Somebody Like You by Donna Alward @DonnaAlward @rararesources

About the Book:

Come home to Darling, VT, and a new heartwarming series by New York Times Bestselling Author, Donna Alward!

When Laurel Stone’s garden center is targeted by vandals, she comes face to face with the man who once broke her heart: Aiden Gallagher. Aiden’s now one of Darling’s Finest, but the memory of how he hurt Laurel back in high school has stuck to his conscience. Helping her get back on her feet is the least he can do to make it up to her. And as time goes on, he realizes how much he cares for the woman she’s become: strong, resilient, and compassionate.

Laurel’s willing to forgive Aiden’s past transgressions, and before long it’s clear the old attraction between them still sizzles. But it’s harder for her to move past the loss of her dreams now that her divorce is finalized, and her ex is remarrying. Ever accommodating, Laurel has kept things amicable, but attending the wedding has all her resentments and disappointments bubbling to the surface. Aiden tries to be supportive, but what Laurel needs most is to stand on her own two feet, and she pushes Aiden away.

When their friend George meets with trouble, Laurel and Aiden must work together to get him back on his feet. Is this the opportunity for them to salvage their relationship, or is it goodbye for good?


About the Author:

While bestselling author Donna Alward was busy studying Austen, Eliot and Shakespeare, she was also losing herself in the breathtaking stories created by romance novelists like LaVyrle Spencer and Judith McNaught.  Several years after completing her degree she decided to write a romance of her own and it was true love! Five years and ten manuscripts later she sold her first book and launched a new career. While her heartwarming stories of love, hope, and homecoming have been translated into several languages, hit bestseller lists and won awards, her very favorite thing is when she hears from happy readers.

Donna lives on Canada’s east coast. When she’s not writing she enjoys reading (of course!), knitting, gardening, cooking…and is a Masterpiece addict. 

Contact Donna:

You can visit her on the web at and join her mailing list at .

Facebook: DonnaAlwardAuthor

Instagram: @donnaalward


About the Narrator:

About Leanne: 

I’ve been behind a microphone for more than 35 years in commercial voiceover, narration, and radio.

I’m a single parent to an amazing daughter and we love to discover the theater, art, music, and bookstores of Asheville, NC where we live. When I’m not “working”, I explore the “real” world with hikes into the wild and dangerous culinary experiments.

I’m a certified personal trainer, swinging kettlebells and maces. Playing tennis is my passion and I love to get outside with my dogs.

I’m studying French – just to see if I can make my brain explode. Someday I’ll make it to France.

Social Media Links – FB:


My Review:

After The Playboy Prince and the Nanny, The Crown Prince’s Bride (Royal Duology 1 &2) and Deck The Halls, all Donna Alward books I reviewed in the past, I was overjoyed to receive the audiobook of Somebody Like You.

Somebody Like You has great attention to detail, and is very romantic. Realistic storyline and characters. Aiden and Laurel had interesting backstories and plotlines. There are hard times as well as romantic moments. 
The narrator was perfect for the book. 

Overall, Somebody Like You was an amazing start to a new series, and I am looking forward to the next books. 

Thanks to Donna Alward, HQN and Rachel’s Random Resources for my audiobook in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars

Where to Buy:

Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day 2023

Today is Cerebral Palsy Awareness Day in the US. I’m from the UK and I’ve been raising awareness for it for years, as well as for World Cerebral Palsy awareness Day on October 6th. I enjoy any opportunity to raise awareness. The CP awareness colour is green.

From searching through my blog posts, I’ve done posts about my awareness efforts over the years (Facebook posts, trying to get people to wear green, sharing general information).

I’m re-posting some paragraphs from my post on this day last year. That’s far more detailed, but here’s more about how Cerebral Palsy affects me.

I have Spastic Quadriplegia Cerebral Palsy with Hydrocephalus and all this means my muscles are too tight all over my body as well as my trunk and face. I have weak muscles too.

I have a powered wheelchair for mobility and I wear strong high prescription glasses. I am registered blind. I have shunts which drain off the fluid from my brain and these surgeries left a lot of scars.

I have difficulty with concentration, relaxation eating and drinking, swallowing properly, general mobility and positioning, sleeping, spatial awareness and vision as well as stamina, general coordination, grip ability and strength. I have a limited range of motion and have daily pain and spasms and seizures. 

So far this year, I’ve mentioned the words Cerebral Palsy and Hydrocephalus a lot in my daily life. This is because I’ve had to explain to doctors who don’t know me what disabilities I have. I’m also in the exciting but complicated process of getting new positioning equipment for my powered wheelchair.

Last year, a seating and posture evaluation revealed what my current seating doesn’t do for me, and this year we found someone to help. I’m waiting for a new belt as well as a chest harness and foot positioning aids.

I’ve been searching for a new wheelchair too. If you’ve read my blog before, you’ll know I love shopping. So far, it’s a slow process with the positioning equipment arriving since it’s coming from the US and New Zealand, but I hope it’s here soon.

Cerebral Palsy gives me a lot of daily challenges, and. I’m having more arm, hand and finger pain that’s been going on for a month and feels like numbness and also throbbing pain and pressure like someone is squuezing my wrists, fingers and forearms hard. I already have a lot of spasticity (muscle stiffness), as well as weak muscles.

Today as well as every day, I give thanks for my current powered wheelchair (Invacare TDX SP 2 NB) and the fact it’s a beautiful shade of dark purple and my comfortable Deep Jay 3 2 valve air cushion which I love, but which is not sold anymore 😦

I’m thankful to those who create equipment and medications to help those of us with CP.

I do wish the prices of equipment weren’t so high, as this creates worry and concern and means it’s harder to get. Lower prices would help so many people.

Happy CP awareness day if you have CP or know someone with it.

I’m now looking forward to World CP awareness day.

Take the Lead by Alexis Daria

About the Book:

From Alexis Daria, author of the critically acclaimed, international bestseller You Had Me at Hola, comes a fun, sexy romance set against a reality dance show.

Gina Morales wants to make it big. In her four seasons on The Dance Off, she’s never even made it to the finals. But her latest partner, the sexy star of an Alaskan wilderness show, could be her chance. Who knew the strong, silent, survivalist-type had moves like that? She thinks Stone Nielson is her ticket to win it all—until her producer makes it clear they’re being set up for a showmance.

Joining a celebrity dance competition is the last thing Stone wants. However, he’ll endure anything to help his family, even as he fears revealing their secrets. While the fast pace of Los Angeles makes him long for the peace and privacy of home, he can’t hide his growing attraction for his dance partner. Neither wants to fake a romance for the cameras, but the explosive chemistry that flares between them is undeniable.

As Stone and Gina heat up the dance floor, the tabloids catch on to their developing romance. With the spotlight threatening to ruin everything, will they choose fame and fortune, or let love take the lead?

My Review:

Alexis Daria is a new-to-me author. I was immediately drawn to Take the Lead.. The novel is immediately immersive. Gina is strong, determined and she has an amazing dance talent, both for teaching and dancing. Stone is mysterious and self-centered. He took longer to feel for.

The attention to detail is amazing. We see a challenging, cautious, then caring side to both of them. I liked this, as it gave their relationship a playful angle.

Is this strictly business or pleasure?

The writing style was very good and the attention to detail was perfect. Every very word was chosen for maximum effect, whether that is to create atmosphere for setting or character development.

Thanks to Alexis Daria and St Martin’s Griffin for my eARC n exchange for an honest and voluntary review. Take the Lead was thoroughly enjoyable.

Really looking forward to more books from this author.

Where to Buy:

Dust Child by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai @nguyen_p_quemai @AlgonquinBooks

About the Book:

Number of pages
Publication date
March 14, 2023

From the internationally bestselling author of The Mountains Sing, a suspenseful and moving saga about family secrets, hidden trauma, and the overriding power of forgiveness, set during the war and in present-day Việt Nam.

In 1969, sisters Trang and Quỳnh, desperate to help their parents pay off debts, leave their rural village and become “bar girls” in Sài Gòn, drinking, flirting (and more) with American GIs in return for money. As the war moves closer to the city, the once-innocent Trang gets swept up in an irresistible romance with a young and charming American helicopter pilot. Decades later, an American veteran, Dan, returns to Việt Nam with his wife, Linda, hoping to find a way to heal from his PTSD and, unbeknownst to her, reckon with secrets from his past.
At the same time, Phong—the son of a Black American soldier and a Vietnamese woman—embarks on a search to find both his parents and a way out of Việt Nam. Abandoned in front of an orphanage, Phong grew up being called “the dust of life,” “Black American imperialist,” and “child of the enemy,” and he dreams of a better life for himself and his family in the U.S.

Past and present converge as these characters come together to confront decisions made during a time of war—decisions that force them to look deep within and find common ground across race, generation, culture, and language. Suspenseful, poetic, and perfect for readers of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing, Dust Child tells an unforgettable and immersive story of how those who inherited tragedy can redefine their destinies through love, hard-earned wisdom, compassion, courage, and joy.

About the Author:

Born and raised in Việt Nam, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is the author of The Mountains Sing, runner-up for the 2021 Dayton Literary Peace Prize, winner of the 2020 BookBrowse Best Debut Award, the 2021 International Book Awards, the 2021 PEN Oakland/Josephine Miles Literary Award, and the 2020 Lannan Literary Award Fellowship for Fiction. She has published twelve books of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction and has received some of the top literary prizes in Việt Nam. Her writing has been translated into twenty languages and has appeared in major publications, including the New York Times. She has a PhD in creative writing from Lancaster University. She is an advocate for the rights of disadvantaged groups in Việt Nam and has founded several scholarship programs, and she was named by Forbes Vietnam as one of twenty inspiring women of 2021.

Contact Nguyễn:

For more information, visit:

Twitter: @nguyen_p_quemai

My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: War, hunger, poverty, abandoned children.

The Mountains Sing is one of my favourite novels, so I was so excited to recieve an advanced reader copy of Dust Child.

I was drawn in by Phong’s story and then fascinated by the story of an American scarred by war and struggling with PTSD.

I love any storyline about sisters, and the sisters leaving home in 1969 to follow a friend who made lots of money in Saigon. They have a sad reason to do so: their parents have debts and lost their home.

The novel takes us from different parts of Vietnam to Saigon to Hollywood where the sisters end up entertaining American GIs in a bar.

The time period is 1969 to more recent times and we see the struggles of various groups of people. There are the Amerasian children and American fathers.

What I love is there is a real undercurrent theme of Vietnamese culture and society of the time period. It’s also great how we get to see the country in so much detail.

There is a real attention to detail that makes the story immediately emotional. This is what I like about the authors’ writing. The style can seem wordy at times, but Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai makes every word count so the story is still enjoyable.

Themes are love, loss tragedy moving on and making a new start as well as darker themes (war, hunger, poverty, abandoned children).

The characters are always well formed, and their backstory is seamlessly woven into the overall plot of the novel. I was keen to find out what was going to happen to all of them.

As with the mountain thing, the pacing was quick and the book was overall enjoyable some very hard subject material and times.

Thanks to Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai and Algonquin Books for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars

Where to Buy:

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$13.99 (US)
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Advanced Praise:

“Dazzling. Sharply drawn and hauntingly beautiful.”
—Elif Shafak, author of The Island of Missing Trees

“Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai shows us the capacity we hold to confront our pasts, for the purpose of life is not to remain intact, but to break open, to let loss be a guide, to face the echoes of longing. In Dust Child, rupture leads to emotional richness and pain creates the pathways worth walking. I truly cannot wait for the rest of the world to celebrate this book.”
—Chanel Miller, New York Times bestselling author of Know My Name

“Once again, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai has written a beautiful novel that shines a light on the history of Vietnam. With a poet’s grace, she writes of the legacy of war across time and place and the stories that bind us. Dust Child is simply stunning.”
—Eric Nguyen, author of Things We Lost To The Water

“With a poet’s gift for language and a psychologist’s eye for the tender, error-prone hearts of mankind, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai weaves a web of impossible choices, inescapable circumstance, and searing loss, set to the backdrop of a war that changed everything . . . A heartbreaking, beautifully told, utterly unique story of love, loss, and longing that speaks to the very heart of the human experience.”
—Kristin Harmel, New York Times bestselling author of The Forest of Vanishing Stars

“Well-researched, realistic, and compassionately written, Dust Child brings to life the heartbreaking experiences of young American men and young Vietnamese women who were pulled into the vortex of the Việt Nam War and the tragedy inherited by their Amerasian children. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai’s powerful novel enables us to travel deep into Việt Nam’s past and present days so that we can bear witness to the courage of her Amerasian, Vietnamese, and American characters. This eye-opening and fascinating novel is a must-read!”
—Le Ly Hayslip, bestselling author of  When Heaven and Earth Changed Places  and  The Child of War, Woman of Peace

“Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is one of the most unique storytellers of our time. She creates plots which are Dickensian in their breadth and mastery, while bravely probing the complex emotional challenges of living in a modern world full of disruption and displacement. In Dust Child, Quế Mai displays the same tenderness and compassion for her characters, hard-earned understanding of human trauma, and poetically evocative language that made her debut novel The Mountains Sing an international bestseller beloved around the world.”
—Natalie Jenner, internationally bestselling author of The Jane Austen Society

“The sons and daughters of American soldiers and their Vietnamese girlfriends who exhibited African American and European features were shunned by Vietnam’s monoethnic society during and after the war. Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai writes of some of these “dust children” with complexity and heart. This is a powerful and moving story, brilliantly told.”
—Robert Mason, New York Times bestselling author of Chickenhawk

“In her riveting successor to The Mountains Sing, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai has masterfully captured the toll of war and its aftermath on a black Amerasian, an outcast in the country of his birth, on an American vet, haunted and seeking redemption, and on two Vietnamese sisters, forced by economic hardship into circumstances they could not have foreseen. Nguyễn creates, in her luminous prose, a gripping and nuanced narrative of men and women caught in the web of war and its aftermath.”
—Steven DeBonis, author of Children of the Enemy: Oral Histories of Vietnamese Amerasians and Their Mothers

“With great compassion, with a firm conviction in the redeeming power of love and forgiveness, and with the consummate skill of a great story-teller, Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai weaves us into the lives, past and present, of those called “the dust of life”—the ostracized, mixed-race children of American soldiers; their mothers, compelled by war into prostitution, and their fathers, the G.I.’s who abandoned them and yet remained haunted by them.”
—Professor Wayne Karlin, author of Wandering Souls: Journeys with the Deadand the Living in Viet Nam

Seventeen Years of Us

Today’s a really special day because Alfredo and I have been together seventeen years. 17 years have gone by so fast and we have done so much.

We started our relationship on 23 March 2006. We’d been living together for two months by this point. By that June, we’d moved into our own apartment. The day we moved into an apartment alone (11 June 2006) was special because it was just the two of us, and also because it was my Gran’s birthday.

In the years since we decided to be boyfriend and girlfriend back in 2006, we have experienced:

Happiness, sadness and insecurities.

The process of falling in love with each other. Engagement and then marriage

The loss of important family members

The pandemic

Many many hospital appointments for us both

A fight for housing, equipment and to be respected by others.

Many different movies and TV shows and we’ve found ones we love

We have found our favourite places to be together and have enjoyed exploring other places.

The seventeen years we’ve been together so far have been amazing, challenging and also rewarding and I am looking forward to many more, we both are.

We still have daily challenges, but face them together.

Love Notes by Aimee Brown @AimeeBWrites @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

Mercy Alexander doesn’t believe in love, let alone love at first sight.
There’s one sure fire way of steering clear of heartbreak, and that’s not to get your heart involved in the first place. So what is that irritating flutter she feels every time she sees Brooks Hudson, and why is she finding him so hard to ignore?
Brooks Hudson can’t understand where he’s going wrong.
Doting single father to six-year-old Ali, supportive co-parent with his ex, much-loved friend and respected colleague, not to mention he’s smoking hot. So why is he constantly being dumped, told in no uncertain terms he’s ‘too nice’? Since when was being nice a crime?
Mercy is in serious need of someone to restore her faith in men, and Brooks needs a girl he likes to stick around long enough for him to believe in love again. But when Mercy’s past threatens to remind her of everything she’s scared of, will love be enough to save the day?

About the Author:

My Review:

Aimee Brown is the bestselling romantic comedy author of several books including The Lucky Dress. She’s an Oregon native, now living in a tiny town in cold Montana and sets her books in Portland. Previously published by Aria, her new series for Boldwood is full of love and laughter and real-life issues. The first book will be published in January 2023.

After having reviewed The Lucky Dress, The Last Dance, and Love Me Like You Do by Aimee Brown, I was really pleased to find Love Notes, as I can never resist an Aimee Brown novel.

Brooks is a great father to Ali and it was great to witness this.
The pace was excellent, as it always is with Aimee Brown’s books.

Thanks to Aimee Brown, Boldwood Books and Rachels’ Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

Contact Amy:

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🇮🇪☘️📚St Patrick’s Day 2023: Celebrating Irish Authors🇮🇪☘️📚

Happy St Patrick’s Day! This day always makes me proud to be half Irish. I was thinking of what to post about, and then it came to me. I have reviewed some great books by Irish authors here on my blog, and really want to share them on here today

Here are the names of the books with the stats for the post so far. You can use the search box on my site to find my review of each book.

Big Girl Small Town by Michelle Gallen

Published on Dec 1, 2020 at 11:28 AM

Factory Girls by Michelle Gallen @michellegallenauthor @michellegallen @algonquinbooks #FactoryGirls

Published on Nov 28, 2022 at 12:20 PM

A Sister’s Promise by Caroline Finnerty@cfinnertywriter @bookandtonic @rararesources

Published on Nov 26, 2022 at 11:20 AM

The Last Days of Us by Caroline Finnerty @cfinnertywriter @Boldwood Books @bookandtonic @rararesources

Published on Jun 19, 2021 at 3:42 PM

Life’s What you Make It by Siân O’ Gorman @msogorman @bookandtonic @rararesources

Published on Jul 21, 2021 at 11:20 AM

The Women Who Ran Away by Sheila O’ Flanagan

Published on Mar 4, 2021 at 10:43 AM

The Hopes and Dreams of Libby Quinn by Freya Kennedy

Published on May 16, 2020 at 11:20 AM

The Gin Sisters’ Promise by Faith Hogan @GerHogan @HoZ_Books

Published on Jun 6, 2022 at 11:20 AM

The Ladies’ Midnight Swimming Club by Faith Hogan @gerhogan @aria_fiction #faithhogan #ireland #escapism

Published on May 17, 2021 at 12:20 PM
6 Likes2 Comments

Blog Tour: The Place We Call Home by Faith Hogan

Published on Jan 12, 2020 at 12:20 PM

Blog Tour: My Husband’s Wives by Faith Hogan

Published on Apr 15, 2019 at 10:20 AM

Blog Tour: What Happened to Us by Faith Hogan

Published on Oct 12, 2018 at 11:20 AM

Have you read or listened to any books by Irish authors? Who are your favourites?

Audiobook Blitz: Love Loss and Life Inbetween; A Short Story Anthology by Suzanne Rogerson

About the Book:

This collection of short stories gives a glimpse into life, love, loss, and the inexplicable in between.
Including themes of grief, finding hope and second chances, facing the consequences of your actions and getting help from the unlikeliest of places.

· As Cecilia helps the dying, she questions what happens to their spirits. But is she ready to find out?
· Can a mother’s race through the New Forest save her son?
· Will visiting a medium bring Christina the closure she needs?
· Can an intruder help an old lady with her loneliness?
· Will the start of another wet and miserable Monday morning end with Maeve’s happy ever after?

This anthology includes the prize-winning flash fiction story – ‘Spirit Song’.

Judge’s critique – ‘Unusual, emotional, warm, surprising — a warm, unusual story. It moved me when I read it.’

Full story list:
Spirit Song
Goodbye Forever
Garden Therapy
Starting Over
A Cat-Shaped Hole
The Phone Call
Knocked Off Her Feet
Not Just For Christmas
A Mermaid’s Tail

From the author of fantasy novels Visions of Zarua and ‘Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy’, this short story collection features multiple genres including romance, supernatural and thriller.

About the Author:

Suzanne lives in Middlesex, England with her husband, two teenagers, a crazy cocker spaniel and an adopted cat that thinks she’s the boss.

Suzanne’s writing journey began at the age of twelve when she completed her first novel. She discovered the fantasy genre in her late teens and has never looked back. Giving up work to raise a family gave her the impetus to take her attempts at novel writing beyond the first draft, and she is lucky enough to have a husband who supports her dream – even if he does occasionally hint that she might think about getting a proper job one day.

Now an author of four novels including the Silent Sea Chronicles trilogy and her debut, Visions of Zarua, Suzanne hopes the dreaded ‘W’ word will never rear its ugly head again!

She loves gardening and has a Hebe (shrub) fetish. She enjoys cooking with ingredients from the garden and regularly feeds unsuspecting guests vegetable-based cakes.

She collects books, is interested in history and enjoys wandering around castles and old ruins whilst being immersed in the past. She likes to combine her love of nature and photography on family walks, but most of all she loves to escape with a great film, binge watch TV shows, or soak in a hot bubble bath with an ice cream and a book.

Contact Suzanne:


My Review:

After having been on the blog tour for the eARC, I was happy to receive the audiobook.

I already knew the book was well written and emotional. I will say the same about the audiobook version, that each word is carefully chosen to give maximum effect and make the reader feel.

A quick-paced collection of wonderful little stories that are all so different and capture the difficult task of moving on after loss and tragedy. There’s a message that runs through them all: whatever happens, you have to do your best to move on and be strong. The book will teach you about resilience, strength and hope. The attention to detail in every story is great.

Having the audiobook made the writing come to life even more.

I think from this collection, that the author is talented in this genre, and I would love to see more full-length women’s fiction novels from her.

Thanks to Suzanne Rogerson and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 sparkling stars.

Where to Buy:

I Love It When You Lie by Kristen Bird

I Love It When You Lie
Author: Kristen Bird
Publication Date: March 14, 2023
ISBN: 9780778333432
Paperback Original
Publisher: MIRA

Price $18.99

About the Book:

The Williams women don’t just keep secrets…

They bury them.

The three Williams girls are as close as sisters can be, and they also share one special trait in common: each of them has a man in her life that she could do without.

Tara, the pastor’s wife, has been stealing money from the church and would prefer that her husband stay out of it. Then there’s June, who would do anything to have a baby of her own, even if her husband is dead set against it. Clementine, the youngest, is entangled in an affair with her professor, a man whose behavior she’s starting to seriously question. Their sister-in-law Stephanie, an outsider, knows all the family dirt and is watching the three of them—and the men in their lives—closely.

When the woman who raised them, their beloved Gran, dies on the eve of her eightieth birthday, the Williams sisters return home to the Appalachian foothills to bury her. But their grandmother won’t be the only one they’ll put in a grave this weekend…because now someone has gone missing in the dark Appalachian woods.

And if Gran has taught them anything, it’s how to get rid of a good-for-nothin’ man.

“Exceptional…. This tale of sisterhood is un-put-downable.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A wicked blend of family secrets, sibling resentment and small-town ways. Wondering how to get away with murder? The Williams sisters know.”
—Lisa Gardner, #1 New York Times bestselling author

“Irresistible and compulsive, this book is packed full of surprises.”—Samantha Downing, internationally bestselling author of My Lovely Wife

About the Author:

Kristen Bird lives outside of Houston, Texas with her husband and three daughters. She earned her bachelor’s degree in music and mass media before completing a master’s in literature. She teaches high school English and writes with a cup of coffee in hand. In her free time, she likes to visit parks with her three daughters, watch quirky films with her husband and attempt to keep pace with her rescue lab-mixes.

Contact Kristen:

Author Website:

Where to Buy:
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The Sheriff’s Office in Willow Gap, Alabama

One Week After


It would’ve been a touching moment except for the reality of the grave at their feet. Gran’s grave. I shiver just thinking about the three Williams sisters standing in the family cemetery, their arms entwined, gazing up at the sunrise, all that cool Alabama clay piled beside them, their fingernails packed with the red earth, the stench of what they’d done in their nostrils. It was Decoration Sunday, the one day of the year when the entire family descended on Gran’s property to pay respect to the dead and gossip about those still living.
Tara, June, and Clementine Williams are my sisters-in-law. For so long, I’ve waited for the day that their little coven would topple some man’s ivory tower. Now that the time has come, I realize that each of us has a man that we might be better off without, but only one of us is lucky enough to have actually rid ourselves of him.

Four men: a preacher, a doctor, a professor, and a mayor. One goes missing. It’s like our own little Willow Gap edition of Clue. How charming.
Sheriff Brady Dean, his badge shining in the interrogation lights, brings me back to the moment at hand, the moment of reckoning. The aged sheriff wants to know what I know, wants me to spill all the whys, whens, wheres, and hows of the Williams sisters over the past forty-eight hours.
“I’m sure you know why you’re here, Mrs. Williams.” The words emerge like a sigh. He’s been after this family for more than thirty years, ever since he was first elected. Poor guy. Must be exhausted.
I meet the sheriff eye to eye, tapping my recently painted nails—Los Angeles Latte, the dark bottle of polish had read—against the metal table in the claustrophobic office where he’s brought me for questioning. Not that I’m the one in trouble here.
My husband, Walker Williams, knew Sheriff Dean before Walker and I ever met and married a decade ago. Some say ours was a Yankee seduction, but I don’t care. Walker has been the mayor now for eight years, and they have to put up with me, the damn Yank in their midst.
I think of my three children—Walker Jr. and Auggie and Bella—their features too much like my husband’s. They’re fine, I remind myself. They’re with the nanny while I’m here tying up all of the loose ends. I shake my head to dislodge their faces from my mind. It’s important that I focus. I must get this right.
“Call me Ms. Chadrick. Or Stephanie. I’ll be using my maiden name soon enough,” I tell the sheriff.
Sheriff Dean clears his throat, and I follow his eyes to my hand. I’m still wearing my massive diamond, the one Walker bought for our last anniversary. To ten years, baby, and a lifetime more, he’d said as he slipped it on my finger in our Nashville hotel room. I’m not planning to part with my jewelry just because my husband can’t keep his dick in his pants.
I blink innocently at the sheriff and twist my ring around, pressing the stone into my palm until it bites. “I’m here to tell you what I saw after Gran Williams’s funeral. Isn’t that right?”
“Yes’m.” The sheriff lets out a heavy breath that reaches all the way down to the gut hanging over his belt. “I know these women are your husband’s sisters, but we’re hoping…”
“Soon to be ex-husband,” I fire back, reminding him once again.
“Fine. As I was saying, we’re hoping you’ll be willing to give us an account of the movement of your sisters-in-law these past few days. With a missing person, time is of the essence.”
He gives me one of those indulgent smiles saved only for a wronged woman. He knows about my cheating bastard of a spouse, and I breathe, reminding myself again that I’m in good company. Jackie O., Eleanor Roosevelt, Hillary—all of these fine ladies were cheated on by their infamous yet politically savvy husbands. Remembering them makes it easier for me to deal with the fact that everyone knows about Walker and his lying ways.
When I first moved here from DC, I thought my new husband and his town were adorable, quaint even. As I prepared for Walker’s bid for mayor, I even got a kick out of researching its history at the local library, trying to understand the place where generations of Walker’s family had lived for so long.
Alabama. Some historians say the word is from a Native American language and means “tribal town” or “vegetation gatherers.” My favorite definition of the word, though, was penned by one Alexander Beauford Meek, a highly unreliable
source, but isn’t that what history is made of? Mr. Meek said that the word means “here we rest.” Alabama: here we rest. It’s deliciously spooky, isn’t it? Like something from one of those Faulkner stories I couldn’t get enough of in college.
To be fair though, my problem isn’t actually with the great state of Alabama. It’s with these people, this town, this family. They forget so easily that I’m a part of them now, for better or worse. They forget that I know where all the bodies are buried, and I’m not just talking about their kinfolk in the family cemetery a couple hundred yards down the hill from Gran’s house.
The sheriff clears his throat and tries again. “As I was sayin’, we’re hopin’ you can give us a clearer account of who all was there and what exactly went on, so we can understand what led to our missing person. He’s an important man, a good man, and the last time anyone laid eyes on him was Saturday evening a few hours after the funeral at Gran Williams’s cabin.”
Our missing person. There’s something so possessive in the phrase. I almost giggle, realizing that this man is handing me my chance on a silver platter, an opportunity to expose every inch of the Williams family drama.
“Sheriff, ask me any question, and I’ll tell you exactly what you want to hear.” I cross my legs and study my cuticles. “Although, if you want to know the whole truth, you need to go a lot further back than the past few days.”
I take a sip of the coffee he brought me earlier and stretch my arms in front of me as if preparing for a catnap. I wonder if the sheriff realizes just how far back he needs to reach, how far down he needs to dig until he hits something like the truth.
The sheriff nods at me to continue, and I notice again the plump circles hanging under his eyes. He sneezes into the crook of his arm and settles in for the real reason why people involved with the Williams family might just disappear.
I sit up straighter. “All right, then. Let’s start with the dead one.”

Excerpted from I Love It When You Lie. Copyright © 2023 by Kristen Bird. Published by MIRA Books.

Kind Hearts & Carrot Cake, Little Duck Pond Cafe by Rosie Green @Rosie_Green88 @rararesources

About the Book:

When you suddenly find yourself loveless and penniless, how on earth do you make it through? An emotional but ultimately uplifting story of one woman’s struggles to get by, and the special someone who brings hope and happiness to light up her world…

About the Author:

Rosie’s series of novellas is centred around life in a country village cafe. ‘Clara’s Secret Garden’, the first in a trilogy telling Clara’s story, was published in August 2022, and ‘A Winter Wish’ and ‘Clara’s Christmas Magic’, followed. Look out for ‘The Cheesecake Challenge’, out in April 2023.
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My Review:

I loved Clara’s trilogy in books 22-25 (these were the first Little Duck Pond Café books I reviewed). What attracted me to Kind Hearts and Carrot Cake was….everything!

I also love carrot cake, and the mention of kind hearts made me just know I’d be in for a rollercoaster ride. I jumped at the chance to review the latest Rosie Green book. I liked how it was about Jen, Clara’s best friend and her story. What a harrowing story it was.

I identified with her financial difficulties, and was inspired by her journey as a single mother.

This latest installment of the Little Duck Pond Café series was utterly absorbing and heartbreaking in equal measure.

Thanks to Rosie Green, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars, but I’d give it more if I could.

Where to Buy: