Saturday, July 30, 2022

Spotlight of Finding Edward by Sheila Murray



Sheila Murray’s powerful debut novel, FINDING EDWARD takes readers inside the similar lives of two men separated by a generation.
Told in two powerful interlocking narratives: the stories of Cyril and Edward, young Black men living in Toronto in different eras.
Cyril, a recent immigrant from Jamaica, finds a suitcase full of letters and photos that tell the story of a young, white mother struggling to come to terms with giving up her mixed-race baby almost one hundred years earlier. 
Cyril is also the product of an interracial relationship and becomes determined to find out what happened to the baby, whose name was Edward.
Cormorant Books - July 19, 2022


“A remarkable novel. In this, her first, Sheila Murray has created a haunting allegory ... This novel is a great achievement; it reminds us that the surmountable obstacles facing us in any age are frequently unfounded and misinformed prejudices.”— Rachel Manley, author of the Governor General’s Literary Award-winning Drumblair
“In lucid, scintillating prose, suffused with mystery and everyday magic, Sheila Murray delivers one of the most penetrating dramas of Black experience ... This beautiful, necessary novel will become a touchstone.”— Donna Bailey Nurse 



In 2012, Cyril Rowntree, a recent immigrant from Jamaica, has come to the city following the deaths of both his mother and his adopted grandfather, Nelson.

Nelson was also his mother’s employer, and his small bequest to Cyril has made the journey to Canada possible. Though his extended family encouraged him to leave Jamaica, he himself is initially ambivalent about the journey. 

Upon his arrival, Cyril enrolls in university to earn his degree, working two jobs to support himself as he attempts to acclimate, even as he reels from his mother’s death.

A chance encounter leads him to a suitcase full of photographs and letters dating back to the early 1920s. 

The letters tell the story of a young, unmarried white mother struggling to come to terms with giving up her mixed-race baby, the novel’s eponymous Edward. 

Cyril, who is himself the product of an interracial relationship and was abandoned by his white father when he was only two, finds himself drawn to Edward and sets out to discover what became of him. 

Along the way, the legacies of the two people he loved most travel with him — his uneducated, God-fearing mother’s gift of sight through distance and time, and the forbearance taught to him by the sophisticated Nelson. 

Unraveling the mystery of Edward, and what happened to him after  he was surrendered to a children’s home shortly after the turn of the 20th century, provides Cyril with a grounding force, a way to explore his own contemporary racial experience and come to terms with his new life.

As he searches, he finds fragments of Edward’s hard, itinerant life, and discovers pieces of Canada’s Black history, which help him gain the confidence to take on his new world.

When his research leads him to the realization that Edward might still be alive, he is determined to find the man who has existed so vividly on the page and return to him a vital piece of his story.




Sheila Murray worked on the novel in part while on a family holiday in Jamaica, where she has spent considerable amounts of time in Brown’s Town for many years.

Born in St. Alban’s, England, she migrated to Toronto with her family as a teenager and was one of only three Black people at her very large high school, a circumstance that made her acutely aware of the racial tension woven into the fabric of society.
A longtime advocate for social justice, Murray has a master’s degree in Immigrant and Settlement Studies and wrote FINDING EDWARD in part to explore how these racial tensions manifest in outlying communities of newcomers, as they did for her and as they do in the book, for Cyril.
Weaving together the stories of Edward and Cyril, two men alike in circumstance if not in destiny, Murray has created a novel that grapples with our racial history while giving it important historical context.

Sheila Murray’s short fiction has been published in various literary journals, including Descant, the Dalhousie Review, and the New Quarterly.
Murray is an advocate for social justice and climate change response and currently works as project director with CREW (Community Resilience to Extreme Weather). She was born in St. Alban’s, England, and now lives in Hamilton, Ontario.


Friday, July 29, 2022

Sugar and Salt by Susan Wiggs

Do you ever forget your first love? Is it fate that you meet again after many years?

On the other side of the coin, will telling someone you recently met and had grown close to leave you because of what you tell them about your past? 

We meet Ida and Frank who were childhood sweethearts, and we meet Jerome and Margot who found each other but one of them has a past she has kept secret.

Will Frank and Ida be able to stay together? Will Margot and Jerome stay together once she tells him about her past?

Margot did have a past, but it wasn't her fault, and she hadn't been at fault.  A powerful family made sure she was accused of the crime she didn't commit. 

SUGAR AND SALT has the sweetest title, the sweetest characters, and the sweetest storyline along with delicious food that will make your mouth water. 

But…there also are sensitive situations, unsavory characters, a glimpse into the legal system, and sad stories of a hard life, but all in all another marvelous read by Ms. Wiggs. 

And the book’s sweetness doesn’t end even though I shed some happy tears. 

The sweetness continues as the reader is treated to recipes that are shared in the final pages.  5/5   

This book was given to me by the publisher and LibraryThing for an honest review.


Thursday, July 28, 2022

The Edge of Summer by Viola Shipman


Sutton Douglas finds out her life has been a lie.  Her mother told her that her entire family died in a house fire, and they were the only survivors.

When her mother passes, Sutton finds a box of buttons that has an inscription that says:  Grandma's Button Box, Dandy Button Co., Michigan.

Could this be the clue to finding the family that her mother told her she never had?

We follow Sutton from her childhood in the Ozark Mountains to her adult life in Chicago and then back to Michigan to try to find her family that might be connected to the tin of buttons she buys at a flea market.

THE EDGE OF SUMMER is sad, but so sweet and heartwarming.

I didn't want to put it down or want it to end.  You will need tissues, but will enjoy every minute of your reading.

And the detailed descriptions of the Michigan landscape, the small resort towns and villages, the buildings, the celebrations, and Sutton’s cottage will have you wanting to get in your car and head there.

Not only is the story marvelous, but each chapter had a sewing term with its definition as a lead-in to the chapter.  

Loved the button trivia and learning how Michigan was the Button Capital.

This is Wade’s BEST yet. Don’t miss it. 5/5

This book was given to me by the author for an honest review. 

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

The Librarian Spy by Madeline Martin

Two brave women, two countries, and WWII.

We meet Ava who had worked at the Library of Congress but was transferred to Lisbon because of her language skills and to serve as a spy.

We also meet Elaine in Lyon who is helping the French Resistance by working with the printing press and distributing the real news of the war.

These women meet via a coded message sent through the printed pamphlets that saved a mother and son.

Ms. Martin brings to light what went on in both places - the horror Europeans went through - and how refugees tried to get to Portugal since it was a neutral country.  I had never heard anything about Portugal during the war.

You will cry with the characters and feel their pain and terror as well as share some joys in this marvelous, well-researched book with great characters, a great story line, and filled with as Ms. Martin said “the power of the written word.” 

You have to read this book to experience the hope and determination within. 5/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.



Madeline Martin is a New York Times and international bestselling author of historical fiction novels and historical romance.  

She lives in sunny Florida with her two daughters, two incredibly spoiled cats and a husband so wonderful he's been dubbed Mr. Awesome. 

She is a die-hard history lover who will happily lose herself in research any day. 

When she's not writing, researching or 'moming', you can find her spending time with her family at Disney or sneaking a couple spoonfuls of Nutella while laughing over cat videos. 

She also loves travel, attributing her fascination with history to having spent most of her childhood as an Army brat in Germany.


Buy Links:


San Marco Books, Signed Copies for Preorders!

Story & Song Books, Signed Copies for Preorders!


Barnes & Noble



Social Links:


Author Website

Twitter: @MadelineMMartin 

Facebook: @MadelineMartinAuthor 
Instagram: @madelinemmartin


Tuesday, July 26, 2022

The New Neighbor by Karen Cleveland

Beth lost her position as a CIA Intelligence Officer looking for an Iranian spy they called "The Neighbor" and was sent to Kent School where she would be teaching intelligence analysis.  In essence, it was a demotion.

She wouldn’t give up her investigating that she had worked on for years and became obsessed with the family who moved into her home - especially the woman Madeline - because she thought she was the Iranian spy.

Beth also lost her husband to divorce, and her last child was now in college. 

Were these two life-changing events affecting her judgment about this woman? 

Why would she focus on this woman who she found had no history but who did lie about her prior job?

Beth was warned to stop but wouldn’t and took many risks including the risk of losing her job as she was still investigating both Madeleine and others in her old neighborhood without permission from the CIA. 

It was slow going for me, and I am not really a fan of spy novels and espionage, but I continued because I wanted to know what all the hype was about and why Beth had worked for years to find “The Neighbor” and if Madeline really was “The Neighbor.”

If you enjoy a book where you will be thrown off track, and if you enjoy books about the CIA and FBI, this book should be a good one for you.

It just wasn’t a good fit for me. 3/5

This book was given to me by the publisher via NetGalley for an honest review.

Spotlight of Some Of It Was Real by Nan Fischer



This summer, Nan Fischer, the celebrated author of When Elephants Fly and The Speed of Falling Objects, joins the Berkley list with a thought-provoking, genre-blending novel that explores our overwhelming desire for connection—in this world and the next.
Perfect for fans of Colleen Oakley’s You Were There Too and Rebecca Serle’s In Five Years, SOME OF IT WAS REAL is the captivating tale of a clairvoyant with a hidden past, and the journalist who sets out to expose her as a fraud. 
Both are unprepared for the journey that lies ahead, and the shocking emotional truths that they are about to uncover.


"Fresh, surprising, and compulsively readable, Some of It Was Real sucked me right in with its rich characters, sparkling wit, and captivating story arc. This debut is more than a page-turner; it's an unflinching exploration of identity, trauma, and transcending the past, and it kept me riveted all the way up to its jaw-dropping conclusion."New York Times bestselling author Andrea Bartz

"Some of It Was Real had everything I love—characters I was rooting for and an intriguing premise that kept me guessing. The ending had me turning the final pages at a breakneck speed. You will simply love this book."Tracey Garvis Graves, New York Times bestselling author of The Girl He Used to Know

"The perfect blend of mystery and love story,
Some of It Was Real kept me guessing and turning pages way past my bedtime, all the way to its shocking denouement. An absolute must-read."USA Today bestselling author Colleen Oakley



Sylvie Young’s career is on the rise. 


A celebrity psychic-medium, Sylvie charges top-dollar for customers to attend her shows, where she helps them explore connections with loved ones who have passed.


With a bit of luck, a bit of research, and sometimes, a bit of… something else that she can’t quite explain… Sylvie says just the right thing to turn the grieving hopefuls into believers.


And other times… the lines blur as to what Sylvie really knows about the deceased, and what she can say to keep her paying customers coming back for more. 


Enter Thomas Holmes, a journalist for the Los Angeles Times. Intent on taking down “grief vampires” who prey upon mourning, vulnerable people, Thomas attends Sylvie’s show threatening to expose her as a conniving fraud.


His tell-all exposé may be his only chance to simultaneously save his fledgling career and seek justice for victims of scam artists—victims like his own mother.


To save face, Sylvie agrees to have Thomas shadow her before her next big show, taking him on a journey back to her small Oregon hometown so he can interview her relatives and learn about her origins.


But what starts as a fact-finding mission turns into a winding journey even deeper into Sylvie’s past that begs more questions than answers. Because despite her all-seeing abilities, there are parts of Sylvie’s own past that even she can’t grasp clearly.


What follows is an enlightening quest for truth—but also for connection and understanding between two people who are lost in the world, trying to discern between reality and illusion.


Filled with mystery, intrigue, romance, family drama, and a touch of magical realism, SOME OF IT WAS REAL is a one-of-a-kind thrill ride from beginning to end, perfect for readers of any genre.
Fischer takes readers on a winding journey, examining the roles that fate and coincidence play in our lives, while leading readers to an unexpected surprise conclusion.



Author Nan Fischer is a two-time Oregon Book Award finalist. Additional credits include co- authored sport autobiographies for elite athletes, and a Star Wars trilogy for LucasFilm.

She lives in the Pacific Northwest with her husband and their Vizsla, Boone.


Monday, July 25, 2022

Spotlight of After Everyone Else by Leslie Hooton



A perfect Southern literature staple about the lengths we will go to protect the ones we love.
Bringing readers back into the life of Bailey Edgeworth, Hooton’s memorable character from her debut novel Before Anyone Else, Leslie Hooton’s brilliant prose guides readers on a new emotional journey with twists and turns until the very last page.
Rochelle Weinstein, Lisa Barr, Amy Greene are all raving about AFTER EVERYONE ELSE. 


“Leslie Hooton's latest novel begins as a whodunnit, but quickly delves into the intricacies of relationships. When workaholic wife and mother, Bailey, is accused of a heinous crime, her estranged daughter, Charlie, and devoted husband, Griffin, must come to terms with how they arrived in this dark place. Hooton weaves together the past with the present and the nuances of marriage and mother/daughter bonds with tremendous depth. Readers looking for a big-hearted book that strikes the right emotional chord will devour this one.” —Rochelle Weinstein, USA Today Bestselling author

“With After Everyone Else, Leslie Hooton has delivered another gem of Southern literature: funny but heartfelt, plot-driven yet profound. I can't wait to see what she gives us next.”—Amy Greene, nationally bestselling author of Bloodroot

“After Everyone Else brings us back into the life of Bailey Edgeworth, Leslie Hooton's memorable, sparkling character from her first novel, but Hooton is such a gifted writer and natural storyteller that this story brings us new twists, new drama, new terrain, all in that witty, emotional resonant writing style. And, always, at the heart of Hooton's writing, there is an exploration of the past, how we are made, and how family and love open up new possibilities that we never expected.”—Kevin Wilson, New York Times bestselling author of Nothing to See Here and The Family Fang
“Marriage, mother-daughter bonds …. and murder. Acclaimed author Leslie Hooton’s new novel After Everyone Else packs a powerful punch. Alternating between the past and present, what begins as a mystery quickly deep dives into the intricacy of relationships. Hooton doesn’t miss a beat as she deftly explores how far we go to protect those we love—a Must-Read.”—Lisa Barr, USA Today bestselling author of Woman on Fire


Bailey thought she’d gotten her happy ending. She is married to the man she loves and her design business is flourishing.
But when Bailey’s ex-husband, a famous TV chef, is found murdered with her DNA all over his apartment and body, she is suddenly facing murder charges in a high-profile case.
Already burdened by the demands and challenges of marriage, motherhood, and her career, Bailey now must do everything she can to prove her innocence.
But it’s the ones she thought would surely be on her side—her enigmatic lawyer and her husband—who might be doubting her innocence the most.


Alternating between the past and present, AFTER EVERYONE ELSE chronicles the grip of the past, the challenges of forgiveness, and the resilient love we save for the person we love after everyone else.


Leslie Hooton is many things: a fabulous friend, a powerful speaker, a flower enthusiast, and a lover of language. 
Her debut novel, Before Anyone Else, garnered a Zibby nomination.  Leslie’s second novel, The Secret of Rainy Days was a book club favorite, and her third novel, After Everyone Else, the sequel to Before Everyone Else, will be published on June 28th.


Leslie attended the Sewanee Writers’ Conference and studied with Alice McDermott, Jill McCorkle, and Richard Bausch.
Growing up in a small Alabama town, Leslie went on to earn her B.A. and M.A. from Auburn University and J.D. from Samford University. 
She became intrigued by people and discovered everyone has their own unique stories.
Originally from Alabama, Leslie resides in Charlotte, North Carolina, and is at work on her next novel.