Sunday, July 31, 2022

Book Review - Take My Hand; Dolen Perkins-Valdez

(Penguin Random House Audio - library loan)
(Lauren Daggett - narrator) - very good
(10 hours 57 min)

Take My Hand was a fascinating story about injustice.

Civil Townsend is a black nurse whose first job is at a government funded, family planning clinic in 1973 Montgomery, Alabama.  Her first clients are the young Williams sisters, Erica, 13 and India 11. The girls live in squalor with their illiterate widowed father and grandmother in a rundown one room cabin.  It seems the sisters, like many other young black girls were part of forced birth control program. They were to begin getting birt control injections, even though neither girl was sexually active or even had a boyfriend. The drug (Depo-Provera) hadn't even received FDA approval.  Things go from bad to worse when Civil later finds that the something unthinkable has happened to the girls. What has happened can't be undone. Civil is outraged and not done fighting for these girls others like them.

This story was loosely based on actual events of a case known as Reif vs. Weinberger. It was wonderful to see Civil, a young black woman who had many advantages growing up fight for these girls. Together with her nursing friend Alicia and a lawyer named Ty, they take on the government to address the atrocities which occurred as they fight for justice.  The story is told in two timelines (1973 and (2016) when Civil is now 67.  This was a very satisfying yet heartbreaking read and so appropriate to what is happening in this country today. Highly recommended - a must read.

Rating - 5/5 stars

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Only Woman in the Room; Marie Benedict


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. 

This is my book club read for this month and it is a real page turner with very few characters. It is Fiction but based on a true story and should make for a good discussion book.

Sourcebooks - 2019 (purchased)

Part One
Chapter One

May 17, 1933
Vienna, Austria

"My LIDS FLUTTERED OPEN< BUT THE FLOODLIGHTS blinded me for a moment.  Placing a discreet, steadying, hand on my costar's arm, I willed a confident smile upon my lips whiIe I waited for my vision to clear.  The applause thundered, and I swayed in the cacophony of sound and light.  The mask I'd firmly affixed to myself for the performance slipped away for a moment, and I was no longer nineteenth-century Bavarian empress Elizabeth, but simply Hedy Kiesler."

What do you think - read more or pass?

Monday, July 25, 2022

Book Review - The Shell Seekers; Rosamunde Pilcher


The Shell Seekers; Rosamunde Pilcher
St. Martin's Press - 1997
20 Books of Summer

This is a book I've long meant to try and this past week was the perfect times to sit, relax and savor this gem.  Pilcher has a real talent of setting up her story in way where the reader gets to know everything about each character and get a feel for whatever the setting may be. Her books are long but, never a wasted word IMO either.

This is a story about Penelope Keeling, the family matriarch, now 64 years old,  she has just been released from the hospital following a heart attack.  She has (3) adult children, all very different as each views their childhood experiences quite differently and have turned out quite different as adults as well. Nancy, the oldest couldn't be more different from her mother - she is the only one who married and was a fancy woman, who wants everything showy and proper, appearances are everything.  Noel, the middle child was just going through the motions of life, looking to take the easy way to financial security. At 23, when he was still living at home with his mother instead of thinking about making his way in life, Penelope moved and told  him it was time to go out on his own.  Olivia, the youngest, was the most genuine, IMO,  She seemed to be the only one who fondly remembered her childhood. and was most like her mother.  

At the center of the story is a painting called "The Shell Seekers, painted by Penelope's father, Lawrence Stern, when Noel and Nancy realize the painting can sell for a huge amount of money, they encourage their mother to sell it while Olivia, who knows how much it means to their mother, feels it should remain with Penelope as it means so much to her.  It was interesting to learn about Penelope's early life back in Cornwall during WWII, people living with other people, the men in her life, the beautiful moments and life's tragedies.   This is a book to be enjoyed, and savored. You just don't find many gems like these today. Originally written in 1987. Highly Recommended

Rating - 4.5/5 stars


  • “The greatest gift a parent can leave a child is that parent's own independence.” 
  • “As long as Mumma was alive, she knew that some small part of herself had remained a child, cherished and adored. Perhaps you never completely grew up until your mother died.” 
  • “She had never lived alone before, and at first found it strange, but gradually had learned to accept it as a blessing and to indulge herself in all sorts of reprehensible ways, like getting up when she felt like it, scratching herself if she itched, sitting up until two in the morning to listen to a concert.” 
  • “Living, now, had become not simple existence that one took for granted, but a bonus, a gift, with every day that lay ahead an experience to be savoured. Time did not last forever. I shall not waste a single moment, she promised herself. She had never felt so strong, so optimistic. As though she was young once more, starting out, and something marvelous was just about to happen.” 

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Week in Review - What I've Been Reading

Another crazy week here with unexpected stressors.  I was having some leg swelling for past 6 months - just (1) leg usually and at the end of the day so my doctor set me up for a venous ultrasound which was on Tuesday.  They found a blood clot in my leg and ended up wheeling me over to the ER where I spent 6+ hours - they wanted to admit me as they found 2 smaller clots on lungs as well but, I ended up going home with blood thinners.  I'm so grateful my doctor had the insight to order that ultrasound.  It was scary but, I feel good though.  Then the following day my husband took a fall (no serious injuries - just sore.  When it rains it pours.  Life has to get better!

The temps have been in the low 90s all week so that made for more time indoors relaxing.  I posted reviews for Reputation; Vaughn and Tracy Flick Can't Win; Perrotta.  I was able to relax and enjoy the 600 page Shell Seekers; Rosamunde Piclher (review this week). It's a book I wanted to read --in summer -- for nearly 20 years. and it's of my 20 Books of Summer list as well. So happy I read it - very satisfying.

READING - I have a couple other really good books going right now that I hope to finish up this week.

            The Measure; Nikki Erlick 

I came by this book by chance on my library website and it had a unique premise which has appealed to me. I'm at he 70% mark and enjoying it.


Eight ordinary people. One extraordinary choice.

It seems like any other day. You wake up, pour a cup of coffee, and head out.

But today, when you open your front door, waiting for you is a small wooden box. This box holds your fate inside: the answer to the exact number of years you will live.

From suburban doorsteps to desert tents, every person on every continent receives the same box. In an instant, the world is thrust into a collective frenzy. Where did these boxes come from? What do they mean? Is there truth to what they promise?

As society comes together and pulls apart, everyone faces the same shocking choice: Do they wish to know how long they’ll live? And, if so, what will they do with that knowledge?

The Measure charts the dawn of this new world through an unforgettable cast of characters whose decisions and fates interweave with one another: best friends whose dreams are forever entwined, pen pals finding refuge in the unknown, a couple who thought they didn’t have to rush, a doctor who cannot save himself, and a politician whose box becomes the powder keg that ultimately changes everything.

Enchanting and deeply uplifting, The Measure is a sweeping, ambitious, and invigorating story about family, friendship, hope, and destiny that encourages us to live life to the fullest.

            Trailed; Kathryn Miles
               True Crime)

I'm about (3) chapters into this book and it's good but I'm also reading a couple other books at the same time.


A riveting deep dive into the unsolved murder of two free-spirited young women in the wilderness, a journalist's obsession—and a new theory of who might have done it.

They must have been followed. That’s the thought I return to after all these years . . .
In May 1996, two skilled backcountry leaders, Lollie Winans and Julie Williams, entered Virginia’s Shenandoah National Park for a week-long backcountry camping trip. The free-spirited and remarkable young couple had met and fallen in love the previous summer while working at a world-renowned outdoor program for women. During their final days in the park, they descended the narrow remnants of a trail and pitched their tent in a hidden spot. After the pair didn’t return home as planned, park rangers found a scene of horror at their campsite, their tent slashed open, their beloved dog missing, and both women dead in their sleeping bags. The unsolved murders of Winans and Williams continue to haunt all who had encountered them or knew their story.

When award-winning journalist and outdoors expert Kathryn Miles begins looking into the case, she discovers conflicting evidence, mismatched timelines, and details that just don’t add up. With unprecedented access to crucial crime-scene forensics and key witnesses—and with a growing sense of both mission and obsession—she begins to uncover the truth. An innocent man, Miles is convinced, has been under suspicion for decades, while the true culprit is a known serial killer, if only authorities would take a closer look.

Intimate, page-turning, and brilliantly reported, Trailed is a love story and a call to justice—and a searching and urgent plea to make wilderness a safe space for women—destined to become a true crime classic.

         Take My Hand; Dolen Perkins-Valdez

I read a review on Helen's Book Blog and added this one to my TBR list. The library hold became available and OMG what a wonderful (and sad) kind of story. It's so well written and I'm at about 55% point right now. 


Inspired by true events that rocked the nation, a searing and compassionate new novel about a Black nurse in post-segregation Alabama who blows the whistle on a terrible injustice done to her patients, from the New York Times bestselling author of Wench

Montgomery, Alabama, 1973. Fresh out of nursing school, Civil Townsend intends to make a difference, especially in her African American community. At the Montgomery Family Planning Clinic, she hopes to help women shape their destinies, to make their own choices for their lives and bodies.

But when her first week on the job takes her along a dusty country road to a worn-down one-room cabin, Civil is shocked to learn that her new patients, Erica and India, are children—just eleven and thirteen years old. Neither of the Williams sisters has even kissed a boy, but they are poor and Black, and for those handling the family’s welfare benefits, that’s reason enough to have the girls on birth control. As Civil grapples with her role, she takes India, Erica, and their family into her heart. Until one day she arrives at their door to learn the unthinkable has happened, and nothing will ever be the same for any of them.

Decades later, with her daughter grown and a long career in her wake, Dr. Civil Townsend is ready to retire, to find peace, and to leave the past behind. But there are people and stories that refuse to be forgotten. That must not be forgotten.

Because history repeats what we don’t remember.

Inspired by true events and brimming with hope, Take My Hand is a stirring exploration of accountability and redemption.

Book Club - Hoping to make our meeting this week - The Only Woman in the Room; Marie Benedict. Everyone has seemed to enjoy this one so I'm looking forward to our discussion.

Hope Everyone Has a Good Week!

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

First chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - Trailed: One Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders; Kathryn Miles


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. I just picked this one up at the library.


TrailedOne Woman's Quest to Solve the Shenandoah Murders; Kathryn Miles
Algonquin - 2022


THEY MUST HAVE BEEN FOLLOWED.  That's the thought I return to after all these years.

They must have been tracked as they left the Skyland lodge and stepped across Skyline Drive, the well-traveled backbone of Virginia's Shenandoah National Park.  He--for murderers are almost always hes--must have been prowling Skyland's Parking lots and public areas, hoping he's find the right target.  Perhaps he studied the two young women as they lounged in the grass outside the lodge, oblivious as they consulted a map or warmed themselves in the afternoon sun.  Maybe he bumped into one of them as she was leaving the restroom or grabbing a drink in the taproom.  Something about their countenance and mannerisms must have caught his eye, made him decide he'd found what he was hunting for.

What do you think - read more of pass? Are you a true crime fan? I am as long as it isn't too gory.


Monday, July 18, 2022

Book Review - The Lies I Tell; Julie Clark

The Lies I Tell; Julie Clark
Sourcebooks - 2022
(library loan)

After really enjoying this author's previous book: The Last Flight, I couldn't wait to try her latest thriller - I wasn't disappointed.

Meg Williams, is posing as a LA real estate agent selling high end properties.  She's a con artist and has an agenda that has brought her to LA.  Meg also her two other aliases as this isn't her first con job.   Kat Roberts is a journalist who has been waiting for Meg to surface after 10+ years.  She is ready to get friendly with Meg and then expose her and bring her down. At least initially Kat is determined to settle the score over something that happened a decade earlier. However, once Kat tracks Meg down and gets to know her better she begins to wonder whether she is the con artist she believed her to be or whether they are more alike than she could have ever imagined?

This is a fast-paced, twisty thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat.  Told from dual POVs in the past and present, this is a style that worked very well helping the reader understand why these women acted in the manner they did and why they felt that they had scores to settle. This author has a real talent for creating a propulsive story line that is difficult to put down once you begin reading. I also loved that her characters were fully fleshed making the reader feel like they knew everything there was to know about both women by the end of end of this novel. If you enjoy well written thrillers, be sure to check out everything this author has written. Highly recommended.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars

Sunday, July 17, 2022

Book Review - Reputation - Sarah Vaughn

Reputation; Sarah Vaughn
Atria/Emily Bestler Books - 2022
(print edition sent to me by publisher)

Emma Webster is a former teacher and now a British politician who has sacrificed a lot along the way.  She has worked hard to build her reputation while others have tried to destroy her.  Emma has a fourteen year old daughter named Flora who has had a tough time in school as a result of bullying and, although mother and daughter have a strained relationship at times, when another teen commits suicide after social media trolling and harassment, Emma is determined to do something about this.  She sets out to work on a new law that will hold individuals responsible for vicious online attacks and exploitation of others accountable for their actions.  When a journalist who has threatened Emma in the past is found dead in her home, things take a dramatic turn.

This was a timely thriller. Told from the POV of multiple narrators, I thought Emma and Flora were both strong characters.  There was a courtroom drama which was a bit too drawn out but, it was important to the story as well.  I loved the way the story played out very happy with the unexpected twist and the overall story line.

RATING - 4/5 stars

(NOTE: a print edition was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.)

Saturday, July 16, 2022

Book Review Catch Up - Tom Perrotta - Election and Tracy Flick Can't Win

 So this week I was looking for a couple of quick, easy reads and realized that Tom Perrotta, an author I haven't read in over (10) years, had a new book out.  I was curious who Tracy Flick was and then realized that Perrotta had first created Tracy F back in 1998 with his book called Election - which was also a movie.  Since I hadn't read Election, I grabbed a copy from the library and then immediately dove into Tracy Flick Can't Win afterwards - this time on audio. Both were fun reads and although some of the topics are more serious, the stories are written in a satirical, fun kind of way.

Election; Tom Perrotta
Penguin Group -1998 - library loan
(just over 200 pages)

When I sat down to begin Tracy Flick Can't Win, I realized Perrotta wrote about Tracy F some 20+ years earlier, so I immediately looked for Tracy's debut book at my local library.  I then learned that the book Election, was also a movie (1999).

So who is Tracy Flick? In 1993 she was an all around, ambitious high school girl who was determined to do it ALL  At Winwood High School in New Jersey Tracy set her sights on becoming the President.  Mr. M (McAllister), a history teacher and student government advisor holds a grudge against Tracy and convinces Paul Warren, a good looking, smart athletic type to run against Tracy.  What starts out as an exercise in educating young minds about the democratic process turns into something no one was expecting.

This was an easy book to read in one sitting if you are so inclined.  The POVs alternated between the younger students and the adults - which worked really well. Readers who enjoy satire should enjoy this story.

Rating - 3.5/5 stars
Tracy Flick Can't Win; Tom Perrotta
Simon & Schuster Audio - 2022
(6 hours 2 minutes - 6 diff narrators - very fun)
(audio download sent to me by publisher)

In book #2 Tracy Flick, now in her 40s is the Assistant Principal at a NJ high school. She has a 10 year old daughter, a boyfriend and a side business as well.  Things may be finally looking up for Tracy when the principal, Jack Weede, announces he plans to retire.  At the forefront of the school's agenda is The Green Meadow High School Hall of Fame.  Tracy and her male colleagues have differing opinions about who is best individual to be honored.  Once again, the tables seem stacked against Tracy but, is that how it will all play out?

People seem to respect Tracy but, they don't necessarily like her. She is a bit of a loner who feels like she has to do everything if it is to be done right.  Tracy is still a spunky fighter almost 30 years later and I found it hard not to root for Tracy.  The story had lots of salient topics: bullying, gun violence, adultery,  LBGTQ issues and more.  Although there isn't a lot to the overall storyline, the chapters are short, the story fun and satirical and overall, it made for quick entertaining read.  All the flashbacks to high school days and drama of days gone by made the story entertaining  What really gave this story a unique feel was the fact that the audio was narrated by (6) different voices.

Rating - 4/5 stars

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Book Review - Hatchet Island; Paul Doiron


Hatchet Island; Paul Doiron
Macmillan Audio - 2022 - (9 hours - 1 minute)
(narrator - Henry Leyva - very good)

Maine Game Warden, Mike Bowditch and his biologist girlfriend Stacey Stevens have been planning a sea kayaking / camping trip to the Maine Seabird Initiative, a sanctuary to puffins and terns where Stacey had once previously been a project manager.  She had received request from her friend Kendra Ballard asking her to come with Mike after the staff has faced some harassment from disgruntled lobstermen recently.  Things seem to take a more sinister turn when the project manager goes missing and gunshots during the night lead to the deaths of (2) interns.  Mike's job is to figure out what is going on and why a peaceful sanctuary has ended up a crime scene.

This is book #13 in the Mike Bowditch Maine Game Warden series but, this can easily be read as a standalone mystery.  What I love about this series is that it's very easy to pick up any title in the series and not feel lost.  The writing is always very good and the Maine setting, descriptiveness of the area, the people of Maine and all the little nuances that go along with each mystery just work so well and make me want to come back for more. In this case the peacefulness of the sanctuary for puffins and terns contrasted by the darker, sinister happenings gave the island an eerie feel.  The mystery was well-paced, atmospheric and had murder and mayhem to boot; the story held my interest. I liked that it took place over just a couple of days as well. Bowditch fans and newcomers to the series alike should not be disappointed.

Rating - 4.5/5 stars

(NOTE: The audio download was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.)

Tuesday, July 12, 2022

First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros - The Lies I Tell; Julie Clark


Welcome to First Chapter/Intros, hosted by Yvonne @ Socrates Book ReviewsEach week readers post the first paragraph (or 2) of a book we are reading or plan to read soon. I just picked this one up at the library.

The Lies I Tell; Julie Clark
Sourcebooks Landmark - 2022
(library loan)

Present - June

She stands across the room from me, in a small cluster of donors, talking and laughing.  A jazz quartet plays in a corner, the bouncing, slipping notes dancing around us, a low undertone of class and money. Meg Williams.  I take a sip of wine, savoring the expensive vintage, the weight of the crystal glass, and I watch her.  There are few photographs of her in existence \--a grainy senior portrait from an old high school yearbook, and another image pulled from a 2009 YMCA staff directory--but I recognized her immediately.  My first thought: She's back. Followed closely by my second: Finally.

What do you think, read more or pass?  I l loved a previous book by the author - The Last Flight, so I've been looking forward to the newer release.

Saturday, July 9, 2022

Week in Review - Books, Life, Family


I can tell already that this summer is going to be one that I won't be sorry to see end.  Other than leaving the house for must do reasons, I've been staying home, reading, napping and looking forward to better days.  I have been reading and listening to audio books which has been my saving grace.  I'm hoping to get to our monthly book group meeting at the end of the month - we are reading/discussing The Only Woman in the Room; Marie Benedict, which I hope to start it soon. Have you read it?

COVID is rampant around here again and so far hit our fully vaccinated, daughter-in-law, my daughter, son-in-law and (1) granddaughter so far. Fortunately, they have or are recovering.  

I realized I never did a June Reading update but, because, I've had plenty of book time, it was a very good month.  I read (16) books, a few were children's books, almost 1/2 were audiobooks and most were very enjoyable. Here's the list/review links:

  1. Lightning Strike; William Kent Kruger - 4/5 stars (June)
  2. The Book Woman's Daughter; Kim Michele Richardson - 4/5 stars
  3. Love and Saffron: A Novel of Friendship, Food & Love; Kim Fay - 4.5/5 stars
  4. Cloud Cuckoo Land; Anthony Doerr - 4.5/5 stars
  5. Lucy By the Sea; Elizabeth Strout - 5/5 stars
  6. A Rose Named Peace: How Francis Meilland Created a Flower of Hope for a World at War Non Fiction - 5/5 stars
  7. Celia Planted a Garden: Story of Celia Thaxter and Her Island; Phyllis Root & Gary D. Schmidt - non fiction - 5/5 stars
  8. What Happened to the Bennetts?; Lisa Scottoline - 3.5/5stars
  9. It All Comes Down to This; Therese Anne Fowler - 3/5 stars
  10. A Long Petal of the Sea; Isabel Allende - 3.5/5 stars (book group)
  11. The Foundling; Ann Leary - 4/5 stars
  12. Tin House Road; Ellen Airgood - 2.5/5 stars
  13. Legacy; Nora Roberts - 4/5 stars
  14. The Midcoast; Adam White - 4/5 stars
  15. The Hotel Nantucket; Elin Hilderbrand - 4/5 stars
  16. Vacationland; Meg Mitchell Moore - 4.5/5 stars

Favorite Books of June

I posted on Instagram,  in case you missed it, some of my favorite books from the first half of 2022.

Do you have a favorite read from 2022?

I received (2) beautiful new hardcovers from Simon & Schuster which brightened my week. Both are books I think I will enjoy.

Fellowship Point; Alice Elliot Dark

How is your Summer Reading going?  I'm doing okay sticking to my list but have also found some books to substitute to my original list of of (20) books - but who cares right?  I've read (8) books off of my original list so far and (3) alternatives.

  1. The Shell Seekers; Rosamunde Pilcher
  2. The Summer Place; Jennifer Weiner
  3. Tin Camp Road; Ellen Airgood - 2.5/5 stars
  4. Life Ceremony; Sayaka Murata
  5. The Club; Ellery Lloyd
  6. The Lobotomist's Wife; Samantha Green Woodruff
  7. Metropolis; B.A. Shapiro
  8. The Book Woman's Daughter; Kim Richardson - 4/5 stars
  9. Summer Love; Nancy Thayer
  10. Vacationland; Meg Mitchell Moore  4.5/5 stars
  11. The Lost Summers of Newport; Beatriz Williams
  12. The Hotel Nantucket; Elin Hilderbrand - 4/5 stars
  13. The House Across the Lake; Riley Sager - 3.5/5 stars
  14. It All Comes Down to This; Therese Anne Fowler - 3/5 stars
  15. Stay Awake; Megan Goldin
  16. A Sister's Story; Donatella DiPetrantonio - 3.5/5 sr=tars
  17.  The Midcoast; Adam White - 4/5 stars
  18. Godspeed; Nickolas Butler
  19. Summer Guest; Justin Cronin
  20. The It Girl; Ruth Ware
Have you made a list of summer reads; are any of mine on your list as well?

Alternate Summer Reads not on List
  1. Love and Saffron; Kim Fay - 4.5/5
  2. Lucy By the Sea; Elizabeth Strout - 5/5 stars
  3. The Foundling; Ann Leary - 4/5 stars
This week I'm looking forward to getting out a bit more and the following books:

  1. Reputation; Sarah Vaughn -- finish reading hardcover
  2. Tracy Flick Can't Win; Tom Perrotta -- finish audio
  3. The Shell Seekers; Rosamunde Pilcher - I've so been looking forward to what I think will be a real comfort read.
Have a good week everyone!

Friday, July 8, 2022

Book Review - A Sister's Story; Donatella Di Pietrantonio

A Sister's Story; Donatella DiPietrantonio
Europa Editions - 2022

After loving A Girl Returned (2019) and rating it a 5 star read for me, I was looking forward to this sequel.  This book was also translated by Ann Goldstein from the Italian.  Unfortunately, it felt almost like it was written by a different author.  

This is a story about sisters, one sister, our unnamed narrator, is a literature professor in Grenoble and she is "The Girl Returned" (as a teen) from the first book.  The other sister is Adriana, is a rather flighty, selfish and shallow young woman who seems to live for the moment.  She has a son named Vincenzo.  As the story opens our unnamed sister gets a call urging her to come to Pescara, Italy but, not the reason she has been summoned until quite a bit later.  The sisters have not seen each other in a good number of years and, we do eventually learn that Adriana is hospitalized after a bad fall and is in critical condition.  

While I was trying to figure out why one sister was summoned, we learn what has been going on in the lives of both sisters - neither came across as people I'd want to root for.  Although the story is only 176 pages, the structure was all over the place - not only does the story move back and forth in time, it also includes past and present relationships of the sisters and a few minor characters as well which was a tad confusing.  It's difficult for me not to compare this series to: My Brilliant Friend series, Elena Ferrante, another series about unlikeable Italian sisters. Unfortunately, I cannot recommend this novel without at least reading " A Girl Returned" first.

Rating - 3/5 stars 

Note:  An eGalley was sent to me by the publisher in exchange for my unbiased review.