When We Were Brave, Suzanne Kelman

Despite a slow start, I found When We Were Brave the be captivating. Normally, I adore dual timelines, but the present day story felt too forced and it pulled me out of the story.

I was more interested and invested in Vivi’s story than I was in Sophie’s, and felt those parts were more of a distraction. I’d have preferred to have the story set solely with Vivi and her journey in WWII.

It was an interesting twist to have the story be about uncovering the truth about someone who’d been assumed to be a traitor. 

The Girl With The Louding Voice, Abi Daré

Have you ever read a book that both broke and revived your heart? The Girl With the Louding Voice was both heartbreaking and inspiring.

I absolutely loved Adunni and reading this book in her voice made it that much more real. Her words and sentences became more confident as she learned and grew, her voice louder and stronger with each page.

The Girl with the Louding Voice is definitely one of my top books of 2020.

Know My Name, Chanel Miller

This book should be required reading for everyone—men, women, boys, girls—seriously, everyone.

I listened to the audiobook of Know My Name and heating Chanel’s words in her own voice brought so much more power to the book. Chanel is the type of woman I aspire to be and pray I raise. The sheer strength of her and her honestly and vulnerability was palpable.

I’ll never be able to give Know My Name proper justice. I’m grateful for her, her words, and her strength, and I want to leave you with Chanel’s words.

“And finally, to girls everywhere, I am with you. On nights when you feel alone, I am with you. When people doubt you or dismiss you, I am with you. I fought everyday for you. So never stop fighting, I believe you. As the author Anne Lamott once wrote, “Lighthouses don’t go running all over an island looking for boats to save; they just stand there shining.” Although I can’t save every boat, I hope that by speaking today, you absorbed a small amount of light, a small knowing that you can’t be silenced, a small satisfaction that justice was served, a small assurance that we are getting somewhere, and a big, big knowing that you are important, unquestionably, you are untouchable, you are beautiful, you are to be valued, respected, undeniably, every minute of every day, you are powerful and nobody can take that away from you. To girls everywhere, I am with you. Thank you.”

Witness Protection Widow, Debra Webb

I’m a sucker for books set near where I live, so imagine my pure delight as I started reading WWitness Protection Widow on Sunday, February 2 and read these words:
Sunday, February 2
Winchester, Tennessee

Double whammy.

I think I’ve found my new favorite type of romance novel … romantic suspense. There’s a bit more at stake than a relationship.

I loved Ali and Jax. Ali is a relatable and strong character that is easy to root for. Jax is tough but also has a soft spot for Ali.

The story flowed at a smooth pace and wasn’t just about the relationship or sex. Both characters grew.

Witness Protection Widow
Can the witness protection program keep her identity secret?
After Allison James finally escapes her marriage to a monster, she becomes the star witness in the case against her deceased husband’s powerful crime family. Now it’s up to US Marshal Jaxson Stevens, Ali’s ex-boyfriend, to keep the WITSEC widow safe. But as the danger escalates and sparks fly, will Jax be able to help Ali escape her ruthless in-laws?

About the author Debra Webb
DEBRA WEBB is the award winning, USA Today bestselling author of more than 150 novels, including reader favorites the Faces of Evil, the Colby Agency, and the Shades of Death series. With more than four million books sold in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood on a farm in Alabama. Visit Debra at www.DebraWebb.com

Exclusive Excerpt from Witness Protection Widow
She shivered. The fire had gone out. She kept on her jacket while she added logs to the fireplace and kindling to get it started. Within a couple of minutes, the fire was going. She’d had a fireplace as a kid, so relearning her way around this one hadn’t been so bad. She went back to the kitchen and turned on the kettle for tea.

Bob growled low in his throat and stared toward the front door.

She froze. Her phone was in her hip pocket. Her gun was still in her waistband at the small of her back. This was something else Marshal Holloway had in­sisted upon. He’d taught her how to use a handgun. They’d held many target practices right behind this cabin.

A creak beyond the front door warned that some­one was on the porch. She eased across the room and went to the special peephole that had been installed. There was one on each side of the cabin, allowing for views all the way around. A man stood on the porch. He was the typical local cowboy. Jeans and boots. Hat in his hands. Big truck in the drive. Just like Marshal Holloway.

But she did not know this man.

“Alice Stewart, if you’re in there, it’s okay for you to open the door. I’m Sheriff Colt Tanner. Branch sent me.”

Her heart thudding, she held perfectly still. Branch would never send someone to her without letting her know first. If for some reason he couldn’t tell her in advance, they had a protocol for these situations.

She reached back, fingers curled about the butt of her weapon. Bob moved stealthily toward the door.

“I know you’re concerned about opening the door to a stranger, but you need to trust me. Branch has been in an accident, and he’s in the hospital undergoing surgery right now. No matter that his injuries were serious, he refused to go into surgery until he spoke to me and I assured him I would look after you, ma’am.”

Worry joined the mixture of fear and dread churn­ing inside her. She hoped Branch wasn’t hurt too badly. He had a wife and a daughter.

She opened her mouth to ask about his condition, but then she snapped it shut. The man at her door had not said the code word.

Such a Fun Age, Kiley Reid

I’m still processing all of my feelings and reactions to Such a Fun Age. Most of all, I wanted to pull Emira into a big hug and thank her for finding and using her voice to stand up for herself, on her own. Everyone else was trying to shove their voices and beliefs onto her—Kelley, her friends, Alix—but in the end, she stood on her own two feet and took charge.

I really struggled with Alix. I liked her and hated her all at the same time. Her victim mentality and desire to be the white lady savior irritated me. But, I also related to her struggles as a mother. Mostly, though, I wanted to shake her shoulders and yell at her to let it go.

Overall, I loved Such a Fun Age, and I’d very much like a full-length sequel all about Briar’s life after Emira. And, maybe one with Zara, too.

Postscript, Cecelia Ahern

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the gifted copy in exchange for an honest review.

I remember reading and adoring P.S. I Love You when it first came out ages ago (16 years, to be exact. How??). So, when I saw Cecilia Ahern had written a follow-up, I knew I had to read it.

I was not disappointed. Postscript was filled with the vivid and rich prose that I love. Holly as a main character is honest, flawed, and vulnerable.

Every heartbreaking story was equally uplifting.

It wasn’t an easy read, but I very much enjoyed Postscript.

I would add that this could be a triggering book if you’ve dealt with loss. I lost my father to a brain tumor 28 years ago, and I sometimes struggle through stories that deal with a terminal illness. But this one, as did P.S. I Love You, left me wishing I’d had my own letters to read.

She Regrets Nothing, Andrea Dunlop

I loved pretty much everything about this book. The Lawrence family is every bit the juicy, E!News reality TV I love to indulge myself in.

Nora and Leo and their over-the-top privilege lives. Liberty and her desire to shed that lifestyle. Laila’s desperation to have the lives her cousins lived.

She Regrets Nothing kept me captivated. I could not stop turning the pages. And when I finished, I wanted more!

The Wife and The Widow, Christian White

Review: The Wife and The Widow, Christian White. Thank you to Minotaur Books for the gifted copy.

While The Wife and The Widow didn’t keep me guessing, it did keep me on the edge of my seat. I had a general idea of what the big twist was because things weren’t adding up. So, it wasn’t a “holy crap” moment, but more of an “ahhh, that makes sense” moment.

Still a solid and well-written suspense novel.

Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino

Review: Trick Mirror, Jia Tolentino

I am going to attempt to condense my thoughts on this amazing book of essays in a neat little review.

They weren’t easy to read. I couldn’t devour the words as easily as I normally do. Some caused discomfort, and all provoked thought and internal dialogue.

Trick Mirror is a brutally honest collection of essays that take a deep look at the world we live in, it’s hypocrisies, realities, and characters.

Love Her or Lose Her, Tessa Bailey

Review: Love Her or Lose Her, Tessa Bailey (thank you to NetGalley & the publisher for the gifted copy)

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this review. I don’t like being negative but I also don’t want to be dishonest. So … here we are.

I wanted to love this book. I wanted to lose myself in a fun, steamy romance novel. While Love Her or Lose Her was a steamy (like, STEAMY) read, it fell a bit short on the romance for me.

Dominic was controlling, borderline abusive, and Rosie seemed to be completely oblivious to just how manipulative her husband is. I mean, it may just be me, but a man who demands to “fuck” his wife as a solution to their marriage problems might need to work on some of his own problems before he can fix his marriage.

I know romance is supposed to have a happily ever after endings, but I did not want Rosie and Dominic to end up back together. I found their relationship to be toxic and unhealthy. He didn’t want to love his wife, he wanted to possess her.