RULE OF THREES by Marcy Campbell


Publisher: Chronicle Books
Release Date: May 11, 2021

RULE OF THREES is an absorbing middle grade family drama that tackles some serious issues, including drug addiction, Alzheimer’s, and infidelity. While these heavy subjects are presented realistically, the ending will leave readers hopeful.

Maggie is a sixth grader, just starting middle school, and she’s already feeling stress from an uneasy shift in her friend group from elementary. It’s a time when relationships change, and new people come into your life, but Maggie never dreamed one of them would be a half-brother she knew nothing about!

Tony is a year older than Maggie, and with his mother struggling with drug addiction, he has no choice but to live with his father who may as well be a stranger. I adored Tony and Maggie, and my heart went out to them. Their reactions to this situation beyond their control were so genuine, and I loved seeing the growth in their characters over time.

This is a thoughtful coming of age story with compelling, imperfect characters dealing with relatable struggles, and it was a delight to read. Highly recommended! β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Β 

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THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND by Colleen Oakley

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: May 25, 2021

This book was so charming and uplifting. Anders is a journalist working for a small newspaper when he gets assigned to cover the annual cake walk on remote Frick Island. It’s a place without internet and without cell phones, but what it does have is a curious story about a young widow named Piper who acts as though her husband Tom is still alive, and an entire town that goes along with it.

I did question the town’s decision to pretend that Tom was really there (helpful or harmful?), but I decided to suspend disbelief and go with it too!

Anders’s real dream is to be a famous podcaster, and Piper’s peculiarity could be just the hook to reel in thousands of listeners β€” but at what cost? I liked Anders. He was soooo not what you’d picture as a romantic hero. Awkward. Kind of goofy, though not really meaning to be. A good heart, but not perfect by a long shot.

THE INVISIBLE HUSBAND OF FRICK ISLAND takes a unique premise and adds a little mystery and romance to create a sweet story of love, loss, and loyalty. I wish it had been more emotional like the author’s last book, YOU WERE THERE TOO, but I still enjoyed it and recommend as the perfect summer read! β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Β 

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OF WOMEN AND SALT by Gabriela Garcia


Publisher: Flatiron Books
Release Date: March 30, 2021

I’m torn over this book. I feel like OF WOMEN AND SALT paints a distressing and realistic picture of immigration to the US, particularly what it’s like for women from Latin America entering the country illegally. I would call it a timely novel, though detention centers, family separation, and deportation have been going on for many years.

My issue with this book was its lack of a strong plot. This has been mentioned in other reviews, but it’s more a collection of short stories, some very compelling and others not so much. The novel alternates between several different time periods (not chronologically) and POVs from different generations of women from a Cuban/Cuban American family. It also includes the story of a mother and daughter from El Salvador, whom I loved the most.

This was a short novel, and with the choppy nature of the chapters I felt like the story was missing something that would have tied everything together. There were also characters I wish had been fleshed out more, like Maria Isabel who worked in a cigar factory in 1860s Cuba. I wanted to know more about her life.

OF WOMEN AND SALT is a heartbreaking book that explores mother/daughter bonds, loss, survival, and desperate choices. I just wish it had been more cohesive. β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book (ARC) from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME by Laura Dave

Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: May 4, 2021

Wow, I loved this book! THE LAST THING HE TOLD ME is an unputdownable twisty suspense novel and family drama that hooked me right away.

Owen and Hannah have only been married a short time when he suddenly disappears. Owen’s last message to Hannah was a note saying, “Protect her,” and she immediately knows he’s referring to his 16-year old daughter, Bailey, whose own mother died when she was very young.

Hannah and her stepdaughter have a chilly relationship, with Bailey wanting nothing to do with her. However, their quest to figure out what happened to Owen and what he’s been hiding begins to change their dynamic.

This is one of the best domestic suspense novels I’ve read, with realistic characters and a believable story. I enjoyed the author’s wonderful, absorbing writing. The last line of the book got me choked up a bit! Highly recommended. β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES by Pamela Terry


Publisher: Ballentine Books
Release Date: March 16, 2021

β˜† Stunning Debut β˜†

THE SWEET TASTE OF MUSCADINES is a gorgeously written novel about siblings who uncover shocking family secrets after their mother Geneva Bruce dies unexpectedly.

Lila and Henry have avoided their childhood home in Wesleyan, Georgia, for most of their adult lives. Their relationship with Geneva was strained, yet their younger sister (who never left) was very close to their mother. All three Bruce children are baffled as to why Geneva died under the muscadine arbor in the middle of the night, and they also have no idea about the secrets she kept hidden for decades that will upend their lives.

The prose is lovely and lyrical, and you can pull passages from every page and say “wow!” As someone who grew up in small-town Georgia, I can say that the author perfectly captured the South in her rich descriptions and within her characters. If you enjoy compelling women’s fiction with true Southern flair, move this book to the top of your list! β€” 𝓓𝓲π“ͺ𝓷π“ͺ

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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