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September 4, 2017

Susan's August Reading Round Up

by Susan Roberts

Summer is leaving us and August is over. Long summer days of reading at the beach or pool are coming to an end and it's time to get the kids back into school and start thinking about cooler weather. There's still time to read a few more books before fall comes and I have several to recommend to you.
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Mrs. Saint and the Defectives by Julie Lawson Timmer 

Mrs. Saint and the Defectives
This is a wonderful book about family, friendship, and neighbors. Markie's life has fallen apart after a public humiliation about her husband's infidelity. She and her teenage son move to a neighborhood where she doesn't know anyone and plans not to make friends. Her plan is quickly ruined by a small older French accented neighbor who quickly tries to pull Markie and her son into her world. The neighbor, Mrs. Saint runs a different type of household and has various very quirky and down on their luck people helping her - a cook who burns everything, a brash mother and her small daughter and a handyman who tends to mess up everything that he works on. As Markie resists being pulled into the life of the people next door, her son Jesse begins to get to know them. Markie finds that maybe its time to leave her intended isolation and accept the friendship being offered and the results of that decision are wonderful for her and her son.

This is a fun book to read - often funny but more importantly very timely with two main themes - joy in life can be found by helping people who need help and family is more than blood relations, its made up of the people we care most about.

Thanks to the author for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion.

Buy Mrs. Saint and the Defectives at  Amazon

Emma in the Night by Wendy Walker 

Emma in the Night
This is the second book that I've read by Wendy Walker and she just keeps on getting better. I loved this book and once I started it, I didn't put it down until I finished it. This was a fantastic suspense novel with a twist at the end that I didn't see coming.

Cass was 15 when she showed up at her mother's door after being gone for three years. She and her sister Emma had disappeared the same night and after exhaustive FBI searches, it was assumed that they had been kidnapped or they were dead. When Cass showed up she was unable to tell her parents exactly where she'd been and more importantly where her sister Emma was. It is apparent that she is keeping secrets but no one knows why. Among the investigators was forensic scientist Abby Winter who had investigated during the first search for the girls and has secrets of her own to keep hidden. Cass and all the investigators' main goal is to find Emma but is that going to happen or is Emma's location another secret to uncover.

This is a fantastic suspense novel and as the facts are revealed slowly, the reader is kept in suspense as to the final outcome. I look forward to what this author will write in her next novel.

Thanks to Goodreads for a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest opinion.

Buy Emma in the Night at Amazon

The Cage-maker by Nicole A. Seitz 

The Cage-maker
After five years of waiting for a new book from Nicole Seitz - the wait was over on August 15. It's never fun to wait for a new book by one of your favorite authors but when you start reading it and it's fantastic -- well it's time to do a happy dance! I want to thank Story River books for a copy of the arc to read and review. Story River Books keeps continuing to put out fantastic books - I don't usually pay much attention to who publishes books but I am always on the lookout for books from Story River.

The Cage-maker is a story that stretches from late 1800 to present day. It tells the story of an artist who made bird cages - not just any bird cages but intricately created works of art. It is also the story of Dr. René Le Monnier, a physician who fought in the Civil War and the man who is central to the entire story. He knows the present day Kurucar family and he knew the artist who made cages and he knew Madame Solay. Dr. LeMonnier is the person who starts looking into the belief of a family curse and tries to dispel it. There is an interesting mystery that ties all of these people together and it's told through letters, the doctor's journal entries and newspaper articles.

This is Southern Gothic at its best. To sum it all up, I am going to add part of the information from the publisher because it says it all much better than I can:

"It reveals much about criminal justice, about early-twentieth-century notions of care for the mentally ill, and, most important, about the many ways in which the weight of history hangs over the present from one generation to the next."

Buy The Cage-maker at Amazon

Map of the Heart by Susan Wiggs

Map of the Heart
I have been a long time reader of Susan Wiggs and this is my favorite book by her. It's a wonderful story told in a dual time line with characters that readers can identify with. The settings in France are beautiful and the plot keeps the reader interested until the last page.

Camille and her teenage daughter, Julie, live by themselves in a small town and both are still mourning the loss of their husband/father five years after his death. Camille used to be brave and fearless but since her husband's death in a climbing accident, she wants to live safely in her own little bubble and (much to her daughter's dismay), she wants to keep Julie in the bubble with her. A mysterious package sent to her father from his family in France, starts the three of them on an adventure to find answers to all of their questions about her father's parents. The second story line is the story of Camille's grandparents in France during WWII. These story lines are told simultaneously and when they meld together at the end, the secrets are revealed.

This is so much more than a typical love story - it's a perfect blend of a love story and historical fiction and is a fantastic book to read. I highly recommend it.

Thanks to LibraryThing for a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

Buy Map of the Heart at Amazon

Where the Sweet Bird Sings by Ella Joy Olsen 

Where the Sweet Bird Sings
This is a beautiful well-written book about grief and love and family. It looks at a family's response to tragedy and whether they can move beyond it and go back to their lives.

Emma and Noah have lost a child who had a rare genetic disorder. Noah is ready to move on and try to have another child by using extensive testing procedures. Emma is unable to move on and when her beloved grandfather dies on the one year anniversary of their child's death, her grief is compounded. She feels that she and Noah can never try to take the chance of having another child and since he deserves to have a family, she leaves him despite the fact that she loves him. While she is living with her mother, she is cleaning out her grandfather's house and finds pictures that make her think that there is a mystery in her family past that may explain where the gene came from that caused her child's disease and she is determined to find out the story behind where the disease came from. My heart ached for Emma as she tried to accept the death of her child and learn to move ahead in her life. It seemed for so long that for every step forward, she took two back but I was cheering her on for her entire journey,

This is a beautiful well-written novel about coping with grief and learning that family may not be made up of DNA but of love and shared history.

Thank you to the author for a copy of this book to read and review.

Buy Where the Sweet Bird Sings at Amazon

Susan Roberts lives in North Carolina when she isn't traveling.  She and her husband enjoy traveling, gardening and spending time with their family and friends.  She reads almost anything (and the piles of books in her house prove that) but her favorite genres are Southern fiction, women's fiction, and thrillers. Susan is a top 1% Goodreads Reviewer. You can connect with her on Facebook, Goodreads or Twitter.

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  1. Great wrap-up!! I cannot wait to get my hands on Emma in the Night!

  2. Good to hear you loved the new Susan Wiggs, I saw a lukewarm review for it and my heart went down. I have it on the way to me and should be here soon. I like her very much too so should find it to my taste.

    1. I think this book is more women's fiction than her previous books which were more romance genre. I hope you like it.

  3. I have the audiobook version of Mrs Saint and the Defectives waiting to read. Come see what I'm reading

  4. Great looking books; just followed you on Bloglovin

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. Mrs. Saint and the Detectives looks great! What a wacky fun name. I should check it out.
    Have a great reading week!