Peachy Flippin’ Keen by Molly Harper

OVERVIEW

A prank war erupts in Lake Sackett, Georgia and coroner Frankie McCready has to turn to the gorgeous but surly new sheriff for help in Molly Harper’s newest Southern Eclectic novella, perfect for fans of Kristan Higgins and Amy E. Reichert.

The McCready Family Funeral Home and Bait Shop has crickets running rampant in the store and hot sauce in the Snack Shack’s ketchup bottles. But as the county coroner, Frankie has enough on her plate without worrying about the increasingly mean pranks being played at her family’s business. And the arrival of Sheriff Eric Linden, both devastatingly attractive and painfully taciturn, is enough to push her over the edge.

Linden, who didn’t seem to get the memo about men in uniform and Southern charm, is condescending and cold, revealing absolutely nothing about his past as an Atlanta police officer, while also making Frankie’s job as coroner as difficult as possible. And with the town’s Fourth of July celebration coming up, it’s essential for McCready’s to be cricket-free and in good working order. Strangling the sheriff will make her job even harder. Can Frankie hold off the threats to preserve her own sanity?

With her trademark “clever humor, snark, silliness, and endearing protagonists” (Booklist), Molly Harper invites fans to return to the family they first met in Sweet Tea and Sympathy. Y’all sit down and stay a while, won’t you?

Review

There is a prankster on the loose at the McCready Funeral Home and Bait Shop. Enter the new cop in town, Linden. And of course, he is tall, dark, handsome and completely devoid of manners. But sparks do fly! (In more ways than one!).

I just adore this series. The characters are people in my town! I swear….they are real people. I can’t help but laugh at their antics and reactions. Plus….the electric charge between Frankie and Linden just add to this clever tale. If you need a quick, funny story, this whole series is for you!

I read Sweet Tea and Sympathy last summer and fell in love with all the McCreadys. This novella is a perfect dose of southern charm and snarkiness. But! I am ready for a larger version of McCready Funeral Home and Bait Shop. Molly Harper has released two novellas since the release of Sweet Tea and Sympathy and I am ready for a full blown novel.

I received this from Netgalley for a honest review.

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Speakeasy by Alisa Smith

Overview

A former undetected outlaw who ran with Bill Bagley’s notorious gang during the Depression, Lena Stillman is now an elite codebreaker in a position to know the nation’s strategic secrets. Good under pressure, good at keeping her mouth shut, Lena never had trouble keeping her double lives compartmentalized—at least not until Bill is sentenced to hang, and her old Clockwork Gang becomes newsworthy.

Despite mounting fear that her secrets might be revealed, Lena excels at work and her skills attract new, unwanted attention. She is assigned to root out a spy at the Esquimalt base, and even her friends become suspects.

Intricate and entertaining, Speakeasy is a riveting West Coast caper, but like enemy submarines patrolling offshore, deeper issues lurk below. With the violence of war encroaching on Canada’s shores, Lena must grapple with her past and use all of her skills, linguistic and otherwise. She discovers that loyalty is simply a form of love. Who knows what causes it—or what revelations could make it disappear?

Review

Lena is a code breaker. She broke the code which helped win the battle of Midway. But….she has a past. She was once involved with a famous bank robber, Bill Bagley.

Lena is a unique woman for this time period. She is a code breaker, she lives alone, plus she drove a getaway car. She is also hoping her world does not fall down around her ears. She is the type of woman character I love. However, I felt a little distance from her. I wanted to “feel more” for her and her situation. See, Bill is her past with a bite. He is on death row but he is still taunting her from behind bars. I should have felt a better connection with her, it just wasn’t there.

This was just a so-so read for me. I had trouble in the beginning figuring out who the narrator was. Then I realized it was changing narrators in the middle of the chapters. Now, keep in mind, I was reading an ARC and this may not be corrected yet, or it may be exactly how it’s supposed to be. This was just confusing to me until I was used to it.

The story did keep me reading and the ending was the best part of the book. It ended with a cliff hanger and I can’t wait to see what happens next. And yes, the author is working on a sequel.

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Every Note Played by Lisa Genova

Overview

From neuroscientist and New York Times bestselling author of Still Alice comes a powerful exploration of regret, forgiveness, freedom, and what it means to be alive.

An accomplished concert pianist, Richard received standing ovations from audiences all over the world in awe of his rare combination of emotional resonance and flawless technique. Every finger of his hands was a finely calibrated instrument, dancing across the keys and striking each note with exacting precision. That was eight months ago.

Richard now has ALS, and his entire right arm is paralyzed. His fingers are impotent, still, devoid of possibility. The loss of his hand feels like a death, a loss of true love, a divorce—his divorce.

He knows his left arm will go next.

Three years ago, Karina removed their framed wedding picture from the living room wall and hung a mirror there instead. But she still hasn’t moved on. Karina is paralyzed by excuses and fear, stuck in an unfulfilling life as a piano teacher, afraid to pursue the path she abandoned as a young woman, blaming Richard and their failed marriage for all of it.

When Richard becomes increasingly paralyzed and is no longer able to live on his own, Karina becomes his reluctant caretaker. As Richard’s muscles, voice, and breath fade, both he and Karina try to reconcile their past before it’s too late.

Poignant and powerful, Every Note Played is a masterful exploration of redemption and what it means to find peace inside of forgiveness.

Review

This book is amazing! Richard is not really a character you like. He is an accomplished pianist which has toured the world. He is arrogant, a terrible father, and definitely not a great husband. When he is diagnosed with ALS, his world changes for the worst.

The author did a BRILLIANT job with Richard. I hated him at first but when his body starts to fail him, he changes in so many ways. Karina is not a saint either. She does help him when he needs her the most. But, she cannot let go of the damage he already caused.

The tragedy of a life unfinished, the tragedy of family and marriage, the tragedy of this disease are just a few areas touched on in this book. This is about past hurts, past regrets, and lost dreams. This is a roller coaster ride of feelings! Don’t miss it!

I received this novel from Netgalley for a honest review.

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Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

Overview

When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own.

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.

Review

The neighborhood women get together for a girls night. They all drink too much and enjoy a no kids evening. After the evening is over, one of the mothers disappears along with her children. Was she kidnapped, did she run, what exactly happened?

This is a very unique plot. The reader is kept guessing most of the way through it. Kristin could be in an abusive relationship. Maybe this is why she left. Maybe she was kidnapped. Maybe she just picked up and took her kids and said enough. All the women are questioned by the police. And none of them have a clue.

I was captivated by Kristin’s plight. However, this has a lot of domesticity in it, fixing of lunches, household chores, etc… I skimmed several places. Really didn’t have much to do with the story. It also did not take away from it either. Just was not something I was very interested in. But, the mystery behind Kristin’s disappearance kept me glued into this tale.

This novel has great characters which really add to story and I applaud the author for a creating a distinctive and uncommon plot!

I received this novel from Netgalley and the publisher for a honest review.

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The Secret to Southern Charm by Kristy Woodson Harvey

Book photos are by Smith Hardy Photography! @smith_hardy_photo

Overview

Leaving fans “practically [begging] for a sequel” (Bookpage), critically acclaimed author Kristy Woodson Harvey returns with the second novel in her beloved Peachtree Bluff series, featuring a trio of sisters and their mother who discover a truth that will change not only the way they see themselves, but also how they fit together as a family.

After finding out her military husband is missing in action, middle sister Sloane’s world crumbles as her worst nightmare comes true. She can barely climb out of bed, much less summon the strength to be the parent her children deserve.

Her mother, Ansley, provides a much-needed respite as she puts her personal life on hold to help Sloane and her grandchildren wade through their new grief-stricken lives. But between caring for her own aging mother, her daughters, and her grandchildren, Ansley’s private worry is that secrets from her past will come to light.

But when Sloane’s sisters, Caroline and Emerson, remind Sloane that no matter what, she promised her husband she would carry on for their young sons, Sloane finds the support and courage she needs to chase her biggest dreams—and face her deepest fears. Taking a cue from her middle daughter, Ansley takes her own leap of faith and realizes that, after all this time, she might finally be able to have it all.

Harvey’s signature warmth and wit make this a charming and poignant story of first loves, missed opportunities, and second chances and proves that she is “the next major voice in Southern fiction” (Elin Hilderbrand, New York Times bestselling author).

Review

First off…I would read Slightly South of Simple first. It really gives you the true feel of the family dynamics and leads you right into this book.

When this book started…let me say, I dang near cried in the first chapter. Sloane is a military wife and her husband is MIA. Sloane is completely devastated. She is unable to care for her children or even get out of bed. With the help of her family, Sloane is able to regain her footing and even chase a few dreams or two!

I love all the characters in this book. There is such great chemistry! The sisters are like true sisters, you know, the kind with snide comments which actually ooze the love they have for each other.

This book is the whole package as far as southern fiction goes. The characters, the setting, the amazing story is the perfect combination. It is a powerful tale about the strength of family. The way they have your back when you are at your worst.

NOT TO BE MISSED!

I received this novel from the author for a honest review.

About the Author

Kristy Woodson Harvey is the bestselling author of Dear Carolina (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2015), Lies and Other Acts of Love (Berkley/Penguin Random House, 2016) and the Peachtree Bluff Series, beginning with Slightly South of Simple (Gallery/Simon & Schuster, 2017). Dear Carolina was long-listed for the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize, has been optioned for film and has appeared on numerous “must-read” lists. Lies and Other Acts of Love was a Romantic Times top pick, a Southern Booksellers Okra Pick and a finalist for the Southern Book Prize. Slightly South of Simple was a Southern Bestseller, a Barnes & Noble Bestseller, one of PopSugar’s picks for “Ultimate Summer Reading” and one of Glitter Guide’s “Must-Reads for April.” The Secret to Southern Charm, the second book in the Peachtree Bluff series, releases April 3, 2018.She blogs with her mom, Beth Woodson, daily on Design Chic, the inaugural member of the Design Blogger Hall of Fame sponsored by Traditional Home and winner of Amara’s Best Luxury Blog, sponsored by Roberto Cavalli, about how creating a beautiful home can be the catalyst for creating a beautiful life and loves connecting with readers at kristywoodsonharvey.com. Harvey is a Phi Beta Kappa, summa cum laude graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s school of journalism and holds a master’s in English from East Carolina University, with a concentration in multicultural and transnational literature. Her writing has appeared in numerous publications and websites, including Southern Living, Traditional Home, Parade, USA Today, Domino, Our State and O. Henry. She has been seen in Women’s Health, The Washington Post, US News and World Report, The Huffington Post, USA Today’s Happy Every After, Marie Claire’s The Fix, Woman’s World, Readers’ Digest and North Carolina Bookwatch, among others. She lives in North Carolina with her husband and six-year-old son where she is working on her next novel.

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The Good Liar by Catherine Mckenzie

Overview

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

Review

A Chicago building explodes. Why? How? The answers will surprise you. It forever changes the scope of three women’s lives.

This book started with bang and was unstoppable. Cecily watches as her husband’s building explodes. She is not as sad as she should be. She and her husband were getting divorced. Kate, Cecily’s best friend, was supposedly killed in the blast. Then, there is Franny. She is supposedly Kate’s daughter which Kate gave up for adoption years ago. With these three story lines intersecting and crossing, you never know what to believe. This story is twisty. You think you know what’s going on and it changes again.

Well! Catherine McKenzie has done it again. Years ago, I won a copy of her first novel, Spin. I have been a fan ever since. Her writing changes with every book. I love how she never writes the same book twice. Plus her characters are people you know. She creates the best characters with true flaws.

This is a twisty story and it keeps you guessing all the way till the end!

I received this novel from the author for a honest review.

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Retro Cross Stitch by Véronique Enginger

Overview

Enter this deliciously vintage universe of 500 patterns and add a touch of nostalgia to your stitchwork. Recreate 1800s and 1900s fashion house designs and milliners’ catalogues. Take your cross stitch on a bon voyage into the past with traveling motifs like trunk labels of exotic destinations and railroad advertising posters. Other sections of patterns feature tea and coffee motifs, and daily life in vintage terms. Many of the designs include multiple scenes and motifs, offering you hundreds of components to use in a myriad of ways. Throughout, be inspired by “mood boards” of completed motifs, along with photos of projects that will show off your creations in daily life.

Review

I love every single pattern in this book. The patterns are more vintage than retro, makes them right in my wheelhouse. They are super colorful and very easy to use. There are also lots of teapots. I adore teapots! In the above picture, the teapot pattern I am working on is very similar to the teapot I own.

I ordered a hard copy of this book today. I would rather hold the book. Easier to stitch from than a piece of paper which gets bent and faded.

This book is great for any cross stitcher.

I received this book from Netgalley for a honest review.

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