and the New York Times bestsellers Cross Roads and Eve comes a compelling, conversational exploration of the wrong-headed ideas we sometimes have and share about God.


Wm. Paul Young has been called a heretic for the ways he vividly portrays God’s love through his novels. Here he shares thirty-three commonly uttered and sometimes seemingly innocuous things we say about God. Paul exposes these as lies that keep us from having a full, loving relationship with our Creator. Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 


Ill Will
 

 

By: Dan Chaon

ISBN: 9780345476043

Publisher:  Random House  

Publication Date: 3/7/2017 


Two sensational unsolved crimes—one in the past, another in the present—are linked by one man’s memory and self-deception in this chilling novel of literary suspense from National Book Award finalist Dan Chaon.

“We are always telling a story to ourselves, about ourselves,” Dustin Tillman likes to say. It’s one of the little mantras he shares with his patients, and it’s meant to be reassuring. But what if that story is a lie? Read More   
Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Trophy Child
 

 

By:  Paula Daly

ISBN: 9780802125941

Publisher: Grove Atlantic

Publication Date: 3/7/2017


Paula Daly is acclaimed for her distinctive voice, masterful plotting, and terrifying depictions of ordinary people whose everyday lives are turned upside down through deception and murder. In her unsettling new domestic thriller, The Trophy Child, Daly digs beneath the serene surface of the idyllic suburban Lake District community where families strive for perfection, delivering a suspenseful, surprising story of motherhood and fallibility. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

  

 


Never Let You Go
 

 

By: Chevy Stevens

ISBN: 9781250034564

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date:  3/14/2017 

The author of Still Missing targets her readership with a novel that hits all the notes they come to expect from her—and ratchets up the stakes even more.

Lindsey Nash has left an abusive relationship and her ex-husband was sent to jail. She has started over with a new life, her own business, and a teenage daughter who needs her more than ever. When her husband is finally released, Lindsey believes she has cut all ties. There is no way he can ever find her and her daughter again. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

A Bridge Across the Ocean 

 

By: Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780451476005 

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


Wartime intrigue spans the lives of three women—past and present—in the latest novel from the acclaimed author of Secrets of a Charmed Life.

February, 1946. World War Two is over, but the recovery from the most intimate of its horrors has only just begun for Annaliese Lange, a German ballerina desperate to escape her past, and Simone Deveraux, the wronged daughter of a French Resistance spy. Read More  Buy the Book  

 


The Forgotten Girls
 

 

By: Owen Laukkanen

A Stevens and Windermere Novel #6

ISBN: 9780399174551

Publisher: PENGUIN GROUP Putnam

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 


They are the victims no one has ever cared about, until now. Agents Stevens and Windermere return in the blistering new crime novel from the fast-rising, multi-award-nominated suspense star.

She was a forgotten girl, a runaway found murdered on the High Line train through the northern Rocky Mountains and, with little local interest, put into a dead file. Read More     Buy the Book   

  

  

 

Children's Books  

 

The Pages Between Us: 

In the Spotlight

Series: Pages Between Us

By:  Lindsey Leavitt, Robin Mellom 

ISBN: 9780062377746

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/14/2017 

Ages 8 to 12,  Grades 3 to 7

BFFs Olivia and Piper are back in the sequel to The Pages Between Us, another fun, totally earnest snapshot of middle grade friendship told in sweet journal-style book packed with fun, engaging art by beloved middle grade authors Lindsey Leavitt and Robin Mellom. 

 

It’s time for the Battle of the Books! Read More
Buy the Book  

 

 

  


 

 

Mississippi Blood 

 

By: Greg Iles

Natchez Burning #3

ISBN: 9780062311153

Publisher:  William Morrow

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies working to destroy them in this exhilarating final volume in the epic Natchez Burning trilogy set in modern Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s bold and ambitious story of blood and honor, violence and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present. Read More   Buy the Book     

 


If I'm Found
 

 

If I Run Series #2

By:  Terri Blackstock 

ISBN:  9780310332497

Publisher: Zondervan Fiction

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


It started with the USA TODAY bestseller If I Run. Now Casey's journey continues in If I'm Found.

Casey doesn't know why Dylan let her escape just as the police were closing in, but she knows she's got to hide again. New name, new look, new city, new job. 

Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


A Simple Favor
 

 

By: Darcey Bell 

ISBN: 0062497790

Publisher: HarperCollins 

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


She’s your best friend.

She knows all your secrets.
That’s why she’s so dangerous.


A single mother's life is turned upside down when her best friend vanishes in this chilling debut thriller in the vein of Gone Girl and The Girl on the Train.  Read More    Buy the Book    

 

 

 


The Hope Chest
 

 

By:  Viola Shipman

ISBN: 1250105072

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/21/2017


The Hope Chest is a deeply emotional novel about three people who have seemingly lost all hope until one woman’s heirloom hope chest is rediscovered in the attic, along with its contents and secrets.

Mattie is a fiercely independent woman battling ALS; Don, her deeply devoted husband is facing a future without his one true love; and Rose, their struggling caregiver, is a young, single mother who feels trapped in her life. Read More  Buy the Book  

 

 

 


If Not For You
 

 

By:  Debbie Macomber

ISBN: 9780553391961

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 3/21/2017 


An emotionally stirring novel that shows how obstacles can be overcome, differences can be strengths, and sometimes a choice can seem wrong even though it s absolutely right.

If not for her loving but controlling parents, Beth Prudhomme might never have taken charge of her life and moved from her native Chicago to Portland, Oregon, where she s reconnected with her spirited Aunt Sunshine and found a job as a high school music teacher. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 


The Cutaway
 

 

By:  Christina Kovac

ISBN: 9781501141690

Publisher: Atria / 37 INK

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

The Cutaway draws you into the tangled world of corruption and cover-up as a young television producer investigates the disappearance of a beautiful Georgetown lawyer in this stunning psychological thriller, perfect for fans of Paula Hawkins and Gillian Flynn.

 

When brilliant TV news producer Virginia Knightly receives a disturbing “MISSING” notice on her desk related to the disappearance of a beautiful young attorney, she can’t seem to shake the image from her head. Read More   Buy the Book   

 

 

 

The Secrets You Keep

 

By:  Kate White

ISBN:  978-0062448859
Publisher: Harper

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Wrong Man and Eyes on You comes a harrowing new psychological thriller about a successful self-help author who suddenly finds her life spiraling dangerously out of control.

What would you do if you realized that your new husband, a man you adore, is keeping secrets from you—secrets with terrifying consequences?

 

Bryn Harper, an accomplished self-help author, already has plenty to deal with. She’s still recovering from a devastating car accident that has left her haunted by recurring, smoke-filled nightmares. Worse still, she can’t shake the ominous feeling her dreams contain a warning.  Read More Buy the Book 

 

 

 

It Happens All the Time 

  

By: Amy Hatvany

ISBN:1476704457

Publisher: Atria

Publication Date: 3/28/2017

Format: Hardcover


From master storyteller Amy Hatvany—whose writing has been hailed as “gripping and emotionally honest” (Stephanie Evanovich, New York Times bestselling author)—comes a provocative and compelling novel about two friends whose lives are changed by a drunken kiss.

 

 

I want to rewind the clock, take back the night when the world shattered. I want to erase everything that went wrong.  Read More  Buy the Book   

 

 

 

 

Almost Missed You 

 

By: Jessica Strawser

ISBN: 9781250107602

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/28/2017 


Violet and Finn were “meant to be,” said everyone, always. They ended up together by the hands of fate aligning things just so. Three years into their marriage, they have a wonderful little boy, and as the three of them embark on their first vacation as a family, Violet can’t help thinking that she can’t believe her luck. Life is good.

So no one is more surprised than she when Finn leaves her at the beach—just packs up the hotel room and disappears. And takes their son with him.  Read More    Buy the Book   

 

 

More Exciting March News! 

 

 

 

 

BRONX REQUIEM

(UK) Coming March 23, 2017 

Upcoming Blog UK Tour  

 

 

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/book-blog/tag/mar-2017

Cravings

Cravings: How I Conquered Food - Judy Collins

By:  Judy Collins

ISBN:  9780385541312

Publisher: Doubleday Books

Publication Date:  2/28/207 

Format:  Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

Biographies & Memoirs

 

Iconic singer, (folk legend) songwriter, and author, Judy Collins delivers her most timely and critical memoir yet CRAVINGS: How I Conquered Food — courageously told, a personal harrowing struggle with painful addictions and her battle food: bingeing, bulimia, weight loss, and gain.

One of hope, recovery, renewal, and inspiration.

CRAVINGS is the author's heartfelt honest story of finally "filling the black hole" in her soul that comes from untreated food addiction. Sixty years of experience, struggling to find a solution. Compulsive eating. How she "slayed her demons" and conquered food addiction.

Insightful and informative, the musical star shares her personal story with others, to help them find a way to break free. Folk singer Judy Collins' tumultuous relationship with food began when she was a child, and led her into a downward spiral of bingeing, purging, and alcoholism that followed her for much of her life.

"In music, Judy found spiritual solace. In her addictions, she lived in a spiritual desert and had to find water and sustenance, the spark of inspiration and some solution that would end the drama of diets, pills, plans, doctors, extreme answers and mutilating consequences. . . "

Her proven plan has been a success offering joy and continued health. She is sharing her discovery with others. To help others out there seeking answers to their own food disorders. A new life, "free" of cravings.

It wasn't until she met her now-husband, Louis Nelson, in the 1970s that she decided to get sober and recover from bulimia. Collins, now 77, hopes her upcoming book, will help others resolve their own addictions

Her solution is a balanced food plan "free of the foods" that cause the addictions: Sugar, grains, flour, wheat, corn, and many foods which she is allergic to (containing alcohol). The foods which cause bulimic, anorexic, or overweight disorders; causing feelings of fear and self-loathing; diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease, among many others. (It works. Trying removing all these items for your diet, and you will remove the cravings.)

Collins highlights her life from childhood through her music career and her battle with alcoholism. Her personal and business relationships. Her family and the many people she has met along the way and influences in her life. Diet Gurus and others in her fight. Her ups and downs. She has spoken out previously and references here, regarding her alcoholism and the suicide of her only child, and the survivor of her own attempt to end her life at age fourteen.

With CRAVINGS the author wants to encourage others who suffer from the same problems—there is a way "through the dark" night of the soul of compulsive overeating.

The folk star has been sober for thirty-eight years from alcohol; however, has had to learn to eat in a different but healthy way. Someone who was controlled and obsessed by food. From fasting, compulsive exercise, restricting food, bone loss, purging, bulimia and an array of dieting.

As we learn from Judy’s personal story and account, this horrible addiction begins at childhood. With our children and grandchildren today — being subjected to large amounts of sugar, processed foods, chemical, additives, and preservatives— (as well as adults) trouble lies ahead which will carry into teens and adulthood in many ways, if not identified and corrected. We all have to take control. She like many of us, have become an advocate for healthy foods, speaking out against the big food companies which make money with added corn, fat, sugar, salt, and additives.

Judy steps out to share her tragedies, even from an early age of three, nothing made her happier than to devour sugar in any form. Sugar fueled her race through life, as does many others today. It was the beginning of her dance with the devil.

From depression, hopelessness, suicidal thoughts, sadness, nightmares, anxiety attacks, and blackouts. She spent most of her life deep into her addictions, trickling over into other areas of her life. She explains how alcohol addiction is sometimes twinned with sugar addiction.

“My mind is clear, my heart is light, my health is perfect, she writes. . . I surrendered to it and never looked back." Collins has been sober now for 39 years and recovered from bulimia for more than 33 years.

"We are all in the same lifeboat, but the rescue ship is in the harbor, and we can all come aboard," she writes, hoping that readers will be inspired by her story to resolve their own addictions.



In summary: Teaching people about addiction and opening up a forum is part of Collins’ goal with Cravings.

After reading her latest book, have even more respect for her incredible journey. She is a timeless legend. Compelling and absorbing, readers will be moved by her inspiring journey and hopefully educated about food addictions— and make the necessary changes needed. Highly recommend!

A special thank you to Doubleday and NetGalley for an early reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Photo Credit @ Brad Trent



On a side "food/health" note:
As many of you know, I am a food advocate. Having severe food allergies, and after keeping years of food journals, about ten years ago, went to a totally vegan diet. I found additives, preservatives, and chemicals to be causing my health problems, plus all the items Judy has listed in the book. I do not drink alcohol or eat sugar, or processed foods. I do not take any medications, nor do I eat grains, sugar, flour, corn, etc. The slightest addictive or chemical, I can experience Anaphylaxis or heart issues. Plus without the junk, you maintain your health, weight, and your size 4.

The exact foods Judy outlines are some of the main factors which cause these problems. When you eliminate these things from your diet, these health problems go away. Yes, it takes planning, no you cannot dine out and a little more difficult when traveling; however, it is worth it in the end. Our society today is lazy and will not take the time and effort to stay away from these foods and take a bolder stand. If they did, our food industry may be different, today.

I totally agree with the addiction. I see my son and his family. Always dieting, exercising, and health issues at a young age and grandchildren. They crave the sugar. One thing leads to another. When I visit, I tell them they must throw out everything in their pantry and refrigerator. I cringe. I refuse to eat any of these items and until they take their health seriously, they keep doing the same things and expecting different results, as many others.

On a side note "about the name": Fun to see my name on a book cover.

We all love "The Judy Collins!" (After all, I have her name). I was born Judy Dianne Collins (my parents love her, as well). The name Judy was very popular in the 50s. If you grew up in the 50s, 60s, and 70s, you have to be a fan of Grammy-winning folk-music legend Judy Collins, known for her iconic renditions of "Amazing Grace", "Send in the Clowns" and “From "Both Sides, Now."

After my divorce, I legally took back my maiden name, Judy Collins in the early 80s, and have been referenced to the “Queen of Folk” throughout my career with the same name. Especially when in the media, advertising, and publishing business in Atlanta— always a reference to “The Judy Collins,” and her songs.

Proud to bear her name! However, when it was time to find a domain for my website and blog, and social media, of course, that spot was taken by the "queen" herself, so I had to avert to Judith D Collins.

Have listened to her music for years, enjoyed her concerts, her record albums, and her books — still a huge fan of her music. An inspiration to many. Exciting, to see she still is "full throttle" ahead at age 77 with Judy Collins and Ari Hest: Silver Skies Blue Album. Nice! Do not see retirement in her future.

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/02/Cravings

The Golden Hour

The Golden Hour - T. Greenwood

By: T. Greenwood

ISBN:  978-0758290571

Publisher: Kensington 

Publication Date: 2/28/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars +

 
Master storyteller T. Greenwood returns following (2016) Where I Lost Her — my Top 50 Books of 2016 with her latest masterpiece, THE GOLDEN HOUR, another gripping spellbinding suspense page-turner and complex tale of family secrets.

With finesse, a skillful blending of symbolism, metaphors, and artistry; equally, character and plot-driven, a mix of literary, historical and women’s fiction; mystery, suspense, and psychological thriller, rolled into one.

THE GOLDEN HOUR is a compelling saga with dual storylines. Greenwood ensnares you from the first page to the finale. She weaves deftly between past and present with highly charged topics. A story of friendship, lies, and dark secrets. As usual, with Greenwood’s own signature lyrical style, she uses vivid mysterious settings, strong elements of nature, and the power of art.

Wyn is a wife and mother and yet she struggles with a tragic event when she was thirteen years old. The day in the woods in New Hampshire. Her life changed. No one knows the truth about what happened. She has kept silent. Someone’s secret and her own.

Now she paints birches. (“woods” and forest, also another reference throughout the book). Living in Queens in a duplex, Wyn, is a mother to four-year-old daughter, Avery. Next door on the other side of the duplex— is her husband (ex), Gus.

She is an artist. However, she is not painting what she loves. She has turned to painting "quirky birches"(trees) to match her clients home décor. Boring, yet she was grateful for the work and the commission jobs in order to take care of the bills.

Gus is a good father, (they still love one another), and in order to share custody and keep the bills down, they are living next door to one another. He is a free-spirt and owns a sign shop. An artist as well.

Wyn knows this living arrangement cannot last forever, being this close to one another. He had inherited it from his grandmother and when the tenant moved out on the other side, Wyn moved on the other side of the wall.

She realizes something must change. Even though they were not legally divorced, or even separated for that matter. He wanted Wyn to focus on real painting and not the stupid birches. She was thirty-three years old and would not go back to working at a bar. This would have to do for now. They had split up over the stupid tree paintings. (among other things). This was the last straw.

She is feeling particularly uneasy. She has just received the news: Robert J. Rousseau. He was charged with rape years ago. A local activist solicits help from New Hampshire Innocence Project (a former social worker), who insists he was falsely accused —in the 1996 crime.

Now twenty years later, she must re-live the nightmare. They want to test for DNA. Back then, he confessed. He was never supposed to get out. He was supposed to rot in prison. That is what the New Hampshire family lawyer had promised. Her entire world was shattered. Back then and now once again.

Had she sold her soul back then, to the devil? She was a young scared girl. Now, a scared woman.

Her mom, dad, brother, friends and Gus are worried about her. The media is hovering. She wants to escape. She cannot allow this to happen. Then she begins receiving sick phone calls and emails, threatening her and her family. The caller is a man and says he knows she has a little girl. She had to get away. Gus does not know the real truth.

In the meantime, while she is in denial, her friend Pilar, had left her a message about joining her in Maine. She decides this may be a way to hide out. She and Pilar have been friends for years and in college, as well as Gus. They all attended art school together at Rhode Island School of Design fifteen years earlier.

While Wyn had resigned herself to painting those happy birches and Gus used his skills to make metal signs, Pilar’s career had moved at a steady pace and then the following year a collector fell in love with her work, and suddenly she was an artist with a capital A. The NYT had featured a showing at a gallery and all changed for her. Has Pilar changed?

Pilar has recently purchased a crumbling clapboard cottage which sits atop a rocky cliff on Bluffs Island, a remote islet far off the coast of Maine. She had bought it on a whim one summer after she sold some paintings for a high five figures.

Wyn was no longer a free-spirit as they had been back in college. She was afraid. She had been running away for twenty years. She was doing it once again. It had been twenty years since she cast the first lie. But what was the truth?

“This the thing about a lie: over time, it not only obscures the truth but consumes it . . . A lie, in collusion with time, can overpower the truth. A good lie has the power to subsume reality. A good lie can become the truth . . . However, lies are also precarious things. Each twist and, each flutter of a wing, each protest threatening to tear the intricate construction apart.”


She finally persuades Gus into allowing her to take Avery to Maine after three weeks. She, of course, does not tell him nor anyone the reason for leaving, nor about the phone calls. However, once she arrives, she discovers the home is in great need of work, very remote, and Pilar does not visit often, due to the weather, traveling, and her work.

However, instead of painting as she had planned, she has time on her hands and procrastinates. Time for worry and stress about the event years ago which changed her life. What will happen when the truth comes out?

Instead of thinking about the petition for retrial and the thought of testifying—and the possibility of this monster going free and what she may have to face— she escapes into another world, when she discovers film in a box, in the old crumbled house’s basement. She becomes protective of this person's work. It is intimate. Delicate. Sensitive.

Roll after roll of 35mm film. Undeveloped. Who takes 50 rolls of film and doesn’t get them developed? She cannot figure out this mystery. She is intrigued. This is a distraction for her.

First, let me say, the house is very mysterious, and the guy next door. (what a brilliant addition to the story and tie-in). Up to this point, the mystery is what really happened twenty years earlier. Readers know something is not right and Wyn is hiding something. Some secret. Some lie. She is worried and afraid for her family.

Rather than dwelling on this, Wyn becomes obsessed with the film and the lives in the photos. She has a few rolls developed and is further intrigued. A mysterious woman. Did this woman live in this house? She was a photographer. It appears there was possibly a lover and a baby. This is like wow, another saga! This storyline takes front and center. What happened to the woman?

Gus comes to visit to take Avery for a few weeks over the holiday and Wyn gives him the film for their friend back home to develop in his dark room. When she receives the negatives, she is further pulled into the mystery and intrigue of what happened to Sybil, the woman. (so was I) …

She and Pilar are invited to the large mansion (Gatsby) home (loving this) for a New Year’s Eve party and begins to try and piece together the mystery of the woman in the photo. Who is this wealthy man? Their second home. The wife seems very odd. However, Pilar does not visit often and now she is alone at this house, while Avery is with Gus.

However, what she learns about the woman in the photo and her discovery may just give her the strength to return to her hometown in New Hampshire and face her fears. Change her perspective. Will she finally have the courage, to tell the truth, and not be afraid? To heal from the pain.

The secrets of Wyn, Rick, Robby, Sybil, and Seamus. The cost of silence. Waiting for the lies to come unraveled. Guilt. A dangerous path. Humanity’s darker side.

“The funny thing about the truth is, it always seems to have a way to getting free. For two decades, I could practically hear the beatings of wings against those invisible threads, gossamer snapping, coming undone.”


A lot to love here! From the dark thickness of trees, path through the woods, (heart-pounding) forest, running for safety, snow, fire, water, the old Cliffside Gatsby-like mansion, mermaid tears, the rocky cliff, the bluffs, the crashing waves, the danger lurking, evil, the cottage, a death, a rape, the emotion, a mysterious man next door, and two very dark secrets. The author executes it brilliantly. Would make a great movie or series!

Greenwood is a pro at blending all these elements and palettes of color . . . (you can tell she is a photographer) . . . building suspense and keeping you on the edge-of-your-seat. All the while you are so caught up in the second mystery at the Bluffs from long ago, you almost forget about the mystery behind what happened to Wyn when she was thirteen (this comes towards the ending).

All consuming, compelling, and atmospheric. With the dual timelines-Greenwood slowly reveals in detail the events leading up to the rape, the raw emotions and fear of a young girl, her struggles, her near death experience, and the secret and guilt she has had to live with.

In addition, we learn of the Bluffs Island secret. The Epitaphs and Prophecies box. What really happened to the woman who lived in the house. A murder, scandal, a suicide? The house had been sitting for thirty-five years. Each photo captures the essence. Present. Past. End. Beginning.

Ongoing themes of before and after. At the heart, a deeply human story; a timely tragic issue of consent, rape, bullying, the scars, both literal and emotional . . . the repercussions. From memorable characters—surrounded by a web of deceit, fractured families, destructive secrets, lies . . . bringing characters to life—keeping you captivated from the first page to the last. 5 Stars ++

Am strongly reminded of Robert Frost's early poem, "Birches".

"The force behind it comes from contrary pulls—truth and imagination, earth and heaven, concrete and spirit, control and abandon, flight and return. The whole upward thrust of the poem is toward imagination, escape, and transcendence—and away from heavy Truth with a capital T. The downward pull is back to earth. . . "

Wyn is using the Maine house, her birches, her secret, and the mystery she discovers as an escape. However, like the poem, she does not wish to be left out on a limb. For the poet, he looks at bent trees and imagines another truth.


An avid Greenwood fan for years (one of my favorite authors), have read ALL her books and anxiously await the next. Each one is a rare treat. When I begin one of her books, I know it is a special gift and know to "mark out" uninterrupted time before beginning. I am like a "giddy kid" and "over the moon" when being granted an early reading copy. (thank you Kensington)

An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions (a great reading guide included). Highly recommend! For fans of Mary Kubica, Miranda Beverly-Whittemore, Karen White, Jodi Picoult, Heather Gudenkauf, Diane Chamberlain, and Amy Hatvany.

A VERY special thank you to Kensington and NetGalley for an early reading copy. (Love the cover.)

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 
 
Congrats!!!
 
T. GREENWOOD'S RUST AND STARDUST PRE-EMPTED BY ST. MARTIN'S

Publishers Marketplace | February 23, 2017

 

T. Greenwood’s RUST AND STARDUST, when an 11-year old is kidnapped in 1948 by a convicted felon, so begins a 21-month journey exploring both the crime and criminal as well as the effect upon the girl, her family left behind, and her community; the spark upon which Vladimir Nabakov based LOLITA, a literary thriller and kaleidoscopic family portrait, to Hope Dellon at St. Martin’s, in a two-book deal, for publication in Spring 2018, by Victoria Sanders at Victoria Sanders & Associates (World).

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/19/The-Golden-Hour

The Nearness of You

The Nearness of You: A Novel - Amanda Eyre Ward

By:  Amanda Eyre Ward

ISBN:  9781101887158

Publisher: Random House 

Publication Date: 2/21/2017 

Format: Hardcover  

My Rating: 4 Stars

 
Storyteller, Amanda Eyre Ward returns following (2015) The Same Sky with another thought-provoking and gripping tale of four wounded characters in THE NEARNESS OF YOU. (Beautiful cover ).

What does it take to be a real mother? With highly charged topics, Ward delves deeply into the emotions of the human psyche and what it takes to be a family. A surrogate young girl goes missing, disrupting the lives of all that are near and dear to the unborn child.

Set in Houston, Texas –Hyland and Suzette Kendell are married and celebrating their anniversary. It is the year, 2000 and the couple have been married for fifteen years and approaching forty years of age.

Suzette is a successful heart surgeon and Hyland an architect. He came from a horrific childhood and he would love to have children and a family. His parents had been killed in a car accident when he was eleven and grew up in the foster care system. He now works from home and desperately wants a family.

However, workaholic Suzette had been upfront from the beginning, she did not want children. Her mom was mentally ill and in an institution. She most likely would always remain there until she died.

Her father had died years earlier and her mom went a little crazy- erratic and paranoid, causing serious trauma for Suzette during her childhood. She too was sick in college; however, controls it with her meds. They continue to keep her mother in a nice facility and sometimes she tells herself her mom is really dead.

Suzette does not want to pass this sickness to children. She wants it to end here. She could not be the easy, breezy, fertile wife Hyland might have wanted; however, she would not be made to feel that she was lacking.

They are now ready for surrogacy. Hyland would sire a child. He was delighted with the opportunity of becoming a father. He would medically impregnate someone younger who would carry the baby to term. Suzette could keep working without interruption. It was a win-win. Or so she thought.

Suzette panicked and was scared, similar to PTSD, due to her own childhood dramas. They find what they think is the perfect candidate and was going to pay her $35,000 to cover the cost. However, the gal backs out due to Suzette being busy with work. She was not going to apologize for doing her job.

In the meantime, Suzette deals with life and death daily. Giving life after ending life with tragedy at the hospital. She cared deeply for her patients and she connected better with the babies than the adults. Each was a reminder.

Months pass and there is another candidate. This girl was much younger and inexperienced. She had never been married and never had a child, like the first candidate.

As a last resort, they decide on Dorrie (age 21). She gets pregnant quickly. We hear from different POVs. She worked at Sea-o-Rama feeding penguins. She wanted to escape her life and get off Galveston Island. She could finally move away from her mother and her dull disappointment—away from the stories about her deadbeat dad. It meant a bigger life: college, and a chance to succeed. When she had seen the ad, she knew this was the only way to attain money for college. A way out.

However, could she lease her body, and then hand over her child? She would trade nine months of her life. She earned less than $10.00 hour at her current job. The gift of life. It was love versus money. Which would win out in the end? Could she go through with it? Or escape?

She could drive away from Texas and make a life on Grand Isle, Louisiana. She needed to escape her own sad mom’s depression and alcoholism. However, without money, how would she live and support herself and her unborn child? How will Suzette and Hyland go on knowing their child was out there somewhere?

Dorrie is a dreamer and wants to wrap herself around books and living in a seaside cottage. She dreams of a life with her baby. She is immature and not thinking of how. She cannot live in a motel with no money, especially when this couple had money and would have the cops or PIs after her.

On the run, she meets another lonely girl, Jayne taking care of her own disturbed junkie prostitute mom. Another young girl, trying to escape her surroundings for a better life. Will they find solace in one another? Jayne is intrigued by the girl in room 29. They hit the road together.
 


Later when an illness arrives, and more problems, things change. However, there are still some secrets which are not revealed until the end.

The author takes us on a hauntingly beautiful emotional heartfelt journey. Told with compassion - from tragedy, pain, loss, and love. What it means to be a mother. A family. When matters of the heart are conflicted. From “The Nearness of You" an old Ella Fitzgerald song, to a desperate search for a mother.

Can a woman who fixes hearts mend one close to her own? Fast forward fifteen years later.

Every character is searching for a mother’s love and acceptance. Guilt. A yearning for atonement. Courage. Your heart goes out to all the flawed characters (they do make some poor choices); a situation when there seems there is no easy way out. Someone will be hurt. What it takes to be a family. They are not always the traditional ones.

I loved the quote: “The mother is the one who stays in the room.” (no matter how difficult, when she wants to run and hide).

I read two moving and beautiful books in a row about motherhood. They come in all shapes and sizes each with their own set of struggles. Highly recommend both: Amanda Eyre Ward’s THE NEARNESS OF YOU and Sally Hepworth’s The Mother's Promise.

A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks
 
 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/05/The-Nearness-of-You

Blink

Blink - K. Slater

By:  K.L. Slater

ASIN: B01NBF30MU
​Publisher: Bookouture 
Publication Date: 2/16/2017 
Format: Other
My Rating:  4 Stars

 

K. L. Slater returns following her gripping debut, SAFE WITH ME with another twisty psychological suspense BLINK, with plenty of red herrings to keep you guessing.

Meet Toni, a woman in Queen's Medical Centre, Nottingham. Trapped by silence within her own body. Terrified. Screaming to be let out. She is alive- she wants to escape this nightmare. A defibrillator is keeping her alive. This cannot be happening, but yet it is very real.

No one knows she can hear what they are saying. She desperately is crying out for help. She is blinking and no one seems to notice. She needs "help" for her daughter. She is haunted, desperate, and tormented. What happened to her beautiful girl?

Had everyone given up on Evie? They only talked as they had personal knowledge about their family. Evie's terrible, neglectful mother and her unhappy home. She must think back to before it even happened.

" . . . For one day very soon, you will wake up to the realization that the horror has only just begun."

Flashing back and forth from three years earlier to the present, readers slowly learn the backstory and it unravels.

Toni Cotter’s husband Andrew was killed in a freak accident in Afghanistan. As a single mom, taking care of her daughter she is stressed, with money problems and her grief of being left alone. She takes comfort in the little pills left over from her husband’s accident to help her get through.

With the bills mounting she is forced to move, look for a job, and change Evie’s school. These life changing moments created more havoc. She had to move closer to her mom for help- for a fresh start.

As they say, when you are desperate, trouble has a way of seeking you out and sticking to you. The new neighborhood is not so safe, nor the school. Especially the teacher’s assistant. She feels guilty.

She had dragged her daughter from a respectable neighborhood to live next to a convicted criminal. She did not have very many friends or a support group to turn to. Even her own mom appears critical of her actions. She needs to keep her job to help them survive.

Between the malicious wasps, and the crazy teacher’s assistant, Harriet Watson from St. Saviour's Primary School, with her own psycho-problems — bullying Evie, Toni, and Toni’s mom, Evie’s constant whining about not wanting to go back to the school, and afraid— as well Toni trying to balance work and home life, and a new job— she begins relying more and more on the little pills. She is in a sleepy haze most of the time.

Others are watching her every move.

We slowly learn why Toni is hospitalized. Her daughter has been missing for three years. Everyone has given up on her. Toni must set things right. She must protect and find her daughter.

How will she do this when they could take her off life support. No one knows she is trying to be heard, trapped in her own body. Someone is out to get her. Are the police even still looking for her?

The question. Who, and why? There may be more than one person on her trail and now she must delve deep to solve this mystery and rescue her daughter. Take back the life which was brutally ripped from her.

In the blink of an eye, one day she receives a phone call regarding her mom. She had an accident and cannot pick up Evie from school on time. Toni must leave work to tend to her mom at the hospital and is late picking up Evie. She tried calling and no one answered. Evie is gone. No trace. How could she vanish? She had let down her own daughter.

At the time, she has no idea someone is controlling everything around her. Nothing is by accident. It is carefully planned, orchestrated, and manipulated.

A ruthless psychopath wants revenge.

Slater delivers a strong second novel, keeping the tension high; however, some parts were slow and dragging a bit--and the ending felt rushed; however, overall a solid thriller with a nice twist you are not expecting. An author to follow. Highly recommend both books.

In our day of social media where everyone’s life is on display, when in the wrong hands, of a psychopath, this could mean danger for the person in question and all those close and dear to them. Some people will go to great lengths for revenge. They can destroy. Guard you lives. A cautionary tale. Be careful of routines. They may kill you.

In addition to the reading copy, also purchased the audiobook, narrated by Lucy Price-Lewis delivering an entertaining performance especially for the characters of Toni, Harriet, and Evie.

I enjoyed reading the author's inspiration behind the book. It is true how the public and press are interested in how parental error may have contributed to events, rather than in debating the actual issue of —by whom the child has been taken.

So easy for someone to take advantage of a parent, child, teen, or anyone when they are in a bad place. Their defenses are down. Gullible. They trust, to easily when they are not thinking correctly. When someone is struggling or grieving. Someone they trust with their lives, their children. How do you cope with a tragedy and the crippling guilt? In today's world when everyone expects a parent to be perfect.

For fans of Clare Mackintosh's I See You. Someone may be watching.

A special thank you to Bookouture and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Blink

The Mother's Promise

The Mother's Promise - Sally Hepworth

By: Sally Hepworth 

ISBN: 9781250077752

Publisher: St. Martin's Press 

Publication Date:  2/21/2017 

Format: Other 

My Rating:  5 Stars 

 

Master storyteller, Sally Hepworth returns following The Things We Keep (2016) landing on my Top Books of 2016 and Secrets of Midwives (2015) all 5 stars, with an unforgettable story of courage, THE MOTHER'S PROMISE.

Richly told. Memorable and poignant. An emotionally-charged portrayal of motherhood friendship, and love — in the midst of tragedy. Hepworth digs deeply into the ties of love, between both family and strangers. Mixed with humor, the author knows how to grab you by the heartstrings and never let's go.

“With what price we pay for the glory of motherhood.” – Isadora Duncan

Set in Atherton, CA, a twenty-minute drive from Silicon Valley, Alice Stanhope is a giving and caring single mom. Barely forty. Her her job has been taking care of others.

Alice has her own business, taking care of elders. She is not a nurse; however, she offers in-home help to the elderly. She keeps them company, cleans and runs errands. Her daughter Zoe is now fifteen. They are extremely close. The dad is not in the picture and we later learn the details. Let me say, the twist surprise at 90% was an added bonus surprise, a shocker.

As the book opens, Alice receives some devastating news. She has ovarian cancer. She seemed to have a knack for attracting illnesses and ailments that required just enough investigation to be financially and emotionally draining. It was happening again. She exercises and eats well. How could she have cancer?

Both her parents have passed away. Her brother, Paul is an alcoholic. Her mother died of ovarian cancer. She has no one, except for Zoe. She has lived her life alone. Just mother and daughter. Zoe is not a normal teenager, so she has to protect her. She needs to keep the surgery, and cancer news to herself. Zoe cannot be a support person for her. Alice wasn’t going to need someone. Zoe was.

How would she get to her appointments, chemo, the surgery? How can she die? What will happen to Zoe? She could not turn to her brother since he was drunk most of the time. She did not have a single person she felt she could nominate to walk beside her in what was going to be the hardest journey of her life.

Now she has met her nurse, Kate. Kate knew there was one thing that a patient needed more than a doctor, more than a nurse, even more than medicine, and that was a mother. Someone had to fight for them. Kate had a mother only when she was a toddler, and she recalled her mom’s nurse. Now she had to be a mother to her patients.

Kate in her mid-thirties, has her own issues. From one miscarriage after another. Her husband, David, and his two children her stepchildren—of his own (Jake and Scarlett). She longed for a baby. She fantasized about the day she would have a child of her own. She currently is pregnant again; however, will she be able to carry it to term?

Zoe, age fifteen has the normal teenage issues; however, her situation is magnified. She has Social Anxiety Disorder. No one understands. Like being anchored to damp sand. Like waiting for the next wave. You want to turn and look, to see what’s coming, but you can’t move. You don’t know. You wait helplessly, envisioning the worst. She yearns to be invisible. Everyone thought she was weird. Every day is a struggle to deal with her anxiety.

Currently, due to her circumstances, the hospital is bringing in a social worker, Sonja. Sonja is not the normal social worker. She gets Botox, she is married to a wealthy man. He is abusive. However, she stays with him. She should know better. After all, she works with women in this same situation. Happiness was something you shared, chatted about, asked after. "Suffering was something that you had to do behind closed doors, in silence, all alone."

How will Zoe survive without Alice? Alice is Zoe’s safe place. How will all these characters connect? What will they learn from one another? Will Alice’s past catch up with her during the worst possible time?

An entertaining tale of parental love, motherhood, friendship, loss. Piercing and uplifting at the same time. Well-researched, suspenseful, thought-provoking and character-driven, this cast of resilient heroines will inspire readers and renew their faith in humanity.

Even though I had to re-live some of the painful and loving times with my mom and her three- year battle with cancer (she passed away in Aug 2016), her bravery reminded me a lot of Alice. What great characters: Kate, Alice, Zoe and even Sonja. A beautifully written story –the unbreakable bonds, and characters which remain with you long after the book ends. A beautiful book for Mother’s Day and an ideal choice for books clubs and further discussions.

The author has a rare talent of taking wounded souls and pairing them with just the right person. Fans of Catherine Ryan Hyde, Diane Chamberlain, Lisa Genova and Jodi Picoult will find a lot to love here.

Highly recommend the author and all her books. Loved the inspiration behind the book. Sally is "tops" when it comes to writing about Mothers. A rare gift. She has a special way of making you fall in love with her characters.

I also listened to the audiobook, narrated by Barrie Kreinik for an outstanding performance.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/10/04/The-Mothers-Promise

Class

Class - Lucinda Rosenfeld
ISBN: 9780316265416
Publisher: Little Brown & Co. 
Publication Date: 1/10/2017 
Format: Hardcover
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

Lucinda Rosenfeld's CLASS features New York, Karen Kipple as she struggles to balance the demands of motherhood and career, always convinced that she was shortchanging one or the other.

Married for ten years and for the last five Karen had been the director of development for a small non-profit devoted to tackling childhood hunger in the US. For the past two years, she had been trying to write an oped which she hoped one day to publish in a major newspaper, about the relationship between nutrition and school readiness.

Matt, her husband is also a career activist in the nonprofit sector and she is always worried about Ruby, her eight-year-old daughter’s education. She encourages her former lawyer husband to quit his job and work with low-income people to assist their housing needs.

Karen had enrolled her daughter at Betts, aware that it lacked the reputation for academic excellence of other schools nearby, but Ruby would be exposed to children who were less privileged than herself. Even though the white population of the school hovered around 25%. Being in the minority in what she had chosen. However, was he sacrificing her education? Diversity or inferior education?

She had always aspired to a life of making a difference and helping those less fortunate than herself. She tried to live in accordance with the politics and principals, which of course included the notion that public education was a force for good and that without racially and economically integrated school, an equal opportunity couldn’t exist.

Ruby was smart and a voracious reading and life should be good. Karen, an advocate for non-food additives and chemicals as well as diversity. She has a nice condo, hubby, and daughter, Karen’s life seemed to be good in New York; however, she is unhappy.

“Karen’s complex and contradictory relationship to eating had also grown more in the last few years, along with weight, teeth, and marriage—somehow become a dividing line between the social classes with the Earth Day — esque ideals of the 1960s having acquired snob appeal, and the well-off and well-educated increasingly buying “natural” and “fresh” and casting aspersions on those who didn’t.”

Then when a classmate of Ruby’s transfers out of Betts to a more privileged school of white students, all of Karen’s earlier thoughts and commitments, quickly vanished. Her husband wants a divorce because she enrolled Ruby in a new school without telling him.

Following the lead, she moves Ruby and then begins an affair with a rich guy, Clay, among other things. More lies. Her emotions are all over the board. Karen is torn between social classes, seeing the poor living in shelters and the rich and their superficial ways. Hypocrisy. Guilt.

She was capable of paying hundreds of dollars for an espresso machine from Italy, Karen had a deeply ingrained cheap streak as well, which caused her to do things like go to the library and photocopy the crossword puzzle from the Sunday paper rather than pay for a subscription.

Rosenfeld kicks butt and puts it all out there. With keen insights, raw honesty, a brutal portrayal ---the truth of our unequal society in urban America. With humor and highly-charged topics, the author hits the bull's eye, with CLASS.

I especially enjoyed the wide range of topics from privilege, class, identity, entitlement, education, politics, domestic, marriage, social economics, philanthropy—to ethical dilemmas, the author does not miss a beat in this delightful satire.

A tale of one woman’s struggle between the madness of liberal and reality. The lesson liberals need to learn is that despite their arrogance, they do not have the power to alter reality. From liberals to progressive—is equality among human race the exception, and inequality the norm?

Much to like here whether you are a modern-day urban parent, grandparent, or single. Smart, witty, engaging, absorbing, and thought-provoking! The hardcover was stunning with a perfect fitting cover. An ideal choice for book clubs and further discussions.

A special thank you to Little Brown & Co., Goodreads Giveaway, and NetGalley for a complimentary reading copy, in exchange for an honest review.

JDCMustReadBooks

Source: http://www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Class