#BookReviews- Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde, The Angel Maker @writer_north, Identity by Nora Roberts, The Maid’s Diary @loreth, Home Front by Kristin Hannah #readingCommunity

Spring was soooo close, then we got a rude Arctic outflow that brought below seasonal temps and some of the white stuff. I’m hoping it doesn’t do too much damage to the tender buds, but we shall see.

This week I’m catching up on a few NetGalley reviews and one from a local bestselling author who never disappoints, so let’s get started! Click on the covers to learn more.

The posts on this site may contain affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission should you make a purchase using a link.

An orphaned boy raised by a survivalist wends his way into the real world in an emotional novel about hope, fears, and found family by New York Times bestselling author Catherine Ryan Hyde.

After his mother’s death, five-year-old Remy is taken away from everything he knows by a paranoid survivalist father who whisks Remy into the forest and teaches him to live on his wits. Frightened, overwhelmed, and missing his best friend and mother, Remy is forced to call his father Roy, gather wood, hunt, fish, and forage in the forest on his own.

Roy spouts paranoia about the outside world and warns Remy not to trust anyone, so when his father unexpectedly dies on the eve of Remy’s eighth birthday and the start of winter, he is once again thrown into turmoil. Supplies run low and the firewood his father always kept chopped has disappeared. Left with no choice, Remy tries to drive the old pickup but crashes and is badly injured. Now, he must walk out of the woods, face whatever is out there, or stay in the one-room cabin and die.

Desperation makes the decision for him, and Remy sets out, hoping aliens, or something worse. doesn’t get him. He finds a small village and raids the local store for food only to get chased back to the woods by the owner’s dogs. Hurt and out of strength, Remy holes up and is found by a foster mom who heard about the ‘feral boy’ from miles away and felt the need to help.

Anne takes him in without really talking it over with her husband or their two teenage, adopted children, and compromises must be made. Real-world issues such as Covid, mass school shootings, and family dynamics are explored in this heartwarming story. A family opens their home and hearts to a lost child who dreams of being a regular boy.

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

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Whisper Man and The Shadows comes a dark, suspenseful new thriller about the mysteries of fate, the unbreakable bond of siblings, and a notorious serial killer who was said to know the future.

Katie Shaw has a beautiful family. She’s married to her high school sweetheart, adores her five-year-old daughter, and lives in a beautiful home. So why do memories of a brutal attack on her younger brother that happened years ago continue to haunt her? The guilt she feels for not being there when Chris needed her the most is a constant ache in her heart, but it’s the spiral into drugs and homelessness he went through in the subsequent years that hurts the most. And now, just when he’s getting his life together and has fallen in love, a ghost from their past makes an appearance and throws the siblings’ lives into chaos.

When a philosophy professor is killed hours after letting all of his household staff go, Detectives Page and Pettifer are baffled by the grisly murder. But soon, a tie to a serial killer from the past comes to light, along with a grainy video of a man Page put behind bars years ago for the random attack that maimed a young Christopher Shaw- who is missing- while his sister is sure someone is stalking her family!

There are multiple timelines at play here, along with enough twists and convoluted turns to keep the reader guessing right to the end. Some scenes are seriously creepy and should carry a warning label, lol. Also, there is a child molestation/murder plotline that may not appeal to all readers.

I enjoyed the gothic noir vibe of this novel. The author did a superb job of building suspense!

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

The #1 New York Times-bestselling author’s terrifying new thriller about one man’s ice-cold malice, and one woman’s fight to reclaim her life.

After a childhood spent traveling from army base to army base, Morgan Albright wants nothing more than to set down roots. To that end, she works two jobs, saves her money, buys a cute bungalow she can call her own, and brings in a boarder, Nina, to help with costs. The women soon become best friends and life seems good- maybe too good?

In her job as a bartender, Morgan meets all types of humanity, and she loves the challenge but isn’t looking for any relationships. When a handsome stranger lays on the charm she laughs it off, but when he asks her out for a casual pizza, she decides ‘what’s the harm?’ and takes him up on the offer. A few dates later she invites him to dinner, only to learn later how horrible a monster she has allowed into her home.

Returning from work a few days later, Morgan is stunned to find the backdoor broken, her car and jewelry gone, and her best friend beaten to death. But the crime doesn’t stop there. She soon learns her identity has been stolen. He opened credit cards in her name and ran them up, emptied her savings account, took high interest loans against her house, and left her penniless. When two FBI agents show up on her doorstep, Morgan is shocked to learn the person behind the murder/swindles is the man she’s been dating, and Nina wasn’t the intended target- she was!

Devastated, and with no other options, Morgan leaves her jobs and returns to her grandmother’s home in Vermont. It takes time, but she slowly begins to get her feet under her. She finds a good job, meets a new man, a good man, and reconnects with her estranged mother, but the psychopath isn’t done with her yet. Will Morgan survive his next assault?

This book started out a bit slow for me. It centers on Morgan’s life and her friends, gently fleshing out a happy, peaceful life like a fresh spring breeze, but then the attack hits out of nowhere and my heart stopped! After that I was hooked, lol. The relationship between Morgan and Miles (her new beau) reminds me of another favorite couple, Eve and Roarke from JD Robb’s futuristic police procedural series. Morgan is just as fiercely independent, and Miles could be Roarke’s swoon-worthy alter-ego 🙂

Overall, an excellent read!

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

A cunning, twisty, and unsettling novel of psychological suspense with a startling conclusion by Loreth Anne White, the Amazon Charts and Washington Post bestselling author of The Patient’s Secret.

Kit Darling is a free-spirited maid for high-end clients’ homes in the scenic oceanside city of Vancouver, Canada. She’s good at her job, conscientious, neat, reliable, and snoopy. She gets a forbidden thrill at finding the closely guarded secrets in her client’s lives. Some are harmless, fun quirks, others are dark- dangerous.

But is it worth killing for?

A senior in palliative care calls emergency from her second-floor room insisting she’s witnessed a possible homicide. Detectives Mallory Val Alst and Benoit Salumu are called to the scene and enter an impressive glass house to be greeted with a bloodbath. Splatter covers the walls, overturned furniture, saturates a bed upstairs. No one could have lived through this, but where is the victim?

Told in stages before and after the crime, readers are given clues, many of which are red herrings as we delve deeper into the mind of Kit Darling through the pages of her diary and persons of interest in the investigation. This author is a master of thrilling suspense, I can’t recommend her enough! And that ending- what a twist!

I had a different novel chosen for today but after reading the incomparable Kristin Hannah’s Home Front this weekend I had to write my review while it was still fresh-raw.

“Home Front is Hannah’s crowning achievement.”—The Huffington Post

In this powerhouse of a novel, Kristin Hannah explores the intimate landscape of a troubled marriage with this provocative and timely portrait of a husband and wife, in love and at war.

Jolene learned to be strong and independant at the hands of alcoholic parents. Upon their death in a drunken accident, seventeen, almost eighteen-year-old Jo signed up for the high school to flight school helicopter pilot-training program where she met her soon-to-be best friend, Tami. The women spent ten years in the army, then moved to the National Guard as Back Hawk pilots, got married, had children, built lives together.

Then they got the call- they were being deployed to Iraq, and in an instant the safe, secure world they had known disappeared.

Michael had been in love with Jolene from the first moment she walked into his father’s law office as a disheveled teen and asked him for advice on avoiding foster care. It was six years later before he would see her again. It wasn’t long before they were married, then their two beautiful daughters came along, his partnership in the firm, and a new home near his parents. But the death of his father made him look at life differently, left him wanting more. He became disillusioned, distant from his family. His marriage was crumbling, and he wasn’t sure he wanted to save it.

But then, Jo was deployed, upending their lives- his life.

This is a gut-wrenching, tragic story about the sacrifices our military goes through every day to protect our country. It is impossible to understand what these brave men and women endure unless you’ve been there. Death and dismemberment become an unpleasant fact. And for those left behind, families are torn apart, children left scared and confused. The soldiers who return often have difficulty integrating into civilian life and many suffer varying degrees of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome), a war of the mind.

We need to do better.

I’ll leave you with this heartbreaking quote from the book:

It’s called post-traumatic stress and it is a recognized psychiatric disorder. It was around long before we had such a serious-sounding clinical name for it. In the Civil War, it was called a ‘soldier’s heart,’ which I think is the most accurate of the descriptions; in World War One, it was ‘shell shock,’ and during World War Two, ‘battle fatigue.’ In other words, war changes every soldier, but it has always profoundly damaged some of them.

Hannah, Kristin. Home Front (p. 327). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

This is a pic my daughter took of my grandson. I miss them so much.

43 Replies to “#BookReviews- Just a Regular Boy by Catherine Ryan Hyde, The Angel Maker @writer_north, Identity by Nora Roberts, The Maid’s Diary @loreth, Home Front by Kristin Hannah #readingCommunity”

  1. Ok I have to know if that Kriston Hannah’s book has a less depressing ending than Fourth Wind! I love her writing but it nearly all the time ends in drama and tears 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I have a very similar picture of my daughter when she was around 15 months old. (Her hands are out to her side rather than by her head.) I thought she looked free; like the ocean was challenging her and she rose to the occasion. When I saw your grandson’s photo, I didn’t think “lonely” at all. I thought he was listening to the waves and the wind and loving it.

      New schools are hard. Lord knows I went through it, and my kids even more than me. If your grandson is anything like his grandma, he’s a kind soul anyone would be happy to have as a friend, and I’m sure he’ll adjust soon. I’ll add him (and your whole family) to my prayer list.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Jacquie, you are a reading machine! Some of the book covers didn’t display for me for some reason. The one with Kit Darling sounds really good, but I couldn’t see the cover/title.Must be my laptop misbehaving.

    I had no idea Alex North had a new book out. I generally like his stuff, but I think I might have to pass on this one.

    So sorry about the cold snap. I am so ready for spring!

    And that’s a wonderful pic of your grandson. I can only imagine how much you miss them all!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Kit Darling one is by Loreth Anne White- The Maid’s Diary. Her books are based on true crime events. The photo for it and Home Front by Kristin Hannah were Amazon links, maybe that’s the issue?

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fabulous reviews, Jacquie! I got “Identity” from NetGalley and look forward to reading it. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on all of these. They all sound like fabulous reads!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great selection and reviews. I’m glad you tell it like it is, Jacquie, so I don’t throw myself into nightmares. Haha. Your daughter and grandson miss you just as much. It’s hard to have family far away. We learn to live with it for their sakes. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m a chicken when it comes to scary stuff, Mary. I can’t even watch some of the commercials on TV, lol.
      Yes, I know my girl needs to follow her dream, and am so proud of her independence, but… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You have read some great books here, Jacquie. Wonderful reviews. I have a couple of these on my TBR, so am looking forward to them even more after reading your thoughts. It is hard when you are so far away from family, I feel your pain.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I will see what I can find from the library. No, I do not leave until the end of March. It is still too cold and dreary for me at home, although today was beautiful.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, my daughter is in Eastern Passage, Nova Scotia and she was warned about all the snow and hard winters and she said they had about of week of cold, icy weather only.

            Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t imagine taking a five-year-old out to the woods and telling him to hunt. I know there are survivalists out there who are sure the end of the world is coming but geez, that’s cruel!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Great reviews, Jacquie. Thank you for sharing. I love the photo of your grandson at the beach. I totally understand how much you must miss him. I have the same sentiments about my grandkids. 🤗

    Liked by 1 person

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