The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae by Stephanie Butland #review @stmartinspress


For fans of Josie Silver’s One Day in December, The Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae is a wholly original, charismatic, and uplifting novel that no reader will soon forget.

Ailsa Rae is learning how to live. She’s only a few months past the heart transplant that—just in time—saved her life. Now, finally, she can be a normal twenty-eight-year-old. She can climb a mountain. Dance. Wait in line all day for tickets to Wimbledon.

But first, she has to put one foot in front of the other. So far, things are as bloody complicated as ever. Her relationship with her mother is at a breaking point and she wants to find her father. Then there’s Lennox, whom Ailsa loved and lost. Will she ever find love again?

Her new heart is a bold heart. She just needs to learn to listen to it. From the hospital to her childhood home, on social media and IRL, Ailsa will embark on a journey about what it means to be, and feel, alive. How do we learn to be brave, to accept defeat, to dare to dream?

From Stephanie Butland, author of The Lost for Words BookshopThe Curious Heart of Ailsa Rae will warm you from the inside out.


Ailsa is struggling. She has had multiple surgeries throughout her short life. And now, with a heart transplant, she can start living. But, can she do it? She has been sheltered and kept at home. Can she actually start living the life she has always hoped for?

Ailsa is a blogger. She has blogged about her multiple surgeries and her heart transplant. She is asked to do an interview about the importance of the transplant list. This leads her to Sebastian. She and Sebastian become good friends. And then they become more. But, because her medication, Ailsa has put on some pounds. The internet and journalists bully her on line because for her weight. No one can believe Sebastian would be dating her.

There are multiple story lines in this novel…The mystery of Ailsa father, her life as a transplant patient, and her life as a “sort of” celebrity. Her strength and resilience are astounding. Her ability to overcome and keep going through ALL her issues really amazed me.

A heartwarming novel of courage and tenacity. Do not miss this one!

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


Author Bio:

STEPHANIE BUTLAND lives with her family near the sea in the North East of England. She writes in a studio at the bottom of her garden, and when she’s not writing, she trains people to think more creatively. For fun, she reads, knits, sews, bakes, and spins. She is an occasional performance poet and the author of The Lost for Words Bookshop.


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The Family Upstairs by Lisa Jewell #review #suspense @AtriaMysteryBus @AtriaBooks @lisajewelluk


Rich, dark, and intricately twisted, this enthralling whodunit mixes family saga with domestic noir to brilliantly chilling effect.” —Ruth Ware, New York Times bestselling author

“A haunting, atmospheric, stay-up-way-too-late read.” —Megan Miranda, New York Times bestselling author 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Then She Was Gone comes another page-turning look inside one family’s past as buried secrets threaten to come to light.

Be careful who you let in.

Soon after her twenty-fifth birthday, Libby Jones returns home from work to find the letter she’s been waiting for her entire life. She rips it open with one driving thought: I am finally going to know who I am.

She soon learns not only the identity of her birth parents, but also that she is the sole inheritor of their abandoned mansion on the banks of the Thames in London’s fashionable Chelsea neighborhood, worth millions. Everything in Libby’s life is about to change. But what she can’t possibly know is that others have been waiting for this day as well—and she is on a collision course to meet them.

Twenty-five years ago, police were called to 16 Cheyne Walk with reports of a baby crying. When they arrived, they found a healthy ten-month-old happily cooing in her crib in the bedroom. Downstairs in the kitchen lay three dead bodies, all dressed in black, next to a hastily scrawled note. And the four other children reported to live at Cheyne Walk were gone.

In The Family Upstairs, the master of “bone-chilling suspense” (People) brings us the can’t-look-away story of three entangled families living in a house with the darkest of secrets.


Libby finally receives a letter about her inheritance. She is hoping to get some answers to several questions about her life. Why she was left alone as a baby? What happened to her parents? Her brother and sister?

This novel is told in three voices. Libby, Lucy and Henry. Libby is searching to find out who she is. Then, there is Lucy. I don’t even know where to begin with her. Her life is just messed up. And finally, Henry. Henry is more of an enigma. The experiences these kids had growing up really changes their course in life.

Well! This book is insane! It is insanely good! Let me tell you! There are so many twists and turns and manipulations. As a reader, you don’t know who is who or what is what! I fell right into the spell of Libby and her situation. I did not want to put this book down. I was completely captivated, mesmerized, enthralled by this story! DO NOT MISS THIS ONE Y’ALL!

I received this novel from the publisher for a honest review. I also received a copy at Book Expo 2019.

Purchase here

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You’ve Been Volunteered by Laurie Gelman #review @Henryholt


In the eagerly anticipated follow-up to Laurie Gelman’s “irreverent and hilarious” (The New York Post) hit Class Mom, brash, lovable Jen Dixon is back with a new class and her work cut out for her

If you’ve ever been a room parent or school volunteer, Jen Dixon is your hero. She says what every class mom is really thinking, whether in her notoriously frank emails or standup-worthy interactions with the micromanaging PTA President and the gamut of difficult parents. Luckily, she has the charm and wit to get away with it—most of the time. Jen is sassier than ever but dealing with a whole new set of challenges, in the world of parental politics and at home.

She’s been roped into room-parenting yet again, for her son Max’s third grade class, but as her husband buries himself in work, her older daughters navigate adulthood, and Jen’s own aging parents start to need some parenting themselves, Jen gets pulled in more directions than any one mom, or superhero, can handle. 

Refreshingly down-to-earth and brimming with warmth, Dixon’s next chapter will keep you turning the pages to find out what’s really going on under the veneer of polite parent interactions, and have you laughing along with her the whole way.


Jen is class mom AGAIN. She is on top of things until the inevitable…parental politics, bad parents and bad children get in the way. Then things start to fall apart at home. Jen has so many responsibilities she starts to wonder if her super mom attitude can handle everything.

This book started off with a bang. I laughed so hard I almost snorted my coffee out my nose. Jen is the mom everyone secretly aspires to be. And we admire the moms which have this “seemingly” no care attitude and the snarkiness to go along with it. But, they also care enough to have their stuff together. Everything runs smoothly, well, most of the time.

If you need a good laugh this is the book for you. I laughed all the way through this novel. However, the story and the snarkiness did get a little old the further I moved through the book. Yes it is hilarious, but there were places seriousness was needed. It is an enjoyable read for any mom!

I received this novel from Henry Holt for a honest review.

Purchase Here

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Olive, Again by Elizabeth Strout @randomhouse #review


NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER • Pulitzer Prize winner Elizabeth Strout continues the life of her beloved Olive Kitteridge, a character who has captured the imaginations of millions.

“Strout managed to make me love this strange woman I’d never met, who I knew nothing about. What a terrific writer she is.”—Zadie Smith, The Guardian

“Just as wonderful as the original . . . Olive, Again poignantly reminds us that empathy, a requirement for love, helps make life ‘not unhappy.’”—NPR 

NAMED ONE OF FALL’S MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS BY People  Time  Entertainment Weekly  Vanity Fair  BuzzFeed  Vogue  USA Today • The Seattle Times  HuffPost  Newsday  Vulture  Bustle  Vox  PopSugar  Good Housekeeping  LitHub  Book Riot
Prickly, wry, resistant to change yet ruthlessly honest and deeply empathetic, Olive Kitteridge is “a compelling life force” (San Francisco Chronicle). The New Yorker has said that Elizabeth Strout “animates the ordinary with an astonishing force,” and she has never done so more clearly than in these pages, where the iconic Olive struggles to understand not only herself and her own life but the lives of those around her in the town of Crosby, Maine. Whether with a teenager coming to terms with the loss of her father, a young woman about to give birth during a hilariously inopportune moment, a nurse who confesses a secret high school crush, or a lawyer who struggles with an inheritance she does not want to accept, the unforgettable Olive will continue to startle us, to move us, and to inspire us—in Strout’s words—“to bear the burden of the mystery with as much grace as we can.”


I was lucky enough years ago to win an ARC of Olive Kitteridge. I have the same feelings about that book which I have about this book. I just feel depressed when I read them. Did I enjoy both books? ABSOLUTELY! But, there is just something about Olive which depresses me. And to be honest, I think it is the way she loves people…she cannot find the joy in that love. And lots of people do not like Olive for this very reason. She is prickly, ornery and cantankerous.

However, this has not stopped me from reading all the Olive books. There is just something about that woman that draws me in. She is tough, independent and a hard worker. And then, there is her kindness. It is so out of the ordinary. It is not a side she shows often and when she does, it completely surprises the reader and you see a totally different side of this wonderful character.

This story has fantastic characters and it is amazingly well written. This whole series is not to be missed! Olive is…just Olive.

Purchase Here

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My October Reads #wrapup #octoberreads

Well! I hope everyone had their fill of Halloween candy and SPOOOOKS!

I spent my Halloween at the BEACH….BE JEALOUS!

Now on to the important stuff! I had very good month of reading!


Twice in a Blue Moon by Christina Lauren @gallerybooks #romance #review #fiction


The Perfect Love Song by Patti Callahan Henry #christmasromance #review #fiction @pcalhenry @thomasnelson


Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery


The Shape of Night by Tess Gerritsen @tessgerritsen @randomhouse #ghoststory #thriller



Christmas Angels by Nancy Naigle @stmartinspress @nancynaigle #christmasromance #christmas #fiction #review


Seven Letters by J.P. Monninger #review #fiction #romance @stmartinspress

These books below will have reviews coming up soon. So stay tuned!

Thanks for stopping by! How was your reading month? Inquiring minds want to know!

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Audible books for October #audible #audiobooks

I was really slow in my audible books this month. I have no idea why…I must do better…I own waaaay too many!

Lies and Other Acts of Love this book typical Kristy Woodson Harvey, very southern, very family oriented and just plain GOOD!

The Silent Patient this story is OVER THE TOP! Do not miss this one. I am late to the party and most people have probably already read it. But….THAT ENDING!

Thanks for stopping by…what are you reading?

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Meant To Be Yours by Susan Mallery


In Happily Inc, love means never having to say “I do”…

Wedding coordinator Renee Grothen isn’t meant for marriage. Those who can, do. Those who can’t, plan. But she never could have planned on gorgeous, talented thriller writer Jasper Dembenski proposing—a fling, that is. Fun without a future. And the attraction between them is too strong for Renee to resist. Now she can have her no-wedding cake…and eat it, too.

After years in the military, Jasper is convinced he’s too damaged for relationships. So a flirtation—and more—with fiery, determined Renee is way too good to pass up…until his flame becomes his muse.

Renee is an expert at averting every crisis. But is she finally ready to leap into the one thing that can never be controlled: love?

Author Bio: 

SUSAN MALLERY is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of novels about the relationships that define women’s lives—family, friendship, romance. Library Journal says, “Mallery is the master of blending emotionally believable characters in realistic situations,” and readers seem to agree—40 million copies of her books have sold worldwide. Her warm, humorous stories make the world a happier place to live.

Susan grew up in California and now lives in Seattle with her husband. She’s passionate about animal welfare, especially that of the two ragdoll cats and adorable poodle who think of her as mom.



Jasper is an author needing to close out his famous series with a love interest for his main character. However, there is a problem. Jasper does not write women. He actually considers himself too damaged for a relationship. Enter resident wedding planner, Renee. She is determined to keep their relationship completely casual. Until it isn’t

I am not a huge fan of Renee. She is just too MUCH. She tends to be a little rude…and then some. However, Jasper was just plain HOT! These two get together as just a casual fling. And as it develops into a “big time” love interest, the story takes off.

I have enjoyed many of Susan Mallery novels. And this one is a perfect palate cleanser. It is hugely entertaining and there is nothing like getting lost in a great romance! Grab this one today!

Buy Links: 




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Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @susanmallery

Facebook: @SusanMallery

Instagram: @susanmallery


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