DREAMS OF FALLING by Karen White {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: June 5, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


On the banks of the North Santee River stands a moss-draped oak that was once entrusted with the dreams of three young girls. Into the tree’s trunk, they placed their greatest hopes, written on ribbons, for safekeeping–including the most important one: Friends forever, come what may.

But life can waylay the best of intentions….

Nine years ago, a humiliated Larkin Lanier fled Georgetown, South Carolina, knowing she could never go back. But when she finds out that her mother has disappeared, she realizes she has no choice but to return to the place she both loves and dreads–and to the family and friends who never stopped wishing for her to come home.

Ivy, Larkin’s mother, is discovered badly injured and unconscious in the burned-out wreckage of her ancestral plantation home. No one knows why Ivy was there, but as Larkin digs for answers, she uncovers secrets kept for nearly fifty years–whispers of love, sacrifice, and betrayal–that lead back to three girls on the brink of womanhood who found their friendship tested in the most heartbreaking ways.


“We are made by those who have built and broken us.” Set in gorgeous South Carolina lowcountry, DREAMS OF FALLING is about the strongest friendships and the painful secrets that test their bonds.

This is a multi-generational story told in both the past and present. In the early 1950s, three friends, Ceecee, Margaret, and Bitty, hide their wishes in the trunk of a magical tree, but the outcome was nothing like they’d expected. Be very careful what you wish for! Keeping secrets, even with the best intentions, can be so harmful even many years down the road.

In present day, Larkin returns to Georgetown, South Carolina, after nearly a decade in New York. Her mother Ivy is badly injured, and Larkin believes she wants to tell her something – about the past, their ancestral home, and Larkin’s grandmother. She’s been kept in the dark for so long that learning the truth will finally be a reprieve…

DREAMS OF FALLING is beautifully written Southern fiction with a Gothic touch, and a bit of mystery and romance too. It took me a few chapters to really get into the flow of things, especially trying to keep characters straight (ages, relationships, etc.), but once I was familiar with everyone, the story flowed nicely. The ending is sure to tug at your heartstrings.

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

THE GIRL I USED TO BE by Mary Torjussen {Review}


Publisher: Berkley
Release Date: April 24, 2018
Source: Review copy from the publisher
Rating: ★★★★


The acclaimed author of Gone Without a Trace delivers another twisting novel of psychological suspense in which a woman is backed against a wall – with nothing left to lose…

The morning after real estate agent Gemma Brogan has dinner with a prospective client, she’s furious at herself for drinking so much. But there will be more to regret than a nasty hangover.

She starts receiving mementos from that night: A photo of a hallway kiss. A video of her complaining about her husband. And worse…much worse. The problem is she doesn’t remember any of it.

As the blackmailing and menace ramp up, Gemma fears for her already shaky marriage. The paranoia, the feeling that her life is spiraling out of control, will take her back to another night – years ago–that changed everything. And Gemma will realize just how far the shadows from her past can reach…


THE GIRL I USED TO BE is a fast paced psychological thriller that sucked me in right away. Most of the book is told from main character Gemma Brogan’s point of view. She’s a successful real estate agent with her own firm, and supporting her stay-at-home hubby, Joe, and their young son, Rory.

Though Gemma loves her career, she feels stressed and stretched thin, and misses Rory during her long hours of work. Then a business trip to London goes terribly wrong, and now she’s in danger of losing everything she holds dear. Someone is clearly out to get her, but why?

The build up of suspense in this book was well done. In addition to her present day dilemma, Gemma is still haunted by something terrible from her past and its aftermath. Gemma’s desperate situation kept me glued to the pages. This is an unsettling story of blackmail, secrets, and revenge, with some great twists and emotional moments too.

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

THE SECRET, BOOK, AND SCONE SOCIETY by Ellery Adams


Series: Miracle Springs, North Carolina, #1
Publisher: Kensington
Release Date: October 31, 2017
Source: Review copy from the author
Rating: ★★★★


From New York Times bestselling author Ellery Adams comes the first in an intriguing new series set within a quirky small-town club where the key to happiness, friendship—or solving a murder—can all be found within the pages of the right book…

Miracle Springs, North Carolina, is a place of healing. Strangers flock here hoping the natural hot springs, five-star cuisine, and renowned spa can cure their ills. If none of that works, they often find their way to Miracle Books, where, over a fresh-baked “comfort” scone from the Gingerbread House bakery, they exchange their stories with owner Nora Pennington in return for a carefully chosen book. That’s Nora’s special talent—prescribing the perfect novel to ease a person’s deepest pain and lighten their heaviest burden.

When a visiting businessman reaches out to Nora for guidance, she knows exactly which novels will help. But before he can keep their appointment at Miracle Books, he’s found dead on the train tracks.

Stunned, Nora forms the Secret, Book, and Scone Society, a group of damaged souls yearning to gain trust and earn redemption by helping others. To join the society, members must divulge their darkest secret—the terrible truth that brought each of them to Miracle Springs in the first place.

Determined to uncover the truth behind the businessman’s demise, the women meet in Nora’s cramped and cozy bookstore to share stories and trade support. And as they untangle a web of corruption, they also discover their own courage, purpose, and a sisterhood that will carry them through every challenge—proving it’s never too late to turn the page and start over…


THE SECRET, BOOK, AND SCONE SOCIETY is the first in a new series by Ellery Adams that beautifully combines my favorite elements of mystery, magical realism, and women’s fiction. The book is set in the enchanting town of Miracle Springs, North Carolina – a place that draws people in need of healing – including main character Nora Pennington and the other members of the Secret, Book, and Scone Society. The group forms initially to investigate the death of an out-of-town businessman, but a strong bond of friendship forms as each woman’s most painful secret is revealed.

Nora’s character is a bibliotherapist, and she always knows the right books to recommend to someone in need of guidance. Readers who love stories about books will appreciate the many titles mentioned and literary quotes throughout, as well as Nora’s amazing bookstore.

This book was a bit darker than a typical cozy mystery in that the secrets revealed were weightier than I expected. Still, this character-driven mystery was strong and kept me engaged. Enjoyed!

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