Friday, August 30, 2013


Story Description:
]St. Martin’s Press|August 16, 2013|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-250-01252-4
When seventeen-year-old Katherine McCall awakened one morning to find her beloved sister, Sara, brutually murdered, her whole life changed in the blink of an eye.  Kat was named the prime suspect and, on a string of circumstantial evidence, charged and tried.  While the jury found her innocent, not everyone else agreed,and her only choice was to go into hiding.  But she carried a dark secret with her, one that made her worry she might actually have had something to do with Sara’s death...
Now, years later, Kat is still haunted by her sister’s unsolved murder and continues to receive chilling anonymous letters, but she has tried to move on with her life.  Until, on the tenth anniversary of Sara’s death, she receives a letter that makes the past impossible to ignore: “What about justice for Sara?”  What about justice for Sara?” and for herself?  Kat realizes that going back to Liberty, Louisiana, might be the only way to move forward and find some peace.  And there’s a killer out there who was never caught.
But the town she’s come back to is hardly different from the one she left.  The secrets and suspicions still run deep.  Kat has an ally in Detective Luke Tanner, son of the former Liberty police chief, but he may be her only one.  With plenty of enemies, no one to trust and a killer determined to keep a dark secret buried, Kat must decide if justice is worth fighting – dying – for. 
Bestselling author Erica Spindler returns with a chilling new suspense novel about a woman who goes home ten years after her sister’s murder for find the true killer.
My Review:
In her true legendary style, Erica Spindler has again written another page-turner.  With her usual plot twists and turns she keeps you guessing right up to the end.  I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait for the next one.

Sunday, August 25, 2013


Story Description:
Atria Books|June 18, 2013 | Hardcover|ISBN: 978-1-4767-0909-3
Neda is born in Tehran’s Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before the arms of a guard appear at the cell door one day and, simply, take her away.  In another part of the city, three-year-old, Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips.  More than twenty years after the violent, bloody purge that took place inside Tehran’s prisons, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death, but with anguish and the horror of murder. 
These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree.  Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives.  Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country’s tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins. 
Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom.  Written in Sahar Delijani’s spellbinding prose, capturing the intimate side of revolution in a country where the weight of history is all around, it is a moving tribute to anyone who has ever answered its call. 
My Review:

Azar was blindfolded sitting on the corrugated iron floor of a van.  The movement of the van through the wild traffic was thrashing her from one side to the other.  Being nine months pregnant, having contractions, and about to give birth, this was not an ideal situation for her to be in.  Azar was dripping with sweat from the high heat and the chador she was wearing, even the blindfold over her eyes was damp with sweat. 
From her place in the back of the van she thought about the people in the prison with her and how at night you could hear the howl and screams of pain, yet you could do nothing to help, only listen to another soul being tortured.  A bump in the road brought her back out of her daydream and she could hear Brother and Sister in the front of the van talking and laughing about something.  She could not hear their words clearly, she could only hear chatter.  Azar tried to keep out the voices inside the van by concentrating on the hum of the city outside – Tehran, “her beloved city, which she had neither seen nor heard for months.  She wondered how the city could have changed with the war with Iraq dragging on into its third year.” 
Azar tried to sit up straighter the jostling of the van and the fabric of the chador was making her slide around on the iron floor.  She tried to tighten her grasp on the railing as she was determined to keep the baby inside until they reached the hospital.  Just then she felt a sudden gush between her legs and held her breath as the uncontrollable trickle ran down her thigh.  Panic swept through her as she touched the pants carefully with the tips of her fingers.  She was frightened because she wasn’t sure what would happen next or how quickly a baby even came after the mother’s water broke, or if it was dangerous. 
The van stopped, the doors opened, she was handcuffed, then ordered to get out.  Azar found she could barely stand but once the blindfold was taken off she was relieved to see they had at last reached the prison hospital.  After being forced to climb a few sets of stairs, the doctor told Sister they could not keep Azar there as she was not a part of that prison, and were told to take her somewhere else.  Azar was from Evin prison.  Descending the stairs and back outside, she was once again blindfolded and placed back into the van. 
A bit later the van stopped again and Azar was led, blindfolded into a building.  She was told to sit down on a wooden chair.  Shortly she heard the unmistakable sound of someone approaching and she knew who it was.  What better time to interrogate her again when she was in such dire pain and anguish.  How cruel!!  The questions came at her one after the other and she knew every single answer must match ‘exactly’ to those she’d given in every previous interrogation, not one tiny shred should differ.  “What is your husband’s name? What party do you belong to?  Where were the meetings?” and on the questions went until Azar was almost passed out from pain and the man finally left.  Azar got up and followed Sister’s voice down a corridor flanked by a nurse.  She could barely keep their pace.  Finally they stopped and removed her blindfold and handcuffs and Azar climbed up onto a narrow bed in a roomful of nurses and doctors.  “Azar refused to acknowledge Sister’s presence there, wished to forget it completely.  Not only Sister but everything Sister’s presence meant: Azar’s captivity, her solitude, her fear, giving birth in prison.” 
Azar thought back to happier times when she taught children in schools outside the city of Tehran.  Their eyes were full of admiration, of deference verging on fear of the city girl who opened and closed books so easily, who spoke in perfect Farsi, who looked out of place in her city clothes in the classroom with its clay walls that constituted the entire school. 
Azar’s heart ached at the thought of those days, when she worked for a new country, a better and more just country.  How happy she had been, taking the bus back to Tehran in the evening.  She could not wait to arrive home, knowing her husband, Ismael would be expecting her in their tiny apartment.  There would be the perfume of steamed rice filling in her nostrils as she entered the flat, and Ismael would come to her, pull her into his arms, and say, “May you never get tired.”  She would make tea, and while they drank it together, sitting by the narrow window that faced the trees of the courtyard engulfed in the night, he would tell her of Karl Marx and she read poems to him. 
Children of the Jacaranda Tree is an evocative portrait of three generations of men and women inspired by love and poetry, burning with idealism, chasing dreams of justice and freedom.  I thoroughly enjoyed this novel and read it one sitting, I just couldn’t put it down.  For a debut novel, it was spellbinding.


Story Description:
Saberlee Books|February 19, 2008|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9815836-6-2
Crooked Moon, first and foremost, is a human drama, an emotional journey into the lives of two women and those closest to them.  As children, Frankie Cavalese and Callie Mason were the very best of friends, growing up together behind opposite walls of a row home in a blue-collar neighborhood of Philadelphia called Rainytown.  The friendship they shared was special – the kind that storybook heroines had – and neither ever considered the possibility of it not lasting forever.  But after high school, life interfered and circumstances separated them as they each went on to live in drastically different worlds.  Twenty-three years later, one hot unsettled summer, their lives come crashing back together when Callie, who has led a life of privilege, returns to Rainytown and finds her old friend still living in her childhood home, unmarried, and caring for her angry dying mother, Ruby.  Frankie is faded.  Her signature tenacity is threadbare as she routinely implores her playboy brother, Paulie, to help ease the burden of being their mother’s sole caregiver.  As the two women reconnect, Frankie tries to forgive Callie for abandoning the friendship, while Callie wrestles with the guilt of having disappeared.  To complicate the fragile reunion, Callie’s marriage to her husband, Jackson, is suddenly at risk, further muddled by the affections of (and attraction to) Paulie.  Tensions and passions explode in the sweltering heat, and amid pain and tragedy, each woman not only ends up with a life-altering secret regarding the other, but the burning question of what to do with it.  
My Review:
Callie and Frankie have been friends since childhood living on opposite sides of the wall in their tenement building.  They had a secret code that they’d tap on their bedroom walls so they could communicate at night when they were in bed. 
The years passed and it came time for the girls to attend university but each vowed not to let their geographical distance separate their friendship.  They promised to stay in touch and stay close.  But like all things in life, our best laid plans often fly out the window. 
Callie finished her education, married Jackson, and had two beautiful children.  They owned a gorgeous palatial home that was like something out of a dream.  Callie’s, Aunt Emily who had raised her had recently passed away making it necessary for Callie to return to Rainytown to clean out her house.  Emily had not lived there for the past ten years. 
The first day, Callie drove up in front of the house she looked across the street and saw Frankie’s mother, Ruby on the front porch watering her beloved plants.  Callie couldn’t believe how little she’d aged considering a twenty-three year period had passed.  Her hair wasn’t much grayer and she still wore the old house dresses with the little socks.  Callie wondered about Frankie and where she might be living these days.  After a few moments she climbed out of her BMW and began to cross the road to greet, Ruby.  As she got closer, the person on the porch turned in her direction and Callie was astounded to discover that it wasn’t, Ruby at all, it was, Frankie!  Callie felt sick, she didn’t know what to say but realized quickly that Frankie never made it out of Rainytown. 
Can we ever truly return home?  Can Callie make amends with Frankie after abandoning her twenty-three years ago?  Will Frankie even be willing to discuss anything with Callie?
In Crooked Moon the characters are so well developed, so well described that you almost know what they’re going to say before they say it.  Ms. Brodey has an uncanny knack for creating characters that are real, just like the people we ourselves would become friends with. 
Callie and Frankie had such a deep, deep personal relationship and many times throughout the story I felt sick at heart for their struggles to regain the bond they shared as children.  At times I felt awed by them and at times I felt sad for them.  Their determination to reach out to each other was amazing to watch unfold.  I savoured and hung on every single word, I didn’t want to miss a thing.  I was feeling what they were feeling which made it more difficult for me to remain objective.  I became too emotionally close to them both to enable myself to figure out what was coming next.  I experienced it as they experienced it. 
Crooked Moon was a phenomenal story!  There were a lot of issues to work through after a twenty-three year separation.  The ending was so moving that I’m still not over it.  I just couldn’t put this book down and read it in two sittings, it was remarkable!!

Friday, August 23, 2013


Story Description:
Saberlee Books|June 11, 2009|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9815836-1-7
Darla McKendrick is nine when she first hears her mother and her aunt Didi secretly discussing their younger sister, Rebecca, speculating about her life in squalor.  From the moment Darla asks to know more about her mysterious aunt, she is offered nothing but half-truths, distortions, and evasions.  As Darla grows into her teen years, her life is oddly yet profoundly affected by this woman she has never known.  She can’t help but notice that Rebecca seems to exist only in dark corners of conversations and that no one ever wants to talk about her – with Darla.  Squalor, New Mexico is a coming-of-age story shrouded in family mystery.  As the plot takes twists and turns, secrets are revealed not only to Darla but to the “secret keepers” as well.  Darla learns that families are only as strong as the truths they hold and as weak as the secrets they keep. 
My Review:
Nine-year-old, Darla is eavesdropping on her Mom and Aunt Didi’s conversation but the only time they ever had this particular conversation was when they thought no one else was around.  That topic happened to be, Aunt Rebecca, Mom and Aunt Didi’s youngest sister.  Darla had never met her.  Darla decided to let her presence be known so she could gather some information about this woman as she figured if she never asked then she’d never find out.  She’d heard her Aunt Didi say to her mother: “I’m sure she’s still living in squalor…unless she’s screwed her way out!”  Of course, at nine, Darla had no idea whatsoever what that meant so she popped up and asked: “What’s squalor, Mom?”  Mom was startled to say the least at, Darla’s presence and inquired as to how long she’d been standing there.  Aunt Didi quickly piped up and responded: “It’s a town in New Mexico, Darla.  It’s an Indian name.”  There was no way the women were going to discuss Aunt Rebecca with Darla around so they quickly sent her back to her bedroom to complete her book report for school. 
As Darla grew older she began to notice that Aunt Rebecca was frequently the topic of conversation but always on the hush-hush and no one wanted to talk about her to anyone else, especially Darla,  which, Darla thought was kind of weird.   Darla’s life is very affected by this mysterious Aunt Rebecca but she still can’t get anyone to discuss this unknown Aunt with her, but why?
Both her father and her Uncle George seem especially rattled whenever, Aunt Rebecca’s name comes up and neither seems to know where to look or what to do.  All Darla knows is that she isn’t to ask questions, period.  Aunt Didi and Uncle George’s three daughters, April, May and June don’t know anything about this aunt either. 
Squalor, New Mexico is a coming-of-age story that is smothered in the unknown and on the surface, the family has a good time but really underneath they are a family shredded, torn apart and in great pain.  Didi and Maggie often argue over and talk about what a loser their youngest sister, Rebecca is but even they don’t know the whole story.  They think they know what an evil, rotten, good-for-nothing person she is but one day the truth may just set them free.
I so loved this story and didn’t want to see it end.  I wanted it to go on forever and wanted to learn even more about each of these characters right from Darla to her Mom, to Aunt Didi and Uncle George, her three cousins, April, May and June and even her best friend, Melanie.  The story was so well-written that I felt as though I was standing inside Darla’s house sitting on a chair watching these two families interact.  I could picture perfectly in my mind’s eye the layout of the house, could imagine the knick-knacks sitting around and could smell the pancakes, Maggie cooked.  Squalor, New Mexico was a book I just couldn’t put down and I’m actually going to read it a second time it was that good and I enjoyed it that much.  This is definitely a keeper!!  Thank you Ms. Brodey for providing me with two days of entertainment that I lost my entire being in.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013


Story Description:
Saberlee Books|January 23, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-9815836-3-1
At thirty-two, newspaper reporter Molly Hacker vows to never attend another wedding until she has had her own.  And that’s a problem because Molly’s youngest sister, Hannah, is going to be married in one year.  Armed with snark, wit, and fabulous good looks, “Picky Molly embarks on a quest to find Mr. Right in her hometown.  Things get complicated fast.  In no time at all, Molly has four “men of interest” and the memories of a lost love to send her overanalytic, befuddled mind into serious overdrive.  Determined not to let her “helpful” girlfriends help her right out of another relationship, Molly tries to keep mum on the state of her love life.  Her BFF male coworker, Randy, becomes her closest confidant as he stumbles over romantic issues with his new Mr. Right, Kyle.  Meanwhile, Molly’s gal pals aren’t too happy about being left out of the loop.  Tweaking Molly’s last nerve is the town’s most visible socialite, Naomi Hall-Benchley, who, for self-serving reasons, is hell-bent on setting up “Picky Molly Hacker” and she doesn’t care who she has to manipulate or hurt to do it.  Just how far will she go?  Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! takes the reader on a yearlong romp through Molly’s mind and a joyride through her life.  Her dating life, town secrets, a group of quirky characters, and Naomi’s machinations collide head-on at a holiday gala that will change the social landscape of Swansea forever.  As the New Year rolls in, Molly gets earth-shattering news.  Can she go on?  Will life ever return to abnormal again? 
My Review:
Thirty-two-year-old, Molly Hacker is just too picky when it comes to finding a suitable male to marry.  Three weddings ago, when her best friend got hitched, Molly swore it would be the LAST wedding she’d attend until she was the one at the front of the church saying: “I Do!”  But, her mother’s very best friend was getting married again so she had to break her promise to herself and attend but was able to do so without too many “insane pangs of envy stabbing my chest like daggers.”  She did, however, think to herself: “why the hell isn’t that me up there?”
Bad enough having to attend the wedding in the first place was the fact that Molly’s date, Tony, was a married man which brought everything from looks of pity to disgust from the other wedding guests.  Tony was estranged from his wife and she’d known him since high school so it wasn’t a real crime in her eyes anyway.  And, of course, Molly received her usual round of comments that if she just wasn’t so darn picky and gave a man a chance, then she wouldn’t have to bring another woman’s husband as her escort. 
By the end of the festivities that night, Molly swore that no matter what happened she would never attend another wedding again until it was her own.  She flew through the following year without attending one single wedding, despite the fact she’d been invited to three!!
Now, a year later, Molly is sitting watching her twenty-six-year-old sister, Hannah, getting dressed for her wedding.  It was August 27th.  Hannah is happy beyond measure at marrying, Matthew, her long time beau.
Molly worked as a reporter for the Swansea Herald.  One day her boss approached her with the news that the “society” reporter had quit and he needed Molly to do her job, in addition to her regular duties, until a replacement could be found.  Well, there was no way in hell, Molly was going to cover high-society weddings and watch a bunch of rich people say “I Do”.  She’d be forced to write about the umpteen-dozen bridesmaids, the overly extravagant surroundings, the showers, the engagement parties, rehearsal dinners, and receptions.  Molly didn’t want any part whatsoever of other people’s weddings – period!  Luckily for her, Olivia, a recent hire was fresh out of college and assigned to writing Obituaries so she asked her boss if she could trade with Olivia and write the Obits instead.  Ray’s response was “sure, it’s your funeral” and added “Molly Hacker you’re too picky.”
Molly’s first Obit was rather unusual.  The nephew of the man who passed away wanted to meet, Molly at Starbucks in person so he said he could communicate the true essence of what his uncle was really like.  In actual fact, he’d already seen Molly’s photo and how beautiful she was, called the newspaper and got Randy, Molly’s BFF and confidante who in turn passed her number onto this nephew.  He was also looking for a date if you can believe that.  Molly, was a tad annoyed with Randy but forgave him quickly when he began telling her about his latest crush – one Kyle Tillman who Randy said has “bedroom eyes.”  Kyle was new in town and he and Randy hit it off from the beginning.  Jokingly, Randy told, Molly, “race you to the altar.” 
Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! continues on as we witness poor, Molly juggling the love interest of “four” very different men.  There are a lot of humorous scenes along the way and quirky characters that’ll have you clutching your stomach.  Molly must also fend off the town’s most well-known and visible socialite, one, Naomi Hall-Benchley who is constantly trying to set Molly up with someone but only if there is something in it for herself. 
Randy, who is Molly’s BFF and co-worker, was one of my favourite characters.  He too is struggling with a new romance so he and Molly make great confidantes for each other.
The story takes us on a year long trek through Molly’s life and let me tell you, that Molly Hacker may be picky but that girl has stamina!  And, just wait until you get a view of the holiday party and what happens there, you won’t be able to read fast enough to take it all in.  Molly Hacker Is Too Picky! is a beautiful, wonderful, joyous, and comedic story of one woman’s struggle to make it to the altar.  Well-done Ms. Brodey, well-done!!


Story Description:
Penguin|June 25, 2013|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-14-318704-2
Jodi and Todd are at a bad place in their marriage.  Both are at the mercy of their unrelenting wants and needs, and both are unaware that the path they are on is careening toward murder.  Much is at stake, including the affluent life they lead in their beautiful waterfront condo in Chicago, as she, the killer, and he, the victim, rush haplessly toward the main event, oblivious of the destiny they are jointly creating, caught in the thrall of disaster unfolding. 
Chapter by chapter, the narrative evolves from their alternating perspectives.  He is a committed cheater.  She lives and breathes denial.  He exists in dual worlds.  She likes to settle scores.  He decides to play for keeps.  She has nothing left to lose.  The alternating voices pitch the reader back and forth between protagonists in conflict who are fighting for self-preservation, both of them making deeply consequential mistakes, behaving in ever more foolhardy ways, losing at the games they’re playing. 
The Silent Wife is a finely wrought emotionally charged psychological thriller about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, a couple headed for catastrophe, concessions that can’t be made, and promises that won’t be kept.  Expertly plotted and reminiscent of Gone Girl and These Things Hidden, The Silent Wife ensnares the reader from page one and doesn’t let go. 
My Review:
Jodi and Todd, never legally married have been together for about twenty years.  Jodi just never felt a piece of signed paper to prove their togetherness as a couple was really warranted.  short hours.  She makes just enough money to purchase little extras. 
They live in a beautiful waterfront condo overlooking the water in Chicago and have no children.  Their beloved dog, Freud is their happy baby. 
Lately their relationship has been somewhat strained, and little do they both realize at this moment is that Jodi will soon become the killer and Todd the deceased. 
Todd is a cheater taking up with his best friend’s twenty-one-year-old daughter, Natasha and gets her pregnant.  Jodi “lives and breathes denial.”  Todd rents an apartment and moves himself and his pregnant girlfriend in and they start making plans for their wedding which will take place before Natasha begins to show. 
Oddly enough, Todd still loves Jodi and I firmly believe that given the chance to hop off the merry-go-round he has found himself on, would go back to his quiet, settled life with Jodi.  Jodi, however, “likes to settle scores” and doesn’t quite see things in the same light. 
Told in alternating voices, The Silent Wife is a story about a marriage in the throes of dissolution, “ a couple headed for catastrophe.” 
A.D.A. Harrison’s writing was strong and varied, pulling you along deeper and deeper into the psychological interplay that was taking place in this relationship.  Jodi was a formidable foe in this relationship, appearing on the outside as a strong and well put together woman when really on the inside she was quietly planning the rest of her life. 
I thoroughly loved the pace of this book.  Although you wanted to know what was coming next, at the same time you didn’t want anything rushed.  You need to process the little nuances between the lines.  A very good book and an absolute delight to read. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

HAVEN: A Bishop/Special Crimes Unit Novel (KAY HOOPER)

Story Description:
Jove|April 30, 2013|Mass Market Paperbound|ISBN: 978-0-515-15371-2
After years away, Jessie Rayburn has finally returned home unwelcomed to a town of menacing whispers: Baron Hollow, North Carolina.  It’s a though she never left.  That’s why she’s so afraid. 
She left behind her estranged sister, Emma, who has her own secrets to protect.  But Emma is afraid to reveal what’s really troubling her and keeping her awake at night.  Strange dreams of women being murdered brutaly, viciously are haunting her in her sleep.  Now, in this conspiracy of silence, Emma’s bad dreams are becoming more real than ever. 
Even with the help of Noah Bishop, cofounder of Haven, the group of psychic investigators that Jessie works for, Jessie and Emma fear they won’t be able to outrun the secrets buried in Baron Hollow or the evil targeting them one last time. 
My Review:
Jessie Rayburn returns home to Baron Hollow, North Carolina after a fifteen year absence.  At age seventeen, she hopped into her car, left the town and never turned back.  Her fifteen year old sister, Emma stayed behind and is now running the family’s Inn.
Something happened that last night in Baron Hollow that Jessie just can’t remember.  All she knows is that it was bad and it was sinister and it was cruel.  She has returned to town after all these years to try and remember the missing memories of that night and try to repair her estranged relationship with her sister, Emma.
Jessie works for Haven, a subsidiary of the FBI.  A group of psychics with varying paranormal abilities work there and each works on cases according to their special talents. 
Jessie knows there will be lots of whispers about why she is suddenly back in town after such a long absence but she doesn’t really care.  She NEEDS to know what happened to her that night.
Meanwhile, Emma has been having horrendous nightmares about various women being murdered in brutal ways.  She doesn’t know if these dreams are real and if somewhere women really are being murdered as she sees them in her dreams or if they’re just that – dreams.
When a planted psychic operative from Haven is posted in Baron Hollow to keep an eye on Jessie, he stumbles upon a female body and it’s one of the women that Emma dreamed about.  Is this really happening then?  But no one has reported this woman missing.  What is going on?
Kay Hooper has penned another thriller.  This is a sit-at-the-edge-of-your-seat read that will keep you turning the pages until the very end.

Saturday, August 17, 2013


Story Description:
Penguin Books | October 26, 2010 | Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-59413-442-5
Read Beth Hoffman's blogs and other content on the Penguin Community.
Steel Magnolias meets The Help in this Southern debut novel sparkling with humor, heart, and feminine wisdom
Twelve-year-old CeeCee Honeycutt is in trouble. For years, she has been the caretaker of her psychotic mother, Camille-the tiara-toting, lipstick-smeared laughingstock of an entire town-a woman trapped in her long-ago moment of glory as the 1951 Vidalia Onion Queen. But when Camille is hit by a truck and killed, CeeCee is left to fend for herself. To the rescue comes her previously unknown great-aunt, Tootie Caldwell.
In her vintage Packard convertible, Tootie whisks CeeCee away to Savannah's perfumed world of prosperity and Southern eccentricity, a world that seems to be run entirely by women. From the exotic Miz Thelma Rae Goodpepper, who bathes in her backyard bathtub and uses garden slugs as her secret weapons, to Tootie's all- knowing housekeeper, Oletta Jones, to Violene Hobbs, who entertains a local police officer in her canary-yellow peignoir, the women of Gaston Street keep CeeCee entertained and enthralled for an entire summer.
Laugh-out-loud funny and deeply touching, Beth Hoffman's sparkling debut is, as Kristin Hannah says, "packed full of Southern charm, strong women, wacky humor, and good old-fashioned heart." It is a novel that explores the indomitable strengths of female friendship and gives us the story of a young girl who loses one mother and finds many others.
My Review:
Oh, I absolutely LOVED this novel!!!  For a debut novel it really belongs up there with the seasoned authors.  Beth Hoffman’s first novel is adorable, sweet, tear-jerking, heart-tugging, wise, and speaks to the wonderful hospitality, etiquette and good manners of the people of the South. 
 The characters are so well developed in the novel.  You will absolutely love CeeCee, Tootie, Oletta, and Mrs. Odell.  However, the relationship that CeeCee and Oletta carve out is unbelievable.  Just their relationship alone will make you laugh and make you cry.  Aunt Tootie’s kindness toward CeeCee is overwhelming, I wish she’d adopt me!
You’ll love the crazy neighbours, especially Ms. Hobbs and Ms. Goodpepper who don’t get along with each other at all and you’ll laugh your head off at a particular scene that takes place in Ms. Hobbs backyard one dark night with  CeeCee and Ms. Goodpepper, unbeknownst to Ms. Hobb, are witnessing moment-by-moment.  And you’ll be shocked and then laugh at what they pull at an elegant afternoon garden party for CeeCee. 
All in all this was one of the best books I’ve read this year and I’d recommend that everyone pick this one up, you won’t be disappointed!  This is definitely going on my permanent booshelf.  Congratulations Ms. Hoffman on a job well-done!