Thoughts on Books (#12): The Fifth of July / Where the Crawdads Sing


The Fifth of July
The Fifth of July by Kelly Simmons
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The well-to-do Warner family has been summering on Nantucket for decades – it’s tradition, after all – but this year tragedy strikes over the 4th of July holiday. The story is told from the points of view of several characters, including different family members, the housekeeper, and the caretaker, of the imposing, timeworn beach house.

Right away you can feel the undercurrents of dysfunction in this family. It keeps you wondering what tragedy is lying in wait for these troubled people, and who among them could be responsible? They may not be the most likable bunch, but I found all of their stories compelling. Actually we’re presented with three mysteries that may or may not be connected, one decades old and two recent.

Overall I enjoyed the writing style, setting, and story (Nantucket Gothic?), though I was disappointed that there were unanswered questions in the end. I felt like two of the three mysteries weren’t truly solved – or maybe they were? Anyway, the ending was confusing, but I still feel like THE FIFTH OF JULY was a worthwhile read.

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


Where the Crawdads Sing
Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owens
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Here we have it, my favorite book of 2018! I think this one will be hard to top. Amazing!!

A swamp and a marsh are very different environments. A marsh is a thriving and nurturing place, and it’s there, along the North Carolina coast, that Kya lived and survived after being abandoned by her family as a young girl. Kya spent her days alone, observing the surrounding natural world, and it served her well.

Though she loved her marsh dearly, sometimes the loneliness was too much, especially as she grew into a young women. But after being abandoned by everyone she loved and shunned by the locals, who could she trust with her heart?

I don’t want to ramble on too much about the plot. This stirring, character-driven novel is part coming of age story, part mystery, and part love story — between Kya and two young men who she allows in her hidden world, but most of all, between Kya and her treasured marsh.

WHERE THE CRAWDADS SING is a gorgeously written and haunting novel with an unforgettable heroine, the Marsh Girl. What a bittersweet ending!! Tears, tears, tears. Just lovely.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.


“Nature and books belong to the eyes that see them.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#11): What We Find / The Book of Lost and Found


What We Find (Sullivan's Crossing, #1)
What We Find by Robyn Carr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

WHAT WE FIND is the beginning of another heart-warming small town saga from Robyn Carr. She’s my “most read” author, so yep, I enjoy her books very much.

This series is set in Colorado, at a place called Sullivan’s Crossing, located near the intersection of the Continental Divide trail & Colorado trail. How gorgeous would that place be? *sigh* Yet another Robyn Carr location I want to live in…

At Sullivan’s Crossing, there’s a campground and general store, and it’s all run by Sully, a cantankerous yet kindhearted guy who’s been there forever. It’s to Sullivan’s Crossing that Sully’s daughter, Maggie, returns, during a turbulent time of loss and great stress in her life. At the campground she encounters the very private Cal, someone else searching for calm and healing.

The easy pacing of this book was enjoyable, giving readers time to get to know the characters and the beautiful setting. Maggie is a strong and courageous woman, and if I was ever in trouble, I’d want her on my side. I was touched by Cal’s back story and was rooting for him to find happiness again.

I didn’t think the plot was particularly strong, though I know what the two main characters were headed for. Things had to be worked through. Closure first, then possibly a second chance at love? WHAT WE FIND is a solid start to the Sullivan’s Crossing series, and I’d recommend it to any fan of romantic women’s fiction. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


The Book of Lost and Found
The Book of Lost and Found by Lucy Foley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover of this book drew me in (American edition, 2015). That location is so gorgeous; I want to be there! Part of the book is set in Corsica, and the descriptions are amazing.

THE BOOK OF LOST AND FOUND is about a young woman’s quest to discover the story behind a portrait done 50 years ago, and one that her grandmother kept hidden for many years. The “present” (Kate’s story) was set in the 1980s, while the young artist’s love story was set in the 1930s. Who is the mysterious woman in the portrait who looks so much like Kate’s mother?

The premise of the book is completely my kind of story, though overall I wasn’t “wowed.” While the descriptions of time and place were beautiful, I thought that it was too wordy and slow. The relationships presented weren’t all that convincing.

This book covers many things – love lost, grief, separation, and family secrets. An OK read for me, just never truly hooked me. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


“What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson

THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#9): Bring Me Back / The Last Telegram


Bring Me Back
Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I devoured this book in one evening. I love psychological thrillers like this, ones that are entertaining, fast-paced, and keep you on edge the whole time.

So, Finn’s girlfriend Layla disappears one night on their way home from a ski trip. Was she kidnapped? Murdered? After a massive search that turns up nothing, Finn has no choice but to move on with his life. Fast-forward 12 years, and Finn is now engaged to Ellen, Layla’s sister. All is well until odd little trinkets from Layla’s past start showing up at Finn & Ellen’s house. What could it mean?

BRING ME BACK was a lot of fun to read. I think to fully enjoy it, you need to suspend disbelief to some extent, though the author did a great job making the implausible seem plausible. There were a couple of fantastic twists in this book. One reminded me of another thriller I loved, but then – BAM! – the author twists it again for another shocking surprise. This was a unique and addictive thriller that I’d highly recommend.

Thank you to the publisher for sending me a free ARC of this book.


The Last Telegram
The Last Telegram by Liz Trenow
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

An English silk factory makes for a unique setting in this lovely yet heartbreaking novel of World War II.

The main character is a young British woman named Lily whose plan to attend college in Switzerland is thwarted by the onset of the war. Instead, she begrudgingly agrees to learn silk weaving as an apprentice in her family’s mill, and grows to become quite savvy in the business. Supplying parachutes to soldiers becomes their mainstay. But at what cost?

Lily learns about love and friendship, survival and consequences, and dealing with the heaviness of guilt and the lightness that comes with forgiveness.

THE LAST TELEGRAM is a gripping and emotional read. The story alternates between Lily as an old woman telling her granddaughter about her past, and her days living, working, and surviving during WWII. It was part love story and part mystery. What were the secrets from her past that caused so much grief?

This is the second book by Liz Trenow that I’ve greatly enjoyed. I’d definitely recommend her novels to fans of historical fiction. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” ― James Baldwin