Thursday, April 20, 2017

Kinship of Clover: A Novel by Ellen Meeropol

(Thank you to the publisher and Poetic Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

He was nine when the vines first wrapped themselves around him and burrowed into his skin. Now a college botany major, Jeremy is desperately looking for a way to listen to the plants and stave off their extinction. But when the grip of the vines becomes too intense and Health Services starts asking questions, he flees to Brooklyn, where fate puts him face to face with a group of climate-justice activists who assure him they have a plan to save the planet, and his plants.
As the group readies itself to make a big Earth Day splash, Jeremy soon realizes these eco-terrorists devotion to activism might have him and those closest to him tangled up in more trouble than he was prepared to face. With the help of a determined, differently abled flame from his childhood, Zoe; her deteriorating, once rabble-rousing grandmother; and some shocking and illuminating revelations from the past, Jeremy must weigh completing his mission to save the plants against protecting the ones he loves, and confront the most critical question of all: how do you stay true to the people you care about while trying to change the world?

my thoughts:

What a book! So many important topics tackled - environmental issues, mental health, memory loss, activism, etc. - in such an engaging and thought-provoking story.  I just loved Meeropol's writing - fluid, smart, and imaginative.  The characters she creates are relatable, strong, and forthright in their beliefs - I enjoyed getting to know them all. Especially, Flo.  She was my favorite part of the entire story.  An elderly gal struggling to maintain her identity as an activist, all the while dealing with the effects of Alzheimer's.  Talk about a tough cookie!

Kinship of Clover was a terrific story that truly tugged at the heartstrings. I found myself rooting for these characters - hoping they would thrive and survive whatever battles they faced.  I read late into the night, unable to put this book down for anything. I enjoyed Meeropol's storytelling so much - it was captivating!  I feel like there is so much to say about this book, but I can't seem to find the right words.  Just know that I loved every minute I spent with it. I would definitely recommend it to fans of Meeropol's works and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE Kinship of Clover to bits!!

Here's the link to the Poetic Book Tours schedule for: Kinship of Clover
Thank you to the publisher and Poetic Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

The Forbidden Garden: A Novel by Ellen Herrick

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

Perfect for fans of Kate Morton and Sarah Jio, comes a lush imaginative novel that takes readers into the heart of a mysterious English country garden, waiting to spring to life.

Every garden is a story, waiting to be told…

At the nursery she runs with her sisters on the New England coast, Sorrel Sparrow has honed her rare gift for nurturing plants and flowers. Now that reputation, and a stroke of good timing, lands Sorrel an unexpected opportunity: reviving a long-dormant Shakespearean garden on an English country estate.

Arriving at Kirkwood Hall, ancestral home of Sir Graham Kirkwood and his wife Stella, Sorrel is shocked by the desolate state of the walled garden. Generations have tried—and failed—to bring it back to glory. Sorrel senses heartbreak and betrayal here, perhaps even enchantment. Intrigued by the house’s history—especially the haunting tapestries that grace its walls—and increasingly drawn to Stella’s enigmatic brother, Sorrel sets to work. And though she knows her true home is across the sea with her sisters, instinct tells her that the English garden’s destiny is entwined with her own, if she can only unravel its secrets…

my thoughts:

I love the cover of this book - so pretty! I have to admit that it made me want to read The Forbidden Garden.  Yes, I do judge a book by its cover.  I know its a bad habit, but I can't help myself.  Luckily, this cover led me to an unputdownable story that I can't seem to forget. I just loved The Forbidden Garden to bits!  It has England, a Shakespeare garden, a missing tapestry, a family curse, romance, and magic?  What more could I want in a story, right?  Oh, and that title - who doesn't want to read a book with the word "forbidden" in the title?

Sorrel and her sisters (apparently, there is a book all about the Sparrow Sisters - I need to read it ASAP!!) are all settled into their lives.  The nursery they run is flourishing - Sorrel seems to have a magical green thumb when it comes to flowers.  Her reputation lands her an opportunity to travel to England and revive a cursed Shakespeare garden.  Jumping at the idea of a change of scenery and a challenge, Sorrel sets off for the English countryside.  She arrives at Kirkwood Hall and is shocked to find the garden in such a depressing and disastrous state.  However, she senses a darkness and sadness that prevents the garden from blooming.  She sets out to learn more about the family, their home and history - she needs to figure out what caused the garden's demise before she can truly begin to work her magic.  The more she learns, the closer she becomes to Andrew (Stella Kirkwood's brother).  Sorrel's heart is beating for this broken man - can she help him heal his heart?  And what about the garden - will she be able to bring it back to life?

Herrick has written a wonderful story filled with flowers, mystery, and the magic of love.  She writes with such vividness, I can practically smell England and all its greenery as I turn the pages.  I loved getting to know these quirky characters and learning about their past.  The suspense of whether or not Sorrel would figure out what to do - with Andrew and the garden - was addictive.  I just LOVED reading this book!  It was truly a delightful story.

I would happily recommend The Forbidden Garden to fans of Ellen Herrick and anyone looking for their next great read - you will most definitely fall in love with this story.

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: The Forbidden Garden
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Friday, April 14, 2017

My Friday Five...

1.  GIRLS.  I love the show. It is truly such fun to watch. The very last episode airs this Sunday and I can't wait to find out what Hannah is up to at the end of it all.  This past episode focused on the group's friendships, or lack of friendship.  It was real and raw and so emotional.  I swear breaking up with a best friend is so much harder than breaking up with a boyfriend.  Of course, making up with your best friend brings tears, too.

2.  The Trouble With Goats and Sheep by Joanna Cannon.
I finally got around to reading this one and I'm so happy I did. What a treat to read!  The Trouble With Goats and Sheep is about Grace and Tilly, two little girls (10 years old) who are BFFs.  They are trying to figure out what to do with their summer.  Of course, they will play and hang out in their neighborhood - what else is there to do at 10, right?  Its 1976 and they live in England, where the summer is bringing on a massive heat wave, which all the neighbors believe is driving people crazy.  Especially, Mrs. Creasy who has gone missing.  The heat made her leave (or so the neighbors want to believe).  Grace and Tilly decide that they will find Mrs. Creasy.  Except, before that can happen, they must find God in their neighborhood. The vicar's sermon has given them the idea that people are either sheeps or goats, and that God is everywhere - so, he must be in their neighborhood.  And so their summer begins.  Let me just say, what a summer it is.  I LOVED Grace and Tilly and their mission to find God.  I loved getting to see their neighborhood through their eyes. I loved trying to figure out the neighbors' secrets.  And I loved the feelings of nostalgia this book gave me - my childhood, my best friends, and the way I viewed the world as a kid.  Such a great read! It truly is a special book.

3.  Lent.  40 bags in 40 days.  I did it!  I decluttered 40 bags in less than 40 days - Hurrah!  I can't believe how much stuff I got rid of.  Its always crazy the things you find in your closets and drawers that you forgot you ever bought.

4.  Thriftbooks.  A new-to-me site where I can order books. I found it via twitter and now I want to order so many books from it. Has anyone used it before? What do you think? Is it a good site to use? Let me know - thanks!

5.   The Sopranos.  I've been re-watching this show lately and LOVING it even more the second time round. Such smart dialogue.  And the acting - top notch!  I'm on the fifth season.  Carmela wants a divorce and Tony is not having it. Talk about relationship problems!

Hope you have a great weekend!! Happy reading!!

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Mississippi Blood: A Novel by Greg Iles

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)
about book:

#1 New York Times Bestselling Author

The endgame is at hand for Penn Cage, his family, and the enemies bent on destroying them in this revelatory volume in the epic trilogy set in modern-day Natchez, Mississippi—Greg Iles’s epic tale of love and honor, hatred and revenge that explores how the sins of the past continue to haunt the present.

Shattered by grief and dreaming of vengeance, Penn Cage sees his family and his world collapsing around him. The woman he loves is gone, his principles have been irrevocably compromised, and his father, once a paragon of the community that Penn leads as mayor, is about to be tried for the murder of a former lover. Most terrifying of all, Dr. Cage seems bent on self-destruction. Despite Penn’s experience as a prosecutor in major murder trials, his father has frozen him out of the trial preparations–preferring to risk dying in prison to revealing the truth of the crime to his son.

During forty years practicing medicine, Tom Cage made himself the most respected and beloved physician in Natchez, Mississippi. But this revered Southern figure has secrets known only to himself and a handful of others. Among them, Tom has a second son, the product of an 1960s affair with his devoted African American nurse, Viola Turner. It is Viola who has been murdered, and her bitter son–Penn’s half-brother–who sets in motion the murder case against his father. The resulting investigation exhumes dangerous ghosts from Mississippi’s violent past. In some way that Penn cannot fathom, Viola Turner was a nexus point between his father and the Double Eagles, a savage splinter cell of the KKK. More troubling still, the long-buried secrets shared by Dr. Cage and the former Klansmen may hold the key to the most devastating assassinations of the 1960s. The surviving Double Eagles will stop at nothing to keep their past crimes buried, and with the help of some of the most influential men in the state, they seek to ensure that Dr. Cage either takes the fall for them, or takes his secrets to an early grave.

Tom Cage’s murder trial sets a terrible clock in motion, and unless Penn can pierce the veil of the past and exonerate his father, his family will be destroyed. Unable to trust anyone around him–not even his own mother–Penn joins forces with Serenity Butler, a famous young black author who has come to Natchez to write about his father’s case. Together, Penn and Serenity–a former soldier–battle to crack the Double Eagles and discover the secret history of the Cage family and the South itself, a desperate move that risks the only thing they have left to gamble: their lives.

Mississippi Blood is the enthralling conclusion to a breathtaking trilogy seven years in the making–one that has kept readers on the edge of their seats. With piercing insight, narrative prowess, and a masterful ability to blend history and imagination, New York Times bestselling author Greg Iles illuminates the brutal history of the American South in a highly atmospheric and suspenseful novel that delivers the shocking resolution his fans have eagerly awaited.

my thoughts:

Wow. What a story!  Mississippi Blood is the thrilling conclusion to an epic trilogy filled with suspense, mystery, southern history, and plenty of drama.  I absolutely LOVED every minute I spent with these three fantastic books.  They made for one spectacular story.

In this final book, Penn Cage is determined to save his father and his family.  Yep, Tom Cage is finally on trial for the murder of Viola, and he doesn't want his son taking any part in his defense.  Let me just say that those courtroom scenes - OMG! It was like watching Law & Order to the nth degree - they were excellent!  I was riveted.  I just loved those scenes so much - they really made you feel like you were watching a live courtroom drama unfold right in front of you.  Seriously - they were excellent!  Plus, so many secrets are revealed.  It is pure melodrama and it was so much fun to read.   Meanwhile, Penn is working with Serenity (author come to town to write about Tom's story) to clear his dad's name.  He wants to dig deeper into his family's past, the Double Eagles' past, and his town's history to figure out what really happened and what is really going on.  So many secrets and so much danger all make for one gripping story.

The writing is top notch.  I loved the fast pace of the story.  It was chock full of twist and turns that elevated the level of suspense.  I can only imagine the intricacies involved when it came to plotting out this trilogy - epic!  As for the characters, I was invested and did not want to stop reading until I found out what happened to them all.  I was hooked from the start and LOVED every minute of it.

I would most definitely recommend Mississippi Blood, along with Natchez Burning and The Bone Tree - you will LOVE this trilogy!! It is a must-read for fans of Greg Iles' works and anyone looking for their next great read.  Check it out!!

Here's the link to the TLC Book Tour schedule for: Mississippi Blood
Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

The Night The Lights Went Out by Karen White

Look what comes out today:
(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)
How exciting! A new book by bestselling author, Karen White.  In her latest book, The Night The Lights Went Out...

"Recently divorced, Merilee Talbot Dunlap moves with her two children to the Atlanta suburb of Sweet Apple, Georgia. It’s not her first time starting over, but her efforts at a new beginning aren’t helped by an anonymous local blog that dishes about the scandalous events that caused her marriage to fail.

Merilee finds some measure of peace in the cottage she is renting from town matriarch Sugar Prescott. Though stubborn and irascible, Sugar sees something of herself in Merilee—something that allows her to open up about her own colorful past.

Sugar’s stories give Merilee a different perspective on the town and its wealthy school moms in their tennis whites and shiny SUVs, and even on her new friendship with Heather Blackford. Merilee is charmed by the glamorous young mother’s seemingly perfect life and finds herself drawn into Heather's world.

In a town like Sweet Apple, where sins and secrets are as likely to be found behind the walls of gated mansions as in the dark woods surrounding Merilee’s house, appearance is everything. But just how dangerous that deception can be will shock all three women...."

How good does that sound!?!  Like a must-read, right? Well it is! You won't want to miss out on all the DRAMA, unforgettable characters, top notch writing, and unputdownable story lines.  This book is fantastic! I just loved getting caught up in the friendships, mystery, and suspense of it all. Such a fun read I stayed up til the wee hours finishing this story - I had to find out what happened!  I would most definitely recommend The Night The Lights Went Out by Karen White to fans of her work and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!!
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