On My Radar: December 2021

It’s almost upon us… the most magical time of the year. I have no idea how we got here so fast but yet here we are. These are all the books that I have my eye on that come out next month. Some of them I will buy, some I will get through the library, a couple I have ARCs of and others I will just be keeping in mind while out shopping.

December 1

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series. Or maybe it’s a trilogy?

I believe this was my Amazon First Reads choice

From award-winning author Rachel Lacey comes a playful romance about a Manhattan bookstore owner and a reclusive author who love to hate—and hate to love—each other.

Books are Rosie Taft’s life. And ever since she took over her mother’s beloved Manhattan bookstore, they’ve become her home too. The only thing missing is her own real-life romance like the ones she loves to read about, and Rosie has an idea of who she might like to sweep her off her feet. She’s struck up a flirty online friendship with lesbian romance author Brie, and what could be more romantic than falling in love with her favorite author?

Jane Breslin works hard to keep her professional and personal lives neatly separated. By day, she works for the family property development business. By night, she puts her steamier side on paper under her pen name: Brie. Jane hasn’t had much luck with her own love life, but her online connection with a loyal reader makes Jane wonder if she could be the one.

When Rosie learns that her bookstore’s lease has been terminated by Jane’s company, romance moves to the back burner. Even though they’re at odds, there’s no denying the sparks that fly every time they’re together. When their online identities are revealed, will Jane be able to write her way to a happy ending, or is Rosie’s heart a closed book?

A terrified voice on the phone. The line goes dead. The mystery begins.

During a superstorm, Holly Boswell receives a panicked call from her sister, Vivian: Come get me…There’s somebody coming. But when Holly arrives at a Long Island marina, there’s only her sister’s abandoned car. Vivian is gone.

It’s all eerily familiar. Holly and Vivian used to play hide-and-seek as children. It was a reprieve from the mental abuses of their parents, psychology professors who raised the siblings as if it were research. Decades later, Holly is reminded of their childhood games.

In her relentless search for the answers, Holly is reading between the lines in Vivian’s journals. She’s untangling clues in their mother’s diary and discovering secrets from her sister’s private world that are casting a dangerous shadow. Maybe Vivian has reasons for wanting to disappear from her well-to-do life. Or is it something more sinister? As Holly follows Vivian’s trail, she can’t shake the feeling that someone might be following her.

December 7

Dare Me meets Black Swan and Luckiest Girl Alive in a captivating, voice-driven debut novel about a trio of ballerinas who meet as students at the Paris Opera Ballet School.

Fourteen years ago, Delphine abandoned her prestigious soloist spot at the Paris Opera Ballet for a new life in St. Petersburg––taking with her a secret that could upend the lives of her best friends, fellow dancers Lindsay and Margaux. Now 36 years old, Delphine has returned to her former home and to the legendary Palais Garnier Opera House, to choreograph the ballet that will kickstart the next phase of her career––and, she hopes, finally make things right with her former friends. But Delphine quickly discovers that things have changed while she’s been away…and some secrets can’t stay buried forever. 

Moving between the trio’s adolescent years and the present day, The Ballerinas explores the complexities of female friendship, the dark drive towards physical perfection in the name of artistic expression, the double-edged sword of ambition and passion, and the sublimated rage that so many women hold inside––all culminating in a twist you won’t see coming, with magnetic characters you won’t soon forget.

*No synopsis since this is the third book in the series. Or maybe it’s a trilogy?

Eighteen-year-old, Bronwyn Littleton is in love with a stranger she met on a summer night a year ago.

A stranger who was tall and broad in a way that made her feel safe. He had dark blue eyes that she can’t stop drawing in her sketch book. And he had a deep, soothing voice that she can’t stop hearing in her dreams.

That’s all she knows about him though.

Until she runs into him again. At St. Mary’s School for Troubled Teenagers – an all girls reform school – where she’s trapped because of a little crime she committed in the name of her art.

Now she knows that her dream man has a name: Conrad Thorne.

She knows that his eyes are way bluer and way more beautiful than she thought. And that his face is an artist’s wonderland.

But she also knows that Conrad is her best friend’s older brother. Which means he’s completely off-limits. Not to mention, he’s the new soccer coach, which makes him off-limits times two.

What makes him off-limits times three however, and this whole scenario an epic tragedy, is that, Conrad, Wyn’s dream man, has a dream girl of his own.

And he’s as much in love with his dream girl as Wyn is in love with him…

NOTE: This is a STANDALONE set in the world of St. Mary’s.

The New York Times bestselling author of The Wicked Deep weaves a richly atmospheric adult debut following three residents of a secluded, seemingly peaceful commune as they investigate the disappearances of two outsiders.

Travis Wren has an unusual talent for locating missing people. Hired by families as a last resort, he requires only a single object to find the person who has vanished. When he takes on the case of Maggie St. James—a well-known author of dark, macabre children’s books—he’s led to a place many believed to be only a legend.

Called Pastoral, this reclusive community was founded in the 1970s by like-minded people searching for a simpler way of life. By all accounts, the commune shouldn’t exist anymore and soon after Travis stumbles upon it…he disappears. Just like Maggie St. James.

Years later, Theo, a lifelong member of Pastoral, discovers Travis’s abandoned truck beyond the border of the community. No one is allowed in or out, not when there’s a risk of bringing a disease—rot—into Pastoral. Unraveling the mystery of what happened reveals secrets that Theo, his wife, Calla, and her sister, Bee, keep from one another. Secrets that prove their perfect, isolated world isn’t as safe as they believed—and that darkness takes many forms.

Hauntingly beautiful, hypnotic, and bewitching, A History of Wild Places is a story about fairy tales, our fear of the dark, and losing yourself within the wilderness of your mind.

Espresso bar owner Lana Lewis returns in Tara Lush’s second Coffee Lover’s mystery, a stimulating read that fans of Cleo Coyle and Laura Childs will savor to the last drop.

It’s a steamy September, and business is brisk at Perkatory, the hottest coffee shop in Devil’s Beach, FL. Much of the clientele pours in from Dante’s Inferno, the hot yoga studio next door. But the bright, sunny Gulf Coast days turn decidedly dark-roast when the body of the studio’s owner turns up in a nearby swamp.

Between running Perkatory and training Stanley, her golden Shih Tzu puppy, reporter-turned-barista Lana Lewis is too busy to go sleuthing. But when the editor of the local paper asks her to write about the murder, Lana’s dreams of getting back into journalism start to percolate.

Lana discovers that the yogi has a nefarious past and her share of mug shots, so grinding her way through the suspect list is a large task. She learns that the victim was fatally beaned by an SUV before she was dumped in the swamp. But was the killer one of her students? An envious yoga teacher? Or a local photographer who seems to know too much?

But no one tells Lana Lewis what to do. Hunting the caf-fiend who killed the yogi puts Lana and Chief Noah’s relationship–and Lana’s life–in very hot coffee.

Librarian Amy Webber dances with death in critically acclaimed author Victoria Gilbert’s sixth Blue Ridge Library mystery.

August in Taylorsford, Virginia finds library director Amy Webber and her new husband, dancer Richard Muir, settling into married life–and a new project. Richard and his dance partner, Karla, are choreographing a suite based on folk music and folk tales, while Amy scours the library’s resources to supply background information on the dance’s source material. But the mellifluous music comes to a jarring halt when an unknown woman’s body turns up in Zelda Shoemaker’s backyard gazebo.

Chief Deputy Brad Tucker puts Zelda at the top of his suspect list, thanks to a blackmail letter he finds in the dead woman’s pocket. Zelda’s best friend, Amy’s aunt Lydia Talbot, begs Amy to use her research skills to clear Zelda’s name. But the task is confounded by Zelda’s very out-of-character refusal to reveal why the victim might have blackmailed her.

Complicating matters further, Amy unearths records of a long-ago tragedy that casts doubt on Zelda’s innocence. She enlists hubby Richard, Aunt Lydia, art dealer Kurt Kendrick, Mayor Sunny Fields, and sundry other quirky townsfolk in a quest to exonerate Zelda. But will revealing the truth end up forcing Zelda to spend the rest of her life behind bars?

Meanwhile, the killer is still out there. Amy had better be fleet on her feet, because death is on her dance card, and her number may be up.

December 9

I’m in love with three men. I’m just not sure if they’re a dream come true or my worst nightmare.

It began with hearing voices – just another step on my steady descent into madness. It was inevitable, considering the whole town hated me and I was the loneliest person on the planet.

I didn’t really blame them, I guess. Everyone who got close to me ended up in the hospital. I’d be suspicious of me too.

When the three distinct, alluring voices in my head started to appear before my eyes as three distinct, gorgeous men I really started to question everything I thought I knew.

They called themselves Dreamwalkers and told me they were hunting the monster attacking all the people around me.

They won’t leave me alone.

I’m not sure I want them too.

But am I the monster they’re after? Or are we all in worse danger than I ever could’ve imagined?

December 12

A strained mother-daughter bond. An experiment with memory implantation. Someone who doesn’t want them to remember.

New York Times bestselling author of the Pretty Little Liars series Sara Shepard teams up with Ellen Goodlett (author of the Rule duology) for this sci-fi thriller perfect for fans of Inception and Blake Crouch’s Recursion.

December 28

A popular sorority girl. An unsolved murder. A campus podcast with chilling repercussions.

Lucas Vega is obsessed with the death of Candace Swain, who left a sorority party one night and never came back. Her body was found after two weeks, but the case has grown cold. Three years later while interning at the medical examiner’s, Lucas discovers new information, but the police are not interested.

Lucas knows he has several credible pieces of the puzzle. He just isn’t sure how they fit together. So he creates a podcast to revisit Candace’s last hours. Then he encourages listeners to crowdsource what they remember and invites guest lecturer Regan Merritt, a former US marshal, to come on and share her expertise.

New tips come in that convince Lucas and Regan they are onto something. Then shockingly one of the podcast callers turns up dead. Another hints at Candace’s secret life, a much darker picture than Lucas imagined—and one that implicates other sorority sisters. Regan uses her own resources to bolster their theory and learns that Lucas is hiding his own secret. The pressure is on to solve the murder, but first Lucas must come clean about his real motives in pursuing this podcast—before the killer silences him forever.

Bestselling author of DEAR WIFE and THE MARRIAGE LIE, Kimberly Belle returns with her most heart-pounding thriller to date, as a masked home invader reveals the cracks in a marriage.

Everyone is about to know what her husband isn’t telling her…

Jade and Cam Lasky are by all accounts a happily married couple with two adorable kids, a spacious home and a rapidly growing restaurant business. But their world is tipped upside down when Jade is confronted by a masked home invader. As Cam scrambles to gather the ransom money, Jade starts to wonder if they’re as financially secure as their lifestyle suggests, and what other secrets her husband is keeping from her.

Cam may be a good father, a celebrity chef and a darling husband, but there’s another side he’s kept hidden from Jade that has put their family in danger. Unbeknownst to Cam and Jade, the home invader has been watching them and is about to turn their family secrets into a public scandal.

With riveting twists and a breakneck pace, My Darling Husband is an utterly compelling thriller that once again showcases Kimberly Belle’s exceptional talent for domestic suspense.

WHAT A GIRL WANTS

To survive her difficult childhood, Miss Hazel Lively relied on two things:a tough outer shell and a love of books. Now, at the age of twenty-eight, she’s finally realized her life-long dream of opening a school for girls. She’s hoping that the wealthy families who flock to the shore for the summer will entrust their daughters to Bellehaven Academy―and help pay the way for less fortunate students. All Hazel must do is maintain a flawless reputation and raise a good deal of money. It’s a foolproof plan…till a sinfully handsome earl strides into her office.

WHAT AN EARL NEEDS

Gabriel Beckett, Earl of Bladenton, has had a monstrous headache since the day his teenaged niece became his ward. She’s been expelled from two London boarding schools and is doing her damnedest to scare off his potential fiancée. But Blade has a plan of his own―enroll his niece at Bellehaven Academy, where she’ll be out of town and out of his hair. He just needs to convince the buttoned-up headmistress with the soulful brown eyes to take on his niece.

LEAD TO AN IRRESISTIBLE DEAL

When Blade makes a generous offer to the school, it’s impossible for Hazel to refuse. But she has one non-negotiable condition: the earl must visit his niece every other week. Soon, Blade discovers there’s much more to Hazel than meticulous lesson plans. In moonlit seaside coves and candlelit ballrooms, their sparring leads to flirtation…and something altogether deeper. But the passion that flares between them poses a threat to Hazel’s school and Blade’s battered heart. They say a good thing can’t last forever, but true love? Well, it just might…

~Cassie

Blog Tour: Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins

Nanny Dearest : A Novel 

Flora Collins

On Sale Date: November 30, 2021

9780778311614

Trade Paperback

$16.99 USD

336 pages

ABOUT THE BOOK:

Compulsively readable domestic suspense, perfect for fans of THE TURN OF THE KEY and THE PERFECT NANNY, about a woman who takes comfort in reconnecting with her childhood nanny after her father’s death, until she starts to uncover dark secrets the nanny has been holding for twenty years.

Set in New York city and upstate New York, NANNY DEAREST is the story of twenty-five year-old Sue Keller, a young woman reeling from the recent death of her father, a particularly painful loss given that Sue’s mother died of cancer when she was only three. At just this moment of vulnerability comes Anneliese Whitaker, Sue’s former nanny from her childhood days in upstate New York.

Sue, craving connection and mothering, is only too eager to welcome Annie back into her life; but as they become inseparable once again, Sue begins to uncover the truth about Annie’s unsettling time in the Keller house all those years ago, particularly the manner of her departure – or dismissal. At the same time, she begins to grow increasingly alarmed for the safety of the two new charges currently in Annie’s care.

Told in alternating points of views, switching between Annie in the mid-90s and Sue in the present day, this is a taut novel of suspense with a shocking ending.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:Flora Collins was born and raised in New York City and has never left, except for a four-year stint at Vassar College. When she’s not writing, she can be found watching reality shows that were canceled after one season or attempting to eat soft-serve ice cream in bed (sometimes simultaneously). Nanny Dearest is her first novel, and draws upon personal experiences from her own family history.

SOCIAL LINKS:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/flococo16?lang=en

Instagram: @floracollins_authorGoodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/en/book/show/56472992-nanny-dearest

Excerpt

“I WOULD RECOGNIZE THOSE bangs anywhere,” she says, clutching her large faux-leather bag, pink nails pinching the synthetic hide. I can see the laugh lines beneath her glasses’ rims. I swallow, my tongue darting between my back molars, bracing myself. 

“They stuck, I guess.” I laugh lightly, a meek trickle that escapes from my lips before I can stop it. She smiles again, this time with teeth, and I see how her front two overlap, barely discernible. But she’s standing so close that it’s hard not to notice.

“You live around here now?” She stopped me in front of a church and behind us the congregation trickles out, chatting among themselves. A child wails for lunch. The sun beats down hard and yellow, speckling the sidewalk. I raise my hand like a visor, even though I feel the weight of my oversized sunglasses, heavy on the bridge of my nose.

“Yep. Moved down to Alphabet City after college,” I answer. She nods, pushing a wisp of red hair behind her ear. 

She is letting the sun in, the pupils of her green eyes shrinking with the effort.

“You don’t remember me, do you?” It’s a statement, not a question, one that she says confidently, as if it’s a sign of character that she is easily forgettable, that fading into my brain’s recesses is some kind of compliment.

The church group disperses and I step away to let a family by.

“I’m sorry. I don’t.” And then, even though she is secure in her stance, amused perhaps by my social transgression, I fumble for some excuse. “Forgive me. I-I’m not good with faces.”

She laughs, then—a long, exhilarating sound, like a wind chime. “I don’t blame you. I think you were about three feet tall the last time you saw me.” She reaches out a hand, dainty and freckled. “I’m Anneliese. Anneliese Whittaker. I was your nanny.” Her hand remains in the air for a moment, outstretched, like the bare limb of a winter tree, before I take it.

“Sue. Sue Keller.” But of course she knows who I am. She says she was my nanny.

“I used to babysit you when you lived upstate.” I flinch, unintentionally. She knew my mother. “How’s your dad? He always wanted to move back up there later in life.”

I bite the inside of my cheek, savoring the tenderized spot there, made bloody by my anxious jaw. “He passed last year. Car accident.”

Anneliese puts a hand to her mouth, her eyes widening behind the glasses. “Oh honey, I’m so sorry. You must miss him a lot, don’t you? He was your whole world back when I knew you.”

I offer her a smile. “Yes, well, aren’t most little girls that way with their fathers?”

The child is still screaming for lunch. His mother is speaking to another woman, the three of them the only people left in front of the church.

“Yes, well, I guess that’s true. You and your dad had a special bond, though.” She gazes at me then, her face full of compassion, those green eyes penetrative.

And we’re silent, for a beat too long. So I find myself shuffling, moving around her. “I actually have to meet a friend.” I check my wrist though I’m not wearing a watch. “But it was funny running into you.” I give her what I hope is an apologetic smile, backing away from her, toward the curb.

She stops me, one of those tiny hands on my wrist, almost tugging at my sleeve like a child. “Wait. I’d love to see you again.” She digs around in her purse. I catch sight of a book, earbuds, some capped pens, a grimy-looking ChapStick. She takes out a receipt, uncaps a pen, and leans the paper against the church’s stone masonry, scrawling her number. The figures are dainty, like her hands.

“I’m sorry to keep you waiting. Tell your friend a crazy lady stopped and demanded you spend time with her.” She laughs again, that wind chime chortle, and I pocket the receipt.

“Nice to see you again!” I call, making the traffic light just in time. When I cross the street and turn, she’s gone, consumed by the hordes, no sign of that red hair glinting in the sunlight.

“And you stopped? I would’ve kept on walking. No time for nutso people like that,” Beth says through the phone as I pace my studio, absentmindedly throwing trash away, smoothing out the creases in my bedspread, my phone nestled between my shoulder and ear. I set it down and put her on speaker. I have the urge, suddenly, to rearrange the furniture in this miniscule apartment. To move the bed to the other side of the room, away from the window, from the noise of the street.

“She knew my name, Beth. She called out ‘Sue.’ I wasn’t going to ignore that.” Outside, a siren wails and I pull down the shade.

“That’s why you always wear headphones. So you have an excuse not to deal with those kinds of people.” Beth smacks her gum, the noise ricocheting through the tinny speaker.

“So you really don’t remember if I had a nanny called Anneliese?” I crumple up the wax paper from my bagel, letting it drift to the floor. The old family photo albums from that period are in storage, buried deep inside the disorganized cardboard boxes I hired movers to collect when I cleaned out Dad’s apartment.

“Dude, we met when we were five. I don’t think I knew my own mom’s name back then. I certainly wouldn’t remember who your babysitter was.” I close my eyes and massage my temples, my usual insomnia-inflicted headache edging toward a dull throb. I don’t remember a long-term nanny. I never had any babysitters growing up, just my dad.

I hear Beth say something to her girlfriend, a bark, and I walk away from the phone for a minute with a twinge of annoyance that she’s not giving me her undivided attention.

I think of Anneliese’s face, those teeth, the green eyes. The hair. And.

And.

I am running in a field with her, in the yard behind the house upstate. The garden is giant. Huge sunflowers, hedges high enough to block the sun. Beneath me, the grass is lush, dewy, tickling my bare feet. And the sky is white, hot and blazing. And she is behind me, shrieking, her freckled arm outstretched, a paintbrush in her hand tinged blue.

And I feel its slick bristles on my back and I fall, stumble. But I am laughing. And she is, too, her orange hair like a halo, eclipsing the sun.

I open my eyes.

“Anyway, I’m having some people over next weekend. I know you hate parties these days but you’re so cooped up all the time in that apartment. I swear it’ll be fun…” Beth squawks on, her voice shrill through the speaker.

“I remember her.”

Beth pauses mid-ramble. “What?”

“I remember her. Anneliese. The woman who stopped me today. She’s not nuts. I remember her.”

There’s a heavy silence on the other end. “Are you sure? You just said you didn’t.” Beth’s voice has lowered an octave, as if she’s whispering. Which I know is for my benefit, so her girlfriend won’t hear.

I tighten my hand into a fist. “I’m serious. She was my nanny. We used to play this game with paint.”

Beth sighs. “Still weird to me. You’re not thinking about calling her or anything like that, right?” But I’m already reaching into the garbage bag I use as a hamper, sifting through it for the sweats I wore earlier today. I take out the receipt, smoothing it out against my knee. It’s for shampoo, coconut Herbal Essences, and I can smell it on her, as if it’s 1996 and I am on the floor of my blue-carpeted bedroom and she is swinging her princess hair to and fro as we play Candy Land, the smell even more enticing than how I imagined Queen Frostine’s scent.

Tears prick my eyelids.

“I want to see her.” It comes out sounding infantile, testy even. And I hear Beth breathing, willing herself not to lash out.

“Okay. Okay, Suzy. Just meet in public and bring some pepper spray. Remember, she stopped you in the street. She really could be anyone, even if she did babysit you a thousand years ago.” I hear her put another piece of gum in her mouth, the wrapper like static.

“I know. She’s just a nice middle-aged woman. And maybe she has some cool things to say about my parents.” I know that will get Beth off my back. Any mention of my parents gets anyone off my back.

I hear her breath as she blows a bubble, the snap of the gum sticking to her lip. “I’m just trying to be a good friend. Don’t fault me for it.” Her voice has lowered again. “I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: you’ve been spending way too much time alone. It’s not like you and I can tell it’s getting to you. It would get to me.” But my finger is already hovering over the End Call button, eager to get Beth off the line.

“I appreciate it. But for real, now I have work to do. I’ll text you.” She spends one more minute reminding me to come to her party next weekend and I promise I will, even though we both know I won’t, and I hang up first, still fingering that crumpled receipt, studying the perfectly shaped eights in the handwritten phone number, each the same height, the same size.

Outside, a dog barks. And I bark back, loud and sharp, laughing at myself, my apartment easing into darkness as the sun sets.

Excerpted from Nanny Dearest by Flora Collins, Copyright © 2021 by Flora Collins. Published by MIRA Books.

BUY LINKS:

Bookshop.org: https://bookshop.org/books/nanny-dearest/9780778311614 

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778311614 

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/nanny-dearest-flora-collins/1138522927 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Nanny-Dearest-Novel-Flora-Collins/dp/0778311619

Books a Million: https://www.booksamillion.com/p/9780778311614?AID=10747236&PID=7310909&cjevent=3aaff079426711ec81b7ebac0a82b839

~Cassie

November Weekly Kindle Haul #3

Happy Sunday! I’m back with another round up of all the Kindle books that I bought/got last week. You might remember that I have a monthly limit of buying 13 Kindle books and I am a bit worried about sticking to it this month. And I should be since I have already purchased 11 books this month and we still have Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming up. Fingers crossed that I show some restraint and don’t check the deals because I might just be back next week with a whole ton of books to share.

From award-winning author Rachel Lacey comes a playful romance about a Manhattan bookstore owner and a reclusive author who love to hate—and hate to love—each other.

Books are Rosie Taft’s life. And ever since she took over her mother’s beloved Manhattan bookstore, they’ve become her home too. The only thing missing is her own real-life romance like the ones she loves to read about, and Rosie has an idea of who she might like to sweep her off her feet. She’s struck up a flirty online friendship with lesbian romance author Brie, and what could be more romantic than falling in love with her favorite author?

Jane Breslin works hard to keep her professional and personal lives neatly separated. By day, she works for the family property development business. By night, she puts her steamier side on paper under her pen name: Brie. Jane hasn’t had much luck with her own love life, but her online connection with a loyal reader makes Jane wonder if she could be the one.

When Rosie learns that her bookstore’s lease has been terminated by Jane’s family’s business, romance moves to the back burner. Even though they’re at odds, there’s no denying the sparks that fly every time they’re together. When their online identities are revealed, will Jane be able to write her way to a happy ending, or is Rosie’s heart a closed book?

*No synopsis since this is the fourth book in the series and I’m not sure if it contains spoilers or not.

#1 New York Times bestselling author Joyce Meyer takes us on a journey through the wisdom of Proverbs to leave us transformed and equipped to face daily choices and challenges.
The book of Proverbs is a treasure trove of both spiritual and practical wisdom that gives us what we need to guide our steps each and every day. Knowledge is important, but if it isn’t turned into action, it fails to help us on an earthly level. Because of this, it is important to gain understanding of the seven foundational principles frequently seen in Proverbs:

Wisdom,
Understanding,
Prudence,
Knowledge,
Discretion,
Discernment, and
Fear of the Lord.

If we desire to have these qualities, we must make a commitment to slow down. We will need to stop multi-tasking and learn to enjoy times of solitude and blessed quiet. We must give sincere thought regarding action to be taken, remembering that each action produces a result.

Featuring inspiring questions and space for thoughtful reflection, In Search of Wisdom will enlighten you with God’s understanding and teach you the foundational principles and secure God’s help in practicing them.

*No synopsis since this is the fourth book in the series.

New memoir from George M. Johnson, the bestselling author of All Boys Aren’t Blue—a “deeply impactful” (Nic Stone), “striking and joyful” (Laurie Halse Anderson), and “stunning read” (Publishers Weekly, starred) that celebrates Black boyhood and brotherhood in all its glory!

This is the vibrant story of George, Garrett, Rall, and Rasul — four children raised by Nanny, their fiercely devoted grandmother. The boys hold each other close through early brushes with racism, memorable experiences at the family barbershop, and first loves and losses. And with Nanny at their center, they are never broken.

George M. Johnson captures the unique experience of growing up as a Black boy in America through rich family stories that explore themes of vulnerability, sacrifice, and culture.

Complete with touching letters from the grandchildren to their beloved matriarch and a full color photo insert, this heartwarming and heartbreaking memoir is destined to become a modern classic of emerging adulthood.

FREE

Harper Avery is a jaded divorce attorney who loves helping her clients move on to better things. After all, they’ve struggled enough being in an unhappy marriage. When one client’s soon-to-be ex-husband suddenly says he wants a second chance with his wife, Harper’s dubious, certain that her client is just going to get hurt again. 

Despite his career as a divorce attorney, Gabriel Hart still believes that love can work miracles. Sure, there are no guarantees, but he totally supports his client’s efforts to reconcile with his wife—even if it means Gabriel has to go head-to-head with Harper to keep her from ruining the couple’s chances. 

With the holidays approaching, husband and wife set out to see if they can work through their issues, while Harper decides to spend the long Christmas weekend at her friend’s cabin in Lake Tahoe. Only when she gets there, someone is already occupying her last-minute rental—Gabriel Hart. Both refuse to give up their holiday retreat. Will their adversarial working relationship make for a stressful weekend? Or will the magic of Christmas sprinkle them with a love that can beat the odds?

FREE

Trapped with a billionaire in his mysterious mansion… Can she beat him at his own game?

Lily Frazer would do anything to save the Frazer Center for the Arts–even take on the infamous billionaire Calder Cunningham. When Lily breaks onto the Cunningham estate, she only wants to find and reason with Calder. (All right, all right, she wants to punch him in the face, too, but that’s Plan B.) As it turns out, the arrogant billionaire is willing to give her the money he promised, but there’s a catch: she must win it from him.

Lily isn’t about to give up the money without a fight (or let some haughty bastard seduce her), but she quickly discovers that there might be more to the brooding Calder than she initially perceived. As their games of cat and mouse become increasingly intense, she suddenly finds herself confused by her own emotions. Can she deny her attraction long enough to win the money she needs?

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Who’s the mystery woman who just walked into my brewery? 

I’m not the only one from my Alaskan small town asking themselves that question. But I’m positive, I’m the only one in Sunrise Bay undressing the pretty blonde in my head. Everything about her, from her make-up to her high heels says she’s a fish out of water. 

Whispers and speculations run rampant until the secret of who she is gets uncovered. Then the rumor mill goes into overdrive when she announces she’s staying to open a bookstore in the building next to mine—throwing a big wrench into my plans to buy that empty building.

I quickly find myself in a tug-of-war since my business partner/brother is upset she’s ruined the opportunity to expand our business. I try to keep my distance, but I’ve got one sister with a gossip column on the local radio station and two meddling grandmas setting me up as a tour director.

And now I kind of like the idea of our new neighbor staying. But small-town life isn’t for the weak—time will tell if she has what it takes to be one of us.

Eight strangers.
One island.
A secret you’d kill to keep.

When eight people arrive on the beautiful but remote Buidseach Island, they are ready for the challenge of a lifetime: to live alone for one year.

Eighteen months later, a woman is found in an isolated fishing village. She’s desperate to explain what happened to her: how the group fractured and friends became enemies; how they did what they must to survive until the boat came to collect them; how things turned deadly when the boat didn’t come…

But first Maddy must come to terms with the devastating secret that left them stranded, and her own role in the events that saw eight arrive and only three leave.

A gripping, twisty page-turner about secrets, lies and survival at all costs. Perfect for fans of The Castaways, The Sanitorium and One by One.

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Olivia Marshall never dreamed she’d have a crush on Santa Claus!
Olivia’s biological clock is ticking and she has no time for casual dating – especially not with the likes of Collin Sterling. Rich, spoiled, and arrogant, Collin is definitely not husband material, even though his deep green eyes send chills down her spine. 
Collin admires everything about Olivia – her spunk, her sharp wit and sharper tongue. And he’s doing everything possible to prove he’s the kind of man who deserves her. Until he realizes she’d be better off without him. 
Can Olivia and Collin find their way to happily-ever-after with the help of a magic kiss from Santa?
Note from Author: This sweet romance is a standalone, but contains spoilers for the other books in the series.

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Rebecca Avery has never been one of “them”—the popular kids, the beautiful people. With less than fashion-plate looks and an off-beat, quirky style to living life, she has been relegated to finding “alone” activities to fill her time throughout high school. Unfortunately, college hasn’t changed that. Then she meets Eric Barnett, a nice guy who seems a little quirky himself. The only problem is, he’s in love with her roommate—one of the truly beautiful people. When Rebecca finds herself falling for him, she must find a way to break out of her shell or risk losing him forever. Who will win out in this mixed up jumble of feelings and loyalties? 

Eric Barnett is drifting through college. Unlike his friends, he doesn’t have a path to relentlessly pursue. In fact, he often feels like the tag-along in a life that’s unfolding without him. Then he meets Rebecca Avery’s roommate who seems like she will finally give him what he most wants—credibility with his friends. However, when the roommate proves to be less-than-into-him, can Eric see past the outward appearance to find love with Rebecca?

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She’s been betrayed. His faith in love is lost.
Together they could find it all.

Living in the limelight, fashion model Sienna Roberts is used to keeping people at arm’s length. It’s been the only way to survive after the betrayal of finding the man she loved with her best friend. Keeping herself submerged in work doesn’t leave much time for love, but that’s the way she prefers it.

Pro-football player J.D. Shelton learned a long time ago that women cannot be trusted. A lesson learned at the hands of his own mother. When she resurfaces after all these years, it’s clear she still has the power to hurt him, and the secret she’s been keeping could change everything.

When destiny brings Sienna and J.D. together, the timing is all wrong, but there is no denying the sparks that fly and the desire that burns in their veins. It was only supposed to be one night—until it became more. Sometimes two lost souls find their way in one another.

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When falling in love isn’t part of the contract.

Techie Ethan Mattson may have married chef Lily Harper but he didn’t vow to love her. His only commitment was to hand her half of his business assets and a year later file for divorce while saving a tidy sum on taxes.

Little does Ethan know that the pretty woman from his past needs so much more than just a business. She needs protection and love, the two things he feels too broken to offer.

Chef Lily Harper grew up tagging along after Ethan who saved her from bullies, mud puddles and being an outsider. When Lily flees a nasty ex who won’t take a hint, she comes running home to Blueberry Springs, striking a deal with her childhood protector, Ethan. If he marries her, she’ll take his restaurant off his hands, giving him more time to spend on his dream tech business. Not only that, but she’ll finally earn her way into owning a thriving restaurant. It seems like an ideal agreement…until she begins to fall in love.

Will Lily be able to show Ethan how to love again or will their hidden histories ruin their recipe for love? Find out in this irresistible new book from New York Times bestselling author Jean Oram.

A Pinch of Commitment is the second book in the Veils and Vows series and it can be read out of series order and as a standalone. Start reading it today!

From your heart’s deepest cry to life’s joyful praises, nothing is off limits to Jesus.
Knowing Jesus on a deeper, more personal level means sharing all aspects of your life with Him…every day. In Dear Jesus, Sarah Young exemplifies what it means to do this-to dialogue with the Savior. She begins each of the 120 devotionals by sharing intimate struggles and longings that weigh on the heart-being preoccupied with problems; being dissatisfied with oneself, and other spiritual issues. Jesus then responds in His loving way by giving guidance and encouragement, using Scripture as the foundation from which His words flow. Readers will be drawn into the presence of God through these spiritual letters of grace. 

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Welcome to one of Kathryn Shay’s high school dramas. A teacher in a public school for years, she knows kids and the men and women who teach them!

“BECAUSE IT’S CHRISTMAS is a super modern day retelling of the classic It’s a Wonderful Life.” Painted Rock Reviews

To most people in the small town of Bayview Heights, high school principal Seth Taylor is a hero. But Seth has never forgotten the mistakes he made years ago with his students. And neither has reporter Lacey Cartwright, because one involved her brother, who’s now in jail. With her grandfather pressuring her to destroy Seth in the town newspaper, Seth invites Lacey to come to the school and see what the teachers really do with kids. Attraction then love flares between these two star-crossed people. If Lacey starts to show her support—and her true feelings—for Seth, she will she lose what’s left of her family?

~Cassie

True Loaf by L. Austen Johnson

Publication Date: July 27, 2021

Publisher: Lore and Lyre

Pages: Audio

Genre: Fantasy, Fairy Tale

Rating: 4/5

This is a fun and very quick little story that really just dips the readers (or listeners) toes into the world of Balkan fairy tales. Our main character, Riley, works at a bakery and one day a customer comes in with a special request. He would like her to make him a loaf of bread with an ingredient that can only be found in the forest at twilight. The ensuing quest was was delightful and the ending was truly the icing on top. The audiobook that I listened to was only 16 minutes but Johnson still told a tale full of adventure that left me wanting more. Which is great because she has a Christmas romance novella that is perfect for this upcoming time of year.

~Cassie

Hummingbird Salamander by Jeff VanderMeer

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing me with this review copy in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Publisher: MCD

Pages: 351

Genre: Mystery, Speculative Fiction

Rating: 4/5

This quirky story revolves around our protagonist, who goes by the anonymous name of Jane Smith, as she tells us the story of her life starting with the unexpected delivery of an envelope containing a key to a storage locker from the deceased environmental warrior, Silvina. And if that sounds confusing then just wait until the story really takes off. Jane takes us on a labyrinth of twists and turns as she follows the breadcrumbs Silvina left behind. As Jane starts exploring the clues Silvina left behind her safety, as well as her family’s, becomes an issue since there are some dangerous people that don’t want Jane to find what Silvina had hidden.

This is such an original story and I enjoyed immersing myself in VanderMeer’s world. What this book is at its core is an ecological mystery which is an interesting mash up that ends up working so well. VanderMeer seamlessly weaves in facts about hummingbirds, salamanders, and nature in general along with slowly ratcheting up the suspense. We are thrown right into the story with Jane and since Jane is figuring out the mystery we are left in the dark with her while we wait for her to follow the breadcrumbs. This book also excels at the dichotomy of being both fast paced and slow. Make no mistake, this book requires work and effort as we work our way through the puzzle of Silvina. However, there are breathtaking moments that make all the slow trodding along more than worth it.

VanderMeer takes us on an exhilarating ride and the ending was both unexpected yet incredibly fitting. By the end Jane is a character that you have been through so much with that you can’t help but have an emotional connection to her. She is telling us the story in an intimate and almost journal like way that has left me still thinking about her months later. There is so much to talk about regarding this story but since I’m keeping this spoiler free I will just say that if you can get past the first part of this story you will be captivated by the rest.

This is my first VanderMeer book and it will not be my last. He has such a distinctive and eccentric way of writing that I really enjoyed and admired. I feel like this is a book for a very specific type of reader who doesn’t mind not knowing what is happening until practically the end. And even then it has some twists and turns. If you are looking for a book that demands you take your time to slowly immerse yourself into the story then this might be one that you could end up really loving.

~Cassie

The Keeper of the Night by Kylie Lee Baker

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: October 12, 2021

Publisher: Inkyard Press

Pages: 400

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Rating: 3/5

This is a unique fantasy that is seeped in Japanese mythology. We follow Ren, a half British reaper and half Japanese Shinigami. Ren has gotten on somewhat peacefully in Britain for the last two centuries but when she loses control of her Shinigami powers she is forced to leave, along with her half brother, Neven. Ren and Neven make their way to Japan so Ren can finally claim her Shinigami powers and hopefully be reunited with the mother she has never known. The Japanese Goddess of Death agrees to let Ren become a full Shinigami if she completes the task of finding and killing three Yokai demons.

The Japanese myths that center this story were my favorite part. I loved learning about the different legends and characters that Baker introduced throughout her story. I was pleasantly surprised by the horror aspects that were in this book. Obviously a complete novice to Japanese mythology but I’m assuming that is a common occurrence in the lore. Another aspect of the story that I loved was Baker’s atmospheric and beautiful writing. I highlighted so many lines in my Kindle because I was so blown away with the elegant way she writes.

As intriguing as I found the story and as stunning as I found Baker’s writing I did find that the plot slowly started unraveling the more we got into it. I found the beginning to be instantly attention grabbing but unfortunately, for me, that was the strongest part. I still enjoyed the bulk of the story despite it’s many flaws. Ren is supposed to be a morally grey character and Neven takes on the role of the white knight but I found both of these personality traits underdeveloped.

I thought this book was ending at the perfect moment but then it kept going. And then I again thought that we had come to a satisfying conclusion but no the story continued. The end also had major pacing issues. It was obvious that Baker wanted to stop at a certain point but she should have added another 100 pages or so and told a more complete story. Or, what I would have preferred, saved some of what happened at the end for the sequel.

I would still recommend this book for the incredible way Baker weaves in Japanese folklore with stories of reapers and the dead. This is Baker’s debut novel and the plot coupled with her mesmerizing writing are reasons enough for me to be eagerly anticipating the sequel. If you are a fantasy reader who is looking for distinctive and compelling world building then look no further than The Keeper of the Night.

Every step was a goodbye to a place I’d never really loved but that had made up my entire world.”

I wouldn’t give her my story to add to her collection, because it wasn’t over yet.”

~Cassie

WWW 11.17.21

This weekly meme is hosted by Sam at Taking on a World of Words and all you need to do to participate is answer the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?
  • What have you recently finished?
  • What do you think you’ll read next?

What are you currently reading?

I’m currently having a hard time concentrating on any book so I’m reading a little bit out of too many books which means not a lot of progress is being made. I’ve come to the realization the last few months that mental health is a huge aspect of living with a chronic illness and as I come up on two years since my first symptom I have been struggling a bit. However, I am loving all of the books that I am reading except for The Matzah Ball. The hero in that romance is not very likable but I am reviewing it next week so I anticipate finishing it soon. I did just start Love at the Fall Festival so I’m only a chapter in so I can’t speak much to how good it is yet.

What have you recently finished?

I shared my review of All the Feels by Olivia Dade yesterday.

I started and then DNF’d Thanksgiving by Janet Evanovich last Friday. I was in the mood for a romance centered around this time of year but the story started out ridiculous and then got progressively more ridiculous. I made it 32% before I decided I couldn’t take anymore. I then looked up spoiler reviews and was relieved I stopped when I did.

I had started The Lost Village by Camilla Sten last month but I didn’t get too far into it. I was in the mood for a good suspense story so I decided to pick this back up. It definitely hit the mark and I gave this five stars. I hope to have a full review up for this soon.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I honestly have no idea. But I hope nothing until I finish a few of the books that I’m currently in the middle of.

~Cassie

ARC Review: All the Feels by Olivia Dade

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for gifting me in ARC in exchange for my honest review.

Publication Date: November 16, 2021

Publisher: Avon

Pages: 385

Genre: Romance, Smut

Rating: 4/5

All the Feels is a sweet, funny, heartwarming, emotional and smutty romance about two characters that I won’t forget for many years to come. It is the last season of God of the Gates (think Game of Thrones) and Alex (think Jamie Lannister) has just gotten into a bar fight and that coupled with issues he’s had on other sets makes the show runner, Ron, hires his cousin, Lauren, to be his minder. Lauren is tasked with never letting Alex out of her sight lest he get himself into more trouble. While this story seems like a simple and straightforward romantic comedy it has many complex layers that give it so much heart and many moving moments.

Alex is everything one would want in a hero as he was equally funny and swoon worthy. However, Alex is dealing with some heavy emotional baggage due to some past regrets. Lauren is at a cross roads with her life since she just took a leave of absence from her job as an ER therapist. They are both thrown into a situation that requires them to be together almost constantly and this leads to them becoming friends and then slowly falling for each other.

I love how during their friendship and then eventual romantic relationship Lauren and Alex are navigating some tough issues together. Because of her past, Lauren has learned not to stick up for herself in any situation. Alex, because of his past, has big reactions to anything or anyone that he thinks his harmful. Confronting their trauma and past helps to solidify the bond between them and led to me yearning for them to have their happily ever after. I’m usually not a big fan of epilogues but I throughly enjoyed the one in this book and I even got teary eyed at the end.

To lighten up these tougher moments, Dade makes sure to throw in lots of fun and levity. The Spoiler Alert series is known for their basis in fan fiction and I have to admit that I had never heard of most of the smutty fan fiction tropes that are out there. It was very intriguing and Dade was even kind enough to throw in some fan fiction stories so we could clearly see the tropes in action. Also, if you wanted to, I’m sure you could have a drinking game (be responsible!) while reading this where you take a shot every time pegging is mentioned (spoiler: you will be very drunk).

My only negative to this book was that at times it felt overwritten. The characters would be in the middle of a dialogue heavy scene and Dade would interrupt to tell us how someone was feeling. Or that the other character knows how the other person is feeling because of x, y and/or z. It was a little frustrating to get taken out of the emotion or humor in the scene when it wasn’t necessary. Other than that I was fully immersed in this story and I love the world that Dade created. Especially as a fan of Game of Thrones who absolutely despises the last season, this felt like the perfect antidote to it.

If you are looking for a romance that will give you all the feels and also have you smiling/laughing practically the whole way through then I can’t recommend this book enough. Lauren and Alex took me on a journey that I absolutely loved and I know that I will continue to think fondly about them for awhile. I have my fingers crossed that the third book in this series will feature Lauren’s best friend but I will happily read any story that Dade releases.

~Cassie

November Weekly Kindle Haul #2

Happy Monday! I’m a day late with this post due to having a migraine yesterday but I’m excited to share with you all the books that I got/bought last week. I have bought 6 books so far this month which I would say is great considering we are half way through but with Black Friday and Cyber Monday coming I’m a little nervous that I will lose all self control.

18+ for language and sexual content! 

Carter ‘Ace’ Quinn has spent his life running from the rage caused by a broken heart. After several tours in the Air Force, and continued missions as a para-jumper, he spends his down time within the Dogs of Fire Motorcycle Club. 

Cassidy Dennis is living with a choice she made years ago that lost her the love of her life but gained her something more precious. However, she misses her best friend and longs for the love they’d been building. 

When a chance meeting brings the two together, will they put aside their hurts and forgive each other? 

Will the jealousies of outsiders force the two apart? 

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International bestselling authors and best friends, Ava Miles and Kathia, share stories of their friendship and their two favorite holiday novellas to celebrate the season. Bring in the season with hope, laughter, and love. Including special introductions by both authors on their friendships, life, and champagne.

THE HOLIDAY SERENADE by Ava Miles
A second chance at love… They had a fling straight-laced Abby’s never forgotten, and now professional gambler Rhett Butler Blaylock has followed her to Dare Valley, Colorado, with the intention of winning back her heart. This time, Rhett’s determined to show Abbie he can be the man of her dreams. This time, it’s forever.

MAKE MY WISH COME TRUE by Kathia
At almost thirty, Chloe’s back home living with her parents—jobless, aimless, and hopeless. (Insert a whimper here.) It was supposed to be HER year, topped off with the perfect wedding to the perfect guy. Instead, this year’s been total hell. And how does one end the year from hell? Sequestered with the entire Summerhill family in an estate in Ireland for the holidays, of course.

In this breathtaking Agatha Christie mystery, the Third Girl sharing a London flat with two others announces to Hercule Poirot that she’s a murderer and then disappears. The masterful investigator must figure out whether the missing girl is a criminal, a victim, or merely insane.

Three young women share a London flat. The first is a coolly efficient secretary. The second is an artist. The third interrupts Hercule Poirot’s breakfast confessing that she is a murderer—and then promptly disappears.

Slowly, Poirot learns of the rumors surrounding the mysterious third girl, her family, and her disappearance. Yet hard evidence is needed before the great detective can pronounce her guilty, innocent, or insane.…

I already tried to read this but only made it to 32%. At first this was a ridiculous but ok story but it kept getting more and more ridiculous. I looked up spoiler reviews and I’m glad that I stopped reading when I did.

When Megan Murphy discovered a floppy-eared rabbit gnawing on the hem of her skirt, she meant to give its careless owner a piece of her mind, but Dr. Patrick Hunter was too attractive to stay mad at for long. Soon the two are making Thanksgiving dinner for their families.

The Fates are cackling their bony asses off…

It’s been a year since Seth made the deal with the gods that pledged his life to them. And so far, the jobs they’ve given him have been violent and bloody–which is kind of all right with him. But now Apollo has something else in mind for Seth. He’s got to play protector while keeping his hands and fingers off, and for someone who really has a problem with restraint, this new assignment might be the most challenging yet. 

Josie has no idea what this crazy hot guy’s deal might be, but it’s a good bet that his arrival means the new life she started after leaving home is about to be thrown into an Olympian-sized blender turned up to puree. Either Josie is going insane or a nightmare straight out of ancient myth is gunning for her.

But it might be the unlikely attraction simmering between her and the golden-eyed, secret-keeping Seth that may prove to be the most dangerous thing of all.

Because history has once again been flipped to repeat.

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USA TODAY BEST SELLER

Gavin: 
Ellie Montague is smart, sensitive, and so gorgeous it hurts to look at her. She’s also an intern in my office. The office of the Prime Minister of Canada.* 
That’s me. The PM. 
She calls me that because when she calls me Sir, I get hard and she gets flustered, and as long as she’s my intern, I can’t twist my hands in her strawberry-blonde hair and show her what else I’d like her to do with that pretty pink mouth.** 

Ellie: 
How much I like the PM varies on a daily basis. He’s intense, controlling, and a perfectionist in every way—and he demands the same of his staff. 
How much I want him never wavers. 
There’s something about him that tugs at me deep inside, and makes me wish that just once he’d cross the line in a late night work session. I’d take that secret to the grave if it meant I got a taste of the barely restrained beast inside him.*** 



FOOTNOTES: 
* This is a fictional erotic romance. No prime ministers or interns were harmed in the making of this book. 
** Except it’s a BDSM romance, so they were hurt a little. 
*** Spoiler alert: she gets more than a taste. And she likes it.

A spellbinding and darkly humorous coming-of-age story about an unusual boy whose family lives on the fringes of society and struggles to survive in a hostile world that shuns and fears them.

He was born an outsider, like the rest of his family. Poor yet resilient, he lives in the shadows with his Aunt Libby and Uncle Darren, folk who stubbornly make their way in a society that does not understand or want them. They are mongrels, mixedblood, neither this nor that. The boy at the center of Mongrels must decide if he belongs on the road with his aunt and uncle, or if he fits with the people on the other side of the tracks.

For ten years, he and his family have lived a life of late-night exits and close calls—always on the move across the South to stay one step ahead of the law. But the time is drawing near when Darren and Libby will know if their nephew is like them or not. And the close calls they’ve been running from for so long are catching up fast, now. Everything is about to change.

A compelling and fascinating journey, Mongrels alternates between past and present to create an unforgettable portrait of a boy trying to understand his family and his place in a complex and unforgiving world. A smart and innovative story—funny, bloody, raw, and real—told in a rhythmic voice full of heart, Mongrels is a deeply moving, sometimes grisly novel that illuminates the challenges and tender joys of a life beyond the ordinary in a bold and imaginative new way.

People are brought into our lives for many reasons. Over time, we find out who is meant to be a temporary acquaintance and who will be there for a lifetime.

Easton Crawford put his modeling career before his marriage until it was ending in divorce. Years later, he is finally learning how to be the father his daughter needs him to be. He’s not looking for someone to step into the mother role—just nightly casual hook-ups. 

When his best friend convinces him that a good way to meet single women is to go on a singles cruise, he finds more than just a one night stand. 

At age thirteen, Brooke Bradley became an adult, raising her younger sister while her mother continually ignored her parenting responsibilities. Since then, Brooke has continued to take care of the people in her life, including her deadbeat boyfriend, Jared.

For Brooke’s thirtieth birthday, her best friend surprises her with a cruise but fails to mention it’s a singles cruise. When Brooke meets Easton, the one man willing to be her constant, will she finally find the courage to leave Jared? 

Easton knows that Brooke is someone who is meant to be in his life forever, but when a health scare threatens to change everything, Brooke and Easton are faced with unanswered questions and unspoken fears.

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This Christmas, something magical is happening in Sapphire Bay.

Emma loves everything about living in Sapphire Bay. The scenery in the small Montana town is spectacular, her communications business is thriving, and her six-year-old twins are happy. When a Christmas Facebook post goes viral, Emma and her friends are swamped with people asking Santa for help. But it’s her twins’ Christmas wish that breaks her heart.

Jack Devlin finds missing people. When his brother asks him to locate Emma’s ex-husband, he thinks it’s going to be an easy case. But the more time he spends with Emma, the more complicated their relationship becomes. With more than one heart on the line, will they go back to their old lives or risk everything for a once-in-a-lifetime kind of love?

CHRISTMAS ON MAIN STREET is the first novel in the Santa’s Secret Helpers series and can easily be read as a standalone. Each of Leeanna’s series are linked so you can find out what happens to your favorite characters in other books. Happy reading! 

A heartwarming and hilarious Christmas romance!

Tis the season to be jolly!

But on Rochester Mews, two unlikely lovebirds are struggling to find their festive cheer.

Star baker Mattie has hated Christmas ever since she had her heart broken on Christmas Eve. The only thing she hates more is the insufferable Tom, who has rubbed her up the wrong way since she started running the tearoom next door to his bookshop. So when Mattie and Tom are left in charge in the frantic festive days before Christmas, it might be cold outside but things are sure to heat up.

Can a bookshop full of romantic novels, a life-sized reindeer and a mistletoe kissing booth persuade two scrooges to fall in love with Christmas… and each other?

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A one-night stand is supposed to end once the sun rises. Only it doesn’t always work out that way in this opposites attract and tortured hero romance.

Elise Hoover never expected this. She didn’t want to go to another party, but when her friend pulls her in, she somehow finds herself hiding in a corner with…him.

Dillon Connolly.

The smirking, so-called good guy with the shadows in his eyes. A single glance, a sweet smile, and she lets herself have one night of giving in.

Only she has to promise herself not to fall in love. No matter the cost.

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That smoking hot one-night stand with a former rock star?

Turns out he’s my son’s new music teacher. Oops.

But I didn’t know that the night I met Campbell. All I knew was he played my body the same way he played a guitar — like he owned it.

My libido is still high-fiving me after being self-served for too many years, and we’re both ready for another night or two of fun, especially since we don’t just have chemistry in bed — we connect over everything.

That is, until I learn he’s the man who’ll be coming to my house twice a week to teach my son — the best music lessons money can buy.

Time to turn down the volume on our shenanigans. Only that’s easier said than done.

***

I can rock a guitar solo in front of thousands, I can write chart-topping tunes, and I can absolutely stop thinking about my student’s mother naked.

After all, I’m a single parent too, and I know what it’s like to put your kid first. That’s what I do every damn day.

Trouble is, now that I’ve had Mackenzie, it’s hard — and I do mean hard — to stop wanting her. Harder too when I get to know her, and learn she’s an awesome mom, a great friend, and, oh yeah, she happens to get along perfectly with my daughter.

All we have to do is set some rules. No dating, no nookie when the kids are around, and no one gets hurt.

It’s all working out beautifully. Until we start breaking the rules, one by one.

Making music with her in the bedroom is easy. But will we be more than just a real good time when the music stops?

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Never fall in love with your best friend…

I met Hal on the first day of high school.
I also fell in love with Hal on the first day of high school.
But although we were good friends from the start, I knew he’d never be mine.
He’s gorgeous, confident, sexy, and he’s also incredibly rich.
I’m scarred – physically and emotionally – quiet, and my family has always been poor. The two of us are poles apart.
So I’ve trained myself not to think of him in that way.
Not to think of kissing him, undressing him slowly.
Of sliding beneath the bedclothes. Of having his hands on my skin.
I don’t think of it at all.
I can’t. Because Hal never stays with a girl for long, and if he were to have me, then leave me, my heart would break into a million pieces, and I’d never be able to put it together again.
But then he tells me he’s fallen in love with someone. I try to guess who, and he just smiles.
“Izzy,” he says patiently, “it’s you.”
Oh no.

*

The Billionaire Kings is set in Noah’s Ark Animal Sanctuary and features the sons of the heroes from the USA Today bestselling Three Wise Men series of sexy holiday romances. The books are all standalones, and you don’t have to have read the Three Wise Men to enjoy The Billionaire Kings, but if you have read them you will hopefully have fun meeting up with Brock, Charlie, and Matt occasionally in these stories! This new series takes place approximately thirty years after the Three Wise Men, but it’s not set ‘in the future’. I just thought it would be fun to write a new series that had a connection to one of my favorites. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it!

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Ally Bloom attends her college reunion on a mission—a second chance with her first love. Turns out he’s single and…not interested. Their love is doomed! But when Ethan Case, the sexy cop friend of a friend, finds her crying in her spiked punch, he invites her for coffee with his date. Knowing he’s taken and she doesn’t need to impress him, Ally blurts the entire sucky men saga that is her love life. 

But wait! There he is at her Happy Endings Book Club meeting. 
And pulling her over for speeding. 
And in her classroom to talk to the kids about safety. 
Is the man just messing with her, or is this the beginning of something real?

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He’s forbidden in every sense of the word. But is that enough to keep him away? 

It all started in Vegas.

Now, I know what you’re thinking…

What happens in Vegas is supposed to stay in the city of sin. Normally, I’d be inclined to agree. Until Lincoln Moore walks into my life. 

On paper, we mix as well as oil and water. 

He’s confident. Commanding. Successful. Master of his universe. 

I’m a hot mess, barely holding on as I struggle to balance my job, finally finishing college, and keeping my mother sober.

But when the lights go out, nothing else matters.

Until I learn the truth of who Lincoln Moore actually is.

Sure, I probably should have put the pieces together sooner, but our time together hasn’t exactly been filled with riveting philosophical discussions about the meaning of life, if you know what I mean.

That still doesn’t diminish the fact he could lose everything by being with me. 

But is that enough to keep us apart? 
Or is what we have worth the risk?

There’s only one way to find out.

Let the games begin…

Note:
 Wicked Games is the complete story of what readers got a taste of in Night Games, a novella that was originally included in the Blackout Anthology, which is no longer available. While the beginning of this book may sound familiar if you’ve read the Night Games novella, the story has been continued, and is now 450 pages, over 300 of which is brand new material. Readers wanted more Chloe and Lincoln, so that’s what I’ve delivered here.

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He says we never had a proper honeymoon. 

So, instead, he’s giving me… a prepper honeymoon? 

Who knew billionaire preppers were a thing? 

I guess I’m about to find out. 

— 

Julia Kent’s New York Times bestselling romantic comedy series continues in Shopping for a CEO’s Honeymoon as Andrew and Amanda settle in to married life… and so much more.

~Cassie

Recent Book Haul

Off the top of my head it’s been about two months since my last book haul but I haven’t bought too many books since then. I went to the thrift store when my sister was visiting last week plus I have my recent Book of the Month books and a few other books I have picked up here or there when out shopping and a few from Amazon. Which is sounding like it might be a larger haul than I said a few sentences ago.

For readers of Kara Thomas and Karen McManus, an addictive, twisty crime thriller with shades of Serial and Making a Murderer about a closed local murder case that doesn’t add up, and a girl who’s determined to find the real killer–but not everyone wants her meddling in the past.

Everyone in Fairview knows the story.

Pretty and popular high school senior Andie Bell was murdered by her boyfriend, Sal Singh, who then killed himself. It was all anyone could talk about. And five years later, Pip sees how the tragedy still haunts her town.

But she can’t shake the feeling that there was more to what happened that day. She knew Sal when she was a child, and he was always so kind to her. How could he possibly have been a killer?

Now a senior herself, Pip decides to reexamine the closed case for her final project, at first just to cast doubt on the original investigation. But soon she discovers a trail of dark secrets that might actually prove Sal innocent . . . and the line between past and present begins to blur. Someone in Fairview doesn’t want Pip digging around for answers, and now her own life might be in danger.

This is the story of an investigation turned obsession, full of twists and turns and with an ending you’ll never expect.

In Crank, Ellen Hopkins chronicles the turbulent and often disturbing relationship between Kristina, a character based on her own daughter, and the “monster,” the highly addictive drug crystal meth, or “crank.” Kristina is introduced to the drug while visiting her largely absent and ne’er-do-well father. While under the influence of the monster, Kristina discovers her sexy alter-ego, Bree: “there is no perfect daughter, / no gifted high school junior, / no Kristina Georgia Snow. / There is only Bree.” Bree will do all the things good girl Kristina won’t, including attracting the attention of dangerous boys who can provide her with a steady flow of crank.

The first book in Kate Atkinson’s Jackson Brodie Mysteries series, called “The best mystery of the decade” by Stephen King, finds private investigator Jackson Brodie following three seemingly unconnected family mysteries in Cambridge.
Case one: A little girl goes missing in the night. Case two: A beautiful young office worker falls victim to a maniac’s apparently random attack. 
Case three: A new mother finds herself trapped in a hell of her own making – with a very needy baby and a very demanding husband – until a fit of rage creates a grisly, bloody escape.
Thirty years after the first incident, as private investigator Jackson Brodie begins investigating all three cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge . . .

The New York Times bestselling series that inspired the international hit video game: The Witcher.
For over a century, humans, dwarves, gnomes, and elves have lived together in relative peace. But times have changed, the uneasy peace is over, and now the races are fighting once again. The only good elf, it seems, is a dead elf.

Geralt of Rivia, the cunning assassin known as The Witcher, has been waiting for the birth of a prophesied child. This child has the power to change the world – for good, or for evil.

As the threat of war hangs over the land and the child is hunted for her extraordinary powers, it will become Geralt’s responsibility to protect them all – and the Witcher never accepts defeat.

The Witcher returns in this sequel to The Last Wish, as the inhabitants of his world become embroiled in a state of total war.

The USA Today bestselling and Edgar Award–winning author of Never Look Back and If I Die Tonight plumbs the dark side of justice and the depths of diabolical revenge in this propulsive novel of psychological suspense that melds the driving narrative of Then She Was Gone with the breathtaking twists of The Chain and the violent fury of Kill Bill.

“Alison Gaylin’s The Collective is an astonishing feat. In the tradition of Ira Levin’s unforgettable social thrillers (Rosemary’s Baby, Stepford Wives), it’s a nerve-shredding, emotionally harrowing ride that also speaks volumes about our current moment, the dangers of our digital world, the potency of female rage. Don’t miss it.” —Megan Abbott

Just how far will a grieving mother go to right a tragic wrong?

Camille Gardner is a grieving—and angry—mother who, five years after her daughter’s death, is still obsessed with the privileged young man she believes to be responsible.

When her rash actions attract the attention of a secret group of women—the collective— Camille is drawn into a dark web where these mothers share their wildly different stories of loss as well as their desire for justice in a world where privilege denies accountability and perpetrators emerge unscathed. Fueled by mutual rage, these women orchestrate their own brand of justice through precise, anonymous, complexly plotted and perfectly executed revenge killings, with individual members completing a specific and integral task in each plan.

As Camille struggles to comprehend whether this is a role-playing exercise or terrifying reality, she must decide if these women are truly avenging angels or monsters. Becoming more deeply enmeshed in the group, Camille learns truths about the collective—and about herself—that she may not be able to survive.

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Hawkins, writing as Erin Sterling, casts a spell with a spine-tingling romance full of wishes, witches, and hexes gone wrong.

Nine years ago, Vivienne Jones nursed her broken heart like any young witch would: vodka, weepy music, bubble baths…and a curse on the horrible boyfriend. Sure, Vivi knows she shouldn’t use her magic this way, but with only an “orchard hayride” scented candle on hand, she isn’t worried it will cause him anything more than a bad hair day or two.

That is until Rhys Penhallow, descendent of the town’s ancestors, breaker of hearts, and annoyingly just as gorgeous as he always was, returns to Graves Glen, Georgia. What should be a quick trip to recharge the town’s ley lines and make an appearance at the annual fall festival turns disastrously wrong. With one calamity after another striking Rhys, Vivi realizes her silly little Ex Hex may not have been so harmless after all.

Suddenly, Graves Glen is under attack from murderous wind-up toys, a pissed off ghost, and a talking cat with some interesting things to say. Vivi and Rhys have to ignore their off the charts chemistry to work together to save the town and find a way to break the break-up curse before it’s too late.

The bestselling author of A Gentleman in Moscow and Rules of Civility and master of absorbing, sophisticated fiction returns with a stylish and propulsive novel set in 1950s America

In June, 1954, eighteen-year-old Emmett Watson is driven home to Nebraska by the warden of the work farm where he has just served a year for involuntary manslaughter. His mother long gone, his father recently deceased, and the family farm foreclosed upon by the bank, Emmett’s intention is to pick up his eight-year-old brother and head west where they can start their lives anew. But when the warden drives away, Emmett discovers that two friends from the work farm have hidden themselves in the trunk of the warden’s car. Together, they have hatched an altogether different plan for Emmett’s future.

Spanning just ten days and told from multiple points of view, Towles’s third novel will satisfy fans of his multi-layered literary styling while providing them an array of new and richly imagined settings, characters, and themes.

From the two-time Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Underground Railroad and The Nickel Boys, a gloriously entertaining novel of heists, shakedowns, and rip-offs set in Harlem in the 1960s.

“Ray Carney was only slightly bent when it came to being crooked…” To his customers and neighbors on 125th street, Carney is an upstanding salesman of reasonably priced furniture, making a decent life for himself and his family. He and his wife Elizabeth are expecting their second child, and if her parents on Striver’s Row don’t approve of him or their cramped apartment across from the subway tracks, it’s still home. 

Few people know he descends from a line of uptown hoods and crooks, and that his façade of normalcy has more than a few cracks in it. Cracks that are getting bigger all the time. 

Cash is tight, especially with all those installment-plan sofas, so if his cousin Freddie occasionally drops off the odd ring or necklace, Ray doesn’t ask where it comes from. He knows a discreet jeweler downtown who doesn’t ask questions, either. 

Then Freddie falls in with a crew who plan to rob the Hotel Theresa—the “Waldorf of Harlem”—and volunteers Ray’s services as the fence. The heist doesn’t go as planned; they rarely do. Now Ray has a new clientele, one made up of shady cops, vicious local gangsters, two-bit pornographers, and other assorted Harlem lowlifes. 

Thus begins the internal tussle between Ray the striver and Ray the crook. As Ray navigates this double life, he begins to see who actually pulls the strings in Harlem. Can Ray avoid getting killed, save his cousin, and grab his share of the big score, all while maintaining his reputation as the go-to source for all your quality home furniture needs? 

Harlem Shuffle’s ingenious story plays out in a beautifully recreated New York City of the early 1960s. It’s a family saga masquerading as a crime novel, a hilarious morality play, a social novel about race and power, and ultimately a love letter to Harlem. 

But mostly, it’s a joy to read, another dazzling novel from the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award-winning Colson Whitehead.

From the author of Little Broken Things, a race-to-the-finish family drama” (People) following a mother who must confront the dark summer that changed her life forever in order to reclaim the daughter she left behind.

Juniper Baker had just graduated from high school and was deep in the throes of a summer romance when Cal and Beth Murphy, a childless couple who lived on a neighboring farm, were brutally murdered. When her younger brother became the prime suspect, June’s world collapsed and everything she loved that summer fell away. She left, promising never to return to tiny Jericho, Iowa.

Until now. Officially, she’s back in town to help an ill friend manage the local library. But really, she’s returned to repair her relationship with her teenage daughter, who’s been raised by Juniper’s mother and stepfather since birth—and to solve the infamous Murphy murders once and for all. She knows the key to both lies in the darkest secret of that long-ago summer night, one that’s haunted her for nearly fifteen years.

As history begins to repeat itself and a dogged local true crime podcaster starts delving into the murders, the race to the truth puts past and present on a dangerous collision course. Juniper lands back in an all-too-familiar place with the answers to everything finally in her sights, but this time it’s her daughter’s life that hangs in the balance. Will revealing what really happened mean a fresh start? Or will the truth destroy everything Juniper loves for a second time? Baart once again brilliantly weaves mystery into family drama in this expertly-crafted novel for fans of Lisa Jewell and Megan Miranda.

From #1 New York Times bestselling author Liane Moriarty comes a novel that looks at marriage, siblings, and how the people we love the most can hurt us the deepest

The Delaney family love one another dearly—it’s just that sometimes they want to murder each other . . .

If your mother was missing, would you tell the police? Even if the most obvious suspect was your father?

This is the dilemma facing the four grown Delaney siblings.

The Delaneys are fixtures in their community. The parents, Stan and Joy, are the envy of all of their friends. They’re killers on the tennis court, and off it their chemistry is palpable. But after fifty years of marriage, they’ve finally sold their famed tennis academy and are ready to start what should be the golden years of their lives. So why are Stan and Joy so miserable?

The four Delaney children—Amy, Logan, Troy, and Brooke—were tennis stars in their own right, yet as their father will tell you, none of them had what it took to go all the way. But that’s okay, now that they’re all successful grown-ups and there is the wonderful possibility of grandchildren on the horizon.

One night a stranger named Savannah knocks on Stan and Joy’s door, bleeding after a fight with her boyfriend. The Delaneys are more than happy to give her the small kindness she sorely needs. If only that was all she wanted.

Later, when Joy goes missing, and Savannah is nowhere to be found, the police question the one person who remains: Stan. But for someone who claims to be innocent, he, like many spouses, seems to have a lot to hide. Two of the Delaney children think their father is innocent, two are not so sure—but as the two sides square off against each other in perhaps their biggest match ever, all of the Delaneys will start to reexamine their shared family history in a very new light.

Writing at the height of her narrative and imaginative gifts, Sue Monk Kidd presents a masterpiece of hope, daring, the quest for freedom, and the desire to have a voice in the world—and it is now the newest Oprah’s Book Club 2.0 selection.

Hetty “Handful” Grimke, an urban slave in early nineteenth century Charleston, yearns for life beyond the suffocating walls that enclose her within the wealthy Grimke household. The Grimke’s daughter, Sarah, has known from an early age she is meant to do something large in the world, but she is hemmed in by the limits imposed on women.

Kidd’s sweeping novel is set in motion on Sarah’s eleventh birthday, when she is given ownership of ten year old Handful, who is to be her handmaid. We follow their remarkable journeys over the next thirty five years, as both strive for a life of their own, dramatically shaping each other’s destinies and forming a complex relationship marked by guilt, defiance, estrangement and the uneasy ways of love.

As the stories build to a riveting climax, Handful will endure loss and sorrow, finding courage and a sense of self in the process. Sarah will experience crushed hopes, betrayal, unrequited love, and ostracism before leaving Charleston to find her place alongside her fearless younger sister, Angelina, as one of the early pioneers in the abolition and women’s rights movements.

Inspired by the historical figure of Sarah Grimke, Kidd goes beyond the record to flesh out the rich interior lives of all of her characters, both real and invented, including Handful’s cunning mother, Charlotte, who courts danger in her search for something better.

This exquisitely written novel is a triumph of storytelling that looks with unswerving eyes at a devastating wound in American history, through women whose struggles for liberation, empowerment, and expression will leave no reader unmoved.

Debut author Sarah Smith nails this fun and sexy multicultural romance where two office foes hammer out their differences to build a love that will last…

Emmie Echavarre is a professional faker. She has to be to survive as one of the few female employees at Nuts & Bolts, a power tool company staffed predominantly by gruff, burly men. From nine to five, Monday through Friday, she’s tough as nails–the complete opposite of her easy-going real self. 

One thing she doesn’t have to fake? Her disdain for coworker Tate Rasmussen. Tate has been hostile to her since the day they met. Emmie’s friendly greetings and repeated attempts to get to know him failed to garner anything more than scowls and terse one-word answers. Too bad she can’t stop staring at his Thor-like biceps…

When Emmie and Tate are forced to work together on a charity construction project, things get…heated. Emmie’s beginning to see that beneath Tate’s chiseled exterior lies a soft heart, but it will take more than a few kind words to erase the past and convince her that what they have is real.

I may have shared this book before but I can’t remember

A page-turning new YA thriller for the social media age, perfect for fans of A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder and One Of Us Is Lying.

Ten years ago, Jess’s mother was murdered by the Magpie Man.

She was the first of his victims but not the last.

Now Jess is the star of a YouTube reality series and she’s using it to catch the killer once and for all.

The whole world is watching her every move.

And so is the Magpie Man.

This is the readathon info book for How to Train Your Gavin’s Believathon readathon.

It’s the final visit to the Land of Make-Believathon to save it from the villain who stole the Maleficarum. Trapped in a jungle, you must complete the reading challenges that are accompanied by Jumanji-style riddles in order to escape the jungle and save the Land of Make-Believathon one final time. The Believathon 4 compendium is a choose-your-own-adventure story with reading challenges and information on the middle grade readathon, hosted by Gavin Hetherington at How to Train Your Gavin on YouTube.

From the bestselling author of The House Guest comes a chilling story set deep in the woods…

With his marriage over and his career in freefall, journalist Tom decides to reconnect with his fourteen-year-old daughter, Frankie. Desperate to spend precious time together now that they live an ocean apart, he brings her to Hollow Falls, a cabin resort deep in the woods of Maine.

From the outset there’s something a little eerie about the place—strange whispers in the trees, windchimes echoing through the forest—but when Tom meets true-crime podcasters David and Connie, he receives a chilling warning. Hollow Falls has a gruesome history: twenty years ago this week, a double slaying shut down the resort. The crime was never solved, and now the woods are overrun with murder-obsessed tourists looking to mark the grim anniversary.

It’s clear that there’s something deeply disturbing going on at Hollow Falls. And as Tom’s dream trip turns into a nightmare, he and Frankie are faced with a choice: uncover the truth, or get out while they still can.

New York Times bestselling author Katherine Arden returns with another creepy, spine-tingling adventure in this follow-up to the critically acclaimed Small Spaces and Dead Voices.

Having met and outsmarted the smiling man in Dead Voices but fearful of when he’ll come again, Ollie, Brian, and Coco are anxiously searching for a way to defeat him once and for all. By staying together and avoiding remote places, they’ve steered clear of him so far but their constant worry and stress is taking a toll on their lives and friendship. So when Ollie’s dad and Coco’s mom plan a “fun” boat trip on Lake Champlain, the three are apprehensive to say the least. They haven’t had the best of luck on their recent trips and even worse their frenemy Phil is on the boat as well. But when a lake monster destroys their boat, they end up shipwrecked on a deserted island. This isn’t just any island though. It’s hidden from the outside world in a fog and unless everyone works together to find a way to escape, they won’t survive long.

‘Such whispered tales, such old temptations and hauntings, and devilish terrors’

Elizabeth Gaskell’s chilling Gothic tales blend the real and the supernatural to eerie, compelling effect. ‘Disappearances’, inspired by local legends of mysterious vanishings, mixes gossip and fact; ‘Lois the Witch’, a novella based on an account of the Salem witch hunts, shows how sexual desire and jealousy lead to hysteria; while in ‘The Old Nurse’s Story’ a mysterious child roams the freezing Northumberland moors. Whether darkly surreal, such as ‘The Poor Clare’, where an evil doppelganger is formed by a woman’s bitter curse, or mischievous like ‘Curious, if True’, a playful reworking of fairy tales, all the pieces in this volume form a start contrast to the social realism of Gaskell’s novels, revealing a darker and more unsettling style of writing.

Laura Kranzler’s introduction discusses how Gaskell’s tales, with their ghostly doublings and transgressive passions, show the Gothic underside of female identity, domestic relations and male authority. This edition also contains a chronology, further reading and explanatory notes.

~Cassie