Brave Girl, Quiet Girl

Brave Girl, Quiet Girl: A Novel  by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Lake Union Publishing, 2020. 300 pages ***** Publication Date May 19th, 2020.

Brooke is a single mother living with her difficult mother and her two-year-old daughter, Etta. Whatever Brooke does somehow never measures up to what her mother thinks should be done. "Buckle your seatbelt" "take Etta out more" Brooke and her mother are constantly arguing over Etta's care and whose car is safer. Her mother sees the whole world as being dangerous even though they live in a nice part of West LA. One night Brooke buckles Etta securely into her car seat but leaves her own seat belt undone because she was wearing a big, long sweater, and it kept getting caught. Brooke stopped at a red light when it happened. A man moved fast towards her side of the car and before she could react, her window shattered. A hand opened her car door and pulled her from the car. Brooke sat in the middle of the highway and watched her mother's car drive away with Etta in her car seat in the backseat. Every mother's nightmare!
Later that night, Molly, a teen estranged from her family, living on the streets, sees a baby in a carseat on the sidewalk. Molly can't believe her eyes and her first thought is to find a phone and call the police. Not as easy as it seems, markets are closed, no pay phones anymore and people living on the street don't have cell phones. Molly realizes that she is now responsible for the baby and must keep her safe.

Brooke and Molly's lives are totally different but the one thing that they have in common, they are both looking for a home and family where they belong and are accepted. Drawn together by this horrific act, Hyde has created a heart-stopping story of love, acceptance, and friendship. I am not a crier and do not cry easily, but this story really touched my heart. Hyde portrays the good in people even in the midst of evil. Mr. Rogers once said" When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” Catherine Ryan Hyde shows us the helpers and inspires us to be the good.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is one of my favorite "go to" authors. I know when I sit down to read one of her books, I am going to love it! Each one of her books is distinctly different from the other and a treat in itself. Make sure you add this one to your TBR list and preorder it so you don't miss it!

I received an ecopy for a review.

Other Hyde books that I have read and reviewed:
Have You Seen Luis Velez?
Just After Midnight
Heaven Adjacent

To read more about her: http://www.catherineryanhyde.com

#bravegirlquietgirl #psychologicalthriller


Hindsight (Kendra Michaels Book 7) by Iris Johansen and Roy Johansen. New York: Grand Central Publishing, 2020. 369 pages. ****

In this latest book in the series, Dr. Kendra Michaels is asked to use her unique powers of observation to investigate a murder at her beloved Woodward Academy. Kendra spent the first twenty years of her life blind before gaining her sight via a revolutionary surgical procedure. Her years at the Academy afforded her an excellent education, lifelong friends, and life skills. Kendra is something of a superstar at the school because she works for the FBI and she gained her sight, Olivia on the otherhand is the real hero because of what she has accomplished while blind. Kendra begins her investigation into two seemingly unrelated staff member murders while trying to protect the students and the Academy. Using her enhanced senses, Kendra sees and smells things that others don't and has an advantage over the other investigators. This ability comes in handy when Kendra becomes a target of the murderer and the police and FBI can't seem to help her.

The books do not have to be read in order, however, the relationship between Kendra and Lynch evolves with each book in the series. I love reading this series! Fast-paced, action-filled, enough suspense to keep me guessing. I look forward to book 8.

I received an ecopy for a review.

To read more about this Mother - Son writing duo...Interview from the Miami Herald.

#mystery #hindsight #thriller


The Nowhere Girl

The Nowhere Girl by Nicole Trope.  Bookouture, 2020. 287 pages. *****

Alice has a husband who loves her and three beautiful sons, if you didn't know her secrets, you would say she has it all. She wants her children to know that they can count on her and she will always be there for them, unlike her childhood, where she had no one to protect her.

Molly is studying personal stories of child abuse for her next short story when one of the Blogs, My Secret,  awakens something in her that she just can't shake.

Margaret, a drunk, feels judged by society and her daughters. It's not her fault that there isn't any food in the house, she's going to get her act together as soon as she finishes this last drink. Vernon's not so bad, he brings them food and her an occasional bottle. Margaret understands that she makes him so mad that he hits her.

Told in the alternating voices of the three women, this psychological thriller hooked me from the very beginning. Alice's first email, "I know what you did," left me guessing as to who did what and how  someone else knew. With its many subplots, you will feel like you are on a roller coaster and not want it to stop. No spoilers here, the ending ties everything together perfectly!  This is my first book by this author, however, it will not be the last.

I received an ecopy for a review.

Nicole Trope is a former high school teacher with a Masters Degree in Children's Literature. In 2005 she was one of the winners of the Varuna Awards for Manuscript Development. In 2009 her young adult novel titled I Ran Away First was shortlisted for the Text Publishing Prize.

#thenowheregirl #childabuse


Big Lies in a Small Town

Big Lies In A Small Town by Diane Chamberlain. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2019. 353 pages. ***** On sale today! 

North Carolina, 2018: Morgan Christopher is serving a three-year sentence in the North Carolina Women's Correctional Center for a crime that she didn't commit. She took the fall for her law student boyfriend, the man of her dreams, while he left her at the scene of the crime and ran away.  All of her plans are on hold while she tries to survive prison life. Her life takes a change for the better when a woman and her lawyer show up with an offer that Morgan can't refuse. If Morgan agrees to restore an old post office mural, she will be immediately released from prison.   Morgan knows nothing about art restoration, but desperate to leave prison, she accepts.

North Carolina, 1940: Anna Dale, an artist from New Jersey, wins a national contest to paint a mural for the post office in Edenton, North Carolina.  Her mother recently died and Anna accepts. Anna soon finds herself immersed in the norms of the South and life in a small town. Prejudice runs deep and Anna naively thinks she can mentor a talented young black man and potential artist. The townspeople believe that a local portrait artist should have been chosen to paint the mural and resentments build until violence erupts and changes the course of Anna's life.

Told in the alternating voices of Morgan and Anna, Chamberlain weaves a spellbinding, disturbing story of betrayal, love, and friendship. I was immediately drawn into the book and loved every second of the story. Definitely a story that I will recommend to family and friends. Chamberlain gets better and better at her masterful plot lines. The characters came to life for me and I didn't want the book to end. Bravo!

I received an ecopy for a review.

Books by Chamberlain
Dream Daughter
The Stolen Daughter
Pretending to Dance

Diane Chamberlain is the New York Times, USA Today and Sunday Times bestselling author of 26 novels published in more than twenty languages. Influenced by her former career as a social worker and psychotherapist, she writes suspenseful stories that touch both heart and mind.



When You See Me

When You See Me by Lisa Gardner. (Detective D.D. Warren Book 11) New York: Dutton, 2020. 328 pages. ****

In this latest psychological thriller, FBI Special Agent Kimberly Quincy and Sergeant Detective D. D. Warren build a task force, which includes victim Flora Dane, and true-crime savant Keith Edgar in an effort to investigate disturbing finds in a small town in the hills of Georgia. Were there more victims of deceased kidnapper Jacob Ness? Arriving at the town something feels off, why does the manager at the hotel tell them they must leave and the local B and B cook and employee disappears? As Flora and Keith grow closer, they renew their efforts to discover where Jacob Ness held Flora, girl’s bodies are discovered and questions are asked as to whether Jacob could have had an accomplice.

Lisa Gardner only gets better and better with each Detective D.D. Warren book. Often when an author is prolific in a series, the main character feels stale or not as exciting as in the early books. Not in this book, the suspense and plot twists will keep you guessing until the very end. Gothic elements - hidden rooms and tunnels, town secrets  - all add to the question of who can be trusted? Loved it and didn't want it to end.

Lisa Gardner, a #1 New York Times bestselling thriller novelist, began her career in food service, but after catching her hair on fire numerous times, she took the hint and focused on writing instead. A self-described research junkie, she has transformed her interest in police procedure and criminal minds into a streak of internationally acclaimed novels, published across 30 countries. She’s also had four books become TV movies (At the Midnight Hour; The Perfect Husband; The Survivors Club; Hide) and has made personal appearances on TruTV and CNN.

For more information about Lisa, check out her website www.lisagardner.com.


The Dilemma

The Dilemma by B.A. Paris. New York: St. Martin's Press, 2020. 261 pages. ****

Livia has been planning her fortieth birthday bash for the last 20 years. She has been saving money so it will be the biggest and best birthday ever.  Livia was pregnant with Josh when she married Adam and her parents refused to attend or to give Livia the wedding of her dreams. Adam has some surprises for Livia, he invited her parents and arranged for their daughter to return from Hong Kong for the party. Livia has a surprise of her own for Adam and both are keeping a secret from each other with unimaginable consequences.

Told in the alternating voices of Adam and Livia, Paris once again is the queen of suspense. Once started, you will not want to do anything else until you finish this book. I read it in two days and can't stop thinking about it. Both of the main characters are likeable, but at times, you will find yourself talking to them. No spoilers here, but what would I have done? Both Livia and Adam took a risk for the right reasons, however, their decisions could have gone horribly wrong. I have read her other best-selling books and The Dilemma does not disappoint.

I received an ecopy for a review.

B.A. PARIS is the internationally bestselling author of Behind Closed Doors, The Breakdown, and Bring Me Back. She grew up in England but has spent most of her adult life in France. She has worked both in finance and as a teacher and has five daughters. This is her fourth novel.



I  try to choose a word that reflects what I hope for in the coming year. Last year I took advantage of many new opportunities and it was a good year. It's hard to believe that this is my 8th year of choosing a word. 

My previous words:

2018 - Clarity
2017 - Balance
2016 -  Promise
2015 - Abundance
2014  - Believe
2013  - Simplify 

I don't set resolutions for the new year, but do try to reflect on what I hope to accomplish with the time I have during the year. 

Be joyful, look for the joy in each day

Read the daily message from Jesus Calling: Enjoying Peace in His Presence by Sarah Young.
A friend gave me this book for Christmas and I am reading and reflecting on the message each day.

Sew 10 minutes a day. 
Pat Sloan is a an inspiration in all that she accomplishes and her message is sew 10 minutes a day! Read more about her at https://blog.patsloan.com/2015/12/pat-sloan-how-to-fit-in-10-min-of-sewing-a-day.html

I received a Fitbit Versa for Christmas and it zaps me to remind me to take more steps. I feel like a dog with an electrical fence. 

Continue to read and write reviews. Complete my Goodreads Challenge of 35 books. 
My goal for 2019 was 30 books and I read 34, so I think I can manage 35 for 2020. My ongoing right eye issues do make it difficult to read at times. Low light/low contrast is not my friend. I can only read for a short period of time on my Ipad and my eyes tire easily, but I am very thankful that I can read. 

My intention this year is to use my time in more meaningful ways. As each year passes and time flies by, I am reminded that we each have a finite time on this earth and I want to make the most of mine.  

I picked up this book at Michaels, maybe it will help keep me on track! Stay tuned...
If you want to join me this year, follow me here and on IG kathy_nester.

#joy #oneword2020