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. 


Sunday, August 28, 2022

Spotlight and Excerpt of Number One Fan by Meg Elison



Fans of Stephen King and Grady Hendrix, clear your schedules! 
Once you crack open award-winning author Meg Elison’s unflinching horror novel, you will devour it. 
In this Misery meets millennials mashup, a bestselling author is kidnapped on her way to a book event and finds herself trapped in a basement by a superfan who thinks she owes him everything.
Set against the cultural reckoning of #MeToo, NUMBER ONE FAN  is a searing examination of fan culture, toxic masculinity, and creative entitlement. 
Relentless, rageful and raw, Elison’s horror story will leave an unshakable impression long after the pages close.

August 30, 2022
MIRA Trade Paperback Original




The car rolled into view, the lit decals on the dashboard letting Eli know that her driver was typical: working for all the rideshare services at once.

Gotta hustle, she thought as she quickened her pace away from the airfield. She hoped he hadn’t been waiting long.

“Elizabeth?” He seemed bored, not even bothering to turn around.

“That’s right. I go by Eli, though.”

“Sure,” he said, tapping his phone.

She settled in, her satchel beside her. “Thank you.”

The car was air conditioned against the cushion of heat that pressed against its tinted windows, and as they headed toward the freeway, she finally began to relax. She was grateful the driver didn’t seem to want to talk. She was tired of talking from the event, and her throat was dry and sore.

“There is a cold drink there in the cup holder. Down in the door.” His voice was low, a raspy baritone.

“Oh, cool, thanks.” Eli reached down and felt the blessed condensation on a plastic bottle. She pulled up a blue Gatorade and wrenched it open, suddenly very thirsty. She drank half of it in huge gulps, disliking the weird, salty taste of the electrolyte mixture but unable to stop herself. It felt good, after hours of talking and the dry air of the flight. She breathed deep and drank again, coming close to finishing it off.

Must be the heat, she thought. That and the two miniature bottles of Jack Daniel’s she’d had to calm her nerves on the plane.

Her phone vibrated in her pocket in an unfamiliar cadence and she slid it out to check.


Eli frowned at her phone. Had she summoned two cars by accident?

She unlocked it with her facial scan and checked. The app showed only one ride: a black Prius driven by Brenda, which had arrived five minutes ago and canceled four minutes after that.

It wasn’t a busy day at the airfield. It certainly wasn’t curbside pickup at SFO, but it was still possible that she had gotten in the wrong car.

But he had known her name.

She leaned forward to get the driver’s attention. “Hey, just clarifying—you’ve got my info, right? I just got a cancellation from another driver, and I’m worried that I got someone else’s ride.”

The driver tapped his phone and his eyes darted between it, the rearview mirror, and the road. “Elizabeth Grey. Headed to the Sheraton, right?”

The phone displayed a highlighted blue route along the freeway. It was a map program, rather than the rideshare’s software, but Eli had seen drivers toggle between those before. She glanced up at the rearview mirror, but his eyes were on the road and he had put on a pair of dark glasses.

“Right,” she said. “Huh. Wonder what happened.”

Eli settled back into her seat. She stared out the window and thought of home, of the deep grey fog rolling down over the hillsides and the wind coming in, salty from the Bay. She was homesick. Even in the same state, the air felt wrong on her skin. Los Angeles had been an endless parade of palm trees against a blameless sky, and the tacos were so good she could barely stop shoveling them in, but the traffic had left her feeling exhausted upon every arrival.

And then there was the way that people looked you over in Los Angeles, deciding whether you were famous or fuckable or useful in some other way before sliding on to the next thing. Her audiences had been lively and engaging but draining, and after each of her events, she’d wanted nothing but some dinner, a hot bath and sleep. Maybe a couple fingers of bourbon over ice.

Traveling always left her wrung-out and unmoored. It didn’t help that the sun was so all-encompassing outside the car it could have been anywhere, any time of day, the hot, white light blinding. She couldn’t look at a surface other than the black asphalt without squinting. Living in San Francisco gave her what she had thought was a passing acquaintance with the sun, but the glare as the 10 freeway led out of Los Angeles county and into the high desert landscape was just too much.

How are people here not dog-tired all the time? Doesn’t the heat suck all the life out of them? How do they ever leave the house? Christ, it’s March. Imagine later in the year. I gotta get some sunglasses.

She set the phone beside her on the seat to avoid pawing it in and out of her jeans. She belatedly buckled her seatbelt as they picked up speed. Out the window, the freeway was sliding past, one unfamiliar mile blending into the next.

The driver turned his radio on. It annoyed her at first that he had not asked, but then she reminded herself that he probably spent the whole day in his car. She wasn’t talking; he was probably both lonely and bored. Let him have his Oingo Boingo.

He changed lanes to get into the faster flow of traffic and the motion of it made her feel a trifle ill. This heat had produced all kinds of new feelings. She ignored it, drinking the last swallow of the Gatorade.

She looked around for a polite place to deposit the bottle. The motion of her head made her dizziness worse and she tried to blink it away. “Do you have a spot for trash?” she asked him. As the words slid out of her mouth, she realized she was slurring like she was very, very drunk. She was horrified to realize she was drooling, too.

Eli tried to get a hold of herself. She pushed with her palms and worked to sit up straight but found that she could not. Her head felt far too heavy for the wet noodle of her neck to have ever supported. Her abs were slack and her spine was a worm. She sagged against the seat; the seatbelt the only thing keeping her from sliding to the floor.

“Whass going on?” The words seemed to take a long time to reach her ears.

Oh shit, I’m having a stroke. An old classmate  of Eli’s had had a freak stroke event a week shy of her thirtieth birthday. Frantically, she tried to recall the diagnostic that the woman had posted on Facebook right after. She couldn’t speak clearly. She couldn’t lift her arms at all. Her hand flopped uselessly in the direction of her phone.

“Ooogoada tachme to ahspital,” she slurred at him in molasses-thick nightmare slowness. “Shumding wruuuuunnnnng.”

“Relax,” he said clearly, his voice less deep than before. “You are fine.”

With her last spasm of strength, Eli pulled at the door handle, intending to tumble out of the car. The child safety lock held her in place.

I’m not fine, she thought with her last clear and lucid moment. As her eyes fell closed like heavy curtains, she finally registered that they were going the wrong way. The steely spike of panic that stabbed at her heart was almost enough to counteract the soporific effect of whatever was wrong with her, but not quite. Fighting, terrified, she slipped out of consciousness.

Excerpted from Number One Fan by Meg Elison, Copyright © 2022 by Meg Elison. Published by MIRA Books.



A headlong rush of a thriller/horror that is Misery for Millennials, about a bestselling author who is abducted by her biggest fan and must figure out who he is, where she is, and how to survive and escape, set against the backdrop of fan and convention culture, the literati and the #metoo movement.

Bestselling fantasy author Eli Grey gets into a cab without checking it's hers, and unquestioningly accepts a drink from the driver. 


Then she wakes up chained in his basement. With no close family or friends expecting her to check in, Eli knows she's on her own to save herself. 


She soon realizes that her abduction wasn't random--she was targeted. And though she thinks she might recognize her captor, she can't figure out quite why, or what he wants. 


But it is clear that he is very familiar with her work, and deeply invested in the fantastical world she created in her books. 


What follows is a test of wills as Eli pits herself against a man who believes she owes him everything, and is determined to take it from her.

With unflinching prose, NUMBER ONE FAN examines the tension between creator and work, fandom and source material, and the rage of fans who feel they own fiction.





Meg Elison is a California Bay Area author and essayist. 


She writes science fiction and horror, as well as feminist essays and cultural criticism. 


She has been published in McSweeney’s Internet Tendency, Fangoria, Fantasy and Science Fiction, Catapult, and many other places.

She is a member of the Science Fiction Writers of America (SFWA) and the National Writers Union (@paythewriter).

Her debut novel, The Book of the Unnamed Midwife won the 2014 Philip K. Dick Award. 


Her novelette "The Pill" won the 2021 Locus Award. 


She is a Hugo, Nebula, and Sturgeon Awards finalist. She has been an Otherwise Award honoree twice. 


Her YA debut, Find Layla, was published in fall 2020 by Skyscape. 


It was named one of Vanity Fair's Best 15 Books of 2020.

Elison is a high school dropout and a graduate of UC Berkeley.