Blog Tour & Book Review: This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

It’s a bit of a gloomy spring day and somehow it seems a little atmospheric while sharing about the newest title from author Heather Gudenkauf. Just released, I’m taking part in a blog tour organized by the publisher, Park Row Books, an imprint of Harlequin, and throwing my two cents into the hat.

From the Publisher:

With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is dreading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

Maggie has her work cut out for her. Everyone close to Eve is a suspect. There’s Nola, Eve’s little sister who’s always been a little… off; Nick, Eve’s ex-boyfriend with a vicious temper; a Schwinn riding drifter who blew in and out of Grotto; even Maggie’s husband Sean, who may have known more about Eve’s last day than he’s letting on. As Maggie continues to investigate, the case comes closer and closer to home, forcing her to confront her own demons before she can find justice for Eve. 

My Thoughts:

As far as a mystery/thriller, this one was excellent. There were portions that I maybe didn’t quite buy as far as how things went down, but overall it was a gripping and evocative read. It was atmospheric and intense – I felt every emotion, saw every incident with a vividness that indicates the magnitude of the author’s talent in delivering a well-written scene.

I seem to enjoy the proverbial small town setting where everyone is in everyone’s business. This small town just happens to also be rife with bad seeds and deep, dark secrets. Fortunately, truth always tells… that or DNA testing. Threads of history keep unraveling as the horrible event and incidents leading up to the death of a beloved friend are revealed throughout an investigation by someone with very close ties to the murder. On the whole, it did what a thriller should – kept me on my toes and I couldn’t put it down!

About the Author:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

Buy Links:

Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Social Links:

Author Website
Twitter: @hgudenkauf
Instagram: @heathergudenkauf
Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor
Goodreads

THIS IS HOW I LIED
Author: Heather Gudenkauf
ISBN: 9780778309703
Publication Date: May 12, 2020
Publisher: Park Row Books

Happy “Terrible” Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day (or as my youngest has said via our lightboard, Terrible Mother’s Day… storm clouds and all!)

Let me tell you all, it started like every other morning, and there was a glimmer of hope for all the hearts and flowers. Then it peaked very quickly – soon after my husband gave me a hug, Justin brought me a homemade card, I “watched” church, and then we discussed breakfast. I didn’t want heavy bacon and eggs and he didn’t want to attempt crepes (my favorite!) He gave in and amidst much thunking and sighing in the kitchen, came up with a pretty decent crepe while I tidied, made the filling, made coffees, prepped dinner and threw it in the Crock-Pot so no one has to worry about it later. (Dinner was “meh” but the crusty bread I made was delicious.)

I had big dreams (and I think this is where it all fell apart – unreasonable expectations and all that) – big dreams that I would feel the love and appreciation just exuding in happiness with hearts and flowers from my guys.  (Note: were really not the warm and fuzzy type. Hearts and flowers just ain’t our thing...) I thought that maybe all the little things I do endlessly (and yes, sometimes with complaint) would be reciprocated back. I just wanted a hot breakfast, that we all ate together around the table, with stars in our eyes while sharing all the ooey-gooey gushy stuff they love about me.  (Ha!)

Instead, we staggered our plating, Kev ate standing up, Kaleb snapped at me more than once, and I lost my cool…  Then Justin got upset, everyone gave me a wide berth, Justin changed the light sign message (it started with a heart and a happy) and I said well if we can’t have a nice day we’ll just have a normal miserable day and you can all help me. I then dove into a sink full of dirty dishes and tidied the kitchen because I had bread to make to go with dinner.  And you know what? That’s where the “terrible” came in, and no, it wasn’t actually a terrible day.

I feel bad and yet, I think we forget that moms experience disappointment and frustration and want their special people to “see them”.  I also think that expectations get mixed up due to a lack of communication.  I mean isn’t that the reason usually?  Did I think it would be a perfect day?  No!  Did I think I’d be having a temper tantrum at the age of 38 at my breakfast table?  Uh, not in the least… but it happened… and that’s on me, not the ones who tried to show me love. (Sorry, dears!)

Motherhood is real life, y’all – it’s not all hearts and flowers and stars in the eyes.  It’s messy and imperfect and miscommunication and unrealised expectations and mixed personalities and all the real things.  It’s endless love and wanting to shake sense into your offspring.  It’s worry and wonder, tempers and teacups, sunny days, and stormy weather, laughter, longing, loneliness.  The most joyful of joys and lowest depths of disappointment.  So why would a day, merely marked on a calendar, to celebrate motherhood, actually be any different than the messy complicated relationships that define motherhood itself? 

So, yes, I’m grateful for the crepes, the homemade card, the hug… even though I complained… and I’m even more grateful for my children and husband themselves, even though they drive me crazy.  And I know I’m fortunate and blessed to be a mother with her children near, but I’m also human and I mess up ALL. THE. TIME – so kids, please remember, I love you even when I’m grumpy! Now, go fold some laundry and actually do the things without arguing, please? Also, stop shooting ping pong balls out of your balloon at me, mmmmkay?

A Pondering Insomniac…

I have been struggling with insomnia the last week or so… ridiculously struggling considering a few weeks ago I was in bed by 10 p.m. most nights and sleeping a solid 8-10 hours. I close my eyes and will myself to sleep, eventually drifting off only to jolt awake with my heart racing and absolute alertness a short half hour later. Then I toss and turn for hours, while Kevin snores beside me and I want to silence those snores with his pillow (pure jealousy) or invest in some really good earplugs. I give up on sleeping and start to read until blessedly, I nod off mid-chapter – bringing me some sweet relief until morning comes when I fight the lingering headache that remains of my troubled eve.

Tonight, I haven’t even attempted to close my eyes, though I have been clenching my teeth. My mind is racing, pondering life and all its dichotomies, thoughts zinging and pinging, bouncing around like the ball in a pinball machine. I know sleep is a phantom I have no hope of catching until my mind quiets itself. I hope putting pen to paper, so to speak, will help do the trick.

Tonight, I learned we lost another uncle – another loved one. There’s yet another hole in our family tapestry, another individual who will be absent at family picnics. I honestly want to stomp my feet, throw a fit, and say, “No more!” I am heartbroken for my aunt who has lost her partner, lover, friend; for my cousins who won’t feel his arms around them in hello or his whiskers on their cheeks as he gives a farewell kiss; for my mom, the baby of the family who lost her older brother and holds just memories of moments together, but didn’t get a chance to actually say goodbye.

I feel angry because those who loved him will not be able to comfort one another in person or gather to celebrate his life. I’m upset that what will already be a difficult time of adjustment will be complicated by the restraints of this current climate. I know we can share words of compassion and sympathy, but who will be there to hold the Kleenex or a hand when reality hits hard?

I feel guilty, because while I know Uncle Joe will be missed, while his family mourns tonight, I tend to my family as though life continues just the same. Because life does continue and I have a “baby” who is turning thirteen in two short days who wants his mama to make his day extra special because he can’t celebrate as planned. I feel guilty because we’re embracing life with excitement and I feel like we *should* be subdued. I feel like it’s not fair to be celebrating while another family mourns.

However, as much as “babies” want special surprises on their birthdays, Mama’s tend to want to make things extra special when things don’t go as planned. So my mind is filled with thoughts about life, and love, and loss, and I have teary eyed moments interspersed with to-do lists and visions of chocolate layer cakes “with a surprise” and DIY birthday escape room puzzles because as of this afternoon I heard, “So if I can’t go to an escape room for my birthday, can you surprise me with things I have to solve to find my present?”

As I sit here wide-eyed and restless, I’ll use this moment of insomnia to continue to ponder, to think, to plan. I’ll remember that life is a balance and it’s the little things you celebrate and the special but ordinary moments you look back on when all is said and done. If 40 years from now we find snapshots of a 13th birthday under quarantine and my then 53 year old can smile at the memories he made with his mother and know he was loved beyond measure, then I’ll know that we successfully drove home the life lesson that our best laid plans don’t matter… but love and people do. ♥️

Making Breakfast A Little Smoother…

I’m going to make a confession today: I don’t enjoy midweek breakfast. When the kids are is school, it means we rely on cereal, or breakfast bars and fruit, or sometimes family habits make an ugly appearance, and just like Mom, they skip. Give me an hour or two post wakeup and I’m ready for something, but I have a really hard time eating when I first wake up.

Saturday mornings, on the other hand, are a smorgasbord of delight. Crepes with fresh berries, waffles with fresh berries, bacon and eggs, whatever – I enjoy putting in the time to make a heartier meal, mostly because it becomes brunch. We like to sleep in and I’m not even going to feel guilty. There were years when wake up was 5:30 a.m. or earlier with the oldest boy raring to go the minute his feet touched floor. He’s 14 now and sleeps in the basement. Some days I don’t see him until after noon.

With the change in our schedules we haven’t been up to race out and meet school buses. The kitchen has been a bit of a graze crazy zone and the kids still reach for a granola bar or yogurt before they pick carrots to snack on. One of the ways we find balance without the work of full meal prep has been smoothies… which are definitely not new, but a challenge as I find many carb heavy and they cause my blood sugars to spike like crazy.

Chocolate Smoothie

My naturopath made some suggestions on easy smoothie changes and I’ve got to admit, they’ve been helpful. Less fruit and more veggies has been the big one… and now smoothies chock full of avocado, cauliflower, and spinach are the norm.

This morning we had a bacon and egg wrap just before noon but I knew we wouldn’t be having lunch so I wanted to amp up the vitamins and fibre to cut down on snacking. Kev and I enjoyed a mocha smoothie and when he tried it, he said it tasted like a chocolate shake “kinda”. It was a smooth and rich shake-like smoothie but it was full of good for you ingredients: almond milk, frozen cauliflower, frozen avocado, frozen banana, frozen spinach, cocoa powder, instant coffee, and maple syrup for a little bit of extra sweetness. We top it off with a dollop of whip cream to make it seem more decadent, but it’s a lower-carb, higher fibre substitute to any ice cream shoppe treat.

Does it taste just like a chocolate shake? Absolutely not. Does it take a bite out of any cravings for chocolaty goodness or coffee shop sugar-laden concoctions? Indeed it does and I can feel good (which leads to feeling better!) knowing that we’ve made some little changes to balance our diets.

Berry-licious!

What is your go-to smoothie recipe? I’ll admit that I’m a bigger fan of berry-based smoothies (still balanced with frozen veg) than my mocha concoction this morning, but one of my children consumes frozen fruit as if it’s ambrosia and even though my freezer stash is now empty again, I can’t really complain about that, can I? Besides, there’s nothing wrong with a little variety!

Book Review: Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese

Every once in a while you’ll find yourself lucky enough to pick up a book that speaks to your very soul in heartrending yet remarkable ways. Before I Called You Mine by Nicole Deese was such a book for me. I started to read it before bed a few nights ago without re-reading the summary and had totally forgotten what it was about. I selected it because the cover led me to mistakenly think it would be an easy, breezy read. I was so far mistaken that I read well into the early hours of the morning, caught half a night’s sleep, and then dove right in again as soon as my other responsibilities were taken care of because it tied a string around my heart and roped me in until the very last page. It was a fend for yourself, kids, type of day.

As for the easy, breezy I was only half right. It was such an easy book to read, but it gripped me too – I cried more than once at the tenuous tightrope of desires that Lauren, the lead, found herself trying to balance on while trying to honour a commitment to her future child while trying to suss out the right choices in life. There was nothing breezy in the subject matter despite the at first glance, lighthearted appeal of the potential romantic interest, Joshua, and the author’s picturesque humourous situations.

Deese did a wonderful job of painting a not-always-rosy picture of the process of adoption and even issues post-adoption, but she also did a wonderful job of infusing the story with a beautiful yearning and deep heart felt love. She broached family dysfunction and forgiveness, loss, grief, acceptance, faith, trust, hope, healing, complications, connection, commitments, and so much more in this touching, emotional read. This inspirational title was poignant and complex and absolutely splendid all the same.

My thanks to Bethany House for providing me with a complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley. Opinions expressed are my own.

Published By: Bethany House
Publication Date: March 31, 2020

Blog Tour: The Secrets of Love Story Bridge by Phaedra Patrick

I’m excited to be sharing my thoughts amidst a bevy of select readers celebrating the recent release of Phaedra Patrick’s charming new book, The Secrets of Love Story Bridge, which hit shelves on April 28th!

From the Publisher:

Fredrik Backman meets The Cactus in THE SECRETS OF LOVE STORY BRIDGE (Park Row Books; April 28, 2020; $25.99 US/$32.50 CAN), in which a cynical single father has a surprise encounter on the famous love lock bridge, sparking a journey of self-discovery that may lead him to a second chance at love.

Single father Mitchell Fisher hates all things romance. He enjoys his job removing padlocks fastened to the famous “love lock” bridges of Upchester city. Only his young daughter, Poppy, knows that behind his disciplined veneer, Mitchell grieves the loss of her mother, Anita.

One fateful day, working on the bridge, Mitchell courageously rescues a woman who falls into the river. He’s surprised to feel a connection to her, but the woman disappears before he learns her name. To Mitchell’s shock, a video of the rescue goes viral, hailing him as “The Hero on the Bridge.” He’s soon notified by the mysterious woman’s sister, Liza, that she has been missing for over a year. However, the only clue to where the woman could have gone is the engraved padlock she left on the bridge.

Mitchell finds himself swept up in Liza’s quest to find her lost sister. Along the way, with help from a sparkling cast of characters, Mitchell’s heart gradually unlocks, and he discovers new beginnings can be found in the unlikeliest places…

My Thoughts:

From the very first page you’ll be invested. Phaedra Patrick weaves a remarkable story that will keep you engaged page after page. From the mystery of the woman in the yellow dress to the juggling act of parenthood after loss, she brings to life in moving way a very complicated tale. Strong notes of grief and sorrow prevail throughout the novel, but are balanced with humour, hope, and healing. Our characters make mistakes – oh so many mistakes – but they also come to realise that in life and in love there is no such thing as perfection.

I did find all the story threads a little distracting at times and the mystery, when revealed, a little ridiculous – a bit too much of a hot mess for my liking… but, I still read the majority of this title in a single session and stayed up way past my bed time because I didn’t want to put it down. We will take a lesson from the author and recognize that something can be fantastic and wonderful without being perfect. Overall, it was highly enjoyable (even though it made me cry!) – not as a light read, but as a heartwarming tale of making it through, scars and all, and the joy of finding those who help us grow and thrive. It’s charming, completely feel-good, and even a little bizarre.

My thanks to the publisher, Park Row (MIRA |Harlequin | Harper Collins), for providing a complimentary copy of this title to read and review. You can purchase for yourself through any of the links below or your favourite local bookseller.

THE SECRETS OF LOVE STORY BRIDGE
Author: Phaedra Patrick
ISBN: 9780778309789
Publication Date: April 28, 2020
Publisher: Park Row Books

Buy Links: 
Harlequin 
Barnes & Noble
Amazon
Amazon.ca
Books-A-Million
Powell’s

Phaedra Patrick is the author of The Library of Lost and Found, Rise and Shine, Benedict Stone and The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, which has been published in over twenty countries around the world. She studied art and marketing, and has worked as a stained-glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. An award-winning short story writer, she now writes full-time. She lives in Saddleworth, UK, with her husband and son.

Social Links:

Author Website
Twitter: @PhaedraPatrick
Instagram: @PhaedraPatrick
Facebook: @PhaedraPatrick
Goodreads

Book Review: The Brideship Wife by Leslie Howard

Those who know my reading tastes know I grew up on historical fiction – Laura Ingalls Wilder was a close companion in my formative years, alongside Anne of Green Gables, and others as the year went by. Even now as I’ve matured (ha!) my reading tastes have expanded to some degree, but a well-written work of historical fiction will always have a special place on my shelf, and of even more prominence if it has ties to Canadian history.

Simon & Schuster Canada approved my NetGalley request for the soon-to-be-released title, The Brideship Wife, by author Leslie Howard. Inspired by the history of the British “brideships,” this captivating historical debut tells the story of one woman’s coming of age and search for independence—for readers of Pam Jenoff’s The Orphan’s Tale and Armando Lucas Correa’s The German Girl.

Amid mad bursts of baking and a well-overdue tidy & sort project, I have spent the last few days curled up in the company of Charlotte and a supporting cast of characters as they travel from the upper echelons of British society with it’s restrictive double-standards and scandals to the lawless lands of early British Columbia with promises of independence and opportunity. This novel was illuminating, heartfelt, infuriating, heartbreaking, and overall just so delightful to read.

The author touches on so many aspects of history that it’s easy to forget about in the romanticism of days gone by. She brings to light little-known aspects of the settling of British Columbia and history of Canada – not all of it as wonderful as we would like. Her characters are well-developed, the story is well-paced, and every page is a wonder of descriptive narratives that will move you back in time. This is a highly recommended read and I truly hope to see it on a number of bestsellers lists across Canada, perhaps keeping company with The Forgotten Home Child – another beautiful work of historical fiction from a Canadian perspective. Regardless of whether you’re from our Great White North or any far reaches across the globe, you’ll enjoy this peek into a women’s quest for independence and the experiences that shape her.

Leslie Howard grew up in Penticton, British Columbia, where she developed a passion for the province’s history. A graduate of Ottawa’s Carleton University in economics and political science, she now divides her time between Vancouver and Penticton, where she and her husband grow cider apples. The Brideship Wife is her debut novel. Connect with her on Twitter @AuthorLeslieH or on her website LeslieHoward.ca.

My thanks to Simon & Schuster Canada for the opportunity to read and review this title. Watch for it to hit shelves on May 5th!

Blog Tour & Book Review: The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

While we enjoyed a few days of mild weather at the end of February – well before our days of self-isolation – I itched to get my hands dirty (an urge that generally passes by July.) I had to console myself with the slow-paced delights of The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman (which, by the way, I discovered is a nom de pleume the same time I finished the book.

FROM THE PUBLISHER:

In this heartwarming and feel-good novel filled with echoes of Dorothea Benton Frank, Debbie Macomber and Elizabeth Berg, two women separated by a generation but equally scarred by war find hope, meaning – and each other – through a garden of heirloom flowers.

Iris Maynard lost her husband in World War II, her daughter to loneliness and, finally, her reason to live. Walled off from the world for decades behind a towering fence surrounding her home and gardens, the former botanist has built a new family…of flowers. Iris propagates her own daylilies and roses while tending to an heirloom garden filled with starts – and memories – of her own mother, grandmother, husband and daughter.

When Abby Peterson moves to Grand Haven, Michigan, with her family – a husband traumatized during his service in the Iraq War and a young daughter searching for stability – they find themselves next door to Iris, and are slowly drawn into her reclusive neighbour’s life where, united by loss and a love of flowers, Iris and Abby slowly unearth their secrets to each other. Eventually, the two teach one another that the earth grounds us all, gardens are a grand healer, and as flowers bloom so do our hopes and dreams.

MY THOUGHTS:

While I am, self-admittedly, an emotional reader, this sweet and poignant story pulled each of my heartstrings. Shipman paints a vivid picture of glorious garden splendor, damaged souls, and the healing power of friendship. Scars of war effect a family and a neighbor as they come to grips with new normals and build foundations for a happier future.

Picturesque descriptions of flora, strong female leads, and a fantastic setting (hello, Great Lakes Michigan resort town!) will have you craving cottages, sand dunes, and friends with old souls. The Heirloom Garden flips between eras and character perspective, providing a beautiful depiction of strength and hope through inter-generational storytelling with an emphasis on treasuring memories and heirlooms through love and loss. A remarkably emotion-evoking read that will inspire you to plan a family vacation to Grand Haven.

Thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary Advanced Readers Copy through NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own. This post was created as part of the Harlequin 2020 Spring Reads Blog Tour.

Published by HARLEQUIN – Trade Publishing (U.S. & Canada), Graydon House Imprint.

Publication Date: April 28, 2020

You’ll be able to purchase direct from the publisher, from your favourite local bookseller, or any major retailer where books are sold.

SOCIAL LINKS:
Author Website: https://www.violashipman.com/
TWITTER: @viola_shipman
FB: @authorviolashipman
Insta: @viola_shipman
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14056193.Viola_Shipman

Meal Plan Monday (on a Friday!)

In the midst of vying for a valuable spot in the online ordering queue for our local grocery store and a few tears cried because my husband doesn’t quite know how to do buy groceries to my liking, meal planning has taken an adventurous turn. I’d usually post on a Monday, but lately my meal plan is constantly evolving and who even knows what day it is, anyhow? I’m still attempting to create a menu, but it’s hard to plan a week’s worth of meals when you have a 12 year old and 14 year old constantly grazing and grocery store roulette leaves you with some glaring holes on your grocery list.

I am limiting my time out in public significantly and that’s leaving Kevin to fetch and pick up for us. He’s amazing and doesn’t complain until I complain about the wrong deli meat he’s picked up. (I’ve been craving a good corned beef or smoked meat on rye for weeks… No, ham isn’t going to cut it!) We get our grocery spot and he’ll pop out once in awhile to fill in the gaps.

I’ve been getting online slots about two weeks out, but it’s always a surprise to see what doesn’t make the final cut. Some weeks it’s been meat, other times veggies, and never ever junk food. This past shop we didn’t get certain dairy, meat, pantry, or produce I had hoped for. This means meal times are reinvented or we look at alternate sources. The farm store near us still had flour and they had great (more expensive) cuts of meat from their farm to table butcher.

Tonight I finally had my Caesar salad with thanks to a local restauranteur who provided me with a bottle of dressing when she read I didn’t successfully get one in my last shop. She also kept us well-stocked for whipped cream. It’s the little things, people!

Over the last few weeks we’ve made substitutions and taken shortcuts, believing that “fed” is often more important than stressing over the “what.” We’re still looking at balance, but not sweating the fact that the pulled pork came prepared in a frozen box. (Hint: M&M Food Markets have great selections of prepared foods… including desserts!)

Some of our meals have included:

  • Chicken strips (frozen), caesar salad, cucumbers, and potato wedges (fresh)
  • Take out (when I’ve had just about enough!)
  • Breakfast for dinner (always a hit!)
  • Beef chili (made with stewing beef)
  • Beef chili “enchiladas”
  • Pulled pork tacos
  • Soup of different varieties (with bread and cheese)
  • A pot roast that no one liked
  • Spaghetti (which everyone liked but me)
  • Burgers

I’ve been flexible with the grazing and I’ve been flexible with the dinner time complaints. (Someone didn’t eat his wedges tonight and you know what, that’s fine! I didn’t eat my cucumber.)

Overall, I don’t even think I’ve had to be too creative either. If you look at older meal plans, there’s nothing too different on the list. I’m sticking to things I know for the most part and finding some comfort in that. Switching out the odd meat or vegetable o make things work isnt huge sacrifice. There’s a bit of control in the kitchen with the ingredients I do have and in a world that I have very little control over right now, that works for me!

What’s cooking in your kitchen these days? Are you baking up a storm? Taking out your frustrations on your bread dough? Sticking to the classics or trying to keep things fresh and creative? Whatever you’re doing… stay healthy and have fun!

Book Review: Stay with Me by Becky Wade

As we’ve come to love Becky Wade as a leading author of inspirational contemporary fiction, Stay with Me, her soon to be released novel, pulls no punches when it comes to the delivery of a relevant and moving tale. Permeated with real-life struggles, family secrets, and a scintillating romance, this newest title conveys all you would expect and more.

Tackling tricky issues like the balance of public image and faith, addiction, family secrets, and old wounds, Stay with Me is a poignant and compelling work of contemporary fiction. Well-developed characters, strong emotional ties, dynamic chemistry, and threads of intrigue furnish a well-written novel in a beautiful setting. Sam and Genevieve are soulful and real as the hero and heroine struggling with facades. Both must fight their own demons while learning to heal and trust in this touching gem of inspiration.

Stay with Me will be released on May 5th and is the keystone to what should be an engaging new series (Misty River.) Wade delivers hope and redemption wrapped in a charming and artful package you won’t want to put down. Elements of humour (hello, nod to Goldilocks), a lively romance, and tugs to the heartstrings make this title work for me!

My thanks to the publisher for the complimentary copy of this title via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are my own.

Published by: Bethany House
Publication Date: May 5, 2020