The Sweet Goodbye (A Danny Barrett Novel Book 1) by [Ron Corbett] The Sweet Goodbye, is the first installment in the Danny Barrett Thriller Series, by Ron Corbett, and if this book is any indication of how the subsequent novels will read, I’m all in. I heard about this book through a mutual mystery lover, and I was intrigued by the cover. I liked the narrator’s voice (one of the best Narrators I’ve heard), so I decided to download the Audible version. The writer’s description of setting and character were poetic and engaging, and his weaving of intrigue and mystery read like I was sitting in the movie theater, watching the details of the story play out. Young Barrett plays the role of an undercover agent posing as a tree marker in a small Maine town. Travis Lee has all the makings of a Southern Comfort Good Ol’ Boy. Miss Fontaine is as hot as Jessica Rabbit, but sly as a fox. Money laundering, drugs, missing persons and homicide have all the makings of a good who done it, but the page-turning element for me was the why. This hardboiled thriller was methodical and highly entertaining. Readers who enjoy Jack Reacher and the Prime Series, Jack Ryan, will love Corbett’s, The Sweet Goodbye. A soulful story of a young girl, nicknamed Bone, that outlines the love and abuse she suffers from the early years of childhood to young adulthood. Absorbing the family stories told and watching her wild uncles and tired aunts, Bone learns what the role of adulthood means. At the tender age of six, waiting for her mother to bear a third child with her second husband, Bone experiences what life is like when thrust into the wrong hands. Wading through the fetid waters of growing up a Boatwright in Greenville, South Carolina, Bone morphs into a sassy twelve-year-old with nothing left to lose. Through pain, desperation and indignation, she tries to hide the shame she feels to keep the peace and to be normal. All she craves is the love of the one person she needs most, her momma. Southern born and poor, life isn’t easy, but with the love and heavy hand of her stepdaddy Glenn, she emerges angry, disillusioned and desperate for acceptance and freedom. Bone’s desire to find her true self becomes a farce as she looks around at the adults in her family, who keep making bad decisions. Dorothy Allison pens a compelling story that shines a light on the effects of sexual and physical abuse, and reflects the lifetime sentences of the young, innocent and powerless. In an attempt to show how children can never control the cruel intentions of inappropriate adult’s actions, Bastard Out of Carolina will make you feel sad, helpless and angry emotions, but it’s a wonderful and moving read. The hardest part to stomach is the Afterward at the end. Written to spread awareness, Bastard out of Carolina is still being censored and banned. I’ve met Bone-girls and Bone-boys who have grown into shattered or broken adults. Looking away will never help to stop the cycle of abuse. I hope many people will find this book and share its content in the hope that others can be saved from the lifetime of pain that Bone suffered.  

 

A friend of mine recommended this book. I don’t usually read memoirs, but it sounded interesting so I downloaded it. The recount of Denise O’Donnell Adams’s life reads like a fiction novel—not because I don’t believe it, but because the way she writes captures the attention of the reader and doesn’t let them go. She invites you behind the darkest screens of her life as she confronts the monsters from her early years. There were times when I laughed, covered my mouth in surprise, cringed and felt my stomach fall in sympathy and horror. The 1950-70s were a different time to raise kids, and raising ten had to be a challenge. In this modern era, where parents are held accountable for so much, it’s amazing that previous parent generations were held accountable for so little. I commend this author for telling her story and drawing awareness to topics such as neglect, alcoholism, sexual abuse, drug abuse, mental disorders and questionable love. My only complaint was how it wrapped up so quickly. I wanted to read more. Maybe another book in the future about surviving abuse and finding success will come next. Looking forward to reading more from this heartfelt author.

I first ran across this author on Instagram, and I was happy to see she wrote romances with mature characters for readers who have lived past their college sweetheart days. I love all romance tropes, and after reading past the fun college love, this one became complex. Ruby has lost a lot at an early age, but when she loses her college sweetheart, she leans on her yiayia and her sister to pull her through. Plagued by anxiety that’s complicated with agoraphobia, she’s too embarrassed to go to her first love, Vander, and tell him about her fears. The idea of getting on a plane is too much for Ruby, and the responsibilities she acquires when her Papou dies, is enough to seal their fate.

Everyone deserves a second chance, but a lot of things have changed since Ruby last saw Vander. He now has a son, and the love she’d hoped for seems just out of reach. Still battling her inner demons and not leaving her safe zone, things are too complicated to make a go of their relationship again, but will they get some sort of reprieve?

Broken Road, by Devin Sloane, is aptly named because of the zig-zag-life-zingers that Vander and Ruby navigate and the time it takes to see this love through to its happy ending. I liked that the characters battled real problems and life circumstances that weren’t always working in their favor. It’s a long-contemporary romance that shows Ruby’s journey to find stability in life while helping her family to succeed and stay together. Vander has his journey too, and sometimes making the right choices hurts more than the years apart can repair. A real heartwarming story, stitched with love, loss and the dedication to see things through.

I can think of a lot of fishing metaphors that apply to sexy romance or just everyday life, but this super original meet cute in a bait shop had me hook, line and sinker! Next in Line, by Amy Daws, is the second book in the, Wait With Me Series, but all the books can be read as stand alone. Book one is about Kate and Miles at the Tire Depot, but this story is about Miles’s little sister, Maggie, and his best friend, Sam, looking to tackle some adventure. Maggie is hiding out in Boulder, CO while trying to pick up the pieces of her heart. Sam is a confirmed bachelor, who knows better than to fall in love. When super-hot Maggie rolls into Marve’s Bait Shop, looking for bait, Sam decides to play the role of knight in shining armor and ice fishing guide. When young and inexperienced meets older and wiser, someone gets reeled in. Maggie thinks she knows exactly what she wants. She is on a mission to get it, and she does land the big one— but it might be more rod than she can handle, because Sam turns out to be her big brother’s best chum. Sam may be buying Tire Depot, which will make him Miles’s boss, but if Miles finds out that Sam is showing his little sis more than just a little outdoor adventure, Sam will be as good as the minnows Marve sells for bait. Don’t miss this super fun romance that will leave you wanting more, Wait With Me, stories to fulfill your romantic reads!

Don’t forget to put your detective hat on, and bring a note pad to keep track of the many zany characters, suspects, and dives. Sydney is a tall, smart, good looking detective with a keen sense of humor and a tag-along, top model cousin. Two women ahead of their time and on the verge of doing time, they leave nothing uncovered in this who-done-it.

A cab driver named Taco, a harlot jazz singer, Nora, and a slew of seedy characters that run between the liquor store, the horse track and the historic Menger hotel are all on the list of suspects. Corpses start stacking up while Sydney’s home life going down skid row. Undeterred by a few snags, she’s at it again, trying to solve a murder in another famous hotel while avoiding being locked up for the very crime she’s investigating. Bribes, fixed races, dirty money and unkempt places. Put your thinking cap on and see if you can solve this string of illicit deeds that trails from San Antonio to New Orleans and back again. Be it plane, train or automobile, Sydney will get to the bottom of this case in her own determined style. A mostly cozy mystery with lots of humor and a few creepy creatures that crawl, you will find yourself on an entertaining goose chase until the very end. 

In Saralyn Richard’s, Bad Blood Sisters, Quinn McFarland lives a mostly quiet life, in a small coastal town, where everyone knows everything about everybody… except they really don’t. At almost thirty, Quinn is happy to work in the family business, and she doesn’t worry too much about the stigma attached to preparing the dead. She’s got a handsome new doctor boyfriend, who seems to understand her and the help she provides to the community. When her old BFF, Anna, turns up at the funeral home to be put to rest, Quinn is forced to revisit the past. In high school, Anna was everything to Quinn. They were blood sisters, who swore eternal loyalty to one another. They vowed to keep all secrets, especially the one about seeing Anna’s neighbor murdered by a dark-haired man. When Anna steals Quinn’s boyfriend, their friendship falls apart, but Quin never forgets or reneges on her promise to keep their secret. Over a decade later, Anna and her husband share a different secret, and Quinn doesn’t have much of a clue what it is but knows it’s the reason Anna ends up dead. When Quinn’s home is invaded, and a threatening note is left for her, she realizes that her life is about to change— and not in a good way. When the police arrive on the scene, the last thing Quinn expects is to become a suspect, but with Anna dead, and a few other life changing events factoring into the equation, Quinn realizes she needs a good lawyer to protect her and her secret. Saralyn Richard is a master of twists and turns. Bad Blood Sisters is a titillating novel that delves into the dark side of a sleepy coastal town. A tale of sex trafficking, drugs, and secrets that are too sinister not to leave a string of murders. Bad Blood Sisters is a real page turner. Don’t miss this sticky web of vowed promises and decisions gone wrong that will make you wonder if Quinn is next on the murder list.

Million Dollar Momma (20th Century American History Mystery Series Book 3)

In Sherry Morris’s Million Dollar Momma, Donna Payne leads a normal life, filing insurance claims for a less than generous HMO. She is a responsible, hardworking, homeowner, with aspirations of becoming a published romantic mystery author. As a finalist in a writing competition, she heads to the writer’s convention that she knows will change her life, but on the way, there is a snag in the form of a big buck… and not the tall dark and handsome kind. That comes later. First, she totals her car, and is impaled on an antler that catapults her from the vehicle. After the accident, she is patched up in the hospital and sent home. There is a lot of clean up to do in her family life, so things run amuck in the typical Payne family way, this time ending in murder. Who’s to blame— her dear old mother, her fitness instructor sister, her judge and jury brother? The list goes on. Donna tries to do right by her family but finds herself on the short end of the stick at every turn. With her writing career in a slump and her parents’ house crumbling around her, it’s no wonder she takes a few cat naps to fuel her fortitude. This is where the story gets dreamy. Donna finds herself skipping through time with her “Soul Mate Through History”, Mr. Jones, and she sees the truth of her mother’s secret past. With a sexy host, leading her on multiple grand adventures, Donna makes some discoveries that will truly change her life. Don’t miss this romantic-comedy-mystery, an original story with a Janet Evanovich flair. The adventure will keep you reading to find out just who done it, what will happen next and where the mystery will end… plus, does Donna find her living breathing Mr. Right. I look forward to reading more by this author.

I was caught by the title of this book. In our super politically correct world, I was dumb struck by the term fat used so openly on the cover and so often throughout the book. The story is an introspective confession of an eighteen year old Indian girl, going through the tough years of grade school and trying to fit in. It’s a candid look inside of a very unhappy teen with more than just the challenges of making it through the social maze of high school and battling her weight. She describes how she develops major issues with food, her difficulty relating to her family, her piers, and even potential friends. I likened it to the very popular Netflix series, Never Have I Ever, and I could almost see it like episodes in my mind. The story will make anyone who never quite fit in revisit the traumatic years of their social evolution, and hopefully come away unscathed. My heart broke for poor Pamela. kids can be so cruel without realizing the permanent effects of their actions. I wasn’t in Pamela’s shoes with weight challenges, but I felt a lot of similar misfit, awkward scenarios throughout my high school years. The book filled me with empathy for Pamela, and I too hoped for a couple extra chapters detailing her transition to college. A book about self awareness and climbing to achievements through changing perspective and accepting encouragement from others. I hope to see more empowering stories from Ghosh.

Mrs. Lincoln's Dressmaker: A Novel

Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, by Jennifer Chiaverini, is a fictional story that follows the real life of Elizabeth Keckley. Born into slavery, Elizabeth remains a slave for thirty-seven years. The story begins just before the Civil War, but the book explains how her father and master’s legitimate family allows her to buy her freedom before the war. In a time when it was illegal for slaves to learn, Keckley is a self-taught woman and a gifted seamstress. Through years of toil and work, she manages to buy her freedom and gain notoriety for her excellent craftsmanship. In Washington DC, she builds her business, and through word-of-mouth gains notoriety. After crafting dresses for the popular Mrs. Davis, Keckley is referred to another friend of Mrs. Davis’s. This woman promises an introduction to Mary Todd Lincoln, just as the presidential couple is settling into the shifting tides of Whitehouse politics. By the author’s account, Elizabeth sewed every gown for the first lady during Lincoln’s time in office. She also dressed Mrs. Lincoln for important occasions. More than a modiste, she was a companion to the first lady, during her time at The Whitehouse. The book describes Keckley’s time with Mrs. Lincoln as a constant companion. During the years they resided at The Whitehouse and the more turbulent years after Mrs. Lincoln moved to Chicago, Elizabeth is called on for all important family crisis. Keckley plays a valuable role in the support of Mrs. Lincoln during her many years of mourning, before and after Abraham Lincoln’s assassination. Most noted is the theme of the character’s goodwill, understanding, honor and loyalty. Even under the most trying of circumstances, Elizabeth tries to help her friend, Mrs. Lincoln, to gain favor and empathy with the US population. The pentacle of the story is the release of Elizabeth’s autobiography that she writes to earn money, inspire other black Americans, and to help Mrs. Lincoln, but through the meandering ways of the publishing world, her story is lost. I loved the historical points of Elizabeth’s and The Lincoln’s time together. Set during the crucial reconstruction and the abolishment of slavery, Chiaverini paints a multi-faceted picture of the way our society viewed things before and after the war. This book will inspire people to look at the history of our great nation and the foundation of the society that built it. A reminder of how things were, how they changed, and the sacrifices needed to succeed. Truth in history is not always a perfect picture, but the only ticket to understanding and building a better future. I truly enjoyed, Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker, a novel that will pique the reader’s curiosity about the past and a real refresher for anyone who has forgotten.
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May
2022

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The Sweet Goodbye, by Ron Corbett

The Sweet Goodbye, is the first installment in the Danny Barrett Thriller Series, by Ron Corbett, and if this book is any indication of how the subsequent novels will read, I’m all in. I heard about this book through...

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