Hawthorn Woods Review

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About the Book

Summer, 1989. Reeling from a catastrophic divorce she just can’t seem to leave behind, Francine Haddix flees San Francisco for a two-week stay at her sister’s house in Hawthorn Woods, Illinois. The quaint neighborhood of shady trees and friendly neighbors seems like the perfect place to sort through her pain and finally move on with her life—but the tranquility doesn’t last long.

Beginning with a complete stranger throwing a drink in her face at her own welcome party, Francine soon discovers the supposedly idyllic suburb is hiding a disturbing number of mysteries. Why is the handsome-ish guy next door lying about who he is? What’s hidden in the back of the teenage troublemaker’s shed? Who wrote a threatening message in blood? Which of the smiling neighbors has a secret they’d kill to keep?

Seeking to reclaim a natural passion for sleuthing numbed by her divorce, Francine rewrites her prescription from one of relaxation to one of investigation. If she can detect the lies, follow the clues, and remember how to trust herself, she might get to the bottom of what’s so very wrong in Hawthorn Woods. She might even be able to believe the future can be good again—assuming she lives long enough to be in it.

Review

Welcome to the 80s! I’m so in love with this book being set in the 80s because honestly, some of my favorite music and movies came from this time period! And then there’s the fashion! I mean, it was wild and out there but still so so amazing! So add a thriller to this setting and it’s basically the perfect spooky season read!

So, since this is a mystery/thriller I don’t want to get into the plot AT ALL. So, basically: there’s some twists and turns, the characters are all engaging and important to the story, and there are a few *gasp* moments. Out main character, Francine, is going through a difficult time in life and uses her hunt for the “who-done-it” as a sort of prescription from the thoughts clouding her mind (which is relatable after dealing with COVID for so long). As she puts her all into the mysteries of this neighborhood we learn that there is much more than meets the eye to our characters and there are some shocking things occurring amongst the neighbors.

With a wonderful setting and lot of shocks, Hawthorn Woods is an AMAZING read! It gave me all the eighties feels and I literally couldn’t put the book down. I’m sometimes a little iffy with thrillers, but this one had my attention from the start and the added mystery really pulled me in. There was just so much action and underlying secrets that you cannot help but become invested in this small community.

About the Author

PATRICK CANNING is the author of three novels, including Cryptofauna (2018), The Colonel and the Bee(2018), and his latest, Hawthorn Woods (2020). He has also published several short stories. When he isn’t writing, he enjoys playing beach volleyball, following space exploration, and losing at bar trivia. Some of his favorite authors include Bill Watterson, Liane Moriarty, David Foster Wallace, Stephen King, and Kurt Vonnegut.

Patrick lives in Los Angeles with his Australian Shepherd, Hank, who some consider to be the greatest dog of all time.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Watch Me Tour – Review

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About the Book

“Stacey Kennedy turns up the heat and keeps us wanting more.”
Meredith Wild, New York Times bestselling author

Watch Me, an all-new emotional and extremely sexy standalone romance from USA Today bestselling author Stacey Kennedy is available now!

It’s her choice to play his game.

If she says yes, there will be more on the line than just her pleasure.

Zoey Parker has a three-step plan for revenge. First, gain entrance to the ultra-exclusive, upscale sex club, Phoenix. Second, act out her wildest fantasy in front of powerful old rivals, proving that they didn’t break her. Third, disappear and never return. The only kink in her plan? Rhys Harrington, the owner of Phoenix and the one man she needs to stay away from…

Rhys’ high-end clients pay extravagant amounts to watch his stars indulge their desires. Rhys’ only rule? Watch, don’t touch. But one look at Zoey and Rhys decides to participate in the show himself. And when an undeniable passion ignites between them, Rhys knows he wants more. Except Zoey is determined to run… and he is determined to find out why.

When Rhys discovers Zoey’s secret, he shocks her by offering his protection… and a no-strings-attached relationship. But Zoey knows there will be more on the line than just her pleasure. Because Rhys’ sizzling touch doesn’t only capture her body, it also commands her heart.

Review

Steamy steamy! This book grabbed my attention right away and then I just devoured it and refused to put it down! Not only were the main characters and their stories captivating, but I also really loved the supporting cast! And all around this was just an enjoyable read where there was a healthy mixture of the bad things in life mixed in with the good.

I don’t know why, but I didn’t expect this to be such an insta-love read. The themes are so dark and twisted, that I was expecting a romance along the same lines. But looking at that, I think that the sweetness behind the romance we got was more fitting for the story. The MCs were broken and damaged, so this lush and kind romance was just what they needed.

So yeah, like I said above, I LOVED this supporting cast of characters! They added a lightness to a story that could easily become too heavy. And I LIVED for the bickering between Archer and Elise! I honestly fell in love with them more than any of the others, what can I say? I love an enemies to lovers trope. And knowing that they’ll be the MCs in the next Phoenix novel makes me beyond pumped to read it and dreading the wait!

About the Author

Stacey Kennedy is a USA Today bestselling author who writes contemporary romances full of heat, heart, and happily ever afters. With over 50 titles published, her books have hit Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Apple Books bestseller lists.

Stacey lives with her husband and two children in southwestern Ontario—in a city that’s just as charming as any of the small towns she creates. Most days, you’ll find her enjoying the outdoors with her family or venturing into the forest with her horse, Priya. Stacey’s just as happy curled up indoors, where she writes surrounded by her lazy dogs. She believes that sexy books about hot cowboys or alpha heroes can fix any bad day. But wine and chocolate help too.

*I received a copy in exchange for an honest review*

Delicate Review

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About the Book

Fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Wintergirls, Girl in Pieces and Girl, Interrupted will love this Amazon bestseller.

Lydia Baker fights a war every day.

A war with herself.A war with food.

At 90 pounds she still feels fat. She still doesn’t feel like a size zero. Lydia can see things that no one else can see. When she looks in the mirror she can see the fat hanging off of her body. The treatment hasn’t helped her. No doctor has been able to give her a magic pill to cure her or to get rid of the thoughts in her head.

She was trapped inside her mind. Lydia doesn’t see food as food. She only sees the calories and the numbers. Counting and starving and purging is all that she does.

When she eats too much she cuts herself to let the pain leak out. Every day means fewer calories, but it also means another scar to help strengthen her determination and to harden her heart just a little more.

Lydia has to be the skinniest of them all, and she’ll hurt herself and her family any way possible to wear the skinny crown. The less she ate, the stronger she felt. The less she ate, the more she was in control. But Lydia was playing a dangerous game and risking it all to be thin, to be perfect.

Book Blurb: What I wanted to say in Group, what I want to say to Mom and Dad was that it was simple. I am not extraordinary, I am not special, my case, my illness is not something that is rare. It is common as I have learned from Group.

When I was growing up I was average, I played outside, I read books, and I wanted a pony even though I knew it wouldn’t fit in our apartment. I wore band –shirts and short-shorts, I munched on cookies and snacks whenever I wanted without any worry. I had expectations pushed on me, get straight A’s keep your room clean, study and you will achieve, and I did want to. I wanted to be great at something, anything.

How did I get here? It was any number of things, stress, my parents fighting, my personal failures, isolating, I don’t know. There is no one thing that I can point to, it’s all fuzzy. How do you explain how one minute you’re able to eat anything and everything you like and the next minute you’re doing crunches on an empty stomach because you haven’t eaten for three days until you suddenly did and then you shoved your fingers down your throat until it feels like your going to rip it out and you throw up so hard it feels like your eyeball is going to come out? Every time I meet with Megan, every time I see Dad or talk with Mom it’s that same question.

How did it start? How did it happen? How could this happen I pick at my sweater, I fiddle with my buttons, I chew on my lip and stay quiet. I have nothing to say. It took me months to realize when I was so hungry and hunched in on myself looking at the pasta boiling on the stove that once I had started, not just the starving but the purging I couldn’t stop. I had to keep going. If I didn’t it felt like the world might end as extreme as that sounds, I would rather starve, freeze, grow fur, suffer through headaches and gross mouth sores, and the awful pounding of my heart in my chest than eat.
I was hungry but I couldn’t eat.

A gritty provocative debut that explores the horrors of an eating disorder and self-harm, and the power of recovery. Gemma Donoghue has written a gritty, raw, and real portrait of one girl’s journey through mental illness and despair as she tried to put the pieces of herself back together.

Gemma Donoghue is the author of Talk, Good Enough, and Fragile.

Review

If you read a book by Gemma Donoghue she’s going to make you feel some things. Every book lays bare some very difficult topics that you don’t often see. And Delicate is no different, forcing us to take an up close look at what it is like to live with an eating disorder. At a time where we are constantly celebrating body positivity, I think that it is so important for stories and voices like these to be shared. Opening up that conversation and shedding light on what many go through.

I know it may sound weird of me to say, but I really appreciate seeing books about eating disorders. I think that this is a topic we swept under the rug so much, and even still do, that it became taboo to admit to suffering from an eating disorder yet almost celebrated to to have one. So I love seeing books that aren’t afraid to normalize the pain associated with eating disorders. I think we need to start having more honest conversations about what an eating disorder actually does to you physically and mentally. They aren’t something pretty and they are a daily struggle.

I’ve really enjoyed everything I’ve read from Donoghue, she has such an open and honest way of writing. Everything she writes is raw and honest, opening your eyes to things that society would rather you not see or talk about.

About the Author


Gemma Donoghue is a first-time self-publishing author, and a lover of anything that involves horror, mystery, and romance.

*I received an e-copy in exchange for an honest review*

Horrid Review

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About the Book

From the author of You Must Not Miss comes a haunting contemporary horror novel that explores themes of mental illness, rage, and grief, twisted with spine-chilling elements of Stephen King and Agatha Christie.

Following her father’s death, Jane North-Robinson and her mom move from sunny California to the dreary, dilapidated old house in Maine where her mother grew up. All they want is a fresh start, but behind North Manor’s doors lurks a history that leaves them feeling more alone…and more tormented.

As the cold New England autumn arrives, and Jane settles in to her new home, she finds solace in old books and memories of her dad. She steadily begins making new friends, but also faces bullying from the resident “bad seed,” struggling to tamp down her own worst nature in response. Jane’s mom also seems to be spiraling with the return of her childhood home, but she won’t reveal why. Then Jane discovers that the “storage room” her mom has kept locked isn’t for storage at all–it’s a little girl’s bedroom, left untouched for years and not quite as empty of inhabitants as it appears….

Is it grief? Mental illness? Or something more…horrid?

Review

I have literally been waiting to read this book since the cover was revealed. So you can guess how excited I was to receive a copy for review (THANK YOU The Novl)! I mean, contemporary horror? Yes please! Sign me right up! Plus, this one has been compared to Christie and King, arguably two of the most genius authors for their genres. And, admittedly, going into a book with extremely high expectations has proven disastrously for me in the past. BUT, I am pleased to say that this one HELD UP!

So this book starts out twisted and just continues to twist and turn and get creepier as you move through it. And this book is definitely an atmospheric read, which makes the story even spookier. There’s a story in here but it also flaunts the line of being one extended train of thought. I know this is probably a terrible way of describing such beautiful writing, but hey, I tried.

This book hooked me from the very first kooky page (you’ll know what I mean when you start it). Plus it references Alice Liddell and Agatha Christie within the first few pages, so of course it was an insta love for me. But definitely add this book to your spooky season list this year because it will assuredly stick with you!

About the Author

Katrina Leno was born on the East Coast and currently lives in Los Angeles. She is the author of five critically acclaimed novels: The Half Life of Molly PierceThe Lost & FoundEverything All at OnceSummer of Salt, and You Must Not Miss. Her sixth novel, Horrid, arrives Sept. 15 2020.

*I received an arc in exchange for an honest review*

Fragile Review

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About the Book

Thirteen Reasons Why meets One of Us is Lying, Fragile in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies and secrets a group of teens tell about a deadly night.

Two best friends.

An unforgivable secret.

Katherine and Carol are best friends, competitors in a deadly competition to see who will be the skinniest.

Until Carol commits suicide.

The case is closed. Carol killed herself. Her parents know she did it. The police know she did it. Everyone at school knows she did it.

But knowing Carol, and how strange their small town is, Katherine isn’t so sure that’s what happened. Moving on isn’t easy. Before she died, Carol had called Katherine. Katherine’s world has started to unravel, as she after her parents’ divorce and her grandmother tried to file for custody of her when she was at her lowest weight. as she loses control of her eating disorder and listens to the messages her friend had left her. And tries to understand the secrets that she’s unearthed. Whatever happened to Carol isn’t over. Some of the kids at school know more about what happened than they’re saying. And somehow…Carol is at the center of all of it.

Everyone has secrets. How far will they go to protect them?

Donoghue has created an intriguing character study into the minds of people who make difficult, unimaginable choices. A dark, gritty read from a talented new author.

Review

Gemma Donoghue is killing it with these gritty and dark contemporaries! I love contemporaries that aren’t afraid to hit upon the dark and deep topics and really open up a conversation. And Fragile definitely goes there, so make sure you go into this one expecting to feel some things.

This is my third Donoghue book and I can honestly say that each one has made me go, “this one’s my new favorite!” They’re all just so brutally honest and contain such uniquely powerful stories. And Fragile is no different. This story revolves around Katherine and her struggles with an eating disorder. As well as secrets. You’ll find yourself flipping through the pages needing to find out what happens next.

This book dives deep into issues such as eating disorders, trauma, death, as well as the secrets that those we think we are close to keep from us. It is both a harrowing story as well as an insightful one.

About the Author

Gemma Donoghue is a first-time self-publishing author, and a lover of anything that involves horror, mystery, and romance.

*I received an ecopy in exchange for an honest review*

Good Enough Review

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About the Book

Ten facts about myself.

1. My name is Simon Baker.
2. I’m seventeen years old.
3. I have two sisters. Jessica, who’s fourteen and Bailey who’s twelve.
4. My parents aren’t divorced, they’re still together.
5. We live in a nice two-story house in a nice neighborhood.
6. My parents don’t do drugs, they don’t even drink that often, and neither do I.
7. My parents have never hit us, they’ve never kept us locked up in the basement or kicked us out of the house.
8. No one has ever touched me in the wrong place.
9. I’ve been to parties and I’ve been in a few fights but never over anything serious.
10. I didn’t try to kill myself.

Except that Simon wakes up to find that his parents have had him committed to Palmdale Psychiatric Hospital after a failed suicide attempt. Simon wasn’t normal and he knew it. He was struggling after losing his best -and only- friend, with being an outcast at school. He tries his best to pretend that everything is okay, but there is still a part of him that he would always keep locked away from everyone else.

Here, Simon meets the other patients and is finally able to confront the sources of his anxiety and depression. His healing process has just begun when he meets Oliver, another patient, who changes his life.

Review

This book is just right up my alley. It talks about all of those things that are oh so commonly swept under the rug and puts them right out in the open. There’s a lot of difficult topics covered around a cast of amazing characters. And it’s one that once I started reading I couldn’t stop.

I am a huge fan of books that talk about and have mental health representation. And with a setting in a psychiatric ward the author is able to cover so many different things that people go through. But the best part of this story was how well each of the characters were developed throughout the book.

This book will draw you in and make you need to uncover all of the secrets within. There is a mystery aspect to this book and with each chapter you learn a little more. So make sure you’re wide awake (my personal mistake) and have plenty of time to devour this one! Because you won’t want to stop reading it until it’s over!

About the Author


Gemma Donoghue is a first-time self-publishing author, and a lover of anything that involves horror, mystery, and romance.

*I received a ebook in exchange for an honest review*

The Best Part of Us Tour – Review & Giveaway

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About the Book


Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: She Writes Press (September 8, 2020)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 163152741X
ISBN-13: 978-1631527418


Beth cherished her childhood summers on a pristine northern Canadian lake, where she reveled in the sweet smell of dew on early morning hikes, the loons’ evening trills across the lake’s many bays, every brush stroke of her brother’s paintings celebrating their cherished place, and their grandfather’s laughter as he welcomed neighbors to their annual Welsh harvest celebration. Theirs was an unshakeable bond with nature, family, and friends, renewed every summer on their island of granite and pines.

But that bond was threatened and then torn apart, first as rights to their island were questioned and then by nature itself, and the family was forced to leave. Fourteen years later, Beth has created a new life in urban Chicago. There, she’s erected a solid barrier between the past and present, no matter how much it costs—until her grandfather asks her to return to the island to determine its fate. Will she choose to preserve who she has become, or risk everything to discover if what was lost still remains?

The Best Part of Us will immerse readers in a breathtaking natural world, a fresh perspective on loyalty, and an exquisite ode to the essential roles that family, nature, and place hold in all of our lives.


You can purchase The Best Part of Us: A Novel at the following Retailers:
        

Praise for The Best Part of Us


“Sally Cole-Misch’s novel is a lush and lovely homage to the natural places where her protagonist grew up. . . . The plot spanning past and present kept me enthralled and engaged throughout my reading of this exceptionally good book. The Best Part of Us is most highly recommended.” —Readers’ Favorite

“This is not just storytelling, it’s a lived experience. Sally’s description of the cold, crystal waters and magnificent landscape of the North Country is so vivid I feel as though I paid it a visit. The story’s depth and vivid characterization are unforgettable. At a time when we seem to have lost our way in navigating the human relationship with place, Sally has provided a true compass to help us find home. ” —Dave Dempsey, 2009 Michigan Author of the Year, author of ten books and renowned Great Lakes environmental policy expert

“With exquisite descriptions of Canadian lake and forest country and the Ojibway life rooted there, Cole-Misch expertly weaves the elements of those differing cultures, fraught but tightly bound family relationships, young love, old love, and the wonder of coming of age—at every age—into a luminous novel. The Best Part of Us is a beautiful story that will keep you up reading, and then keep you company for a long time afterward.” —Barbara Stark-Nemon, award-winning author of Even in Darkness and Hard Cider

“A story so evocative you can smell the lake and hear the loons. . . . The Best Part of Us draws in lyrical strokes the many shades of grief and the healing magic of place.” —Jenni Ogden, bestselling author of A Drop in the Ocean

“Place plays a key role in this novel, with an island in northern Ontario lovingly observed through the eyes of our protagonist, Beth. Troubles come in the form of her family’s attachment to the land and issues around who rightfully owns it—their Welsh ancestors or the Native peoples of earlier times—and the book raises and explores these important, contemporary questions with care and sensitivity. Their resolution is complicated—at once hopeful and messy, like all imperfect decisions. The Best Part of Us is a lovely, engrossing book about place, family, history, and cultural sensitivity.” —Angela Pneuman, award-winning author of Home Remedies and Lay It on My Heart

Review

I love when I see a book and know that it’s going to remind me of home. Because, to be quite honest, I am very homesick since I haven’t been able to go back in years. And while I’d never move back I still miss the scenery and the very strange New York-ness that comes from WNYers. But anyway, this is a wonderful book that really pulls you in and takes you to the setting.

I’m a sucker for a book with a good setting and an amazing description of the setting. Now, don’t get me wrong this is an amazing and interesting story, but the descriptors and style of writing is where The Best Part of Us shines. As you are reading you can almost taste and touch the lake and the woods and the air around the characters. And if you love anything related to nature then you will love this book.

Now on to the story, there was also a beautiful story within this book. It has such a rich depth to it and will make you think while pulling you through multiple emotions. And in more ways than one it is just quite simply a beautiful book.

About the Author

Photo Credit: Susan Adams Photography

Sally Cole-Misch is a writer and environmental communicator who advocates for the natural world through work and play. She holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri, a master’s degree in environmental education and international water policy from the University of Michigan, and a certificate in fiction writing from Stanford University. Throughout her career, she’s focused on communicating our essential connection with nature—particularly the Great Lakes—and the role each of us can play to restore, protect, and enjoy all that nature gives to us. Sally lives in Michigan with her husband and son and enjoys hiking, kayaking, sailing, skiing, and gardening.

Tour Schedule

SEPTEMBER 7th MONDAY JeanBookNerd INTERVIEW
SEPTEMBER 8th TUESDAY Ya It’s Lit REVIEW
SEPTEMBER 9th WEDNESDAY Movies, Shows, & Books EXCERPT
SEPTEMBER 10th THURSDAY J.R.’s Book Reviews REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 11th FRIDAY Insane About Books GUEST POST
SEPTEMBER 11th FRIDAY J Long Books REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 12th SATURDAY BookHounds INTERVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 13th SUNDAY Author Kelly Riser REVIEW 
SEPTEMBER 13th SUNDAY Books A-Brewin EXCERPT

Giveaway

–  5 Winners will receive a Copy of THE BEST PART OF US by Sally Cole-Misch.
– 1 Winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card.

Giveaway is open to International. | Must be 13+ to Enter


*JBN is not responsible for Lost or Damaged Books in your Nerdy Mail Box*