Note to Readers

Roundtable Reviews receives many galley and ARC copies for review. Please understand that the finished copy may differ from the copies we have reviewed.

I have not received any compensation for writing this post other than a free digital or galley copy of the book. I have no material connection to the publisher, agent, or author whose book/s I am reviewing. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Literary Tea Party by Alison Walsh

Release Date: June 5, 2018



Think about your favorite book. Now that you're thinking of that, think about the character's life. How many of your favorite character's indulge in a food that has your mouth watering? How many times have you become hungry as you read about a character enjoying a snack, meal, or beverage?

Maybe you find yourself wanting to know about the frequently mentioned Lane Cake in To Kill a Mockingbird. Perhaps you love the thought of Butterbeer from Harry Potter. If you think about food while you read, this is a book you can't skip as that's what A Literary Tea Party is all about.

In this book, you'll whip up tasty snacks that are inspired by a select number of books. For example, there's a recipe for Blood Orange Scones that are inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Serve those with some London Fog Lattes at a Sherlock Holmes book group.

Fans of Agatha Christie can hold a book reading group and serve tasty snacks like "Pocket Full of Rye" finger sandwiches and Delicious Death Chocolate Cake. Fans of Brian Jacques The Rogue Crew: A Tale of Redwall may recognize the Deeper 'n Ever Turnip 'n Tater n' Beet-root Pie. I admit, the very first recipe I tried was for the Dark Chocolate Earl Grey Lavender Truffles inspired by Sherlock Holmes. Oh, my!

Recipes in A Literary Tea Party include photos, quotes from the books, and ideas for beverage pairings. If you like to read and love to cook, this cookbook is a must!

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.