THOUGHTS ON BOOKS (#10): Something in the Water / The Dress Shop of Dreams


Something in the Water
Something in the Water by Catherine Steadman
My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars

This anxiety-inducing book was A LOT of fun to read. It’s gotten major buzz since it’s a Reese’s Book Club pick. There were 200 holds for it at my library, but I noticed ONE copy was available on the Limited Loan shelf at the branch across town. Of course, I’m there when they opened that morning to elbow my way to the top. I had to know what’s in the water!!

The opening chapter starts with a bang. You’re left wondering, how in the heck did it come to that?? The set-up: A honeymooning couple make a shocking discovery on their trip to Bora Bora. OK, so after the stunning opening, the pacing was very slow until about the 30% mark. I think I was just TOO impatient – waiting, waiting, waiting – to find out what was in the water. And then, thunk thunk thunk…

SOMETHING IN THE WATER was such an entertaining book, but also made me very nervous! Some of the decisions the characters made (especially Erin) made me STOP to blink my eyes repeatedly. What were you thinking??

After the big discovery, the author did a fantastic job keeping the suspense going and the pages turning. I can’t think of a more perfect “beach” thriller to read this summer. This is Catherine Steadman’s debut novel (wow!), and I’m looking forward to reading more from her in the future.


The Dress Shop of Dreams
The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

What a sweet and enchanting love story! Etta runs a very special shop where she sells dresses stitched with a wee bit of magic to help her customers’ wishes come true.

One person Etta longs to help is her granddaughter, Cora. Cora’s parents died when she was young, and for most of her life, she’s hidden herself away doing research as a scientist. She’s oblivious to the fact that her lifelong friend, Walt, is madly in love with her.

Worried that Cora will lose Walt, Etta does a little magical meddling with the best intentions. But, of course, things don’t always go as planned…

This book is a lovely blend of mystery, romance, and magical realism. Many characters are introduced, each with a compelling backstory to share. There are four separate romances happening in this book, and some overlap, but each one remains unique.

I would like to have learned more about Etta’s magical gift and where it originated, but I guess that will remain a mystery.

If you’re in need of a whimsical and uplifting novel, I’d definitely recommend THE DRESS SHOP OF DREAMS. Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.


“Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.” ― Roald Dahl

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by David Bell {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: July 10, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


In this pulse-pounding novel of psychological suspense from the USA Today bestselling author of Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away, a man must save the life of a little girl who just might be his daughter…

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing–and Michael is the father. Unsure whether this is the truth but unwilling to leave the girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted but never knew he had.

After Michael departs, his wife, Angela, learns shocking news about Erica and fears for the safety of both her husband and the endangered girl. When a stranger, a man who claims a connection to Erica and her missing daughter, knocks on the door, Angela is drawn out into the night–and deep into the tangled web of Michael’s past…

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth…


Michael Frazier is in for a shock when his ex-wife, Erica, shows up unexpectedly at his door one evening. They divorced 10 years ago, but she’s back to tell him that her nine-year old daughter, Felicity, is missing (surprise!) and that Felicity is Michael’s daughter too (bigger surprise!). Erica is desperate for his help. He has no time to wrap his mind around this revelation before he’s caught up in the mad search for Felicity too. Angela, his current wife, is none to thrilled with the situation, but what can she do? A child is missing…

SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER is a gripping mix of suspense, mystery, police procedural, and family drama. The whole book takes place over one night, and the short chapters with alternating perspectives kept the pace flying along. Lots of intriguing characters are introduced, and whether they’re trustworthy or not is up in the air. Let’s just say that Erica wasn’t the only one with secrets.

My one quibble with the book is that it left me with some unanswered questions. One important story line ended abruptly without any further explanations. I had other questions too, about Erica and some supporting characters. Maybe the ending was just rushed?

Overall, I thought that SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER was an exciting, entertaining, and emotional thriller, which you can always count on from David Bell.

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

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