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[New Releases] July 2017

July is going to be a GREAT month for reading! From YA, to historical fiction, to new dystopian sci-fi… there’s a new book for everyone this month. I could go on and on for days, but I finally narrowed it down to the 8 releases I’m most excited for – I can’t wait to dive in!

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Devastation Road by Jason Hewitt: Injured and confused, a man wakes amid a deserted field to find himself at war in a foreign country, with no memory of ever leaving England. A compelling new take on the standard WWII novel, Devastation Road is sure to captivate readers from page one. (July 3rd)

A Panicked Premonition by Victoria Laurie: My favorite guilty pleasure series, Laurie takes it to new heights this year when Abby’s husband and business partner are framed for murder. (July 4th)

What We Lose by Zinzi Clemmons: A hard-hitting novel depicting a young African-American woman’s coming of age, What We Lose is reviewed by many as THE debut novel of the year.  (July 11th)

When the English Fall by David Williams: In the wake of a catostaphic solar storm, modern civilization has completely collapsed, but where the English have failed, the Amish have thrived, surviving off their well-stocked larders and supplies. A thought provoking study on human nature, When the English Fall explores the impossible choices of a nonviolent community suddenly threatened. (July 11th)

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Domina by L.S. Hilton: An enticing follow-up novel to Maestra, Judith’s misadventures continue as her crimes suddenly catch up to her disguise. (July 11th)

The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter: Karin Slaughter’s done it again! Twenty-eight years after the murder of her family, Charlotte returns home as a new nightmare emerges, revealing the shocking truth behind her family’s destruction. (July 13th)

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol: Arianwyn is doomed – after flunking her witch’s assessment, she’s sent to a small town in disgrace, crushing her dreams of one day becoming a real witch. With a mysterious, magical threat at bay, she’ll need all the magical help she can get to save the day. Reminiscent of The Girl Who Drank the Moon, I have to check this one out! (July 25th)

Gather the Daughters by Jennie Melamed: Described as Never Let Me Go meets The Giver, Gather the Daughters is a haunting debut following a radical society on an isolated island – and the women who rule it. (July 25th)

What will you be reading?

 

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[Favorites] Top Ten Reads This Year… So Far

This week on Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, we’re going back to the start of 2017 to bust out our top ten reads of the year… so far, that is. In just six months, I’ve read a total of 145 books, and given 66% of them a 4 or 5 star rating – how am I supposed to narrow it down to 10!? But, once I started looking back, my list was fairly easy to assemble – while I’ve read a lot of good books, there’s always that one book I can’t stop thinking about, or in this case, 10.

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The Comet Seekers by Helen Sedgwick: A grand, sweeping romance spanning the stars and globe alike, Roisin and Francois have crossed paths countless times before meeting in the Arctic, but only after a steady stream of heartbreak and sorrow will they be ready to face the biggest challenge of all: love. Call it fate, or call it destiny, The Comet Seekers calls all of life’s big questions into action, blurring the line between past and present, comet and star. (Read a full review HERE)

American War by Omar Elk Akkad: Set at the start of the second American Civil War in the not so distant 2074, oil has been outlawed, Louisiana is half underwater, and security drones pepper the landscape. It’s every man for himself as the enemy nears the largest refugee camp in the South. Desperate for change and hungry for revenge, Sarat fights for her family, but will the cost weigh the riches won?

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai: If you enjoy arguing the finer points of time travel or the paradox of parallel universes, or if you’ve ever spent a weekend binging Back to the Future – this is the book for you. Accidentally sabotaging his father’s life’s work (i.e. the first successful time travel experiment known to man), Tom flings himself into the past in hopes to save not only the experiment and get the girl, but, as we all know, time travel is never as simple as that.

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer: The first book in VanderMeer’s Southern Reach Trilogy, it’s by far, my favorite. A group of scientists are dropped at the border of a territory known as Area X – a dense forest that mysteriously, and inexplicably, overtook the western United States almost overnight. Riddled with paranoia and fear, you might want to read this with the lights ON.

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit: Set during World War II, Anna and the Swallow Man delves deep into word play as Savit expertly interweaves Polish folklore and magical realism to create a haunting scene of impossibility. With her father missing, Anna is left alone to wonder the streets, until the mysterious Swallow Man takes her underwing.  Without a name, or a home, to guide her, she’ll learn the “rules of the road” as her ultimate means of survival.

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough: Told in parts by a struggling single mom and a picture-perfect housewife, the two women couldn’t possibly have anything in common other than a man. A love triangle in the purest fashion, Behind Her Eyes plays the long-game, keeping you in chase while saving the biggest punch for last – an OMG ending you’ll never coming!

The Vegetarian by Han King: Rooted by mental illness, and only extenuated by sexual abuse, scandal and estrangement, Yeong-hye’s nightmares are spiraling out of control and into real-life in this truly Kafkaesque novella. I finally see what all the fuss was about last year.

Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Page: Caught by a tornado, Amy Gumm is whisked away from her trailer park life in Flat Hill, Kansas to the dusty outskirts of Oz where the Hollywood glitz and glamour has long faded, along with its magic. A brilliantly addictive series, you won’t be able to stop reading until you’ve devoured them all!

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Caraval by Stephanie Garber: Equal parts romance and mystery, sisters Scarlet and Tella run away from home in hopes to join this year’s Caraval – a mystical show where the audience are the competitors. A game of chance with illusions behind every door, they’ll soon discover themselves as this year’s centerpiece, and Tella the pawn. I’ll be needing Part II of this series ASAP, please.

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach: After a disastrous fire, Ava returns home to grieve the loss of her twin sister, until a string of mysterious emails lead her elsewhere. Is Zelda really gone? Or is this just another one of her zany plots to avoid the consequences of her debts? A family drama gone goose-chase, Dead Letters is the one read I can’t stop thinking about.

What are your new favorites?

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[Short Reviews] April & May Reads

Welcome back, friends!

After a long-overdue vacation and time spent with family, I’m back and ready to blog! The last year has been an amazing experience, but lately, blogging has felt more like a chore than a hobby, thus my unexpected absence. And, as always, spring proves to be the busiest time of year, between holidays and taking advantage of the weather, there’s not much time left to blog – especially now that we’re planning our wedding!! I’m so happy to share our engagement! During my break, we made a special trip home for the proposal – a small family affair in the garden. It couldn’t have been more perfect!

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And so, with plenty of travel-time to fill, I found myself falling back into the book game – just over 40 reads this spring. I even caught up on a few Net Galleys!

April & May Favorites:

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Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: Discovering a top-secret cover-up threatening the lives of fellow students, Min and Noah race against the clock, and an asteroid, to uncover the truth.  A bridge between YA and Science fiction, Nemesis will leave you counting down the days for an answer to the madness with an Earth-shattering plot twist you’ll never see coming. (4 Stars)

In the Orchard, The Swallows by Peter Hobbs: Flung from the prison gates, a young man returns home to find himself abandoned and forgotten. Saved by a local Samaritan, he spends his days wondering the orchards as little by little, he gains the strength to confront his past. With its lyrical prose and heartbreaking woes, In the Orchard, The Swallows will leave a lasting impression. (4 Stars)

American War by Omar Elk Akkad: Set at the start of the second American Civil War in 2074, oil has been outlawed, Louisiana is half underwater, and drones pepper the landscape. War is quickly approaching the safe zone (if you can even call it that) and it’s every man for himself. Atmospheric and all-consuming, there’s no denying the sly warning within its pages.  (4 Stars)

I Found You by Lisa Jewell: After reporting her husband missing, a young bride soon discovers her husband doesn’t exist – his identity a sham. Meanwhile, a single mom, against her better judgement, takes in a stranger suffering from amnesia. A twenty-year-old mystery at the helm, you won’t know WHAT to believe. (4 Stars)

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The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston: An unbelievably true story of a modern-day jungle expedition in search for an ancient civilization. Basically, a how-not for jungle exploration – the jungle WILL get you, it’s only a matter of when. (4 Stars)

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan: Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew lost a precious keepsake from his fiancée, but after her unexpected death the same day, he’s become the unofficial keeper of lost things…. Until he bequeaths his collection to his unsuspecting assistant Laura. A charming tale of love and friendship, The Keeper of Lost Things is the perfect choice to kick-start your summer reading. (3 Stars)

All Our Wrong Todays by Elan Mastai: If you enjoy arguing the finer points of time travel or the paradox of parallel universes, or you’ve ever spent a weekend re-watching Back to the Future – this is the book for you. A creative, head-scratching tale not to be missed! (5 Stars)

The Perfect Stranger by Megan Miranda: After reading All the Missing Girls, you would think I’d come to expect the runaway train aiming for my head by now, but even so – there’s no preparing yourself for The Perfect Stranger. Following her roommate’s disappearance and a local murder investigation, all clues point to Emmy, a runaway reporter from the big city. Wondering if her roommate even existed in the first place, she’ll have to dust-off the old reporter’s hat to prove her sanity innocence once and for all. (5 Stars)

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas: Finally, the end we’ve all been waiting for! ACOMAF is still my favorite, but I couldn’t imagine a better ending! (5 Stars)

What did you read this spring?

 

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[TBR Check-In] What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful Mother’s Day weekend!

After a last-minute visit with an old friend and a weekend away with the family, it’s safe to say I didn’t get much done over the week, especially on the blog. I’m hoping to return to a semi-regular blog schedule soon, or at the very least, post an April recap. There’s so much to catch up on!

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Last week I read The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston – an unbelievably true story of a modern-day jungle expedition in search for not just a lost city, but an ancient civilization long forgotten. The fact that the author, himself, was part of the expedition sets the book apart from the others, giving the reader a first-hand account of the dangers involved in even a modern-day trip into the jungle. Navigating a tense political climate, life-threatening snakes, and deep-seeded superstitions, it’s a wonder they made it into the jungle at all, let alone discover an entirely new archaeological site. I can’t wait to watch the documentary!

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I also started reading Before the Fall by Noah Hawley – which I’ll hopefully finish today! On a foggy, mid-summer night, a small private plane disappeared into the ocean, only minutes after its departure from Martha’s Vineyard. Interweaving the aftermath of the crash with the backstories of the passengers and crew, it’s become increasingly obvious the crash was predetermined… but who would cause such a tragedy, and why!?

What are you reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? Is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, a great place to meet up and share your reading plans for the week. I love finding new blogs and new books – so a link-up that helps me do both? Sign me up!

 

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[TBR Check-In] What Are You Reading?

Happy Monday! After a long needed break, I’m back and ready to read!

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To kick-start my reading, I started with a long-time unfinished favorite, Wild by Cheryl Strayed. I’d started reading her memoir when the movie was originally announced, but never quite made it to the end… until now! Her work is brazenly honest, never shying away from her stint with drugs or unstable childhood. Rather than harping on her misfortunes, Strayed grounds herself in forgiveness, testing her physical limits and building an emotional stamina while trekking the Pacific Crest Trail.

This week I’m reading The Lost City of the Monkey God by Douglas Preston, following a modern jungle expedition in search for a lost city of gold. My favorite non-fiction read of 2016 was The Lost City of Z by David Grann (now in theaters!), so I know I’ll love this one too. Archaeology, science, mystery, adventure… and a deadly jungle, it doesn’t get much better than that!

What are you reading?


It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? Is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, a great place to meet up and share your reading plans for the week. I love finding new blogs and new books – so a link-up that helps me do both? Sign me up!

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[TBR List] Eight Unique Reads For Spring

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday, hosted by Broke and the Bookish, is a celebration of unique and creative talents, authors who’ve risen against the tides to bring us something totally fresh. While I’ve read my fair share of unique and interesting story lines, I thought it’d be more fun to share the ones I’m most excited to read this spring!

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The Night Ocean by Paul La Farge: Marlina has a little problem: her husband Charlie is obsessed with H.P. Lovecraft, but he’s particularly incessant over the summer of 1934 when Lovecraft lived with a gay teenage fan named Robert Barlow at the teen’s family home in central Florida. Why him? What were they doing that summer? Why did it end? And then, just when Charlie’s solved the puzzle, he disappears… Intertwining a thrilling new tale with the influential life of one of the greatest American horror writers, The Night Ocean is sure to be a unique story with a deceitful twist.

Mr. Rochester by Sarah Shoemaker: Queue the masses! We finally have a Jane Eyre retelling from the viewpoint of Mr. Rochester! In Shoemaker’s novel debut, she explores the hidden past of the man behind the woman, from a tropical betrayal to his first impressions of Miss Eyre – can life get any better?

The Keeper of Lost Things by Ruth Hogan: Forty years ago, Anthony Peardew lost a precious keepsake from his fiancée, but after her unexpected death the same day, he’s become the unofficial keeper of lost things… until he bequeaths the collection to his unsuspecting assistant Laura, making the, very small, request that she unite the misplaced items with their owners. A tale grounded by fate, but founded in love, The Keeper of Lost Things is sure to enchant.

Close Enough to Touch by Colleen Oakley: Spring is here, and love is in the air, making Oakley’s latest novel a perfect addition to your spring reading list. Jubilee Jenkins has lived as a recluse for the past nine years, but since her mother’s death and her subsequent need for cash, she’s forced to re-enter the world. There’s only one problem: she’s allergic to other humans. Meanwhile, a new neighbor sparks her interest, making for a poignant and heartwarming tale on the power of love.

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Borne by Jeff VanderMeer: Set in the future, after the polluted world has given way to new, mysterious creatures, Rachel survives as a scavenger, which is exactly how she first found Borne. Nothing more than a green lump, Borne sparks an unbreakable bond with her, inciting raw emotions she’s long held dormant. Now, in a world of secrets, Rachel is desperate for the truth, but as the Company’s dealings are finally revealed, will it be a world she can escape? As always, VanderMeer’s plots are impossible to summarize (especially before reading the book), but based on my love for Area X, it should be just as great!

Nemesis by Brendan Reichs: A brand new YA sci-fi novel cited as a cross between Orphan Black and Lord of the Flies. Every two years, on her birthday no less, Min is hunted by a stranger in black, and every two years, he kills her. But, magically, she wakes unharmed in a clearing outside of town, usually with a headache and an alibi to foster. Meanwhile, Noah is plagued by nightmares, sending him into a downward spiral, but with an asteroid plummeting toward Earth, there’s little time left to worry over two troubled teens… until they uncover a top-secret mission involving them both.

American War by Omar El Akkad: Set at the start of the Second American Civil War in 2074, oil has been outlawed, Louisiana is half underwater, and drones pepper the landscape. Only six years old, and forced to enter Camp Patience after her father’s death, Sarat Chestnut understands the difficulties that lie ahead, the hard choices that must be made, as she trains for battle. If that doesn’t give you goose bumps, I don’t know what will!

Be My Wolff by Emma Richler: Zachariah and Rachel are star-crossed lovers. Rachel the cherished daughter of a Russian family living in London, and he their adopted son. But once the lines are crossed, from siblings to lovers, their father’s rebuttal throws Rachel into a frenzy, whisking her away to the tides of her imagination and cartwheeling through history as she rewrites Zach’s family history.

What unique reads are on your list?

 

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[Short Reviews] March Reads

I was on a good roll, but it was only a matter of time until life got in the way of my reading (and blogging). Work has been busier than usual this month, but I’ve also gone to three author events and started a new work-out routine – and to cap off the month, we got a new fur baby! It’s definitely been a month to remember!

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Friends, I’d like to introduce Oliver, our three-year old Shih Tzu rescue. Ollie here is quite the charmer, and already making fast friends with our cat Andy – we are so lucky to have him! Even with everything going on, I still found a little time to read, and hopefully I’ll be able to add a bit more blogging into the mix again soon!

March Favorites:

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Anna and the Swallow Man by Gavriel Savit: A beautifully written novel set during World War II, Anna and the Swallowman follows seven-year-old Anna after her father, a linguistics professor, disappears during a German raid in Krakow. After spending days alone on the street with nowhere to go, she meets the mysterious “Swallow Man” who she wants very much to call Solomon, but as he later teaches her, names aren’t safe, especially when following the “rules of the road”. With a creative use of word play and symbolism, Sevit paints a haunting picture of their journey, all the while mixing Polish folklore and a touch of magical realism to create an unforgettable tale of friendship and circumstance. (4 Stars)

Carry This Book by Abbi Jacobson: Written by Abbi Jacobson, best known from Broad City, Carry This Book is the perfect choice for us snoops as she brings to life the imagined items found in the pockets and purses of celebrities. From Trump’s endless bottles of spray tan to Oprah’s spare gifts to leave under unsuspecting chairs – if you need a laugh, you should Carry This Book!  (4 Stars)

Universal Harvester by John Darnielle: Summarized under the horror genre, I was expecting a very different story than the one I read, but nonetheless, I loved every bit of it! Eerie from the start, the tone of Universal Harvester is beyond creepy as countless rentals are returned to a video store with cut-in scenes of the bizarre.  While searching for the perplexing source of the added footage, Jeremy, who works at the store, instead finds a way to reconcile the loss of his late mother. An emotional journey full of suspense and quiet, unsatisfying questions, Darnielle explores the complex relationship between mother and child. (4 Stars)

The Unbanking of America by Lisa Servon: Before I read The Unbanking of America, I found it almost impossible for someone to go without a bank account. I’ve always had one, even since I was a kid – doesn’t everyone? But, as Lisa Servon shows, there are a multitude of reasons why someone would used alternate methods such as a check cashier. While banks are a pillar of our community, they’re not designed to serve us accountably anymore, often causing more harm than good. (4 Stars)

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The Vegetarian by Han Kang: I read The Vegetarian during a single lunch break – it was that gripping! I seriously could not put it down. Following a woman who suffers from mental illness, her sudden change to vegetarianism takes her family by storm, inciting several hospital stays and an emotional all-out war between husband and wife. Shifting perspectives every few chapters, each character was more despicable than the last, but even so, I couldn’t stop reading! (4 Stars)

Southern Reach Trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer: An all-consuming series riddled by fear of the unknown and a hunger to learn more, each book of The Southern Reach Trilogy was more un-put-downable than the last! Set in the future, a mysterious woods has overtaken much of the American west, an area aptly named Area X – but what is it? And what caused it to grow? And what creatures live there? Trust me, you’ll want to read at least the first book, Annihilation, before it hits the big screen this fall, starring Natalie Portman!! (5 Stars)

Buffering by Hannah Hart: Hannah Hart, better known for her YouTube series My Drunk Kitchen, is a true inspiration. After growing up poor with a parent who suffers from mental illness, Hannah’s suffered her share of hardships, but she’s never let it hold her back. Full of positivity and a can-do attitude, her story will make you laugh-cry over and over again. Bonus, she narrates the audiobook herself! (5 Stars)

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Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West: I was honored this month to meet the amazing, and incredibly funny, Lindy West! Dealing with the challenges of being overweight in a thin-minded society, her story is entirely too relatable. From having Miss Piggy as a the only role model, to a disastrously public pizza mishap, hers is a tale of inspiration for any woman trying to make a name for herself in a world of blindingly harsh expectations. I can’t wait to see Shrill on the big screen! (4 Stars)

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Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige: Caught by a tornado, Amy Gumm is whisked away from her trailer park life in Flat Hill, Kansas to the dusty outskirts of Oz, where the Hollywood glitz and glamour has long faded. Turns out Dorothy’s not so innocent, having returned to Oz, she’s drained the land of its magic for her own selfish desires. Joining rank with a group of powerful witches, Amy works to destroy Dorothy and return Oz to all its Technicolor splendor. I devoured this four-book series in a week, but luckily, there’s an entire prequel series too! I even found a pre-signed copy of the fourth book at Half Priced! Needless to say, I have another author to add to my list. (5 Stars)

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The Wanderers by Meg Howrey: Following a group of astronauts hand-picked for a trip to Mars, they must prove their commitment by spending seventeen months in a grueling, over-the-top simulation. A well written character study, much of the novel focuses on the interpersonal relationships between the group of astronauts as well as their families. It was a slow-build, but well worth the effort – it was especially interesting to see the characters shift from their working personas to a more emotional version of themselves when pressured by the simulation. I’m still not sure if my interpretation is correct, but perhaps that’s the point.  (3 Stars)

All Grown Up by Jami Attenberg: Who is Andrea Bern? There’s really no better introduction to All Grown Up than asking that very question as the novel hop, skips, and jumps around various moments from her life, all leading up to her final answer, the moment she finally accepts the drawbacks to adulthood and takes life into her own hands. While Andrea was a hard character to relate to, her experiences were all too familiar. From job hunting, to her first apartment, to navigating family expectations, much of her journey struck a chord, ultimately relating the importance of family and the choices we make, no matter how small they may seem. (3 Stars)

Hello, Universe by Erin Entrada Kelly: No month is complete without at least one Middle Grade novel. Virgil is a quiet kid, a little shy and a little too preoccupied with his guinea pig. Valencia might be deaf, but she never lets it hold her back. Kaori is a self proclaimed psychic, out on a mission to crack the code behind Virgil’s secret crush. And then there’s Chet, the notorious school bully. They aren’t friends, but after Chet pulls a seemingly innocent prank, Virgil gets trapped at the bottom of the well, leading the others on a quest to find him. An adorable story on the importance of friendship as each of the characters gains their own sense self. (4 Stars)

Dead Letters by Caite Dolan-Leach:  Having escaped her family to live in the “City of Light”, Ava finally comes home after hearing the devastating news that her twin sister, Zelda, has died in a fire… until a string of messages lead her to believe otherwise. Is Zelda really gone? What is she hiding from? With every clue came new questions just begging to be answered as more of her erratic family secrets are revealed. I just couldn’t put this one down until I had my answer, and neither will you! (4 Stars)

What were your March favorites?