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Sunday, May 20, 2018

What Lies Below by Barbara Taylor Sissell

Release Date: May 15, 2018



Gilly O'Connell left her home to start anew. She "saw" her husband's murder before it happened, but even when she sees something in a dream, people don't always listen. After losing him and their unborn child, she spiraled out of control.

She's clean again and ready to start over. Her move to a small town is the first step. She takes a job as a waitress where she quickly grows fond of a Wednesday regular and his three-year-old daughter. Their pancake breakfasts always lead to Gilly telling the young girl a story. That connection could be her downfall, however, when she spaces out and sees the young girl's kidnapping. When she learns it is true, she hasn't seen enough to pinpoint exactly who stole the girl, but her knowledge makes her a suspect.

With the father's pleas to help him find her, Gilly agrees to see if she's able to harness her dreams and figure out who did it and where the girl is. It's not that easy, however. Her husband's killer is still out there and hot on her trail.

There's a lot of mystery and suspense to this book, but there's also a touch of romance. The characters are enjoyable, but they never overshadow the real draw to this story. You want to know who took the little girl, why they did it, and where she is.

What Lies Below is a very satisfying suspense/mystery. I had the "who" figured out long before the characters, but it took a bit longer to catch the why. I certainly wasn't disappointed. Sure, I had questions, but I was still intent on reading every page. This is another great story from Barbara Taylor Sissell.

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Orphan Daughter by Cari Noga

Release Date - May 8, 2018



Cari Noga's The Orphan Daughter seems incredibly timely. As some in our current government have crowds riled up thinking Mexican's are all illegals and need to be shipped back over the border, this presents a more honest take. I live in an area where migrants work on farms. They do the jobs few others will do for what seems like a criminally low rate of pay. Farm workers are often up and working by 3 a.m. and must be outside for hours in the sun and humidity.

Jane McCardle has overcome loss. Her stillborn daughter was the first of many heartbreaks. Since her son joined the military and her husband left her for another woman, Jane's been an empty nester. She's turned things around and operates an organic farm in Michigan. Another curve is thrown her way when she learns she's the guardian of her newly orphaned pre-teen niece, Lucy.

Lucy is a city girl. Her life in New York with an au pair and two loving parents is everything to her. She's shocked when her parents are killed in a tragic accident. Moving to Michigan with an aunt she barely knows is just not acceptable when she's already suffering a tremendous loss.

Once in Michigan, Lucy is not happy. She does meet a local boy, but she dreams of moving to Mexico to live with her father's sister. She wants to be surrounded by her Mexican heritage. Living on a farm with a woman who is devoted to all things farming is not enjoyable.

Jane isn't sure how to handle her niece. She's lost one daughter. She never thought she'd have a second chance. Now that she does, she doesn't seem to be able to do anything right. Is there a way for these two lonely souls to form a bond and see a new family form from the ashes of pain and loss?

Lucy is definitely immature, but she's also young. She doesn't quite realize that Mexico is not a safe, warm, welcoming place to all. As she gets to know the Mexicans living in Jane's farm community, it's nice to see Lucy change and mature.

There were times I disliked Jane's reactions, but I suppose being lonely for so long will cause struggles dealing with tricky situations. I loved the setting. I loved the descriptions of the farm. I enjoyed watching them build a relationship at a very realistic speed.

Lake Union Publishing has released another strong read with The Orphan Daughter. I do love this publisher's women's fiction novels. They're always packed with emotion and thorougly enjoyable.




Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Undead Girl Gang by Lily Anderson

Release Date: May 8, 2018



I only got to read a snippet of Undead Girl Gang. I really wish I'd had the whole book in front of me. It's snarky, fun, and hooks you from the start.

At the heart of the story is Mila Flores. She doesn't fit in and she doesn't care. All that matters to her is her best friend Riley, a fellow believer in witchcraft. When Riley is found dead in a local creek, Mila refuses to buy it's a suicide. Riley was her BFF. They'd been together just moments before Riley died. There's no way Riley would kill herself, and Mila is willing to cast a spell that brings Riley back to life if it means solving Riley's murder.

That's what is revealed in the few chapters I received via Netgalley. In reading the blurb, there's more. Once she revives Riley and two other teens who recently died, they can't remember how they died. The spell only lasts for seven days, so Mila needs to work fast to find the murderer.

Mila is snarky and that made me love her. She had me laughing often in this short preview. It hooked me. I wanted to keep reading and was upset when the sampler came to an end. It's definitely a book I'll be buying if my library doesn't have it.