Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale


Date of Publication: May 10th, 2021

Genre: General Fiction

Purchase Links: Amazon | Alibris | IndieBound

Goodreads Synopsis:

Paradise is no more. She’s a stranger in her new home…

… as she sails the choppy waters of teen life. Teresa longs for picture-perfect love, but in the real world you often have to say “No”, even if it breaks your heart.

From tropical Mozambique to drab, 1970s Lisbon, from the golden beaches of Durban to five-star holidays in verdant, mountainous Madeira, and even the Moroccan kasbah, follow Teresa as she stumbles and falls and picks herself up again.

Will Teresa’s grandparents let her out of their sight for a minute? Can she forge her own path in a country that struggles to emerge from fear and taboo? Will she find true love, or is she forever fated to navigate an ocean of boys who demand more than she is willing to give?

First Line:

I detested my first kiss.

Love Secrets Lies by Teresa Vale

When I first got the email from the author requesting that I review her book, I almost said no. As a rule, I do not review anything that resembles even resembles a biography or an autobiography. But the sweetness of the request email and the blurb that I read on Amazon sold me on reading the book. I am glad I did because this was a fantastic book.

Love Secrets Lies is the story of Teresa and her journey to adulthood. Teresa was forced out of Mozambique as a young teenager when that country became politically unstable. She, her brother, her grandparents, and her parents fled to Portugal. Teresa and her brother settled in Libson with her grandparents while her father and mother (divorced) went to North Portugal and England. Teresa is a headstrong, opinionated young lady growing up in 1970s Portugal. Can Teresa overcome the obstacles of her childhood (mainly her very strict grandparents) and become the woman she wants to be?

I loved Teresa. She was a vibrantly written character who made me laugh during the book. I have a seventeen-year-old daughter, and I could see her getting into some of the shenanigans that Teresa got into. The whole kissing scene had me in tears laughing because, well, it was relatable. How many of us enjoyed our first kiss? And how many of us had the experience that Teresa had? I did find her a little tiring during certain scenes (the political scenes I skimmed over). But other than that, I loved her joy in life. It exuded from the book.

I liked seeing what it is like for a teenage girl growing up in the 70s and outside of the USA. It was very refreshing. Plus, I got to experience the 70s through her, which was a trip in itself.

Teresa had several romances throughout the book. The author didn’t hold back with them. She showed the good, the bad, and the ugly. And oh man, did the ugly get nasty towards the end. Teresa went through a terrifying situation that could have turned out bad if a certain someone didn’t step up for her.

Sexually, this is a very clean book. There are a few kissing scenes, one where Teresa and her boyfriend do heavy petting, and one very memorable scene where Teresa’s boyfriend uses a pillow as a cover for his privates (and as a supposed sexy gesture??). The author never details what Teresa is doing, but there is enough said that I could figure it out. I knew she wasn’t having sex (the author often stressed her virginity in the book).

The only thing I didn’t like about this book was how bratty and immature Teresa sometimes came across. But, saying that, she was a teenager living under stringent rules. So I kept an open mind while reading.

I also want to mention the locations that this book took me to. South Africa, different areas of Portugal, and Mozambique are among the few places that the author mentioned in the book. The author vividly described every site to the point where I could picture it in my head.

The end of Love Secrets Lies was a bit of a cliffhanger, and I am looking forward to reading book 2!!

I would recommend Love Secrets Lies to anyone over 16. There is mild language, violence, and mild and non-graphic sexual situations. There is also underage drinking and smoking.

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

The Woman in the Mirror: A Novel by [James, Rebecca]


Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, Minotaur Books

Date of publication: March 17th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Woman in the Mirror: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Rebecca James unveils a chilling modern gothic novel of a family consumed by the shadows and secrets of its past in The Woman in the Mirror.

For more than two centuries, Winterbourne Hall has stood atop a bluff overseeing the English countryside of Cornwall and the sea beyond.

In 1947, Londoner Alice Miller accepts a post as governess at Winterbourne, looking after Captain Jonathan de Grey’s twin children. Falling under the de Greys’ spell, Alice believes the family will heal her own past sorrows. But then the twins’ adoration becomes deceitful and taunting. Their father, ever distant, turns spiteful and cruel. The manor itself seems to lash out. Alice finds her surroundings subtly altered, her air slightly chilled. Something malicious resents her presence, something clouding her senses and threatening her very sanity.

In present day New York, art gallery curator Rachel Wright has learned she is a descendant of the de Greys and heir to Winterbourne. Adopted as an infant, she never knew her birth parents or her lineage. At long last, Rachel will find answers to questions about her identity that have haunted her entire life. But what she finds in Cornwall is a devastating tragic legacy that has afflicted generations of de Greys. A legacy borne from greed and deceit, twisted by madness, and suffused with unrequited love and unequivocal rage.

First Line:

Listen! Can you hear it?

The Woman in the Mirror by Rebecca James

My Review:

I haven’t read a good Gothic mystery in a while. A long while, now that I have had time to think about it. That was the main reason why I decided I wanted to read The Woman in the Mirror. I wanted to see if they were as good as I remembered. And guess what, they were!!!

The Woman in the Mirror had fast-moving storylines, which I enjoyed. I feel that if the storylines had been slower than the book would have dragged on. The flow of the book was good. There were no dropped storylines, but I did have a question about Alice’s pregnancy during WWII. I couldn’t quite place what happened (if she had the baby or not).

Speaking of Alice, I felt awful for her. She had some mental issues that followed her to Winterbourne. That alone made her chapters fun to read. I couldn’t tell if she was losing it because of that or if the house caused it. I loved it!!!

Rachel was a different story, though. She inherited Winterbourne from an unknown aunt (she was adopted). Rachel thought it would be a great way to see where her mother came from and see her roots. Of course, what she discovered was something way more sinister.

The paranormal/mystery was well written. I did have an issue with the whole reason why Winterbourne was cursed not being revealed until the end of the book. I also didn’t like how that storyline was resolved. It was a little too tidy. But other than that, both were wonderful. I don’t think I will look at gilded mirrors and murals the same again.

There was a small romance angle of the book. Honestly, I didn’t see it between Alice and the captain. It didn’t grab me. Mainly because of the way he treated her. Of course, that was explained away but still. It left me going, “Really?” I also didn’t see it between Jack and Rachel until the end. I could have gone without the romance, but I can see why the author wrote it in. It made what happened to Alice even more disturbing.

The end of The Woman in the Mirror was terrific. I loved how everything came together. And then there was the epilogue. I had to reread it. The way it was written and what was written!! Will there be a 2nd book?

I would give The Woman in the Mirror an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Woman in the Mirror. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

Things in Jars: A Novel by [Kidd, Jess]

4 Stars

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of publication: February 4th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find Things in Jars: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book synopsis:

In the dark underbelly of Victorian London, a formidable female sleuth is pulled into the macabre world of fanatical anatomists and crooked surgeons while investigating the kidnapping of an extraordinary child in this gothic mystery—perfect for fans of The Essex Serpent and The Book of Speculation.

Bridie Devine—female detective extraordinaire—is confronted with the most baffling puzzle yet: the kidnapping of Christabel Berwick, secret daughter of Sir Edmund Athelstan Berwick, and a peculiar child whose reputed supernatural powers have captured the unwanted attention of collectors trading curiosities in this age of discovery.

Winding her way through the labyrinthine, sooty streets of Victorian London, Bridie won’t rest until she finds the young girl, even if it means unearthing a past that she’d rather keep buried. Luckily, her search is aided by an enchanting cast of characters, including a seven-foot tall housemaid; a melancholic, tattoo-covered ghost; and an avuncular apothecary. But secrets abound in this foggy underworld where spectacle is king and nothing is quite what it seems.

Blending darkness and light, history and folklore, Things in Jars is a spellbinding Gothic mystery that collapses the boundary between fact and fairy tale to stunning effect and explores what it means to be human in inhumane times.

First Line:

As pale as a grave grub she’s an eyeful.

Things in Jars by Jess Kidd

My Review:

When I read the blurb for Things in Jars, I knew that I needed to read the book. A mystery set in Victorian England that had a paranormal/fantasy bent to it. Another thing going for this book is that I had read Himself by the author and loved it. So, yes, I was excited to read the book. I am glad that I did because Things in Jars were fantastic!!

Things in Jars had a great storyline. Bridie Devine is a female detective who takes on a case that she thinks will be easy. A 6-year-old girl has been kidnapped, and her father is frantic to get her back. But, as Bridie starts to investigate this story, she notices that things aren’t adding up. Then Bridie’s past collides with her present in a way that could derail her investigation. What is so special about that girl? Why are so many people after her? And what will happen when Bridie is forced to face her past?

The plotline for Things in Jars was lightning fast. That surprised me because when a book goes from past to present, there is always some lag. But not in this case. The author was able to keep up the pace of the plotline and seamlessly go from past to present. There are also no dropped characters or storylines. It made reading this book absolutely a joy!!

I am not a massive fan of when books got back and forth in time. But in this case, the author made it work. As Bridie investigated Christabel’s kidnapping, the author showed what it was like for Bridie growing up. It wasn’t pretty. There were parts of her childhood that made me want to hug her. The time spent in the Eames household, and what Gideon put her through was awful. But, it showed where she got her medical skills and how it shaped her into the woman she was in the present day.

The storyline with Christabel’s kidnapping was interesting. I liked it because I had to figure out if Christabel being a freak of nature was true or not. For a time, I did think that Christabel was an innocent child. But, then there was a crucial scene that involved snails and feet that changed my mind.

I liked that the author took the Irish myth of the Merrow and ran with it. I wasn’t familiar with that myth and spent some time reading about it after I finished the book. I loved it!!

I also loved how the author tied Bridie’s past and present together. There were a couple of people from her past that showed up, not including Ruby Doyle. I was surprised at how they were tied in.

I loved the paranormal angle of the book. I did feel that Ruby’s storyline was dragged on, and I did think, for a time, that his connection to Bridie was forgotten. But, it wasn’t, and the reveal was heartbreaking. I’ll admit, I cried.

The end of Things in Jars was nothing short of amazing. The author did a fantastic job of wrapping everything up. My heart broke a few times when reading the ending. I was wondering if there was going to be another book, but I don’t think so. If I’m wrong, that’s great. But the vibe I got was no.

I would give Things in Jars an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Things in Jars. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The God Game by Danny Tobey

The God Game: A Novel by [Tobey, Danny]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: January 7th, 2020

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The God Game: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

You are invited!
Come inside and play with G.O.D.
Bring your friends!
It’s fun!
But remember the rules. Win and ALL YOUR DREAMS COME TRUE.™ Lose, you die!

With those words, Charlie and his friends enter the G.O.D. Game, a video game run by underground hackers and controlled by a mysterious AI that believes it’s God. Through their phone-screens and high-tech glasses, the teens’ realities blur with a virtual world of creeping vines, smoldering torches, runes, glyphs, gods, and mythical creatures. When they accomplish a mission, the game rewards them with expensive tech, revenge on high-school tormentors, and cash flowing from ATMs. Slaying a hydra and drawing a bloody pentagram as payment to a Greek god seem harmless at first. Fun even.

But then the threatening messages start. Worship me. Obey me. Complete a mission, however cruel, or the game reveals their secrets and crushes their dreams. Tasks that seemed harmless at first take on deadly consequences. Mysterious packages show up at their homes. Shadowy figures start following them, appearing around corners, attacking them in parking garages. Who else is playing this game, and how far will they go to win?

And what of the game’s first promise: win, win big, lose, you die? Dying in a virtual world doesn’t really mean death in real life—does it?

As Charlie and his friends try to find a way out of the game, they realize they’ve been manipulated into a bigger web they can’t escape: an AI that learned its cruelty from watching us.

God is always watching, and He says when the game is done.

First Line:

The blue light of the computer screen was flickering on Charlie’s and Peter’s faces, making them look like astronauts lit by the cosmos.

The God Game by Danny Toby

My Review:

I know I start 99.9% of my reviews off like this, but the blurb caught my attention. I have read plenty of books that use gaming a part of their main plotline. I have also read plenty of books where a game is using people for its agenda. So, what was different about this blurb that caught my eye? It was the shiver of suspense that I got from reading it. I needed to know what the GOD game was and how it was played. I will say that this book did deliver on that shiver of suspense, and it added a massive dollop of thriller also.

The God Game’s plotline is super fast. The whole book takes place within a couple of weeks of Charlie and Peter starting the game. It was so fast that I did end up having to reread some chapters because I missed things. Usually, I would be annoyed by that. But in this case, I wasn’t.

The plot for The God Game centers around Charlie and his group of coding friends, “The Vindicators.Charlie and Peter discover The G.O.D. Game on the dark web. Charlie initially didn’t want to play the game, but Peter talked him into doing it. The G.O.D. Game is augmented reality and to play, The Vindicators got special glasses to play. The game was fun at first. Well, if you call breaking into the school and painting bloody pentagrams first. Since this was a morality based game, each good action was rewarded to Goldz or different prizes. But, each adverse action was rewarded with Blaxx. Get enough Blaxx and terrible things happen. The Vindicators soon find out that there is no getting out of The G.O.D. Game. But Charlie isn’t deterred. He and his friends (well minus Peter) are determined to quit the game. Even if that means someone dies.

There is so much that I want to say about this book. But doing so will end up with me giving away major spoilers. And it’s driving me nuts!! I will say that the author did a fantastic job of keeping me glued to my Kindle. I started reading this at breakfast (after dropping my six-year-old at school), and I was finished by 11 am. It was that good.

I would give The God Game an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The God Game. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

Twenty-one Truths About Love: A Novel by [Dicks, Matthew]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of Publication: November 19th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find Twenty-one Truths About Love: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

1. Daniel Mayrock loves his wife Jill…more than anything. 
2. Dan quit his job and opened a bookshop.
3. Jill is ready to have a baby. 
4. Dan is scared; the bookshop isn’t doing well. Financial crisis is imminent. 
5. Dan hasn’t told Jill about their financial trouble. He’s ashamed. 
6. Then Jill gets pregnant.

This heartfelt story is about the lengths one man will go to and the risks he will take to save his family. But Dan doesn’t just want to save his failing bookstore and his family’s finances—he wants to become someone.

1. Dan wants to do something special. 
2. He’s a man who is tired of feeling ordinary. 
3. He’s sick of feeling like a failure. 
4. Of living in the shadow of his wife’s deceased first husband.

Dan is also an obsessive list maker, and his story unfolds entirely in his lists, which are brimming with Dan’s hilarious sense of humor, unique world-view, and deeply personal thoughts. When read in full, his lists paint a picture of a man struggling to be a man, a man who has reached a point where he’s willing to anything for the love (and soon-to-be new love) of his life.

First Line:

Ways to keep Jill from getting pregnant

Twenty-one Truths About Love by Matthew Dicks

My Review:

When I started reading Twenty-one Truths about Love, I wasn’t a massive fan of it. I mean, a book that is told through lists. I was expecting to DNF it after the first chapter. Then a funny thing happened. I started to get involved with the book. I began to care about Dan. I wanted to know if he was going to carry out his crazy plan. I wanted to see if he would ever contact his father.

I liked Dan. He had his quirks (don’t we all) and was trying to do his best. He also had an excellent sense of humor. But, he was also insecure. He was jealous of his wife’s first husband, who seemed to be a saint. He felt that he couldn’t live up to his brother’s success. He was also the most affected by his mother’s affair, the divorce, and his father not contacting them again.

I laughed my butt off at his plan to get more money. It wasn’t what he was going to do. But it was how he went about doing it. I liked that he turned that episode into something he learned from.

The end of Twenty-one Truths About Love was heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time. I had a huge smile when the book ended. The book that I was sure I wouldn’t like ended up being a fantastic book!!

I would give Twenty-one Truths About Love an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Twenty-one Truths About Love.  I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Campusland by Scott Johnston

Campusland: A Novel by [Johnston, Scott]

3 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 13th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find Campusland: Barnes and Noble | Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

A tumultuous and often hilarious first novel about one year of insanity at the Ivy-like Devon University, a blissful bubble of elite students and the adults at their mercy.

Eph Russell is an English professor up for tenure. He may look and sound privileged, but Eph is right out of gun-rack, Bible-thumping rural Alabama. His beloved Devon, though, has become a place of warring tribes, and there are landmines waiting for Eph that he is unequipped to see. The cultural rules are changing fast.

Lulu Harris is an entitled freshman—er, firstyear—from Manhattan. Her singular ambition is to be a prominent socialite – an “It Girl.” While most would kill for a place at Devon, to her college is a dreary impediment. She is pleasantly surprised to find some people she can tolerate in the Fellingham Society, a group of self-professed campus monarchists. When things become socially difficult, Lulu is forced to re-channel her ambition in a most unexpected way – as a militant feminist. In the process, she and Eph will find their fates at odds.

Also in the mix is Red Wheeler, who is in his seventh year at Devon, and is carefully managing his credits to stay longer. As the alpha dog atop Devon’s progressive hierarchy, Red is the most “woke” guy on campus. But when his position is threatened, he must take measures.

All paths collide in a riotous climax. Campusland is a timely and gleeful skewering of the modern American campus and its tribal culture.

First Line:

“D’Arcy!” Milton cried from his office.

Campusland by Scott Johnston

My Review:

I was eager to read Campusland after reading the blurb. I thought that it was going to be a comedy mixed with today’s social issues. For the most part, that is what I got. But there were certain parts of Campusland where I felt the author was trying too hard. And it was those parts of the book that made it fall short for me.

Campusland is the story of Devon University and the year of upheavals that it endures. Caught in the middle of everything is Eph Russell, an English professor trying to make tenure. He is also trying to make it through the year. Lulu is a first-year who has aspirations to become an Instagram star and a socialite. Instead, she is attending Devon University and hating it. Red, in his seventh year at Devon, is the top social activist on campus. His activities have been limited to small protests. When he is threatened, Red takes drastic measures, which affect Eph and Lulu in ways that they can’t imagine. What will happen when all paths collide? What will happen?

Like I mentioned above, I was excited to read Campusland. I enjoy reading about social issues that are affecting today’s youths (holy crap, I sound so old here!!). The events that happen at Devon University have been ripped, for the most part, from the headlines. As I got into the book, though, I started to feel a disconnect from Campusland.

I did feel sorry for Eph. He was the real victim in this book. He got no say to defend himself from every accusation that was brought against him. Instead, there was an internal investigation. The internal investigation was biased because the woman running it was hell-bent on proving him guilty.

I couldn’t stand Lulu. From the moment she appeared in the book, I disliked her. She was a self-centered, spoiled brat with kleptomaniac tendencies. Everything she did was to promote her brand, which disgusted me later on in the book.

I also didn’t like Red. At first, he came across as one of those stoner activists. But as the book went on, he became more and more devious. His activism became almost militant. I was waiting with bated breath to see if he would leave the book.

I did enjoy seeing what a glimpse into what college is like today. When I was in college, there was nothing like the groups that were shown. Or if there was, they stayed well underground and out of the spotlight.

I was relieved when I finished Campusland. I thought that the author tried too hard to form the characters into stereotypes. While there was humor in the book, the humor felt forced. I will say that the ending of Campusland was interesting. But I didn’t think that the ending was appropriate. I can’t get into it but what Lulu and Red ended up going on to do didn’t make me happy.

I would give Campusland an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would not reread Campusland. I would not recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

The Kilwade Tragedy: Tragedies don’t just happen by Terry Keys

The Kilwade Tragedy: Tragedies don't just happen. by [Keys, Terry]

5 Stars


Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction

Where you can find The Kilwade Tragedy: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Terry Keys, USA Today bestselling author of Lie No More and The Missing pens his most captivating book to date. This is the heart-breaking story about a small-town boy who’d taken everything from everyone until he could take no more. 

Seventeen-year-old Blaze Planter is a Jr. at Kilwade, High School. 
His parents have recently divorced. 
His grades are slipping. 
His anger is growing with each day. 
Relationships with his closest friends are failing. 
Secrets about his life are being uncovered. 
No one understands what he is going through. 
And everyone who has betrayed him needs to be taught a lesson. 
So now he stands with the one friend that has never betrayed him. 
The one friend that does what he asks every time he squeezes the trigger. 
The only friend that he can depend on. 
Tragedies don’t just happen. The signs are simply overlooked every day until it’s too late. 

After the read be sure to review the author’s note where resources for additional help are listed. There are also discussion questions to generate conversation & get adults and student’s talking. 

First Line

Let me just start off by saying that no kid is ever born thinking one day I’m going to kill myself

The Kilwade Tragedy by Terry Keys

My Review:

Before I start this review, I do want to let you all know that this book is trigger heavy. The triggers are bullying, casual drug use, physical violence, online bullying, underage drinking, and the planning/execution of a school shooting in Texas. The Kilwade Tragedy isn’t a book for everyone, but it is a book that needs to be read. So, read with these triggers in mind.

I am not going to lie. The Kilwade Tragedy was a tough book to read. There were points where I wanted to put the book down.

The Kilwade Tragedy explores the events that led Blaze to do what he did. And what is revealed is frightening.

As a mother of school-age children, The Kilwade Tragedy struck a nerve with me. I am uneasy about sending my kids to school. Even though I know that their schools have upgraded their security measures. But the security measures don’t extend to recess, school trips or sporting events. So, yes, what happened at the end of the book chilled me. Reading that was my worst nightmare.

I was impressed with the research that the author did. At the same time, I was chilled. He was able to gain access to several different middle/high schools in his area. NO ONE ASKED WHY HE WAS THERE. I couldn’t believe it.

What saddened me the most about The Kilwade Tragedy is that Blaze was let down. He was screaming for help and kept getting brushed off. By the time his mother got him to a therapist, it was too late. He was already pushed past his breaking point.

The bullying scenes were heartbreaking. I liked how the author showed the escalation of the bullying. It went from name-calling to mental to physical over a year. I liked that the author showed how the school failed Blaze. Oh boy, did they ever. Because the bullies were on the football team, they chose to turn the other cheek until it was too late. When the police went to arrest the boys for assault, they chose to let one of the kids walk because of who his father was. Unfortunately, scenarios like that one are played out all over the country. A zero bullying policy only works if the staff chooses to enforce it for everyone.

The end of The Kilwade Tragedy was chilling. The speech that the principal gave is given too often. But, in this speech, the principal acknowledged that Blaze was failed. And he vowed that change would start with his school.

The author’s note included several links where people could go for help. He also had a question and answer prompt if the book would be read in book clubs.

As I mentioned above, this is a heartbreaking book to read. Reading about what lead a teenager to decide to do a school shooting was hard for me. But I needed to read it.

I would give The Kilwade Tragedy an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Kilwade Tragedy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

We Are All Good People Here: A Novel by [White, Susan Rebecca]

4 Stars

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of Publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find We Are All Good People Here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.

Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.

Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.

Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivating…meaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.

First Line:

Daniella’s father steered the Dodge Pioneer up the serpentine drive of Belmont College, home to more than five hundred girls renowned for their Beauty and Brains, or at least that wsa what the boosterish tour guide who had shown Daniella around the previous spring had claimed.

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

We Are All Good People Here was an interesting read. I usually don’t like books that follow characters over the decades. Often, I find myself getting confused with what is going on and losing track of the plotline. Not in this book. We Are All Good People Here was an interesting, character-driven book that had me engrossed the entire time.

What I liked the most about this book was how the characters changed with each decade. Each decade showed a different side to Eve and Daniella. I enjoyed seeing the different sides of Eve and Daniella. I liked seeing how they related to each other in those periods of their lives. I loved seeing how their friendship evolved during the 30+ years the book covers. It made for a fantastic read.

I liked how the author had Eve and Daniella be on opposite ends of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War protests. It was interesting to read about Daniella’s time in Mississippi. I was interested in how Eve was immersed in a radical group. It fascinated me.

We Are All Good People Here covers so much that this review would be forever if I wrote about them all. Racism and discrimination were two of the main things discussed. Also discussed where same-sex couples, date rape, drug use, and radicalism. All these issues combined into one book made for a great read.

What I didn’t like was how Eve changed. It didn’t sit right with me. She was immersed in the culture of the underground radicals. So, for her to marry a lawyer and become a “perfect” wife was a hard pill to swallow.

I wasn’t a fan of Eve and Daniella’s kids taking over the book. But, I understood why the author did that. She wanted to introduce the issues that my generation had to deal with growing up.

The end of We Are All Good People Here was almost anticlimactic. I figured that Eve would end up doing what she did. Daniella, I didn’t expect her life to take the course that it did. It was an excellent ending to a great story. The talk that Daniella and Sarah had at the end of the book touched me.

I would give We Are All Good People Here an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread We Are All Good People Here. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find Keeping Lucy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.

My review

Keeping Lucy is a tale of a mother’s love and how powerful it could be. Ginny’s heart was broken when she was told that her baby had Down’s Syndrome. It was crushed even more when her powerful father in law arraigned for the newborn to be taken to Willowridge, a school for feeble-minded people. Ginny was never allowed to see Lucy and was told that she should mourn for Lucy like she was dead. Two years pass. Then Ginny’s friend Marsha shows her a series of articles that expose Willowridge as a hell on earth for its residents. Horrified at what she saw and read, Ginny, can’t leave Lucy there. After seeing the school and the conditions for herself, Ginny is determined never to bring her back. But her actions have consequences that soon have her and Marsha racing towards Florida with the children. What will happen to Lucy? To Ginny?

Keeping Lucy was a hard book for me to read. As a mother, I couldn’t even begin to fathom what Ginny went through in the 2 years after Lucy was taken from her. I don’t know how she could live with her husband after he forced that decision on her. But, then again, this was the late 60’s/early ’70s. Men still made the decisions, and women’s feelings were not thought about.

Ginny’s character development through the book was terrific. She went from being this meek, compliant housewife to a person who stood her ground when threatened. I loved it. She became an enraged mama bear protecting her cub. The ultimatum that she threw down to Ab was epic. Even better was what she said to her overbearing, control freak of a father in law.

I didn’t care for Ab. He let his father rule his life. In doing so, he allowed his daughter to be placed in a “school” with deplorable living conditions. He did love Ginny and Peyton. I also understood where he was coming from when he made the decision to send Lucy away. But, it was everything after the fact that made me go “WTF.

Lucy was the innocent victim in all this. I shared Ginny’s horror when she saw (and smelled) the conditions of that “school.” The scene when Ginny first changed Lucy’s diaper broke my heart. How long did she sit in that diaper for the rash to get that bad?? There are other examples of the severe neglect that she endured, but I won’t go into them.

I didn’t like Ab’s father. He was a controlling jerk. I don’t understand why he thought that he could separate a mother from her child. I don’t understand why he thought that bullying his son into complying was alright. I do believe that he was one of those rich people who thought money and connections solved everything. He was a jerk and deserved a knee to the crotch.

Click N Play 18 Piece Beach Sand Toy Set

The main plotline, Ginny going on the run with the kids, was well written. It did get off to a slow start, but it gained steam. By the time everyone reached Florida, it was flowing nicely. I could taste her desperation. I could feel her horror and fear. But, more importantly, I saw the fierce love that she had for her children. She was willing to do whatever it took to prevent Lucy from going back to that hellhole.

The end of Keeping Lucy was different. All I have to say about it is that I am happy with how things ended up.

I would give Keeping Lucy an Adult rating. There are sexual references but sex is not described outright. There is mild language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be extreme child neglect. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.


I would reread Keeping Lucy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Keeping Lucy.

All opinions stated in this review of Keeping Lucy are mine.

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by [GARAI, Indrajit]

4 Stars

Publisher: Self Published

Date of publication: March 18th, 2019

Genre: General Fiction, Young Adult

Where you can find The Bridge of Little Jeremy: Amazon

Book synopsis:

Jeremy’s mother is about to go to prison for their debt to the State. He is trying everything within his means to save her, but his options are running out fast. 

Then Jeremy discovers a treasure under Paris. 

This discovery may save his mother, but it doesn’t come for free. And he has to ride over several obstacles for his plan to work. 

Meanwhile, something else is limiting his time…

First Line:

The noise in the attic wakes me again.

The Bridge of Little Jeremy by Indrajit Garai

My Review:

The Bridge of Little Jeremy is one of those books that stick with you long after you’ve read it. After I finished it, I found myself thinking hard about what happened. This book struck me. As the mother of an 11 and 13-year-old, I could imagine my son or daughter having the adventures that Jeremy did.

The characters in The Bridge of Little Jeremy were wonderfully written; they were multi-layered. Each time a layer was exposed, there was another one underneath. Even towards the end of the book, when everything was wrapping up, the characters were still surprising me.

I enjoyed that The Bridge of Little Jeremy touched upon many issues that affect people present day. I liked seeing that good and the bad that came out of it. Some of the issues that were touched upon were single parenthood, health care, inheritance tax, the pros and cons of using social media, and unearthing family secrets. All those made this book a fantastic read.

Jeremy was an interesting character to read. He tried to help his mother with the inheritance tax. His heart condition limited how much he could help and get around. So, when he found that painting, he thought that it could help. It had been damaged by water and Jeremy thought he could restore it. His main focus from the middle of the book on was helping his mother. It became an obsession with him.

The end of The Bridge of Little Jeremy took me by surprise. I was not expecting what happened to happen. There was some foreshadowing but still, did not expect it. The very last chapter gave me chills.

I would give The Bridge of Little Jeremy an Adult rating. There is no sex. There is mild language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread The Bridge of Little Jeremy. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**