BOOK REVIEW – The Bird Hotel by Joyce Maynard

Published May 2, 2023 by Arcade

What a fantastic story!!

I haven’t read all of Joyce Maynards books (yet!) but I’ve really enjoyed the ones I have read. The Bird Hotel is probably my favorite so far.

Irene has suffered a tremendous loss. A loss that would make many people want to give up on life. A last minute decision has her hopping into a green van filled with perfect strangers. It’s not long before she’s halfway across the world checking into a hotel called La Llorona which is located at the base of a volcano in a small Central American town.

With nothing but her passport and some money given to her by a kind fellow traveler, Irene’s not sure what she’s looking for. People come to La Llorona for a variety of reasons. Some come to start over and some come to hide. Many think they know what they are looking for.

“You may not find what you’re looking for when you come to this lake. But you’ll probably find what you need.”

Will Irene find her way back from her unimaginable grief?

“The Bird Hotel” is a story about love, grief, loss, hope, survival, and more!

With it’s short chapters (and awesome titles) I kept saying “just a few more pages” until I found myself nearing the end of the book. The author ignited my imagination with beautiful descriptions, a great cast of characters, and a terrific story-line.

This emotional read has a bit of everything. Mystery, romance, drama, humour and some magical realism. It all comes together to tell a lovely and wonderful story.

There’s no doubt that Joyce Maynard will stay on my automatic read list. I can’t wait to read more from this very talented author.

I’d like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – Lovely Girls by Margot Hunt

Format Published March 1, 2023 by Thomas & Mercer

Lovely Girls was an irresistible and twisty suspense novel that kept me interested from start to finish.

I’ve previously listened to a few short stories from Margot Hunt, but this is the first full length novel I’ve read and listened to. I was happy to have the Lovely Girls e-book and audiobook. It was great being able to switch back and forth again.

Seeking a fresh start, Kate Turner and her seventeen-year-old daughter Alex make the move to Shoreham, Florida. Kate knows that Alex is still very upset over her father’s death. Kate is also still grieving the unexpected loss of her husband.

Kate is very worried about her daughter. They have both been through so much. Kate tries her best to be patient with Alex. Her once happy, determined, exuberant daughter is now sullen, anxious, and extremely angry. Small town Shoreham seems like the perfect place for both of them to start over. Kate is determined to make this move work out well for them.

Kate makes friends with some of the local mothers right away. Alex struggles to fit in and is quickly targeted by a group of mean girls. Bullies who set out to make her life a living hell. At first Kate isn’t sure who or what to believe. Things continue to escalate. Until one night the unthinkable happens.

The story was quick and engrossing. It is told from both Kate and Alex’s point of view and I really liked the short chapters. It was maybe a little predictable at times, but I was still very entertained. I thought the two narrators of the audiobook were also very good.

Overall, this was a quick and exciting domestic suspense story about gossip, jealousy, lies, betrayal, and murder.

As I mentioned before, this was my first full length novel from Margot Hunt. However, it DEFINITELY won’t be my last.

I’d like to thank the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – The Soulmate by Sally Hepworth

Published April 4, 2023 by St. Martin’s Press

Sally Hepworth is one of my favorite authors. Many of her novels are on my favorite reads list. I will read and/or listen to anything she writes. Once I start her books, I find it difficult to put down until I’m finished.

The Soulmate is an exciting story about love, marriage, loyalty, and secrets!!

Gabe and Pippa have a terrific marriage and are the parents to two wonderful little girls. They now live in the home they have always dreamed about. The view on the cliffs is gorgeous. Unfortunately, there are people using the cliffs as a place to end their lives. Until recently, Gabe has been able to save people from following through on the plan to end their lives.

What was different this last time? Why wasn’t Gabe able to stop the woman from jumping?

You know what they say…

Things are not always what they seem.

Sally Hepworth’s novels usually have great twists and turns that keep me guessing. The Soulmate was no different. The story had clever twists that took me by surprise. I thought the characters were well developed and the story flowed very well. I really liked the alternating points of view.

I was thrilled to be able to read and review both the audiobook and e-book for The Soulmate. This may not have been my favorite from this author (The Good Sister will be hard to top!) However, I still thought it was a great read .The audiobook was very well performed. The reading style of both narrators was excellent. In my opinion they brought even more life to an already enjoyable story.

The Soulmate was another terrific domestic suspense novel from Sally Hepworth.
I am on pins and needles waiting for more from this very talented author.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Expected publication: May 2nd 2023 by Lake Union Publishing

A deeply moving and satisfying novel from Catherine Ryan Hyde!

Storytelling at its best!

“Out there is chaos, the collapse of society, and so much to be afraid of. All that matters is freedom.”

These are just some of the things five year old, Remy Blake’s survivalist father preaches to him. Now he’s being raised off the grid by his father in the middle of nowhere.

The story is told from Remy as well as another character, Anne’s point of view. Anne is a nurturing mother of two who is dealing with the recent loss of a foster child her family loved who is no longer in their care. Anne also has some childhood issues she hasn’t yet dealt with.

Just a Regular Boy was a heartwarming and at times heart wrenching read. Catherine Ryan Hyde is skilled at getting readers to empathize, sympathize, and understand her characters. She writes with such emotional honesty and appears to have a great understanding of people. She creates characters you can’t help but cheer for. Many I wish I knew in real life. Her animal characters always brighten my day too.

I picked this up with the intention of just reading a few pages. About 10 pages in I realized I didn’t want to stop reading as I really wanted to see how things worked out.

This moving story takes place during the height of the Covid pandemic and deals with relevant issues in a sensitive way.

A story about grief, loss, love, friendship, and the different kinds of family. A hopeful and inspiring read.

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of more than forty books. It has been a while since I’ve read one of her novels. I read quite a few of them a few years ago and loved them all. Many of the stories have stayed with me.

After thoroughly enjoying this novel, I can’t wait to catch up on any that I may have missed!

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.