#BookReviews- December’s #Reading List @katherinecenter @BeemWeeks @tracihallauthor @PatriceWilton


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December is here and all the excitement of the holidays is upon us!

We took Mom and our grandson to the 23rd Annual IEOA Truck Light Convoy with 80 trucks!

It was the perfect evening. We had the Pacific Ocean at our backs and hundreds of happy viewers along the lane (some with campfires and s’mores!). The trucks travel a number of kilometers, so there is plenty of room to spread out and enjoy the show.

I also got all of my Christmas shopping done and mailed away- yay!

On the reading front, I’ve been trying to get through a list of NetGalley books and read a couple of recommended reads from fellow bloggers, as well. So, let’s get started:

I just add a brief description below. For more information, click the covers.

Margaret Jacobsen is just about to step into the bright future she’s worked for so hard and so long: a new dream job, a fiancé she adores, and the promise of a picture-perfect life just around the corner. Then, suddenly, on what should have been one of the happiest days of her life, everything she worked for is taken away in a brief, tumultuous moment.

Katherine Center

Katherine Center’s new novel is WHAT YOU WISH FOR. She’s the author of How to Walk Away and Things You Save in a Fire—both instant New York Times bestsellers—as well as The Lost Husband (now a movie starring Josh Duhamel), and five other bittersweet comic novels. She writes laugh-and-cry books about how life knocks us down—and how we get back up. Katherine has been compared to both Nora Ephron and Jane Austen, and the Dallas Morning News calls her stories, “satisfying in the most soul-nourishing way.” Her books have made countless Best-Of lists, including Amazon’s Top 100 Books of 2019, Goodreads’ Best Books of the Year 2019, BookBub’s Best-Loved Books of 2019, the Indie Next Great Reads List, SheReads’ Best Women’s Fiction 2019, BookList’s Top Ten Women’s Fiction, and many, many more. Katherine lives in her hometown of Houston, Texas, with her husband, two kids, and their fluffy-but-fierce dog.

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My Review

When Margaret’s boyfriend leads her towards a quiet airport, she’s at once dismayed and excited. Dismayed because she’s petrified to fly (even though he is one step away from getting his pilot’s license) and excited because she’s 99% sure he’s about to pop the big question.

Margaret pulls her courage around her and climbs into the cockpit for a journey that will change her life.

Waking up in the hospital with second and third-degree burns isn’t fun, but that’s minor compared to learning her back is broken and she may never walk again.

You can’t ask someone to love you or be there for you or do the right thing—and you certainly can’t guilt them into it. Either they will or they won’t.

How to Walk Away- Katherine Center

What follows is a story of courage and perseverance even when it seems as though there is no hope. Margaret must spend hours of grueling PT work to gain some semblance of independence while facing the fact her life as she knew it is gone.

I loved the honesty and bravery of Margaret, as well as the way her family came together to encourage her recovery even though they were going through traumatic changes of their own.

that’s all we can do: carry the sorrow when we have to, and absolutely savor the joy when we can. Life is always, always both.

How to Walk Away- Katherine Center

For anyone who’s ever thought they couldn’t, this book’s for you.

Jacob Radner returns to his suburban Chicago roots to bury his departed father. The family is all there—except for older brother Kevin. Thirty-seven years earlier, Kevin Radner walked out the front door and vanished. Will this prodigal son return and finally make peace with the ghost of his mobster father?

Beem Weeks

Beem Weeks is the author of short stories, poems, essays, and novels. A pop-culture trivia buff, Beem’s passions include indie films, loud music, and a well-told story. He has also penned short story collections entitled Slivers of Life, and Strange Hwy: Short Stories.

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My Review

Brilliantly written short story on life with a mobster for a father!

From the very first line:

“Daddy’s dead.” My sister Myra’s voice filtered through the phone, calm and settled, as if she just told me Walmart offered cans of cling peaches two for a buck.

The Thing About Kevin- Beem Weeks

We get a sense of the discord that runs through the Radner family like a canker sore. Jacob returns to his childhood home on his father’s death, but soon learns old secrets are best left buried.

While the rest of the family prepares for his father’s funeral, Jacob has a chance encounter with an old girlfriend who shares a shocking surprise about Jacob’s missing brother, Kevin.

I was blown away by the author’s ability to create a complex, visual setting with just a few well-chosen words. There are secrets in most family’s closets, but I’d wager none as staggering as the Radner family hide.

Will definitely be reading more of this writer’s work!

A nor’easter off the coast of Maine leaves everyone stranded on Sandpiper Bay and Officer Riley Harper’s courage is tested when she finds a dead body in the snow. She must find the killer before he escapes both the island and justice.

From cozy mysteries to seaside romance, USA Today bestselling author Traci Hall writes stories that captivate her readers. As a hybrid author with over sixty published works, Ms. Hall has a favorite tale for everyone.

NEW YORK TIMES, bestselling author, PATRICE WILTON knew from the age of twelve that she wanted to write books that would take the reader to faraway places. She was born in Vancouver, Canada.

My Review

A blizzard is coming to the small Maine island and officer Riley Harper has her hands full. The power is dodgy, her puddle-jumper of a squad car can’t handle the snow drifts, and to top it off, she has a murder to solve.

Lars Sorenson is back in town, and no one is happy to see him. He’s arrogant, obnoxious, and a drunk. But that’s hardly reason to kill the man. Riley has a list of suspects a mile long and Mother Nature isn’t cooperating at all. With the chief away, it’s up to Riley and her partner not only to protect the evidence but discover why Lars came back to Sandpiper Bay and who wanted him dead.

This is a page-turner with plenty of red herrings that left me guessing right until the end. I’m looking forward to more Riley Harper mysteries!

A must-read for fans of The Night Circus and Water for Elephants, The Circus Train will take readers on a heart-wrenching and spectacular two-decade journey across Europe. When all is lost, how do you find the courage to keep moving forward?

About the Author

AMITA PARIKH received an honours BSc from the University of Toronto before moving to London, England, where she completed the Curtis Brown creative writing course and the Royal Court Theatre’s writers’ program. She works in the tech industry and produces and hosts a podcast dedicated to women in sports. The Circus Train is her first novel.

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My Review

Lena Papadopoulos has grown up amongst the strange and wonderful and aches to be a part of the circus entourage like her father, but Lena had polio as a baby and is bound to her wheelchair.

Her father nourishes Lena’s insatiable curiosity for the sciences hoping to alleviate her loneliness, but it isn’t until she finds a young stowaway onboard, that Lena truly feels alive.

Set on the cusp of WWII, this immersive story is one of hope, heartache, and faith with the rich backdrop of circus life. The author does a fantastic job of creating the mystical feel of the World of Wonders train, as well as giving us an outstanding array of interesting, multidimensional characters with plenty of secrets to be unraveled.

I particularly loved the devotion between Lena and her father. He never saw her disability as anything to slow his daughter down in life and fought to give her the best chance he could.

This is a must-read!

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

A gripping, openhearted novel about family, reconciliation, and bringing closure to the secrets of the past.

Early into the tempestuous decade of her thirties, Rae Langdon struggles to work through a grief she never anticipated.

Christine Nolfi

Award-winning author Christine Nolfi writes heartwarming and inspiring fiction. Look for her new release, THE PASSING STORM.

THE ROAD SHE LEFT BEHIND has been selected as a top book club pick by Working Mother and Parade magazines, and a Best Books of Summer selection by SheReads.

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My Review

Even though Rae is uncomfortable around the teen, Quinn, when he gets kicked out and left in the cold by his parents, she takes him under her wing, providing him with a warm haven.

Rae and her father have been through two traumatic losses and are barely functioning when Quinn enters their lives and rips the Band-Aid off the past. The loss of her mother in a blizzard and then, later the sudden death of her daughter has left Rae with scars she doesn’t think will ever heal, but with the help of her best friend, Yuma, an ex-boyfriend, and her father, Rae moves past the grief and finds a way to live.

This is a beautifully written, heartfelt story of loss, bitterness, forgiveness, and love. An emotional read.

“I voluntarily read an ARC of this book which was provided by the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.”

And this week’s Christmas song: The Little Drummer Boy by Bing Crosby and David Bowie

36 Comments

  1. Staci Troilo says:

    I love that version of The Little Drummer Boy. I’ve been listening to it almost every day. Thanks for sharing it.

    Fabulous reviews, Jacquie. You had a great month of selections.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Both are talented singers, but together… magic happens!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Sophie @BewareOfTheReader says:

    I am so happy that you loved Katherine Center’s book!!! It’s a big favorite of mine!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. She showed what strength of will and family support can do- beautifully written ❤

      Like

  3. Great reviews. I loved The Thing About Kevin and will have to take a look at the other books. Congrats to the authors. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Jacquie 💕🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Harmony!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Joan Hall says:

    Another great list of books, Jacquie. I read “The Thing About Kevin” a couple of years ago. Might have to revisit it.

    Thanks for the video. Who would have thought David Bowie and Bing Crosby would sing together, but their harmony was great.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I was surprised to hear how beautiful their voices were together, as well.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Gwen M. Plano says:

    Wonderful reviews, Jacquie. Thank you for sharing. Beem Weeks is one of my favorite writers, especially for the reasons you mention. Extraordinary scenes. And I love the video! 😊

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I look forward to reading more of his books! Thanks, Gwen, I love holiday music 🙂

      Like

  6. So many wonderful reviews! I’ve got to read The Thing About Kevin. It’s been on my Kindle. Thanks for sharing, Jacquie. I love that video!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s well worth the read, Jill. The video is awesome! I love how their voices blend 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Jan Sikes says:

    These ALL sound fabulous, Jacquie. I totally agree with your thoughts on The Thing About Kevin by Beem Weeks. Beem has such a unique ability to create strong visuals and great stories! Thank you for sharing. I am off to check out some of the other books you’ve posted here.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks for adding your recommendation to Beem’s work. He’s got my vote!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Mae Clair says:

    I LOVE that rendition of the Little Drummer Boy and the vid that accompanies it. One of my absolute favorites.

    I’ve read other work by Beem Weeks, but not The Thing About Kevin. It’s definitely on my TBR. I’ve heard nothing but good things about it. I’m also intrigued by Danger at Sandpiper Bay and The Circus Train. Great reviews all around. Thanks for sharing, Jacquie!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bing Crosby and David Bowie seem like the ultimate mismatch, but their voices actually harmonize beautifully.
      I loved The Thing About Kevin! Beem Weeks is a talented writer.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Wonderful collection of enticements. I need to get reading once more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I drifted away for a while, too. Commitments make it hard to keep up, but I’ve decided to put aside a couple hours a day now, and feel way more relaxed 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Super reviews, Jacquie. I like your gravatar too.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, John. Thought it was time to update my ugly mug, lol

      Liked by 1 person

  11. I like the truck convoy and food drive. How very clever. Truckers are a bread apart (in a good way). Great reviews, also. You’ve sparked my interest in several.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My dad was a truck driver for many years, so the parade strikes a chord with me.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My brother-in-law, too. I love hearing his stories.

        Liked by 1 person

  12. Kymber Hawke says:

    All of these selections look wonderful! Your reviews are terrific, and they make me want to read each of them! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Lol, then I did my job 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Patrice Wilton says:

    Now I have more books to read on my To Do list! Great selection of books, wonderful reviews, and Traci and I feel honored to be among them! Thanks Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Love your books, Patrice. Thanks so much for stopping by!

      Like

  14. Beem Weeks says:

    I am so honored to even be mentioned with all of these wonderfully talented authors. Thank you so much for reading my work, Jacquie. And I have always loved the Bowie/Crosby version of The Little Drummer Boy. Such an odd pairing that really works.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Loved your book, Beem!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. These are great reviews, Jacquie. That first book sounds heartbreaking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It really was. I can’t imagine waking up to your life as you knew it gone forever.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. D.L. Finn, Author says:

    Great reviews! I enjoyed The Thing About Kevin. There are a couple others that are tempting me.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That book was so good! I’ll definitely be looking for more of Beem’s work.

      Like

  17. markbierman says:

    Plenty of greats to choose from! Some new authors, to me, too. Congratulations to them! Thanks for sharing, Jacquie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love finding new-to-me authors who I want to read more of!

      Liked by 1 person

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