Death On The Menu by Lucy Burdette

Death On The Menu

 

Welcome to the exciting and fun world of Haylee Snow, food critic for Key Zest Magazine in breezy Key West, Florida.  If this is your first time reading the series,  settle yourself in for a treat. If you’re already a fan, get ready to enjoy DEATH ON THE MENU which is number eight in the Key West Food Critic’s Mystery Series.

I fell head over heels  years ago when I read the first of the series,  AN APPETITE FOR MURDER. You see, I’ve loved Key West for thirty years. Visited every chance I could get. When I discovered Lucy Burdette,

Lucy Burdette

I knew I had hit on something big.  Each book returns to the island with a new adventure filled with great food, atmospheric restaurants, sunset pier, Houseboat Row, Miss Gloria, the cats, and all the colorful characters I’ve come to love. Oh yeah, and  there’s always a murder.

DEATH ON THE  MENU begins with Miss Gloria and Haylee reading  over the Key West Citizen and speculating about the upcoming event of the season. Haylee will be helping her mom who is just getting her fledgling catering business off the ground. They’ve gotten a big gig and will be doing all the food for a three day affair at Harry Truman’s Little Whitehouse. There’s lots of chatter as to who will be showing up. Could even be Jimmy Buffett or President Obama. It’s going to be that big of a deal.  But when Haylee’s boyfriend Nathan who’s a detective with the Key West Police Department shows up to warn Haylee of expected trouble at the event, they start getting a premonition.

Haylee doesn’t scare off easily. Off she goes in the morning, just as planned, to help mom.  Celebrities do show up. Even Diana Nyad gives a speech, Obama says a little something, and Jimmy Buffett sings some tunes and strums his guitar and adds a lot of color. And then the trouble comes along.  Along with a murder. And the theft of  rErnest Hemingway’s Nobel prize gold medal for THE OLD MAN AND THE SEA that was stolen right from its case in the museum.

Let the crime solving begin. Lots of amazing food shows up in this novel. And Burdette very generously shares eight recipes at the back of the book. Very cool.  I am so impressed that I’ve decided to try my hand at the black bean soup later this week. It looks like the most authentic black bean soup I’ve seen and I can’t wait to try it.

I never get tired of hearing about the tucked away side streets of Key West.  Just the thought of the bakeries and restaurants make my mouth water . And the Cuban  coffee.

Haylee Snow lives on a houseboat with Miss Gloria, a very feisty octogenarian.  She might be a senior citizen but she’s no slouch. Sharp as a whistle and quick on her feet, she also loves animals. That totally endears me to her.   Evinrude and Sparky are wonderful editions to the cast of characters in that they are both cats and live on the boat. I have always been fond of the eclectic  houseboats of Key West.

Key West Houseboats

Haylee seems to have a dream job. After all, who wouldn’t want to review restaurants for a living in Key West? But you have to know there are trials and tribulations a plenty.

This is a colorful series full of “take me away from it all” scenarios. Just what we all need right now.  There are nine books in the series and one coming in a couple weeks. So you have plenty of back stock to keep you reading . DEATH ON THE  MENU  came out last spring in hardcover and is now available in mass market paperback. You can get your copy at

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

Copperfish Books. Word on the street is they have them in stock right now. But, don’t wait. These puppies disappear quickly. Oh, and before I forget, we’ll be doing a zoom event with Lucy Burdette  on August 11, the pub date for THE KEY LIME CRIME. More on that later this week!

Book Of Lost Names by Kristin Harmel

The Book of Lost Names

Eva Traube Abrams, a semi-retired librarian in Florida, is shelving books one morning when her eyes lock on a photograph in a magazine lying open nearby. She freezes; it’s an image of a book she hasn’t seen in sixty-five years—a book she recognizes as The Book of Lost Names.

The accompanying article discusses the looting of libraries by the Nazis across Europe during World War II—an experience Eva remembers well—and the search to reunite people with the texts taken from them so long ago. The book in the photograph, an eighteenth-century religious text thought to have been taken from France in the waning days of the war, is one of the most fascinating cases. Now housed in Berlin’s Zentral- und Landesbibliothek , it appears to contain some sort of code, but researchers don’t know where it came from—or what the code means. Only Eva holds the answer—but will she have the strength to revisit old memories and help reunite those lost during the war?

As a graduate student in 1942, Eva was forced to flee Paris after the arrest of her father, a Polish Jew. Finding refuge in a small  town in the Free Zone, she begins forging identity documents for Jewish children fleeing to neutral Switzerland. But erasing people comes with a price, and along with a mysterious, handsome forger named Rémy, Eva decides she must find a way to preserve the real names of the children who are too young to remember who they really are. The records they keep in The Book of Lost Names will become even more vital when the resistance cell they work for is betrayed and Rémy disappears.

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The above synopsis of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES is taken from Goodreads and does a great job of introducing this amazing novel based on real historic events during WW11. Those of you who follow my blog already know I’m a big fan of Kristin Harmel. I’ve been reading her wonderful historical novels for years and love them all. Kristin puts her heart and soul into each book. She also is the queen of research. THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES  is no  exception.

There really is an old religious text called Epities et Evangiles that Kristin used as the basis for THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES.  It does not include code like she used in  THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES, though. Kristin has a copy of this 1732 text. She was kind enough to show it  to me through the magic of the internet. Kristin also has a copy of the Journal Officiel from 1944 which is in THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES.  Great inspiration.

I’ve read a lot of fiction set during WW11. I still love reading about it. And I especially love finding new stuff.  I love that this book is based on a true story. That enhances the experience for me. It’s continual learning.  And I’m finding that I am even more of a sponge now than ever.  I learned an awful lot about the intricacy of forgery in this new novel. At times, when Eva was working on a document, knowing how critical it was for it to be perfect, I could actually hear my own heart pounding in my chest.

This novel of courage, survival, and endurance is such an inspiration to all women everywhere.  The sense of place is superb. The roundups in Paris were very real. The losses were profound. The scenes in the tiny town of Aurigon in the safe zone way atop the mountains were breathtaking and perfectly set the tone for the story. I still close my eyes and see the inside of the book room within the church . And I can almost hear the voice of the priest as he’s going about the business of safekeeping.

Raves from PW

My review copy of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES came from Gallery Books  in exchange for an honest review. Yes, Yes, I loved it!

Kristin Harmel

Kristin Harmel is the internationally bestselling of WHEN WE MEET AGAIN, THE SWEETNESS OF FORGETTING, and most recently THE WINEMAKER’S WIFE, as well as other novels.  She lives in Florida with her husband and young son. We’ve been so fortunate to have her visit Copperfish Books and sign her books in years past. I can tell you firsthand that Kristin Harmel is an absolute delight!

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

You can purchase copies of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES at Copperfish Books on July 21. They will be discounted 20%. Don’t miss out on this amazing book. And, you can sign up for a virtual event with Kristin tomorrow from our website. How cool is this.

 

Maurice’s Mid-Summer Musings For July

I just couldn’t resist posting this recent photo of the NYC Public Library Lions, masked. It speaks volumes about the atmosphere of our country during these challenging times.

NIC Public Library Lions Masked

I can hardly believe it’s July. June blew through our neighborhood at Surfside like a tornado.  It certainly was the quickest month of the quarantine for me.

Afternoon tea party

We had a careful visit from our Asheville family in the middle of June. They drove down and rented a big house with a pool where we all could congregate. We vacillated between our house and theirs for a week. It was an amazing visit for which we are grateful. The kids are growing in leaps and bounds. Emerson is eleven and has turned into a lovely young lady. Liam is so tall I now have to put my head back to look way up to him.  It had been way too long since we had seen them. We even had an appointment at Copperfish Books so they could all see the store and we all happily brought new books home. We were the only visitors in the store and felt very safe. That’s so important these days. You, too, can book private appointments to shop at Copperfish.

Me & Emerson, matching shirts

I’ve been reading. Imagine that. I have stepped it up and have begun reading more literary books. I’m even reading some great non-fiction. And, I read a LOL novel by Carl Hiaasen called SQUEEZE ME that will

Squeeze Me

be available for sale in August.  My copy was a digital review copy.

I’ve been doing some baking and have enjoyed scouring my cookbooks for appealing recipes. I even have begun dabbling with making bread. This is something I used to really enjoy doing when the kids were small.

Homemade bread

My ipad is groaning with many digital review copies of upcoming books.  One I recently read and enjoyed is THE LIONS OF FIFTH AVENUE by Fiona Davis.  You’ll be happy to know it will be available for sale in August. I predict it will be a real force and I know you are every one going to want to read it.

The Lions of Fifth Avenue

I have discovered digital jigsaw puzzles. Never thought this would be my cup of tea. I so love doing actual jigsaw puzzles but, our kitties enjoy doing them even more than we do…. You can only imagine missing puzzle pieces found later in unlikely kitty-cat hidey-holes.

Backyard mangoes

Just look at these  beauties!  Our neighbor has two gigantic mango trees in her backyard. She is allergic to them. But I am not. Many of the limbs hang over into our yard. Neruko has kindly given us permission to help ourselves. Those of you who know of mango trees know that they can bear tons of fruit. That is exactly what we are finding out.  Frozen mango smoothies in summer are amazing. Healthy and delicious.

This is the month to play catch up with yearly Dr. appointments. I have lined up all the important ones and now will not have to worry about trying to get squeezed in during the winter months. Is good. Eyes, skin, knees, and breasts😎

My husband is bringing home empanadas from the Cafe tonight for dinner. I’m making a tomato and mozzarella  salad with some of our fresh basil to go with. We’re looking forward to cooking ribs on the grill and enjoying some good corn on the cob on the 4th. We won’t be going anywhere but have decided to catch up on some movies and books. We will relax.  I hope you have a good book to read over the holiday. My daughter will be enjoying 28 SUMMERS by Elin Hilderbrand.

Me with 28 Summers at Copperfish.

She is so in for a treat!!! This is one of the books of summer I plan on rereading and that’s not I do very often. Yes, it’s that good. And I may even try to watch the movie that was Elin’s inspiration: This Time Next Year.

The Book of Lost Names

I’m so looking forward to the release date of THE BOOK OF LOST NAMES by Kristin Harmel. The pub date is July 21. This is an amazing novel of WW11 based on real history. As always, we can count on Kristin to do her research. You are going to adore this book.

Here in Florida, the news is not good about the virus. Too many people are not taking precautions; not social distancing, not protecting others by wearing masks, and just not being careful. After this upcoming holiday weekend, I fear the numbers will be even higher. As I write, the Cape Coral City Council is meeting to decide on a big announcement.  Might be mandatory masks for all in public. I do wish everyone a good, safe, holiday. We can still have fun, we just don’t have to be on top of each other. Cheers!🙀

A Children’s Bible by Lydia Millet

A Children’s Bible

A CHILDREN’S BIBLE, by Lydia Millet, is a smart, new literary novel about environmental issues.  The narrator is a teenaged girl named Evie.  Evie is spending the summer in a large rental mansion, lakeside. She’s not alone. There are several families sharing this experience.  Lots of kids and a bunch of parents who seem to care only for their own pleasure. We quickly learn that the kids are truly left  hanging out to dry. Evie has completely taken over the care of her little brother Jack who is toting around a new book one of the “mothers” has given  him.  It’s a children’s bible and filled with pictures taken from The Good Book including many animals.

Kirkus says,” A group of children are forced to fend for themselves in the face of rising sea levels, worsening storms, and willfully ignorant parents.”  That could pretty much sum it up in a nutshell. But there’s so much more. 

I see this novel as a modern-day LORD OF THE FLIES with climate change. The kids are stars of the story. The parents are living in a hedonistic mess.  The kids are figuring out the world while the parents are busy taking ecstasy and guzzling alcohol. Who’s making sure the kids are fed? Who’s keeping the kids safe? No one. During an unexpected but horrific storm the kids decide to escape with a caretaker to a nearby farm where they discover enough food to sustain them and some semblance of what seems like safety.  Jack brings along a host of animals he’s “saving” from the flood. He’s still busy with his bible.

What happens next definitely steps the tension up even more. And this is where Millet truly begins to show us where she’s going with this novel. Climate change is very real. It’s being written about an awful lot lately. So Millet has decided to show us that the next generation will have to clean up the mess the past generations have made. Her message is harsh, but the consequences are, too.

So, what did I think of this book? This is one of the first literary novels I’ve read since the pandemic came along and changed our world. I’ve been mostly reading light stories. Well-written, but light. This is as far from light as you can get. And it’s not for all my readers. But I found myself totally enmeshed in this story. I was  rooting for the kids and  it made me think. It’s extremely literary and the story packs a powerful punch. Read it if you dare! I think this novel is going to be up for many awards this year.

Lydia Millet

Lydia Millet has written many award winning literary novels. Her short story collection, LOVE IN INFANT MONKEYS was a finalist for The Pulitzer Prize. Yes, she’s that good.

My beautiful finished copy of A CHILDREN’S BIBLE by Lydia Millet came from the very generous publishing company of Norton. I can’t thank them enough. It’s a real winner!

You can order copies of A CHILDREN’S BIBLE from Copperfish Books but they do not have them on the shelf at this time.

The Last Train To Key West by Chanel Cleeton

The Last Train To Key West

I’ve loved Cleeton’s first two novels: WHEN WE LEFT CUBA and NEXT YEAR IN HAVANA.  Really got excited when I heard the title of this new one. Key West, one of my favorite places and a great place to set this novel.

Years ago Wes Standiford wrote a non fiction book called THE LAST TRAIN TO PARADISE.  ( we have copies on our shelves right now at Copperfish)He told the story of the making of the overseas railroad that traveled through the Keys into Key West. He also told the horrific story of the unknown storm of 1935 that tore down the railroad and slaughtered hundreds of souls.

Now, Cleeton brings us a novel that encapsulates this and she brings this amazing historical event to life through the lives of three women from totally different walks of life.

THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST is a  very quick read.  Cleeton’s fictional characters are so alive they practically leap from the page. Part romance, part  suspense, THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST introduces you to three courageous women who have survival skills galore.  Helen is nine months pregnant and running away from an abusive husband. Elizabeth is a socialite escaping from , looking for her brother and wondering if she really should marry the man she’s engaged to. Mirta is a newly wed from Havana and on her honeymoon. Will her arranged marriage survive?

The ticking time bomb of eminent terror reaches hair-raising levels as the hurricane takes over the islands. Honestly, I could almost hear the clock ticking as the storm took over.

Next Year in Havana

Chanel Cleeton

Cleeton has certainly done her research but it takes a great storyteller to be able to move people as she does in this novel.  At least 400 people were lost in this devastating storm that was never even named. Civilians as well as WW1 vets who were building the railroad were all killed.  We know now it was a 5 hurricane and we now have the technology to evacuate when a storm of this magnitude is upon us. Thank God.

What begins as a pretty light story quickly becomes a tightly written novel of survival and courage. Not to be missed.

I was lucky enough to read a review copy of THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST provided by Berkley an imprint of Penguin Random publishing.  I loved it!

You can pick up your copy of THE LAST TRAIN TO KEY WEST  from Copperfish Books in Punta Gorda, Florida. They are currently having an amazing sale through the weekend and this trade paperback book will be 30% off as will most of their inventory. I know I love a great sale and I bet you do too!

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

The Last Flight By Julie Clark

The Last Flight

Hold onto your seat. You’re about to go on a wild, wild ride. And you’re gonna LOVE it!https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TPys9D60C8c

I stumbled upon a digital review copy of THE LAST FLIGHT and it sounded good. Little did I know how amazing it would prove to be. I read it in two sittings. I could have read straight through but, I wanted to make it last. I don’t read a lot of thrillers. When I do it’s almost always authors I’m very familiar with. Julie Clark is new to me. But now I’ll be eagerly awaiting her next novel.

Claire and Eva are two women who will risk their lives to escape from what have become unlivable lives. Claire is married to a powerful man who is about to announce his campaign to run for the U.S. senate in New York .  She’s tired of hiding the bruises left from Rory’s hands.  Eva has gotten caught up in a terrifying world that’s left her hostage to a life she didn’t bargain for. She too has had enough.  When Claire and Eva meet as strangers in JFK  airport, they decide on practically a moment’s notice,  to swap identities. Neither knowing what they were getting into, only that they were desperate to flee, no matter what.

With heart-pounding intensity Clark mounts a story that begs for page-turning. Eva takes the flight to Puerto Rico that was supposed to take Claire. Claire ends up on the flight to Berkley where Eva’s little house awaits her. But when Claire arrives in Berkeley and discovers that Eva’s plane, the plane that was supposed to carry her, has crashed with no known survivors, well, the world begins spinning in a new direction. And the games begin….

Eva and Claire are such strong women. But they’ve been betrayed and their lives have been ruined by men. This is a timely novel. It asks us what we would do to escape a life of abuse. It also gives us the support of friends and shows us a strength beyond reason.

I think you are going to love this book. It’s just right for getting away from it all. We may not all be at the beach this summer but, we certainly still need and want great reads. This is one of those and then some.

We have copies of THE LAST FLIGHT by Julie Clark at Copperfish Books

Punta Gorda

Copperfish Books

right this minute. They are discounted 20% and you can bet they will fly from the shelves all summer long. Reserve your copy now.

My review copy was provided by Sourcebooks. I can’t thank them enough. They already know how much I love this book!

28 Summers by Elin Hilderband

28 Summers

I’ve been reading Elin Hilderbrand since she first began writing. I fell in love with Nantucket because of Elin. I’ve never set foot on Nantucket but in my mind I’ve been there 28 times. Every summer there is a new novel set on Nantucket Island. And every summer I am there.

A few weeks ago, I was lucky enough to read a review copy of 28 SUMMERS.  I wanted to take my time and savor it but, I ended up swallowing it whole. When I turned the last page and shut the book, I stood up and was dumbfounded to discover that my backyard was not the Atlantic Ocean. I had become so totally immersed in 28 SUMMERS that I actually lost myself for a moment in time. I did not make this up.  When I tell you that this novel is one of the most moving love stories I’ve ever read, I am not kidding. I am not exaggerating. It’s extraordinary.

Elin has used the movie SAME TIME NEXT YEAR as the theme of 28 SUMMERS.  It works. It’s genius. And it’s totally right for this point in time. We need escapism.  And here it is.

Elin Hilderbrand

Love the cover. For me, a great cover is the best way to grab your readers. And this one is a real winner.  The first chapter is numbered Summer#28: 2020. So it’s beginning with the end.  I love the beginning of each chapter where Elin gives us a synopsis of what we were  talking about that particular year. She does it with each summer. It’s so perfect because it sets us up to remember what was going on that year. I love this.  In this poignant last summer Mallory Blessing is telling her son Link that there’s an envelope in the desk.  On the front of the envelope is a message saying only , Please call.   Link is with his mother in her beach cottage on Nantucket. Inside the envelope is one thing: a phone number……We discover that Link’s mom is dying of cancer and he is only nineteen.  And so the story begins

Part One is titled Twenties.  Summer#1: 1993. Here we first meet Mallory Blessing who is twenty-four years old and living on the Upper East Side of New York with her very best friend in the world.  We are reminded at the top of the chapter what is going on in the world: Waco, Texas; World Trade Center bombing; Arthur Ashe; R.E.M.; Lorena Bobbitt; Robert Redford, Woody Harrelson, and Demi Moore; NAFTA; River Phoenix; the EU; Got Milk?; Nordic Track; Rabin and Arafat; Monica Seles; Sleepless in Seattle; the World Wide Web; the Buffalo Bills losing the Super Bowl for the third straight time; Jerry, Elaine, George, and Kramer; Whitney Houston singing “I Will Always Love You.’ You get the picture..

Mallory has inherited an amazing old  cottage on the ocean on Nantucket from her aunt Greta.  Lucky girl.  So when Mallory’s brother Cooper is getting married he asks if he can bring some guys for Labor Day weekend; a bachelor party of sorts. She agrees and so the party is on. But the party ends up being  more of a party for two for various reasons. This is where Mallory meets Jake  McCloud and her life is forever changed.

Each subsequent summer and continuing on to amount to 28 in all, Jake and Mallory manage to get together on Nantucket for Labor Day weekend. One weekend each year. Only one.  Why? Because that is what works for them. Maybe they would not have that special spark if they had to deal with the mundane events of everyday life.  Mallory knows she loves living on Nantucket. She is not going to leave the island even to be with Jake. Jake’s life is not on the island. And he’s been involved in a very serious relationship with his girlfriend since they were kids. There is history and baggage. So the one  weekend a year system  continues to work for them both.

All the characters in this novel are well-developed. Cooper is Mallory’s brother.  He’s not able to sustain a marriage longer than it takes to say I do.  Mallory’s parents really want her to get married and be  happy. Their version.  Leland is Mallory’s best friend who we discover is not such a great friend after all.  And Frazier is one of Cooper’s best friends who becomes a vital part of the story.

I knew I wanted this novel to last, but I also could not put it down for long.  The ocean kept calling and Labor Day Weekend was always beckoning. OMG! The romance. The beach. The cottage. The food.  Being on the water. Summertime. This book is escapism at its peak.

Even though I knew what was going to happen at the end, I have to tell you that it is a very satisfying ending. And I sobbed. I was happy to have the house to myself so I could wallow in it.

Elin Hilderbrand was visiting the island of St. John while I was reading the book.  She’s working on the third in the Winter Series that will come out in October. She lives on the island part of the year. How very cool.

Elin Hilderbrand  has lived on Nantucket for 28 years. She moved there and lived in a small apartment to begin with. She was twenty-three.

Little Brown will publish 28 SUMMERS on June 16 and everyone will be able to read this amazing novel for themselves.  I am putting this amazing novel on the very top of my summer reading list of favorites. I think you will too.  I hope you’ll think of Copperfish Books and order from us.  You know how much we love you guys.

The Girl With The Louding Voice by

The Girl With The Louding Voice

I’ve been looking at this book for several months. I was intrigued when Jenna chose it for a Today bookclub pick. But I just wasn’t ready for it, yet. I’ve been reading  some lighter books because I  haven’t been able to concentrate on heavy issues. But that time has come and gone and I devoured THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE in two days.

We’ve all been horrified at the news clips showing  an officer as he held his knee on George Floyd’s throat for almost nine minutes, killing him in front of millions of shocked viewers. We watched as other officers allowed this tragedy to happen.  This has sparked interest in black authors and issues. There are a lot of great black authors. I chose to read THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING  VOICE at this time for a couple of reasons. I don’t make a point of  choosing books because an author is black or white, male or female, or of a specific sexual orientation. I usually choose my next read because the content is intriguing to me. Or, I am familiar with the author . I chose this book at this time because the protagonist is one of the strongest women I’ve come across in modern day.  Period. And this story is begging for telling…..https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIQOPneQDco

Fourteen-year-old Adunni lives in a small town several hours from Lagos, Nigeria.  Her mother has died and she’s left with her two brothers and her father who has not been able to get out of his own tracks since his wife passed.  Adunni is to marry  a wealthy man who already has two wives, however, they’ve not been able to provide him with a son. The money he offers Adunni’s father will pay all the bills and then some. So off she goes even though it is illegal for her to marry because she is under age. And she is devastated.

All Adunni has ever wished for is a proper education. She’s had some schooling and her mother made it quite clear that education is everything.  Now being third wife is the only life she has. Until she runs away and is sold into domestic slavery in Lagos.

At first, I had a hard time reading what is the voice of Adunni. The story is told in first person and so we are privy to Adunni’s thoughts and fears from the beginning which gives so much  power to this amazing story.  I had not thought to read this book in one big gulp, but, quite simply, I devoured it.

Adunni is taken to Lagos to work as a housemaid to a woman who is richer than Midas. Big Madame is larger than life in many ways. Her figure is daunting from the moment we meet her and her chest is explained as being  “wide like chalk board.”  But  her inherent meanness is not yet apparent. Yet, we can sense it…. Adunni has been sold into servitude to Big Madam and even though this is illegal it is rampant in Nigeria.  And then we meet Big Daddy and we know what is coming.

Working from before sun- up to sometimes midnight is Adunni’s fate at Big Madam’s. Her meager wages are being paid to the “agent” who sold her to Big Madam. He promises to bring her the money in three month’s time. Really?  Still, Adunni keeps her eye on the prize: education, education, education.  And then, Kofi, Big Madam’s cook, shows Adunni a newspaper article offering a chance to win an actual education. And this story becomes a blaze.

When a neighbor, Ms. Tia, befriends Adunni, we begin to see a light in this tunnel.  These two women need each other.  I really enjoyed seeing their relationship blossom and become victorious.

There is so much “meat” packed into this amazing story. The characters are deep and strong. Adunni’s voice begins thin and then explodes into The Louding Voice it was destined to become.

Halfway through the book Daré begins the chapters with a Nigerian fact.  For instance; Fact: Zamfara state in northern Nigeria was the first to make polygamy legal, in 2000.  And so this explains how these men have many wives. Boom. 

Abi Daré

Abi Daré grew up in a housing estate in Lagos, Nigeria, where nearly every family had a housemaid.  After she married and had daughters of her own she decided it was time to write about this by using the character of Adunni as the medium. I’m so glad she did.  She now lives in U.K. I’m grateful for this story. It’s simply devastating and so very important.

THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE was published  in February by Dutton which is an imprint of Penguin Random  House Publishing. This is one of the most important novels I’ve read to date.

Always The Last To Know by Kristan Higgins

Always The Last To Know

Kristan Higgins writes contemporary romance novels. I used to think they would be all fluff.  And I used to be so wrong.  I have enjoyed each of her novels and ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW is no exception.

Barb and John have been married for fifty years. They’ve been plodding along and after this many years you aren’t surprised to find they have become pretty bored with their lives.  It’s become a mundane life. But that all changes when John has a stroke. Put the brakes on. Stop the presses. Everything changes on a dime.

Barb and John have two successful adult daughters. One leaves her career to return home to help with her dad. The other begins experiencing panic attacks as she looks at her seemingly perfect life.

You are about to find out what’s really been going on inside the Frost family. Both heartbreaking and hilarious, ALWAYS THE LAST TO KNOW is smartly written with characters you just can’t help but root for.

Kristan Higgins is the NYT bestselling of 19 novels. She just keeps getting better and better.

Kristan Higgins

My digital review copy was provided by Berkley Publishing House, a division of  Penguin Randomhouse in exchange for an honest review. It’s a real keeper.

Copperfish will have paperback copies sometime next week.  Pub date is June 9.

The Second Home by Christina Clancy

The Second Home

Christina Clancy

Look at this cover. It screams “beach.” I’ve been waiting months for this novel to be available to you readers. I read it way back then in the middle of the winter when covid-19 was not even a thought yet.

We may not all be able to go to the beach this summer so we really need reading material that will take  us there… Literally. THE SECOND HOME already does that by just looking at the cover.

Just when you find yourself looking for the next great summer read along comes THE SECOND HOME and you’ve got your book. But what have you got? Is it a light summer read? Well, yeah, but it’s not light and fluffy like you might expect. Filled with beach aroma, beach activities, beach food, and lots of crazy summertime stuff, but this writer brings so much more to the feast. She’s got a page-turning adventure that is unlike any other. Perfect for this summer.

I grew up on the Eastern shore. All winter long I dreamt of going back to the beach, the place I loved more than any other. My happiest times growing up were spent at the beach. So I know what it’s like to look forward to going to the beach.

Ann and Poppy have always thrived during summers spent at their beat up cottage on the back bay in Wellfleet on Cape Cod. Their parents would load up the car and head on out for the coast from their home in Milwaukee.  Their home was nothing expansive and not on the ocean. It was on the back bay and practically falling apart. Still, it had been in their family for generations and they loved it.  Then, they decided to adopt a teenage boy named Michael. And he came to the beach with them that fateful summer fifteen years ago. And nothing was ever the same.

  • Second homes.
  • Second families.
  • Second chances. 

The story opens telling us that the parents have been killed in a tragic car accident. Ann is returning to the cottage to make arrangements to sell it. She thinks she wants no part of it anymore. After all, it’s where the secrets lie.  Now Ann and Poppy have to make some decisions.  All is going as planned until Michael resurfaces and lays claim to his share of the house and he does not want to sell it.

What actually happened that summer all those years ago hangs over your head throughout the novel. And it would keep you blowing through the pages on its own. But the writing and the characters are so compelling. Not to even mention the biggest character of all: the saltbox house.  Clancy beautifully evokes feelings of Cape Cod and the shore to the pages. The coolness of the sand filtering through your toes, the tangy aroma of the beach, and the laid back adventurous atmosphere that spells BEACH in capital letters.  It’s all here plus the drama of not knowing what caused the treacherous rift between the family members.

Christina Clancy

This might be Christina Clancy’s debut novel but, it’s not going to be her last. I know I’m already sitting on the edge of my reading seat waiting for her sophomore effort!

This novel is on the summer reading list for the Critic’s Choice Artis-Naples. You know you need it. We will have copies of THE SECOND HOME at Copperfish Books.  They will arrive this week. They will be discounted 20%.

My review copy was provided by St. Martin’s Publishing Group.  I can’t thank them enough. THE SECOND HOME is going to be one of the BIG summer reads this year! I loved this book.