Friday, May 31, 2024

Shelterwood by Lisa Wingate MUST READ


Oklahoma, 1909. Eleven-year-old Olive Augusta Radley knows that her stepfather doesn’t have good intentions toward the two Choctaw girls boarded in their home as wards. When the older girl disappears, Ollie flees to the woods, taking six-year-old Nessa with her. Together they begin a perilous journey to the remote Winding Stair Mountains, the notorious territory of outlaws, treasure hunters, and desperate men. Along the way, Ollie and Nessa form an unlikely band with others like themselves, struggling to stay one step ahead of those who seek to exploit them . . . or worse.

Oklahoma, 1990. Law enforcement ranger Valerie Boren-Odell arrives at newly minted Horsethief Trail National Park seeking a quiet place to balance a career and single parenthood. But no sooner has Valerie reported for duty than she’s faced with local controversy over the park’s opening, a teenage hiker gone missing from one of the trails, and the long-hidden burial site of three children unearthed in a cave. Val’s quest for the truth wins an ally among the neighboring Choctaw Tribal Police but soon collides with old secrets and the tragic and deadly history of the land itself.

In this emotional and enveloping novel, Lisa Wingate traces the story of children abandoned by the law and the battle to see justice done. Amid times of deep conflict over who owns the land and its riches, Ollie and Val traverse the rugged and beautiful terrain, each leaving behind one life in search of another.

Pick up your copy here...

Lisa Wingate's new novel, Shelterwood, is upcoming in June 4th, 2024. Her novel, Before We Were Yours, was a #1 New York Times bestseller, remained on the list for over two years, and has sold more than three million copies. Her books have been translated into over forty languages and have appeared on bestseller lists worldwide. Before We Were Yours, her blockbuster hit, was Publishers Weekly’s third longest running bestseller of 2017, and was voted by readers as the 2017 Goodreads Choice Award winner for historical fiction. She lives in Texas and Colorado with her family and her cuddly little teddy bear of a dog, Huckleberry. Find her at her website or on Facebook and Instagram. 

My Thoughts...
Dual timelines and this is done right in Wingates latest book. I have to say this is just as good as Before We were Yours which I loved.
This is a must read. I highly recommend it.
Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

A Comedy of Nobodies by Baron Ryan


Charlie knows he's not the main character in his own story. He's just one more schmuck trying to navigate life in the Ivy League. He plays in a terrible jazz band, falls in love far too easily, and generally struggles with the business of being human.

With understated hilarity this collection chronicles Charlie and his friends as they explore the meaning of life through the stories they grew up with, the stories they tell each other, and the stories they tell themselves.

As Charlie tries to find love using the scientific method, babysits a toddler in exchange for a chance to loosen those financial aid purse-strings, jumps out a window to escape a jealous football player's wrath, and enrages a packed hockey stadium by replacing the national anthem with a jazz-trio rendition of "American Pie," he discovers that the answers to life's most pressing questions are almost always just more questions.

Written in a wry, comedic style that favors sagacity over gags and perceptiveness over punchlines, A Comedy of Nobodies: A Collection of Stories traces one fall semester in the lives of four typical but unforgettable millennials who just want to understand each other's suffering, in order to feel more understood. Now if only Charlie could break in those new shoes ...

Pick up your copy here...

Baron Ryan is a filmmaker, humorist, and Eagle Scout who earned all 139 merit badges. His popular sketches on TikTok—which he writes, directs, edits, and stars in—boast a hyperphilosophical, Larry David–esque perspective that have captivated millions of followers. Of Korean-American descent and born in France, Baron now lives in Austin, Texas. A Comedy of Nobodies is his fiction debut.

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

The Trial Mrs. Rhinelander by Denny Bryce


New York, 1920s. Born to English immigrants who’ve built a comfortable life, idealistic Alice Jones longs for the kind of true love her mother and father have. She believes she’s found it with Leonard “Kip” Rhinelander, the shy heir to his prominent white family's real estate fortune. Alice, too, is white, though she is vaguely aware of rumors that question her ancestry—gossip her parents dismiss. But when the lovers secretly wed, Kip's father threatens his inheritance unless he annuls the marriage.

Devastated but determined, Alice faces overwhelming odds legally and in the merciless court of public opinion. But there are two people who can either help her—or shatter her hopes for good: In the 1940s, her estranged niece, Roberta Brooks, must put aside her disdain for her infamous aunt to combat an unexpected new Rhinelander legal assault. And in the 1920s, reporter Marvel Cunningham lives to chronicle social change and the Harlem Renaissance's fiery creativity, but when Alice’s story dominates the headlines, Marvel's job is to cover it.

At first, Marvel and Roberta, in different decades, see Alice’s legal entanglements as tabloid sensations generated by a self-hating woman who failed to “pass.” But the deeper they investigate, the more they will learn about the reasons behind Alice Jones’s behavior and what the three women have in common. The Trial of Mrs. Rhinelander will bring to light stunning truths that will force these women to confront who they are and who they can be in a world that is all too quick to judge.

Pick up your copy here...

Denny S. Bryce is the award-winning author of historical fiction novels including Wild Women and the Blues and In the Face of the Sun. A former professional dancer and public relations professional, she now is an adjunct professor in the MFA program at Drexel University, a book critic for NPR, and a freelance writer whose work has been published in USA TodayHarper’s Bazaar, and FROLIC Media. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Women’s Fiction Writers Association, and Tall Poppy Writers. Originally from Chicago, she now resides in Savannah, Georgia and can be found online at

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Long Time Gone by Charlie Donlea

 On the first day of an elite two-year fellowship under the renowned Chief Medical Officer Dr. Livia Cutty, Sloan Hastings receives a research assignment in the emerging field of forensic genealogy. It’s the exciting, rapidly evolving science behind the recent breaks in high-profile cold cases from the Golden State Killer to the Cameron Young murder, and Sloan enthusiastically begins her research by submitting her own DNA to an online genealogy site. Her goal is to better understand the treasure trove of genetic information contained on ancestry websites, but the results she receives are shocking.

Raised by loving, supportive parents, Sloan has always known she was adopted. But her DNA profile suggests her true identity is that of Charlotte Margolis, aka “Baby Charlotte,” who captured the nation’s attention when she and her affluent parents mysteriously vanished in July 1995. Despite a large-scale investigation and months of broad media coverage, there were never any suspects in the family’s disappearance and the case has been cold for decades.

Racing to stay ahead of the media and true crime junkies ravenous to know what really happened to Baby Charlotte, Sloan’s search for answers leads her to Cedar Creek, Nevada, a small town north of Lake Tahoe. There, the Margolis family’s power and influence permeate every corner of the county, and while Sloan’s birth relatives are initially welcoming, they’re also mysterious and tight-lipped. Not everyone seems happy about Sloan’s return, or the questions she’s asking.

The more she learns, the more apparent it becomes that the answers Sloan seeks are buried in a graveyard of Margolis family secrets. And someone will do anything to keep them hidden . . .

Pick up your copy here...

Charlie Donlea is the USA Today and #1 International bestselling author of propulsive, female-driven thrillers including The Girl Who Was Taken, Don't Believe It, Twenty Years Later, and Those Empty Eyes. His eighth thriller, LONG TIME GONE, explores the science of forensic genealogy.

A late bloomer, he was twenty years old when he read his first novel–THE FIRM by John Grisham–and knew he would someday write thrillers. Published in forty countries and translated into nearly twenty languages, his books have sold more than 1.5 million copies in the U.S. alone and have been optioned for film and television.

Praised for his "soaring pace, teasing plot twists" (BookPage) and talent for writing an ending that "makes your jaw drop" (The New York Times Book Review), Donlea has been called a "bold new writer...on his way to becoming a major figure in the world of suspense" (Publishers Weekly).

He was born and raised in Chicago, where he continues to live with his wife and two children. Learn more at his interactive website at CharlieDonlea dot com

My Thoughts....
As with all of Donlea's books I read this book so fast and was left wanting more. I hated seeing the ending coming. Gripping and very entertaining.
A must read. Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.

Monday, May 27, 2024

15 Summers Later by Raeanne Thayne


Ava Howell seemed to have it all. She moved away from Emerald Creek, Idaho, married the love of her life and published a bestselling memoir. But she never expected that her husband would feel so betrayed by a secret from her past—the truth of what happened to her and her sister all those years ago—that he’d walk away. Now Ava is back home and trying to move on with the only person who can truly understand…

Following years of healing, Madison Howell is finally happy. After college she built a no-kill shelter where she works with animals every day, and she’s in love with the town veterinarian, Dr. Luke Gentry. But she can’t ever bring herself to tell him. Years ago, his dad died protecting Madi and her sister, so how could he ever love her back?

With the truth laid bare, and the past that Ava and Madison have worked so hard to leave behind threatening everything they have built for themselves, the Howell sisters’ reunion is bittersweet. And as Ava and Madi attempt to remedy the rifts in their lives and reconcile their futures, they must face the demons of their past together.

Pick up your copy here...

#1 Publishers Weekly, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author RaeAnne Thayne finds inspiration in the beautiful northern Utah mountains where she lives with her family. Her books have won numerous honors, including seven RITA Award nominations from Romance Writers of America and a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews magazine. RaeAnne loves to hear from readers and can be reached through her website at 

My Thoughts...
Emotional read not your normal Thayne read. It was so much more than a summer read and romance. I like that Thayne is branching out and writing something new.
I am glad that I added this to my reading list.
Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.

Friday, May 24, 2024

I Got This! by Julia Cook Giveaway!


Charlie has wanted to be a rescue dog since he was a puppy. But getting his certification as an official Rescue Dog requires a climb to the very top of the tallest mountain!

With the help of his friends, Charlie sets out on a big adventure. Soon enough, obstacles begin to show up that test his determination. Charlie learns six Bounce Back Superpowers that allow him to overcome challenges and stay on the path. Through this story, readers will learn ways to:

  • approach difficulties with calm resolve
  • think creatively about possible solutions
  • break problems into manageable steps
  • take a "paws" now and then to recharge before moving forward
With friendship, encouragement, and wisdom, the next new Rescue Dog might just grow up before your eyes - and have an immediate opportunity to make a difference.

Pick up your copy here...

Julia Cook, M.S. is a award-winning children's author, counselor, and parenting expert. She has presented in thousands of schools and speaks at education and counseling conferences nationally and internationally. Julia has published almost one hundred children's books on a wide range of character and social development topics, and regularly contributes to print and television media about these topics. The goal behind Cook's work is to actively involve young people in fun, memorable stories and teach them to become lifelong problem-solvers. Inspiration for her books comes from working with children and carefully listening to counselors, parents, and teachers, in order to stay on top of needs in the classroom and at home. Cook has the innate ability to enter the worldview of a child through storybooks, giving children both the "what to say" and the "how to say it."

Thursday, May 23, 2024

Even If Nothing Else Is Certain by Amy Willoughby Burle


Ruby Foster loves her job as a Pack Horse librarian, but secretly she dreams of being a nurse. Since there are no schools for nursing in the hills of rural Kentucky in 1937, Ruby contents herself with harvesting medicinal plants, delivering her beloved library books, and dreaming. Dreaming mostly of a life that doesn't leave her living in the past. Until one day she discovers that "past" camped out by the Hell for Certain creek. Could it really be Cole, the one who left her heartbroken so many years ago? Just when she starts to believe in her dreams and hope for love again, Cole reveals his true colors. Or is the truth she sees only another illusion?

Pick up your copy here...

Amy Willoughby-Burle grew up in the small coastal town of Kure Beach, North Carolina. She studied writing at East Carolina University and is now a writer and teacher living in Asheville, North Carolina, with her husband and four children.

She writes about the mystery and wonder of everyday life. Her fiction focuses on the themes of second chances, redemption, and finding the beauty in the world around us. Amy is author of a collection of short stories entitled Out Across the Nowhere and a contributor to a number of anthologies. She is the author of the novels The Lemonade Year and The Year of Thorns and Honey.

My Thoughts...
I loved going back to Certain Ky, I never wanted to leave after book 1 so I am happy to say I didn't want to leave after book 2. Romances and pack horse librarians go together in this must read book by Burle.
Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.

Wednesday, May 22, 2024

A Friend Indeed by Elka Ray

 When single mom Jo Dykstra was at her lowest—jobless and penniless—her childhood friend Dana McFarlane helped her out bigtime by securing her a teaching job and thus an opportunity for a new life in the affluent Pacific Northwest town of Glebes Bay. So, when Jo gets a frantic late-night call from Dana, sobbing and desperate for help, it feels like a chance to help her friend in return.

The last thing Jo expects to see when she arrives at Dana’s oceanfront mansion? Her friend’s handsome and wealthy husband, Stan, dead, sprawled face down on the floor. Dana admits to killing her husband following years of secret abuse and begs Jo not to call the police. For nearly two decades, Dana’s marriage and family had looked picture perfect. Who’d ever believe that pillar-of-the-community Stan was a monster? Determined to cover up her husband’s killing and shield her kids from scandal, Dana convinces Jo to help her dispose of the body.

But the cover-up starts to crumble when a blackmailer threatens to expose their crime. Hounded by gossipy neighbors, ill-fated lovers, and zealous cops, truth and lies are laid bare between Jo and Dana, putting their families in danger and threatening to shatter a thirty-year friendship. Shocking and fast-paced, A Friend Indeed is a riveting tale about the power of friendship and the deadly weight of lies.

Pick up your copy here...

Elka Ray is the author of the mystery Divorce Is Murder, set in her hometown of Victoria, BC, Canada. A joint UK/Canadian citizen, Elka has spent two decades living as an expat in Vietnam, working as a journalist, researcher, copy editor, and communications consultant. She lives by the beach with her husband and three children. A Friend Indeed is her first foray into psychological suspense. To learn more about Elka and her work, visit or connect with her on Instagram @elka.ray.

Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The Five Year Lie by Sarina Bowen


She thought it was love. Then he vanished.

On an ordinary Monday morning, Ariel Cafferty's phone buzzes with a disturbing text message. Something’s happened. I need to see you. Meet me under the candelabra tree ASAP. The words would be jarring from anyone, but the sender is the only man she ever loved. And it's been several years since she learned he died.

Seeing Drew’s name pop up is heart-stopping. Ariel’s gut says it can’t be real. But she goes to the tree anyway. She has to.

Nobody shows. But the text upends everything she thought she knew about the day he left her. The more questions she asks, the more sinister the answers get. Only two things are clear: everything she was told five years ago is wrong, and someone is still lying to her. 

The truth has to be out there somewhere. To safeguard herself—and her son—she’ll have to find it before it finds her. And with it, the answer to what became of Drew. 
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Sarina Bowen's contemporary and LGBT romance novels have hit the USA Today bestsellers list twenty times. Formerly a Wall Street derivatives trader, Sarina holds a BA in economics from Yale University. She lives in New Hampshire with her family, nine chickens, and far too much hockey gear.

She would be honored to connect with you at

Monday, May 20, 2024

Hula by Jasmin Iolani


 “There’s no running away on an island. Soon enough, you end up where you started.”

Hi'i is proud to be a Naupaka, a family renowned for its contributions to hula and her hometown of Hilo, Hawaii, but there’s a lot she doesn’t understand. She’s never met her legendary grandmother and her mother has never revealed the identity of her father. Worse, unspoken divides within her tight-knit community have started to grow, creating fractures whose origins are somehow entangled with her own family history.

In hula, Hi'i sees a chance to live up to her name and solidify her place within her family legacy. But in order to win the next Miss Aloha Hula competition, she will have to turn her back on everything she had ever been taught, and maybe even lose the very thing she was fighting for.

Told in part in the collective voice of a community fighting for its survival, Hula is a spellbinding debut that offers a rare glimpse into a forgotten kingdom that still exists in the heart of its people. 
Pick up your copy here...                                                                                                                          Hula: A Novel: 9780063276987: Hakes, Jasmin Iolani: Books

Jasmin Iolani Hakes was born and raised in Hilo, Hawai'i. Her essays have appeared in the Los Angeles Times and the Sacramento Bee. She is the recipient of scholarship support and residencies from the Community of Writers, Writing by Writers, VCCA, Storyknife, and Hedgebrook. Her debut novel, HULA, has received acclaim from Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Oprah Daily, the Los Angeles Times, and others.

Friday, May 17, 2024

Penance by Eliza Clark

 On a beach in a run-down seaside town on the Yorkshire coastline, sixteen-year-old Joan Wilson is set on fire by three other schoolgirls.

Nearly a decade after the horrifying murder, journalist Alec Z. Carelli has written the definitive account of the crime, drawn from hours of interviews with witnesses and family members, painstaking historical research, and most notably, correspondence with the killers themselves. The result is a riveting snapshot of lives rocked by tragedy, and a town left in turmoil.

But how much of the story is true?

Compulsively readable, provocative, and disturbing, Penance is a cleverly nuanced, unflinching exploration of gender, class, and power that raises troubling questions about the media and our obsession with true crime while bringing to light the depraved side of human nature and our darkest proclivities.

Pick up your copy here...

No Author Photo

Eliza Clark is the author of Boy Parts and Penance. Boy Parts was Blackwell's 2020 Fiction Book of the Year and was later adapted for the stage. In 2022, Eliza was chosen as a finalist for the Women’s Prize Futures Award for writers under thirty-five and in 2023, was named one of Granta’s Best of Young British Novelists. She also writes for film and television. She lives in London.

Thursday, May 16, 2024

A Spy Like Me by Kim Sherwood

James Bond is alive.

Or at least, he was when he left a clue at the black site where the insidious private military company Rattenfänger held him captive. MI6 cannot spare any more lives attempting to track down one missing agent—no exceptions, even for Bond. But Johanna Harwood, 003, has her own agenda. Sidelined by her superiors while she grieves the loss of a loved one, Harwood goes on an unsanctioned mission: to find 007. Meanwhile, MI6 has another problem…

A bomb has detonated in London.

Double O agents on the trail of the terrorists responsible acted quickly to prevent mass destruction and save lives. But MI6 failed to neutralize the nation’s enemies before they could strike, and one of their own was seriously injured in the blast.

They won’t fail again.

Assigned to root out the source of the terrorists’ funding, Joseph Dryden, 004, and Conrad Harthrop-Vane, 000, enter the field. Tracing clues from Sotheby’s auction house to Crete to Venice, they uncover a money laundering scheme involving diamonds, black market antiquities, and human trafficking. Once a major sale is made, a six-day countdown to the next terror attack begins. As the Double O’s follow the twisting trail, they find themselves unexpectedly inching closer to Bond…

Pick up your copy here...

 I am the author of Testament (2018), which was longlisted for the Desmond Elliott Prize, shortlisted for the Best First Novel Award, and won the Bath Novel Award and the Harper's Bazaar Big Book Award; and Double or Nothing (2022), the first in a trilogy of Double O novels expanding the James Bond universe. My next novel will be A Wild & True Relation (2023), a historical adventure novel about smugglers, women and writing through the centuries.

I have been a James Bond fan all of my life, and when Ian Fleming's family invited me to contribute to the 007 canon, it was quite literally a dream come true. In Double or Nothing, James Bond is missing. 007 has been captured, perhaps even killed, by a sinister private military company. His whereabouts are unknown. Meet the new generation of spies... Johanna Harwood, 003. Joseph Dryden, 004. Sid Bashir, 009. Together, they represent the very best and brightest of MI6. Skilled, determined and with a licence to kill, they will do anything to protect their country. The fate of the world rests in their hands... Tech billionaire Sir Bertram Paradise claims he can reverse the climate crisis and save the planet. But can he really? The new spies must uncover the truth, because the future of humanity hangs in the balance. Time is running out... It's been the honour of a lifetime to write this novel, and I am so excited to introduce readers to my new Double O heroes.

A Wild & True Relation opens during the Great Storm of 1703, as smuggler Tom West confronts his lover Grace for betraying him to the Revenue. Leaving Grace's cottage in flames, he takes her orphaned daughter Molly on board ship disguised as a boy to join his crew. But Molly, or Orlando as she must call herself, will grow up to outshine all the men of Tom's company and seek revenge - and a legacy - all of her own. Woven into Molly's story are the writers - from Celia Fiennes to Hester Thrale to George Eliot - who are transfixed by her myth and who, over three centuries, come together to solve the mystery of her life. The novel remakes the eighteenth-century Heroical novel and challenges women's writing and women's roles throughout history.

I was over the moon to receive these kind words about A Wild & True Relation from Hilary Mantel: 'This book is a rarity - a novel as remarkable for the vigour of the storytelling as for its literary ambition. Kim Sherwood is a writer of capacity, potency and sophistication.' I have been working on A Wild & True Relation for the past fourteen years, and this novel – and its setting of Devon – are very close to my heart. Releasing this story into the hands of readers feels particularly special.

I was born in Camden in 1989 and grew up in London. I write at the same desk I used as a child when visiting my grandfather's house. My grandfather, the actor George Baker, was an actor who appeared in several James Bond films, notably as Sir Hilary Bray in On Her Majesty's Secret Service. I was very close with George and it was his loss, alongside my close relationship with my grandmother, who is a Holocaust survivor, that inspired Testament, my first novel. I now live in Edinburgh, where I am a Lecturer in Creative Writing at the University of Edinburgh. As a reader, some of my favourite authors are Hilary Mantel, Ali Smith, Zadie Smith, Deborah Levy, Virginia Woolf and Georgette Heyer; and Ian Fleming, John le Carré, Lee Child, Walter Mosley, Elmore Leonard and Raymond Chandler.

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

How To Read A Book by Monica Wood

 Our Reasons meet us in the morning and whisper to us at night. Mine is an innocent, unsuspecting, eternally sixty-one-year-old woman named Lorraine Daigle…

Violet Powell, a twenty-two-year-old from rural Abbott Falls, Maine, is being released from prison after serving twenty-two months for a drunk-driving crash that killed a local kindergarten teacher.

Harriet Larson, a retired English teacher who runs the prison book club, is facing the unsettling prospect of an empty nest.

Frank Daigle, a retired machinist, hasn’t yet come to grips with the complications of his marriage to the woman Violet killed.

When the three encounter each other one morning in a bookstore in Portland—Violet to buy the novel she was reading in the prison book club before her release, Harriet to choose the next title for the women who remain, and Frank to dispatch his duties as the store handyman—their lives begin to intersect in transformative ways.

How to Read a Book is an unsparingly honest and profoundly hopeful story about letting go of guilt, seizing second chances, and the power of books to change our lives. With the heart, wit, grace, and depth of understanding that has characterized her work, Monica Wood illuminates the decisions that define a life and the kindnesses that make life worth living. 
Pick up your copy here...                                                                                                                                 How to Read a Book: A Novel: Wood, Monica: 9780063243675: Books
No author photo

Monica Wood is a novelist, memoirist, and playwright; a recipient of the Maine Humanities Council Carlson Prize for contributions to the public humanities; and a recipient of the Maine Writers and Publishers Alliance Distinguished Achievement Award for contributions to the literary arts. She lives in Portland, Maine, with her husband, Dan Abbott, and their cat, Susie.

Tuesday, May 14, 2024

Five Broken Blades by Mai Corland

 It’s the season

for treason…

The king of Yusan must die.

The five most dangerous liars in the land have been mysteriously summoned to work together for a single objective: to kill the god king Joon.

He has it coming. Under his merciless immortal hand, the nobles flourish, while the poor and innocent are imprisoned, ruined…or sold.

And now each of the five blades will come for him. Each has tasted bitterness―from the hired hit man seeking atonement, a lovely assassin who seeks freedom, or even the prince banished for his cruel crimes. None can resist the sweet, icy lure of vengeance.

They can agree on murder.

They can agree on treachery.

But for these five killers―each versed in deception, lies, and betrayal―it’s not enough to forge an alliance. To survive, they’ll have to find a way to trust each other…but only one can take the crown.

Let the best liar win.

Pick up your copy here....

No author photo

Mai Corland is a Korean American attorney and writer, born in Seoul and adopted into New York. From there, she ran away from winter and studied in Florida at Rollins College and the University of Miami. Due to a variety of questionable decisions, she currently lives in the cold again with her partner, children, and a goldfish who will outlive them all. When not writing, you can find her asleep or clutching her latte machine. Mai writes award winning children’s and young adult books under Meredith Ireland.

Monday, May 13, 2024

Let's Pretend This Will Work by Maddie Dawson


The search for happiness turns a woman’s life upside down in a warm, quirky, and bighearted novel about the joys and chaos of finding love by the bestselling author of Matchmaking for Beginners.

After too many dates, thirtysomething Mimi Perkins is still single, unmoored, and longing for love. So when Ren Yardley―a handsome, divorced fellow drama teacher and single father―falls in love with her and proposes, she’s sure this is at last the good news her psychic predicted.

Soon after proposing, Ren receives the devastating news that his ex-wife has been in a debilitating car accident, prompting him to temporarily move back into his former home to care for her and his daughters. The unfailingly loyal Ren also wants to keep Mimi close, so she packs up her life in New York City and follows him to New Haven, Connecticut. There, she finds a job and unexpected community at a quirky local daycare. But as time goes by, it begins to seem that Ren and his estranged family might be slowly reuniting, and Mimi has to figure out what she’s willing to fight for and what she needs to let go of.

One thing is for sure: she would have never guessed that her psychic was right after all. Life’s twists, turns, and disasters just might lead her to unexpected happiness.

Pick up your copy here...

I grew up in the South, born into a family of outrageous storytellers—the kind of storytellers who would sit on the dock by the lake in the evening and claim that everything they say is THE absolute truth, like, stack-of-Bibles true. The more outlandish the story, the more it likely it was to be true. Or so they said.

You want examples? There was the story of my great great aunt who shot her husband dead, thinking he was a burglar; the alligator that almost ate Uncle Jake while he was waterskiing; the gay cousin who took his aunt to the prom, disguised in a bouffant French wig. (The aunt, not the cousin.) And then there was my mama, a blond-haired siren who, when I was seven, drove a married man so insane that he actually stole an Air Force plane one day and buzzed our house. (I think there might have been a court-martial ending to that story.)

And in between all these stories of crazy, over-the-top events, there was the hum of just daily, routine crazy: shotgun weddings, drunken funerals, stories of people’s affairs and love lives, their job losses, the things that made them laugh, the way they’d drink Jack Daniels and get drunk and foretell the future. There were ghosts and miracles and dead people coming back to life. You know, everyday stuff.

How could I turn into anything else but a writer? My various careers as a substitute English teacher, department store clerk, medical records typist, waitress, cat-sitter, wedding invitation company receptionist, nanny, daycare worker, electrocardiogram technician, and Taco Bell taco-maker were only bearable if I could think up stories as I worked. In fact, the best job I ever had was a part-time gig typing up case notes for a psychiatrist. Everything the man dictated bloomed as a possible novel in my head.

Still, I was born with an appreciation for food and shelter, and it didn’t take me long to realize that coupling a minor in journalism to my English degree might be a wise move, even though I had never for one moment felt that passion for news that my newspaper colleagues claimed beat in their breasts. I am famous for raising my hand in Journalism 101 and saying, incredulously, to the professor, “You don’t mean to tell me that every single detail in the story has to be true? Every one? Really?”

Learning to write only truth was a tough discipline, and as soon as I could, I left the world of house fires and political scandals and planning and zoning commission meetings and escaped into a world of column-writing, and then, magazine writing. (Way, way better to be assigned to think of 99 ways of getting him to declare his love, than to have to write about the bond proposal for the sewer lines.) But all along the way, in between deadlines and raising three children and driving them to their sports games and tucking them in at night and doing the laundry and telling them stories, I was really writing a novel about marriage and relationships and the way regret has of just showing up alongside your life, just when you think things are as rosy as they could be.

Today I live in Connecticut, and spend part of every day on my screened-in back porch with my trusty laptop, writing and writing and writing, looking out at the willow tree and the rosebush and the rhododendron that has a nice nest of cardinals, who I imagine to be yelling at me to get back to work whenever I wait too long to write the next sentence.

The lakehouse is gone now, and many of my more outrageous story-telling relatives are telling stories to the angels now. But even though I’m far from home, and far from the stories that nourished me in the beginning, I can still hear their voices on the breeze, still recall the buzz of the Air Force jet that had come to take my mother away until my father stepped in and said: “No. No. She’s mine.”

Wait. Is that what he said? Or was he not home that day? You know, now that I think of it, it might have been just my mother and me at home just then, running outside in our excitement, my mother’s cheeks burning red, her eyes frightened and dancing, as the wings dipped and did a little salute to her and to love and to unrequited passion…and probably to hope that she would leave my father and run away. I do remember being scared and exhilarated both, seeing that my mother had this power and this whole other life besides the one I spent with her.

And I remember the wide Florida sky and the heavy, humid air and the loudness drowning out everything but the thought that we never ever know what’s going to happen. And knowing, even at seven, that that was probably a good thing.

Keeps it interesting, you know.

My Thoughts...
I have enjoyed Dawsons books thanks to Suzy, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest book. I was not disappointed at all. Full of heart and made me sit still until I finished the book. The characters grow on you and you can't help but feel a connection to them.
4 stars and I recommend this one.
Mary Reader received this book from the publisher for review. A favorable review was not required, and all views expressed are our own.