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Little Lovely Things by Maureen Joyce Connolly

Glen, Claire, Andrea, and Lily had the perfect life until the day Claire had to pull off the road because of dizziness, leave the car running with her daughters in it because of the heat, and then return to find the car and her daughters gone.

Could anything worse have happened?  Of course the answer is no.  A missing child is a parent’s worst nightmare.

We follow the Rawlings family as they move through the heartbreaking days as the police investigate with no luck.  As you read you will feel their pain as they remember their daughters and special occasions.

An interesting twist is another story line that will have you guessing how both stories connect.

For a debut novel, Ms. Connolly definitely knows how to put words together to make a fast-paced, tense, unable-to-put-down read with memorable characters.

Even though the subject isn’t pleasant, Ms. Connolly did a superb, creative job with the topic and with pulling you into the story line and connecting with the characters.

LITTLE LOVELY THINGS is heartbreaking, heartwarming, and has 98% likeable characters.  5/5

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


The Bookshop of the Broken Hearted


Tom was shy, Trudy wasn’t happy.

Trudy left Tom, came back pregnant, left again without her son, Peter, then came back again to take Peter away.  Taking Peter away devastated Tom because he grew to love Peter and was the main caregiver even though he wasn’t Peter’s father.

Tom decided he had to move on with his life since he was only thirty three, and he found Hannah to help with that.  Hannah moved a bit too fast for Tom, but it all worked out.

Tom was shy, Hannah was bolder.  Tom had tragedy in his life, but nothing like Hannah’s.  Hannah had been in Auschwitz and had lost her husband and son in the camp.

Hannah was a very interesting character and a perfect match for Tom. They both had their talents, and they both complimented each other and taught each other different things until Hannah’s moods became worse. 

THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED moved along slowly but was an interesting read.  We learned about Auzchwitz and the life Hannah lived after she was free, how it all affected Hannah and her moods, and how her intensity about love, Tom, and her life was based on those experiences.  

We learned about farm life and how lonely Tom’s life was and how Hannah brought new things into his life such as books.  We learned how Hannah made Tom happy because she gave him compliments about everything he did and filled his lonely days even though Hannah had her dark days that made Tom’s days difficult. 

I enjoyed the eccentric characters and the different story lines going on at once even though a few of the story lines were a bit intense. The characters had some quirky, and at times dangerous habits, but the characters were easy to like except for a few.

The author’s writing style was fluid, easy, and pulled me in. I do have to say the book was a bit odd at times and difficult to follow.

THE BOOKSHOP OF THE BROKENHEARTED had many feelings going on…heartbreak, tragedy, loving someone even when they weren’t lovable, and being hopeful for happiness in it all. 

ENJOY if you read this book.  4/5

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

My Lovely Wife by Samantha Downing

A Lovely Wife is definitely a misnomer.  A demented psycho is more like it.

Everything Millicent does seems innocent on the outside, but it is truly evil.  She plans things that will benefit her and only her with her family being at the brunt of the control issues she has.  Millicent is definitely a character to hate.

One day after a number of years of marriage, she had the most bizarre plan.  Her husband who was never given a name in the book did what he did to keep Millicent pleased most likely because he was afraid of his wife.

MY LOVELY WIFE is unbelievable, but Ms. Downing does an excellent job of keeping you engaged from the first page, and the engagement doesn’t stop just like Millicent doesn’t stop the murders of young women.

Ms. Downing’s debut is unique and well-written, but also has a story line that is unthinkable and unimaginable.

If you enjoy a fast-paced book that takes you on a crazy ride and will have you biting your nails, then MY LOVELY WIFE will be a book you will want to take a look at.

You HAVE to read this book to believe what the characters are doing.  You won’t be able to turn the pages quickly enough. 5/5

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


The Last Year of the War by Susan Meissner

A friendship made in an internment camp during WWII that lasted only eighteen months, but bonds and memories that lasted a lifetime.

Elise and Mariko met during WWII while attending school in an internment camp for Japanese and German Americans.

We follow both girls through their eighteen months in the camp as well as after even though the friends never saw each other again until they were older adults. They tried to connect with each other, but they never were able to.

At this time in their lives, Elise was suffering from dementia, and she found out Mariko was dying from stage four breast cancer.

Even though Elise had trouble remembering things, she remembered enough to find Mariko, to get on a plane, and to find her before they both were no longer alive.

THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR is a marvelous history lesson and a testament to enduring friendship and learning lessons and making decisions.

The subject matter wasn’t light, but it was wonderful learning more about this time in history.  I actually wasn’t aware of all that happened.  It is very obvious that Ms. Meissner did extensive research and perfectly fit the facts into her book.

If you enjoy historical fiction and Ms. Meissner’s books, you will want to make room on your bookshelf for THE LAST YEAR OF THE WAR.

As all of her books, the beautiful flow of Ms. Meissner’s writing and her attention to detail make the book a treat to read.  5/5

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

The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick

Could it really be for her?  No one does things for her.  She is the one who never says no and does things for everyone else.

When Martha sees what is in the package, she can’t stop asking herself questions about it.

Does this book actually have copies of  Martha’s stories that she would write because of her Grandmother’s prompting?

Martha always was interested in writing stories because her grandmother encouraged her to write them. Her hopes went up, but then went down again thinking it couldn’t be possible that she found a book with her stories in it.

What about the note scribbled on the front page that was dated years after her grandmother had died?   Could her grandmother have written that note in hopes that Martha would eventually see the book and see that the childhood stories had been published?

Could Grandma really be alive after her parents told her she passed away 30 years ago?
If so, what made them say that?

We meet lovable, helpful, selfless Martha who works in a library and only has her critical sister left so she can’t ask her about the book or Grandmother because Lilian’s answer will be completely negative about Martha’s findings and her questions just like her father.

Martha finds out that Owen a book store owner found the book and the note and left the book for her because she was the only Martha Storm that he knew of.

We follow Martha on her quest to find about the book, her grandmother, and how all of this could be possible.

We also find out how she changed her life, trusted people, tried to forget her father’s negativity, and came out of her shell.

THE LIBRARY OF LOST AND FOUND is another heartwarming GEM by Phaedra Patrick with lovable characters you would want to have in your life and is a book you won’t want to end.

The cover is very welcoming as well.

Absolutely LOVED this book.  Be sure to add it to your to-be-read stack.  5/5

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

The Perfect Girlfriend by Karen Hamilton

Leaving me?  How can you want to end this relationship, Nate?  I am the perfect girlfriend.

Juliette and Nate had been together for a short while, but Nate wanted some space. 

Juliette couldn’t get over how Nate wanted to end what they had so she decided to train as an airline stewardess and be close to Nate since he was a pilot.  She had to remember, though, that their parting rules were to have no contact.

Juliette knew how to stay close to Nate yet remain apart.  Juliette would stop in at Nate’s apartment when she knew he was on a long distance flight and pretend she still lived there. 

Juliette did some other things not so benign simply because no one can have Nate if she can’t have him because she is the perfect girlfriend.

THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND was a bit slow to start, but once Juliette started with her “plans,” the pages flew by because you won’t be able to believe the extent she went to making sure to keep an eye on Nate and his current life.

You won’t want to miss reading THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND if you enjoy a steadily paced thriller that reveals Juliette and her past and especially her current plans to keep Nate.

She actually made my heart race with the things she did and with her boldness.  It is also difficult to believe how she thought of the things she did.

Obsessive, cunning, deceitful, unstable, and awful are the PERFECT words for THE PERFECT GIRLFRIEND.  4/5

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


Beautiful Bad by Annie Ward

Maddie and Joanna had been friends since they met in Spain.

What happened, though?

Joanna and Maddie have lost touch, Maddie married Ian, and now we come upon a 911 call as the first page of BEAUTIFUL BAD opens.

We follow from when Maddie meets Ian overseas and when Ian and Maddie are married.

The chapters are labeled in years as well as weeks before the 911 call.

As you read, subtle hints were given to the underlying tension and the situations that caused everything to fall apart and turn into murder.

Joanna seemed pretty volatile, jealous, and dangerous.

Ian seemed to have some problems with women, had secrets, and seemed dangerous.

Fiona seemed as if she could fly off the handle for any reason.  She was also jealous of Ian.

Maddie seemed to be the weak character and the most gullible, or was she?

So many characters to wonder who made the 911 call and who the attacker was.

The BEFORE-the-day-of-the-killing chapters weren’t that interesting to me even though they were the lead up to everything.

There are some frightening situations throughout the book including details of the 911 scene, bizarre happenings, and abuse.

If you enjoy a many-chapter wait for the final revelation, BEAUTIFUL BAD will be a book you will enjoy.  The ending did turn out to be a surprise.

BEAUTIFUL BAD was good, but I wasn’t wanting to rush back to it.    3.5/5

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