Wednesday, August 31, 2022

The Lost Girls of Willowbrook by Ellen Marie Wiseman

Imagine finding out that your twin sister hadn't passed away but has been in an institution. 
A horrible institution for the mentally challenged and an institution that tortured the patients and didn't take proper care of them.

Sage overheard her stepfather talking with a friend about how the school called and said Rosemary ran away again.

When Sage confronts him about it, he denies it.  He then explains that he and her mother thought it would be better if Sage had thought Rosemary had passed away.

Sage was furious - knowing her sister was still alive and she could have visited her was heartbreaking. 

Sage made a decision to go to the school and help find her sister.

She told no one her plans, got on a bus dressed in clothing not suitable for winter, had her purse stolen, and got pulled into the bowels of the institution with the doctors and nurses thinking she is her sister....the missing Rosemary.

What a nightmare, and to think this is based on a true story and where they put mentally challenged children for over 40 years until it was exposed by Gerald Rivera.

Ms. Wiseman takes us inside to witness the treatment of these girls and of Sage's nightmare of trying to tell everyone she is NOT Rosemary. 

They tell her that is part of her disease - Rosemary at times said she was Sage.

Reading this will appall you when you learn about the treatment of these men, women, and children.

You will also feel sorry for Sage as she sees it all and lives through it. 

I was shaking as we followed Sage through everything she endured and witnessed.

THE LOST GIRLS OF WILLOWBROOK and what horrors happened inside come alive with Ms. Wiseman's detailed writing style and flowing story line. 5/5

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

Tuesday, August 30, 2022

The Lost Ticket by Freya Sampson

How sweet is this...Frank met a girl on Bus 88 60 years ago, and he is still looking for her.

They met and chatted, and Frank promised to call her, but he lost the ticket she wrote her phone number on.

He never forgot her and rides Bus 88 every day in hopes of finding his long, lost, red-haired love.

We then meet Libby who is coming to live with her sister.

Libby meets 80ish Frank, and he tells her his story.  Libby is determined to help Frank find his lost love.

Libby also meets Dylan who is the grumpiest person she ever met, but he turns out to be Frank's caregiver. 

How does that turn out?

Dylan and Libby become friends and embark on a journey to see if they can find Frank's lost love. Does this help them find love?

Dylan was a tough one, but you will fall in love with him and all the characters.  Most are very sweet and endearing.

THE LOST TICKET is a very heartwarming and at times heart wrenching book that will have you in tears, but not sad tears.

You won't want to stop reading because you want to find out if they find Frank's lost love and if anything happens with Libby and tough Dylan.

LOVED this book.

If you need a sweet, uplifting read, this is it. 5/5

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


Monday, August 29, 2022

Spotlight of The Silence in the Sound by Dianne C. Braley



For readers of Women's Fiction, such as the work of Elin Hilderbrand, Jennifer Weiner, and Jodi Picoult novels, individuals affected by addiction, and fans of William Styron, Braley is a talented writer whose work will draw you in—and her novel is one inspired by her own life experience. 


While living in Martha’s Vineyard years ago, Braley cared for ailing Pulitzer prize-winning novelist of Sophie's Choice, William Styron.


While working there for ailing celebrity author Mr. S. helps heal old wounds, new ones emerge in the form of a toxic love affair with a mysterious man. 


He not only was her patient but soon became her friend and motivator. He and his books helped her realize she missed crafting stories, and she had some of her own to tell.


This Summer (August 23rd, 2022), New Englander Dianne C. Braley, debuts her coming-of-age story woven with addiction, love, and celebrity.  

The Silence in the Sound (Koehler Books; 396 pages) is a women’s upmarket novel about young nurse Georgette who, to escape her past, heads where the memories won’t followMartha’s Vineyard island. 



A beautifully-written and riveting tale of love, resilience, friendship, devotion, and the heartbreaking impacts of addiction. Braley does a masterful job weaving George’s quest for love and peace with fascinating intersecting story lines, past and present. For those who love Martha’s Vineyard, it’s also a special treat to see the island lovingly rendered as a character in its own right.”--ELISA M. SPERANZA, author of The Italian Prisoner

"Dianne Braley’s beautifully written, lyrical, and insightful debut weaves the disparate threads of the journey to wisdom and maturity into a wondrous fabric. The Silence in the Sound plumbs the depths of relationships – with a famous author, with a lost father, and ultimately with oneself – to measure the sometimes dark pathways that bring us to where we are. A brilliant read, and a first novel that promises great things to come."
--Greg Fields Author, Through the Waters and the Wild, winner of the 2021 New York Book Award for  Literary Fiction
"An engaging story of love, grief, and remoteness on Martha’s Vineyard."- Kirkus Reviews


Finding inspiration where she least expects it, one woman's life is about to change forever.
Life had not always been kind to Georgette.
She grew up with an alcoholic father and an enabling mother. 
To help see her through the bad times, she clings to the loving memory of a childhood trip to Martha's Vineyard.
Now an adult, Georgette works as a nurse and has returned to the island to start her life over. 
Then opportunity arrives in the most unlikely of places as she becomes the private nurse for the well-known island resident Mr. S. The prize-winning novelist and Georgette become friends, and he opens her mind to new possibilities.

Soon everything changes when she encounters the mysterious Dock.
Georgette isn't quite sure about him but finds him irresistible.
She quickly loses herself in her relationship despite the inherent dangers that come with him. 
Torn between the future or spiraling into a life she tried so hard to leave behind, Georgette must make her most important decision ever.
Sometimes escaping the past isn't as easy as it appears.
The Silence in the Sound is the provocative debut novel by Dianne C. Braley detailing the devastating effects of growing up with addiction.



Raindrops fell hard on the windshield, startling me. Sleep had eluded me for days, and I was both tired and wired, living off coffee after getting the news.

It’s funny how, though you know something terrible is coming, you expect it and are ready for it, you think, but then it happens, and it blindsides you.

You are never as prepared as you think you are, if at all. I’d been here before, and I wasn’t remotely ready. This time was no different.

More drops fell, and my eyes welled as if the rain somehow triggered me to join it. The sun was bright in the sky ahead of me, past the clouds near the Oceanographic Institute. I slowed the Jeep, pulling onto some open grass on the side of the road. 

Tears spilled down my face, and I rested my head on the steering wheel, feeling the moisture hit my legs below my skirt. The rain tapped on the windshield in a loud rhythm, aligning with my heartbeat, which I was intensely aware of in my anxious, caffeine-fueled state. Inhaling deeply, I held my breath, then blew out slowly against the steering wheel.

“I can’t do this,” I whispered, turning my face toward the vent for the cold air to dry my tears. An overwhelming feeling of panic and dread came over me, and I reached for my throat, feeling as if I was choking, and tried to clear it.

“I fucking hate you,” I breathed out, hanging my head and sobbing, clutching the steering wheel as hard as I could. Hobo touched me with his paw. I ignored him, watching a string of saliva fall from my mouth onto my legs, joining the wetness from the tears.

I wiped my mouth, smearing lipstick across my hand, staring at my legs, feeling numb. A few moments went by when the Jeep vibrated from the rumble of a truck passing, and I lifted my head. I looked through blurry eyes, seeing the clouds now gone and the sky, bright and blue, where the trees cleared a few yards up. Suddenly, I remembered where I was.

This point on the road was where the happy and calm came, when I’d reach the spot a little further ahead. I put the Jeep in drive, inching a little on the grass a hundred yards past the clearing, and rolled my window down. Leaning on the opening, I rested my chin on my forearm and looked to the left.

The tiny Coast Guard lighthouse sat on the little patch of land, and I watched as the whitecaps broke against it. The dark blue ocean stretched for miles, and seagulls called to one another as they hovered over the two ferries docked below. The blue of the sea was slightly darker than the blue-gray sky that met it. The contrast of the colors in front of the golden and rust-colored sands of the island’s cliffs several miles from shore was calming and comforting, and I closed my eyes.

My lips turned up in a small half-smile, and I inhaled the clean, salty air. There it was across the water—the island, my island, or it used to be. It was the place I came to, and I never wanted to leave. I resented that I had to. I resented Dock. 

The anger built inside me again. I resented the anger, too, and didn’t want to feel that today. The island was mine before all of it. It was mine the day I landed on it that weekend with my father all those years ago. Coming back now, I wanted it to be mine again, but so much has happened.



A raw, gritty New Englander, Dianne C. Braley found love for the written word early on, reading and creating stories while trying to escape hers, growing up in the turbulent world of alcoholism. 
After putting her pencil down for a time, she became a registered nurse finding strength and calm in caring for those who couldn't care for themselves. 
Still, she never lost her drive to write, and later she found her passion again on the island of Martha's Vineyard with the help of a famous author who became her friend and motivator.
Braley is a registered nurse currently living in Hamilton, MA.
This very evocative story of a beloved Massachusetts locale, based on the true story of an inspiring relationship with a long-time inhabitant of the area's "writer's row," will no doubt be of interest to your audience. 

Braley has partnered with the Robert F. Kennedy Community Alliance organization and their division that assists children and families affected by addiction in Massachusetts. Part of the proceeds from her book will be shared with the organization. 


Mailbox Monday - 8/29/2022


Mailbox Monday is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week.


Warning:  Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles, and humongous wish lists.


Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia @A Girl and Her Books, has a permanent home now at  MAILBOX MONDAY.


Here is a shout out to the administrators:

Velvet @ vvb32reads

Serena @ Savvy Verse and Wit

Martha @ Reviews By Martha’s Bookshelf


THANKS to everyone for keeping Mailbox Monday alive.



I hope you had a good mailbox.


On Monday, August 22, I received:

1.  LILY'S SECRET INHERITANCE by Kristin Harper, courtesy of Bookouture and NetGalley.

2.  THE OPPORTUNIST by Elyse Friedman, courtesy of Justine Sha of Harper Collins and NetGalley.

3.  A MOTHER WOULD KNOW by Amber Garza, courtesy of Justine Sha of Harper Collins and NetGalley.

It's Monday!! What Are YOU Reading? - 8/29/2022

I hope you had a great reading week.
This is a weekly meme hosted by Kathryn at BOOK DATE!

Post the books completed, the books you are currently reading, and the books you hope to finish at some point.
Books Completed:
MR. PERFECT ON PAPER by Jean Meltzer - review will be on September 22.  
A sweet, funny read that will have you laughing but also in tears at times.  A nice light read. 
LILY'S SECRET INHERITANCE by Kristin Harper - review will be on September 17.
A lovely, lovely read as all of Ms. Harper's books are.
THE FORGOTTEN GIRL by Daco Auffenorde - review will be on September 30.
An interesting story line that will keep you turning the pages.
THE MATCHMAKER'S GIFT by Lynda Cohen Loigman - review will be on September 20.
Gorgeous Cover!! 

LOVED, LOVED, LOVED this book!!  Sweet characters and a sweet story line.

THE BOOK HATERS' BOOK CLUB by Gretchen Anthony - review will be on September 15.
A cute read with quirky characters.  
THE WINTER ORPHANS by Kristin Beck - review will be on September 14.
An amazing read....heartbreaking, but so good and based on true events and real people.
AN AFFAIR OF SPIES by Ronald H. Balson - review will be on September 13.
Another amazing read by Mr. Balson.
THE WAYS WE HIDE by Kristina McMorris - review will be on September 6.
Marvelous research, great characters, but a bit too long - could have been shorter.
THE COUPLE AT NO. 9 by Claire Douglas - review is in the book's title. good.  It was a bit confusing at first, but wow...lots of twists, turns, and secrets.
THE LOST GIRLS OF WILLOWBROOK by Ellen Marie Wiseman - review will be on August 31.
Excellent historical fiction.
TICKET by Freya Sampson - review will be on August 30.
A sweet, uplifting read. 
TAHOE MOON by Todd Borg - review is in the book's title. 
THE BLAME GAME by Sandie Jones - review is in the book's title.
Another good one by Sandi Jones.
Book Currently Reading:
HESTER by Laurie Lico Albanese - review will be on October 4.
Books Up Next:
MAD HONEY by Jodi Picoult and Jennifer Finney Boylan - review will be on October 5.
THE NIGHT SHIP by Jess Kidd - review will be on October 6.
THE CRADLES OF THE REICH by Jennifer Coburn - review will be on October 11.
THAT SUMMER IN BERLIN by Lecia Cornwall - review will be on October 12.
UNDER A VEILED MOON by Karen Odden - review will be on October 13.
SHE'S MISSING by K. E. Heaton - review will be on October 14.
IN THE DARK WE FORGET by Sandra SG Wong - review will be on October 17.
THE FORGOTTEN BOOKSHOP IN PARIS by Daisy Wood - review will be on October 27.
BEFORE YOU KNEW MY NAME by Jacqueline Bublitz - review will be on November 1.
THE PRISONER by B. A. Paris - review will be on November 2.
DEAD AND GONDOLA by Ann Claire - review will be on November 3.
THE WIDOW by Kaira Rouda - review will be on November 15.

THE LINDBERGH NANNY by Mariah Fredericks - review will be on November 16.
THE PERSONAL ASSISTANT by Kimberly Belle - review will be on November 29.
THE WIDOWMAKER by Hannah Morrissey - review will be on December 6.
THE OPPORTUNIST by Elyse Friedman - review will be on December 7.
A MOTHER WOULD KNOW by Amber Garza - review will be on December 13.
THE SECRET SOCIETY OF SALZBURG by Renee Ryan - review will be on December 27
ONE LAST SECRET by Adele Parks - review will be on December 28.
THE VILLA by Rachel Hawkins - review will be on January 3, 2023.
THE NIGHT TRAVELERS by Armando Lucas Correa - review will be on January 10, 2023.
REEF ROAD by Deborah Goodrich - review will be on January 12, 2023.
KILLER STORY by Matt Witten - review will be January 17, 2023.
HANG THE MOON BY JEANNETTE WALLS - review will be on March 28.
THE SOULMATE by Sally Hepworth - review will be on April 4.
WHERE COYOTES HOWL by Sandra Dallas - review will be on April 18, 2023.