Spotlight On: Excellent Books To Read Now


The Forgotten Home Child by Genevieve Graham was fantastic! I loved the story of Winny and her friends and was completely hooked from the opening chapters.

This book was incredible!  I am mad at myself for not posting this review sooner. Based on a real place, this story centers on young Winny and her friends. All orphans, they lived on the streets, stealing, scavenging for food, and trying to earn money but always looking out for each other. They are rounded up and sent to live at Dr. Barnardo’s Home for Orphaned Children in England, where they were all separated. At the home for children, they learned some skills.

They then ship the kids to Canada where they are told things would be better, but it’s worse. They go to live with various families where most were mistreated and abused. What keeps Winny going is the hope that someday she will be reunited with her friends.

As a grown woman, Winny keeps her past hidden and secret, until her grandson wants to know about his family history and Winny is finally ready to share.

Here’s what you need to know:


At ninety-seven years old, Winnifred Ellis knows she doesn’t have much time left, and it is almost a relief to realize that once she is gone, the truth about her shameful past will die with her. But when her great-grandson Jamie, the spitting image of her dear late husband, asks about his family tree, Winnifred can’t lie any longer, even if it means breaking a promise she made so long ago…


Fifteen-year-old Winny has never known a real home. After running away from an abusive stepfather, she falls in with Mary, Jack, and their ragtag group of friends roaming the streets of Liverpool. When the children are caught stealing food, Winny and Mary are left in Dr. Barnardo’s Barkingside Home for Girls, a local home for orphans and forgotten children found in the city’s slums. At Barkingside, Winny learns she will soon join other boys and girls in a faraway place called Canada, where families and better lives await them.

But Winny’s hopes are dashed when she is separated from her friends and sent to live with a family that has no use for another daughter. Instead, they have paid for an indentured servant to work on their farm. Faced with this harsh new reality, Winny clings to the belief that she will someday find her friends again.

Inspired by true events, The Forgotten Home Child is a moving and heartbreaking novel about place, belonging, and family—the one we make for ourselves and its enduring power to draw us home.

If you enjoyed The Orphan Train, you will love this too. The Forgotten Home Child was such a great novel that it left an impression on me long after I finished it.

Get it right now, don’t miss this fantastic novel. 



The Red Lotus by Chris Bohjalian is a must-read! He constantly writes books that are extremely well-paced with a tight plot that keeps the reader in suspense. This book is what I call a slow burn, there’s a slowly simmering suspense that isn’t thrills and chills every chapter, but keeps the reader engaged.

Check it out:

The first time Alexis saw Austin, it was a Saturday night. Not in a bar, but in the emergency room where Alexis sutured a bullet wound in Austin’s arm. Six months later, on the brink of falling in love, they travel to Vietnam on a bike tour so that Austin can show her his passion for cycling and he can pay his respects to the place where his father and uncle fought in the war. But as Alexis sips white wine and waits at the hotel for him to return from his solo ride, two men emerge from the tall grass and Austin vanishes into thin air. The only clue he leaves behind is a bright yellow energy gel dropped on the road.

As Alexis grapples with this bewildering loss, and deals with the FBI, Austin’s prickly family, and her colleagues at the hospital, Alexis uncovers a series of strange lies that force her to wonder: Where did Austin go? Why did he really bring her to Vietnam? And how much danger has he left her in?

Another brilliant novel from a favorite author! Get it here.


I read Joanna Schaffhausen’s novel, All The Best Lies, a while ago and for some reason never posted my review! This was a thriller that held me captive from the first page until the last page.

This novel is the third in the Ellery Hathaway series, but can easily be read as a standalone. Just jump right into it.

Official synopsis:

FBI agent Reed Markham is haunted by one painful unsolved mystery: who murdered his mother? Camilla was brutally stabbed to death more than forty years ago while baby Reed lay in his crib mere steps away. The trail went so cold that the Las Vegas Police Department has given up hope of solving the case. But then a shattering family secret changes everything Reed knows about his origins, his murdered mother, and his powerful adoptive father, state senator Angus Markham. Now Reed has to wonder if his mother’s killer is uncomfortably close to home.

Unable to trust his family with the details of his personal investigation, Reed enlists his friend, suspended cop Ellery Hathaway, to join his quest in Vegas. Ellery has experience with both troubled families and diabolical murderers, having narrowly escaped from each of them. She’s eager to skip town, too, because her own father, who abandoned her years ago, is suddenly desperate to get back in contact. He also has a secret that could change her life forever, if Ellery will let him close enough to hear it.

Far from home and relying only on each other, Reed and Ellery discover young Camilla had snared the attention of dangerous men, any of whom might have wanted to shut her up for good. They start tracing his twisted family history, knowing the path leads back to a vicious killer—one who has been hiding in plain sight for forty years and isn’t about to give up now.

What a story!

Read it now, get it here!



One Night Gone by Tara Laskowski is about a teenage girl who goes to a beautiful beach town during the summer hoping to get a fresh start. But then… she disappears.  Thirty years after Maureen vanished, Allison is looking for a place where she can start over. She just went through a hugely embarrassing public display of anger, a messy divorce, and needs a place to heal. She heads to the town of Opal Beach, where she learns about the disappearance of a young girl.

What happened, who is hiding what?

What a fantastic plot!

Take a look here:

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

This atmospheric novel is a wonderful mystery and will grip you from the opening pages.

Get it now, go here!


An absolute must-read historical fiction, especially if you read and loved The Subway Girls!

We Came Here to Shine by Susie Orman Schnall checks all the boxes: Well researched? Yup. Amazing details? Yes. Characters we root for? Absolutely. A plot we haven’t seen a million times before? Thankfully, yes!

This engaging, atmospheric novel is inspiring and a great story that fans of history will enjoy. And I love a slice of history that doesn’t focus on a war!


Gorgeous Vivi is about to begin filming her first starring role in a Hollywood picture when the studio head ships her off to New York as a favor to a friend. She’s assigned the leading role in the heralded Aquacade synchronized swimming spectacular at the World’s Fair, a fate she believes will destroy her film career. If she performs well, she’ll have another chance at stardom, but with everything working against her, will her summer lead to opportunity or failure?

Plucky Max dreams of becoming a serious journalist, but when her job at the New York Times doesn’t pan out, she finds herself begrudgingly working for the daily paper of the World’s Fair. As her ideas are continually overlooked by her male counterparts and her career prospects are put in jeopardy, Max must risk everything to change the course of her life.

When Max and Vivi’s worlds collide, they forge an enduring friendship. One that teaches them to go after what matters most during the most meaningful summer of their lives.


Get this fantastic historical fiction novel here!




The Honey Don’t List by Christina Lauren was a cute and humorous read. This isn’t my usual genre to read, but it was a pleasant break from the thrillers I enjoy reading. I know so many readers absolutely love books by Christina Lauren. This is such a cute premise, take a look:

Carey Douglas has worked for home remodeling and design gurus Melissa and Rusty Tripp for nearly a decade. A country girl at heart, Carey started in their first store at sixteen, and—more than anyone would suspect—has helped them build an empire. With a new show and a book about to launch, the Tripps are on the verge of superstardom. There’s only one problem: America’s favorite couple can’t stand each other.

James McCann, MIT graduate and engineering genius, was originally hired as a structural engineer, but the job isn’t all he thought it’d be. The last straw? Both he and Carey must go on book tour with the Tripps and keep the wheels from falling off the proverbial bus.

Unfortunately, neither of them is in any position to quit. Carey needs health insurance, and James has been promised the role of a lifetime if he can just keep the couple on track for a few more weeks. While road-tripping with the Tripps up the West Coast, Carey and James vow to work together to keep their bosses’ secrets hidden, and their own jobs secure. But if they stop playing along—and start playing for keeps—they may have the chance to build something beautiful together…

Get this fun book here right now!





I love all the books that Shalini Boland writes and always want to read her stories.  The latest, The Wife was another fantastic novel.

On the day of her wedding, Zoe faints and has no recollection of why. When she wakes up, there’s a bump on her head but her new mother-in-law Celia who is a nurse, promises that she is okay. And Zoe is fine aside from a little headache. Sure, her memory is blank, but she marries the love of her life, Toby.

Ten years go by and she’s very happy with Toby and their children. In fact, Toby and Zoe are planning on a big anniversary party to celebrate. And then one day, she thinks she sees her estranged sister. She hasn’t seen Dina in ten years, could she be back in town?

As Zoe questions the reappearance of Dina, she is also wondering why her sister-in-law Madeline is suddenly acting standoffish. Questions swirl in Zoe’s brain especially when an old friend Cassie turns up.

Here’s the official synopsis:

Zoe fainted on her wedding day, and she never knew why. She’s always felt sure something bad happened. Ten years later, she’s going to find out what…

It was supposed to be the happiest day of her life. Zoe was sitting in her hotel room, in her perfect white dress, looking forward to the moment when she would make kind, handsome Toby her husband.  Then, there was a blank.

They said she must have fainted, overcome with emotion. But nothing felt quite right afterward. Did something happen in that missing time?

Now, Toby and Zoe have two beautiful children and a perfect life. They’re planning their ten-year anniversary party for their family and friends. The invitations have been sent, the food ordered. They’re going back to the grand hotel where they got married.

But as the anniversary gets closer, it becomes clear not everyone is looking forward to celebrating. She catches Toby lying about where he’s been. One of her best friends seems to be ignoring her. And someone is spreading stories that might stop the party from happening at all.

Zoe is increasingly sure that she doesn’t have the full story. But does she want to know the truth, if it will destroy everything?

This was another page-turner from a favorite author. I will read anything and everything Shalini Boland writes!

Another terrific deal for the Kindle version, this book will be out on September 9!



In The Search Party by Simon Lelic, sixteen-year-old Sadie is missing and the entire town is looking for her, hoping she is still alive. Her five friends decide to go into the woods and look for her, but each friend has a secret and things aren’t as innocent as they seem with these teenagers.

Sadie is the golden child and her twin brother pales in comparison. Did he do something? Her boyfriend Mason has been too possessive with Sadie. Did he take things too far? Fareed is Mason’s best friend, he must know something. Cora is jealous over Sadie and all the attention she gets, and what about Abigail, who has her own issues with Sadie?

Though the friends think Sadie has run off into the woods, the police have divers looking for her in the river. Who is going to find Sadie? Detective Robyn and his partner Nicola are investigating Sadie’s disappearance. Robyn has a reason for wanting to find Sadie. His own sister was killed many years ago. Perhaps his involvement, in this case, is in response to how his sister’s case was handled years ago? Maybe he’s taking things personally. We find ourselves asking who is hiding what, and why? The pressure is on Rob to find Sadie. The community wants answers.

Official synopsis:

The entire town thinks Sadie Saunders is dead. Missing now for a week, they say she was murdered. And they think they know who did it.

Aware of the suspicion that surrounds them – and one of them in particular – Sadie’s five best friends vow to find out the truth. So they pack their bags and set off for the woods where Sadie was last seen.

But what starts as a search quickly turns into something more sinister. Each of them has a secret, and they all know more about Sadie’s past than they are willing to admit. As the landscape opens up, and the darkness closes in, the reality of their situation begins to dawn on them. It was never really a search party. It was a witch hunt.

This novel kept me guessing from start to finish! It comes out on August 20, pre-order here.


Vanessa’s stepdaughter Mia swims every afternoon. She is an excellent swimmer who can do laps in the pool by herself without concern from her parents. But one day, Vanessa goes to check on her and Mia has vanished. Gone without a trace.

Even her towel is by the pool, still dry. Meanwhile, the house next door is on fire. Could Mia have gone inside for some reason? The StepDaughter by Georgina Cross is a suspenseful novel about a missing child and the circumstances around the day she disappears. The police don’t really believe Vanessa and suspicious is immediately placed on her. Tripp, Mia’s father and Vanessa’s husband, is angry with Vanessa since Mia vanished when Vanessa was supposed to be watching her.

Take a look:

My husband can’t understand how I could I have let his daughter disappear. And when the police come asking questions, I wish I could wind back time to that normal afternoon when I was cooking lasagna for my family, Mia’s favorite. I can tell the officers don’t believe me: they’ve cast me as the evil stepmother.

I just wish I could understand the messages I’ve found from my husband on Mia’s phone: I’m so sorry, I still love you. And why his wedding ring is found at the bottom of the pool after Mia disappeared. He never told me it was missing. What else is he hiding?

But the detective keeps asking me where I was during those ten minutes when Mia vanished. And I can’t tell her my secret. From the way she’s looking at me, I know she thinks I did something to my stepdaughter. Mia and I haven’t always been that close and sometimes she drives me nuts, just like any normal teenager, but I would never hurt her.

I just need you to believe me.

This was a great suspense novel, I really didn’t know what could have happened to Mia and why. I usually try to figure things out, but in this case, the disappearance of Mia could have gone in many directions. I had no idea what was going to happen or who was responsible. In books like this, its best if you go in with not many ideas about how the plot is going to unfold.

The StepDaughter comes out on September 2 and is only ninety-nine cents, which is an amazing deal that you can’t pass up!



The Exiles by Christina Baker Kline was a beautifully written novel about three women: Evangeline, Hazel, and Mathinne. Each has a sad story that brought them to Australia in the nineteenth century.

Evangeline gets pregnant by the son of her boss and is accused of stealing. Sent to prison, then banished to the middle of nowhere in Australia, she is forced to deal with horrible conditions while pregnant and alone. On the ship from London to Australia, she meets Hazel, a young woman who possesses knowledge of midwife skills and herbs for healing. Mathinne is a native Aboriginal girl whose parents have died. Taken from her life by the whim of a visiting governor and his wife, she is thrust into an upper-class life but treated not much better than a servant.

Here is the official synopsis:

Seduced by her employer’s son, Evangeline, a naïve young governess in early nineteenth-century London, is discharged when her pregnancy is discovered and sent to the notorious Newgate Prison. After months in the fetid, overcrowded jail, she learns she is sentenced to “the land beyond the seas,” Van Diemen’s Land, a penal colony in Australia. Though uncertain of what awaits, Evangeline knows one thing: the child she carries will be born on the months-long voyage to this distant land.

During the journey on a repurposed slave ship, the Medea, Evangeline strikes up a friendship with Hazel, a girl little older than her former pupils who was sentenced to seven years transport for stealing a silver spoon. Canny where Evangeline is guileless, Hazel — a skilled midwife and herbalist – is soon offering home remedies to both prisoners and sailors in return for a variety of favors.

Though Australia has been home to Aboriginal people for more than 50,000 years, the British government in the 1840s considers its fledgling colony uninhabited and unsettled, and views the natives as an unpleasant nuisance. By the time the Medea arrives, many of them have been forcibly relocated, their land seized by white colonists. One of these relocated people is Mathinna, the orphaned daughter of the Chief of the Lowreenne tribe, who has been adopted by the new governor of Van Diemen’s Land.

Christina is an incredible author and I’ve read almost everything she has written. I highly recommend The Exiles if you enjoy historical fiction or just want to read an exquisite story!

Coming out on August 25, pre-order here.