The Girl In The Mirror by Rose Carlyle

Summer was the first born twin and the most shy.  Iris was a surprise a few minutes later. She was not as shy as Summer.

In fact, Iris was always jealous of Summer. Summer seemed to just have everything handed to her and was prettier.  

As they grew into adults, they were friends, but Iris was still jealous.  

When their father died, his will made things between them a bit tricky because even though they didn’t discuss it, they were or at least Iris was competing to be the first to become pregnant to inherit their father’s hundred million dollar fortune.

Only one child could inherit the money and not share it with any of the other siblings that included the siblings their father had with his two other wives.

We then meet the sisters when Iris has left her husband and Summer needs Iris to help take the family yacht across the ocean.  

The two sisters take the yacht together, but what Summer tells Iris while they are on their way will change everything. What happens the next morning is even worse. 

Summer was no where to be found, and she hadn’t awakened Iris at midnight as planned. 

Where could Summer be? Of course Iris thinks the worst, and knows the worst has happened. 

But…has the worst happened?  

Iris always wanted to be Summer.  Maybe she could be Summer now that she is gone.

The decision was easily made for Iris/Summer when she made it to shore, and the deceit begins.

It was nerve wracking thinking how Iris was going to pull all of this off. She even thought twice about it herself.

Many surprises await the reader as the book continues. Does Iris/Summer get away with what she did?

The girl in the mirror will keep you guessing, and keep you turning the pages.

Those readers who enjoy nautical jargon and journeys on a yacht will also be pulled in.  4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline

What a wonderful history lesson and beautifully written book.

I have never heard of these ships that took female prisoners from England to Australia to work off their sentences and who were charged with crimes of no consequence such as stealing a spoon.

We meet Evangeline who was a governess accused of stealing a ring that the son of the person she worked for gave her and who suffered through her months in a filthy prison then on the boat to Australia.

We meet Hazel a midwife and girl who knew how to heal with herbs who was on the transport ship with Evangeline, and they became fast friends as Evangeline taught her to read.

The horrible conditions and abuse these women had to endure is appalling, but the friendships made and the closeness of the women on the boat was wonderful.

In another story line, we meet Mathinna who was taken from her family by an aristocrat and his wife to live in their home. They cared nothing about how Mathinna felt to be all alone because they liked to “collect” things.

All three women suffered immeasurably in the lives they led and in situations that are mesmerizing but heartbreaking.

Ms. Kline has done impeccable research and enlightened us about this time in history and had me looking up Mathinna, the prisons, and Hobart Town.

Another outstanding read with beautifully flowing writing and definitely a book you won’t want to miss.

I didn’t want to stop reading and looked forward to returning to the book. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher and Book Browse in exchange for an honest review.

Tahoe Hit by Todd Borg

Murders occurring by use of a dart filled with etorphine – a substance that is used to tranquilize animals but instantly deadly to humans.

Two high-profile millionaires that were college friends and co-workers of Carston Kraytower, a hedge fund millionaire himself, were murdered and the deaths were made to look like they were heart attacks.

Owen McKenna resident investigator comes on the scene with Spot, Street, and Blondie to find clues, but Owen finds more than clues.  Always nice to visit with these familiar, lovable characters.

Owen finds Carston’s son who is mostly an introvert and who confesses that there are family secrets, but won’t reveal them.

TAHOE HIT is another tension-filled, signature Todd Borg book with twists, turns, and surprises with some Shakespeare added in for fun this time.

Mr. Borg’s books have familiar characters, but they always seem to have unfamiliar, but interesting topics that introduce the reader to something not well known or in this case something that brought together a clever story line.

TAHOE HIT will keep you turning the pages and at times have you biting your nails as Owen puts himself in danger but solves yet another mystery.

Even though the book got a bit wordy at times, this book is another “hit” by master storyteller Todd Borg.  4/5

If you haven’t met Todd Borg’s wonderful characters and books yet, why not get started on them.  They can be read as stand alones.

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Before She Was Helen by Caroline B. Cooney

How could being a good samaritan and checking on your neighbor turn into a disaster even though Helen was used to being helpful as well as having disasters in her life?

Helen didn’t hear from her neighbor Dom which was unusual since he texted her every morning to let her know he was ok.

Today when she checked on him, he wasn’t there, but then she found a secret door between his garage and the other neighbor.

Finding that door was a big mistake…it led to finding something she didn’t want to be involved in and something she never knew was going on in her quiet retirement community.  

She also should have never mentioned what she found to her nephew who actually got her in a predicament that “blew up” because he posted it on social media.

If that wasn’t enough trouble for her….her neighbor’s nephew was murdered.

BEFORE SHE WAS HELEN pulled me in because of Helen.

I really liked Helen and felt sorry for her especially since her secrets might get out after all of these years and because she had a terrible childhood filled with guilt and bad memories.  

That’s why she created another persona in the first place….she used to be Clemmie.  She had to hide her secrets and her past.

The story line flowed beautifully, and this book is filled with regrets, lovable, quirky retired characters, fun, and a murder to solve. It is difficult to figure out who the murderer is because it could be any number of people.

If you need something different as well as enjoyable, BEFORE SHE WAS HELEN should be your next read because you never know what goes on in a retirement community. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Shadow and Light by Carol Halik Koris

If Maggie wouldn’t have been in her dark room, could she have prevented the accident that took her daughter’s life?

Maggie is a photographer and in deep depression since her daughter’s death which she blames on herself.

To cope with her loss, she goes to rest stops on the Florida Turnpike and takes photos of families.

A photo she had taken one day could be something that may help or hinder a family whose daughter was kidnapped.  Could this really be the same girl? No one believes her.

Maggie had an obsession about the girl who had been kidnapped and insisted that it was her and that she needed to help find her.  

Ms. Koris’s writing is pull-you-in and enjoyable even though the book’s content is heartbreaking.  You can feel Maggie’s gut wrenching pain as she grieves.  You can also feel her husband’s frustration as he tries to help her cope.

Along with the grief we have a mystery to solve and another decision for Maggie to make.  Whose story should she believe about the kidnapping? 

SHADOW AND LIGHT is very well written with a high level of interest because of the subject matter and the author’s writing style.

SHADOW AND LIGHT has an excellent twist that took the theme from domestic problems to a thriller.

It is an excellent book for those that enjoy mystery and those who enjoy twists and turns.

You will need some tissues for the tender and sad moments that happen. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Confessions on the 7:45 by Lisa Unger

Publication Date: October 6, 2020
Publisher: Park Row Books

Strangers telling each other their deepest secrets starts the ball rolling as we find many characters with secrets, characters who tell lies, characters who are manipulative, and characters who aren’t who they seem. 

Martha and Selena meet by chance on the train coming home, and they exchange secrets.

Martha is having an affair with her boss.

Selena saw in the nanny camera that her husband was having an affair with the nanny.

Martha replied by saying that maybe the nanny will disappear, and then the nanny does disappear.

Selena doesn’t reply but regrets telling her secret.

What do all of these characters have to do with each other and with the events that have been happening?

There are quite a few characters to keep straight and characters that cross paths, but how do they all fit in and connect?

CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 is truly addictive.  It is one surprise after another. 

You won’t want to put it down because of the writing and the cunning, who-do-you-believe characters and the who-could-think-of these things that are happening.

Make sure this book makes it into your TBR for this fall. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

 ************

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Lisa Unger is the New York Times and internationally bestselling author of eighteen novels, including CONFESSIONS ON THE 7:45 (Oct. 2020). 

With millions of readers worldwide and books published in twenty-six languages, Unger is widely regarded as a master of suspense. 

Her critically acclaimed books have been voted “Best of the Year” or top picks by the Today show, Good Morning America, Entertainment Weekly, Amazon, IndieBound and others. 

Her essays have appeared in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, and Travel+Leisure. She lives on the west coast of Florida with her family.

SOCIAL: 

Author Website: https://lisaunger.com/

TWITTER: @lisaunger

FB: @authorlisaunger  

Insta: @launger

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/18445.Lisa_Unger

When We Were Young and Brave by Hazel Gaynor

Nancy Plummer was hoping to go home for Christmas, but her mother wrote she wouldn’t be able to.

Elspeth Kent was hoping to hand in her resignation, but wasn’t able to.

What kept them from their wishes is that in 1941 the Japanese army took over their British-run school, Chefoo, after Pearl Harbor was bombed.

The students and teachers were confined to the premises for a year and then made to move to another school. The new school was in terrible condition, but they made the best of it and hoped every day that they would be rescued by their countrymen.  

After being moved to the second school, they were again moved but to a camp.  Life was pretty normal except for being kept inside with guards and the lack of sanitation and food.

The book is told in alternating chapters from the perspectives of Nancy a student and Elspeth a teacher.

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND BRAVE is based on true events which I never was aware of, but it shows the resiliency and creativity of human nature to work with what you have. 

Ms. Gaynor portrayed the characters perfectly, and you could feel what they were feeling.

WHEN WE WERE YOUNG AND BRAVE was a bit slow at first, but once you get to know the characters, you will be drawn in as I was.

This book is about friendship, courage, hope, and endurance.  It is a beautiful book that will have you appreciating your freedom and your family.

Miss Gaynor’s meticulous research had me looking for more information about the lives of the teachers and students that were taken from their school to a Japanese internment camp. 4/5

This book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

I Know What I Saw by S.K. Sharp

Nicola was gifted with an extraordinary memory, but was it a gift?

Things vividly popped up from her past with details that would have been totally forgotten by most.

​​After 37 years, a body is found, and Nicola is asked to remember what happened that night since her ex husband is accused.  

He needs her for an alibi.​​  She is not sure her recollection will free him, but she told what she remembered whether the police believe her or not.

​​I KNOW WHAT I SAW went back and forth from Nicola’s life as a teenager to today’s investigation.​​

I thought the teenage chapters were a bit too much and not that interesting, but even the current-day chapters were not that enticing.  ​​

The book was actually a bit confusing as to who the characters were and how they were related.​​

The story line was good, but it would have been better had it not dragged out so much even though the background information was necessary. ​​

Hinting that Nicola didn’t tell everything to the police kept me going along with wanting to know what really happened to Declan’s father that night and who the killer was.​​

​​I still can’t give it a higher rating even though it got good around 80%. 

It just took too long to get there. 3/5​

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Millicent Glenn’s Last Wish by Tori Whitaker

Oh to be a 1950’s housewife.  Really?  Maybe.

Millicent lets us in on what it was like to be a housewife in the 1950’s.  

Husbands not really liking their wives to work, having to have your husband sign at the bank if you wanted to open an account in your own name, being dressed up when your husband came home, and wishing you could do more than stay at home with the babies.

We meet 91-year-old Millicent, her daughter, Jane, and her granddaughter, Kelsey, as we move from the 1950’s to 2015.  

Three generations of strong women and a secret Millicent kept for all of these years.  

We get to experience these women’s joys as well as their sorrows.

I enjoyed the way the author weaved past situations into the present-day happenings as she looked back.

MILLICENT GLENN’S LAST WISH was a trip back to the time when my mother would have been a wife.  It had me wondering if my mother felt as if she were trapped since she was required by the company she worked for to quit when she got married.

Even more than learning about Millicent’s life of sorrow and secrets, this sweet book focuses on the love between a mother and her child and a mother and her daughter.

Warning: Tissues needed for happy events as well as sad and oh so good.  5/5

This book was given to me by the author and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Three Mrs. Wrights by Linda Keir

Trip, Jonathan, Jack…which one was he? He had a different name for each woman he was seducing.

How did he keep his names and his stories straight about who he was?

Hopefully he will slip up one day. 

One slip came out when Johnathan’s wife, Holly, had a friend tell her that her husband saw Jonathan on a flight to Los Angeles. Really? He said he was going to San Francisco. 

We follow Trip, Jonathan, and Jack as he sets up three women and uses them for his advantage and for helping him increase his wealth.

None of the three even has a clue about what he’s been doing for the past 20 some years.  

What a liar and a con man he was.  He had an answer for every question and situation that came up when  the women asked him where he was and why something happened.

I did enjoy the basic premise and was hoping they would find out about Trip, Jonathan, and Jack, but all the background and details about each of his business adventures made the book drag for me. 

The first quarter of the book was not interesting at all. I about gave up until something happened that peaked my interest, but the book still wasn’t pull you in until the last quarter.  The last quarter was excellent.

I had to keep going to see what happened so I guess it did pull me in at some point.  🙂 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.