My First Ten Books of 2023

The first book I listened to this year was It Gets Easier! . . . And Other Lies We Tell New Mothers: A Fun, Practical Guide to Becoming a Mom by Claudine Volk.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/5839034-it-gets-easier-and-other-lies-we-tell-new-mothers

3.5 stars: A good giode but a little patronizing in some parts

Next up was Sunrise with the Silver Surfers by Maddie Please. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62312008-sunrise-with-the-silver-surfers

4 stars: nteresting backstory and great attention to detail.

Perpetual West by Maren Mesha

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/60006889-perpetual-west

4 stars: Interesting journey

Moonrise over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/63132233-moonrise-over-new-jessup

4 stars: Atmospheric with great attention to detail. A time period I knew nothing about.

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/65588069-berlin-calling

Berlin Calling by Lilo Moore

4 stars: Eurvision and great songs, would have liked lyrics.

Blinded Me With Science by Tara September

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62600953-blinded-me-with-science

4 stars: A quick pace with great attention to detail and hot romance at times. Relatable. Excellent narrator in the audiobook version.

My Sister’s Secret by Diane Saxon

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/61459038-my-sister-s-secret

4 stars: Sisters and secrets. I enjoyed the twists and turns in this and love books about sisters.

The Pocket Guide to Neurodiversity by Daniel Aherne

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/65269872-the-pocket-guide-to-neurodiversity

5 stars: Short but excellently explained and I identified with some things and learned more about others.

The Perfect Girl by Kelly Golden

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/80344908-the-perfect-girl

4.5 stars: Dark in some parts, gripping and mysterious

Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop by Daisy James

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/62236348-tilly-s-tuscan-teashop

5 stars: Daisy James’ style shines through in this book located in Tuscany. Amazing start to a new series.

Mrs Bambi Knows by Chris Mason @rararesources

About the Book:

In a small town in Oregon, everyone wants to kill the local advice columnist, Mrs Bambi. If only they knew who she was.

Mrs Bambi’s advice is so snarky that people have long since stopped asking for it. Instead she eavesdrops on conversations and writes the letters herself. The readers would lynch her, but no one knows who she is.

In fact, Mrs. Bambi is not a woman. The column is written by Richard, a quiet widower with a young daughter.
The uneventful part of Richard’s life is nearly over: he begins dating Pam, a well-known realtor and a sports addict. When people begin to learn the identity of Mrs. Bambi, Richard is threatened and humiliated in public. Despite the pleas of his editor, his friends, and Pam, he refuses to stop writing the column.
The only thing that can prevent disaster is for the town to finally learn the whole truth about Richard, which is much larger than the simple mystery of Mrs. Bambi.

Set in 1995, Chris Mason’s skillful storytelling brings a tale of humour and romance – and not a little peril – charmingly to life in the mind of the reader.

About the Author:

 Born in Ohio, Chris has moved around too much for anyone’s good, living in several places that might be considered tourist attractions. He mines those experiences for the settings of his books.He lives in Florida with his wife, two dogs, two cats, and a smart-aleck macaw who has pets of her own.

https://186publishing.co.uk/pick-of-the-best

Where to Buy:

Excerpt:

Richard is a single father whose daughter is Miriam. The night before this scene he met his best friend A.M. at a bar, where she tried to get him to ask out one of the single women there. Pamela was one of those women.

The moment they stepped inside the library door, Miriam ran off to find her frog books. Richard grabbed a book and headed for a table to wait for her.

Pamela Castle was sitting there with a yellow legal pad in front of her, surrounded by thick, open volumes. Her long, curly hair was tied back today. She was dressed up for work in a lacy white blouse.

A.M. had said she was a realtor. What could he think of to say to a realtor? Ah, nuts. Richard walked to her table and took the chair at the opposite corner. Pamela looked up at him briefly, smiled politely, and went back to her work. She was wearing a red skirt. He liked red. He opened one of his books and stared at it without reading.

He wasn’t very good at this. A.M. was right, it was time for him to start dating again, but he didn’t know how. He wasn’t even sure how to start a conversation with Pamela, let alone ask her out. The last woman he’d asked out was Rosalind, and that was thirteen years ago. Unlucky number; maybe he should wait another year.

Miriam squeaked to a stop at his elbow. “Hey, Dad, look what I found!” She dropped a thin book on the table in front of him. Glossy pages showed closeups of tropical rain forest frogs. One of them had skin the same shade as Pamela’s skirt.

“Cool. Are you going to take it home?”

“Yeah, but I’m not done yet.” She bounced away.

“How old is she?” Pamela said.

He blinked at her in surprise. “Nine. She’ll be ten next month.”

“She has a lot of energy.”

“You should see her after she eats chocolate.” Pamela smiled and started to reach for one of the books in front of her. In desperation, he said, “Do you have any kids?”

“Not yet. Maybe someday.”

“They’re not as much trouble as people say. You just have to paper train them early on, give them treats when they roll over, and keep a short leash. You know.”

She frowned. “Are you talking about kids or dogs?”

“One little critter is a lot like another.”

She laughed, confused. “Well, you and your wife must be very proud. She seems like a very nice little girl.”

“Oh, um, thanks.”

She must have heard something in his voice. “I’m sorry. Are you divorced?”

“No, um, her mother died. In childbirth.”

Pamela’s face contorted in embarrassment and polite sympathy. “I’m really sorry.”

“That’s okay.”

“So… Then you’ve raised your daughter all by yourself?”

“Sort of. My friends help out a lot. They take her one evening every week to give me a night off. I spend the rest of the week undoing the spoiling she gets on Friday nights.”

“How do they spoil her?”

“Junk food. TV. Horseback rides.”

“But horseback rides aren’t bad for her, are they?”

Richard got up and moved to the chair directly across the table from her. “They are when she comes home wanting me to buy her a horse.”

“So how do you undo that?”

“I take her for long drives in the city.”

Pamela laughed loudly, but stopped abruptly. Both of them looked around to see if anyone was staring. Two volunteers were shelving books and the full-time librarians were both behind the checkout desk at the opposite end of the room. No one had noticed.

Richard held out his hand and said, “My name is—”

“Richard Lantz.” She shook his hand. Her skin was cool. “I’m Pam Castle. I’ve seen you around. You live on Oak Street at Ninth, right?”

She knew who he was? He felt his heart racing. “How did you know that?”

“I’m in real estate. It’s my job to know everybody and where they live.”

“What else do you know about me?”

“You do computers, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, that’s it. I don’t even know your daughter’s name.”

“It’s Miriam.”

“That’s an unusual name.”

Richard gathered his courage. “Do you believe in harmonic convergence?”

“What is it?”

“I’m not sure exactly. But I believe in it.”

She laughed, more quietly this time. “How can you believe in something when you don’t know what it is?”

“Ask a Catholic.”

“I’m Catholic.”

“Oops. Sorry. But then you know what I’m talking about.”

“No, I don’t.” Her eyes were twinkling. He thought that might be a good sign.

“It wasn’t an accident that I sat at this table,” he said.

“You mean a Higher Power made you sit here so we could have this silly conversation?”

“No, I mean I saw you at Pig’s Wings last night.”

“Really.”

That sounded bad. He hurried on. “Then I saw you again at Safeway this morning.”

“Are you following me?” Decidedly cool.

“No, no, that’s what I mean by harmonic convergence. Before yesterday I’d never seen you before. I brought Miriam to find frog books, and here you were. That’s the third time I’ve seen you in twenty-four hours. It must mean something.”

“Yeah, it means we live in a really small town.”

“No, I think it means something more than that.”

“Like what?”

He took a deep breath. “I think it means I’m supposed to ask you out.”

She was silent for a moment, watching him. He suddenly realized that she was smiling faintly.

“Is that what you’re doing?” she said.

“Not yet.”

She leaned back and waved her hand at him. “Go on, then.”

“Okay.” He took another deep breath, then had a thought. “Wait a second. Do you go by Pamela? Pam? Pammie?”

“If you call me Pammie I’ll bop you with this book. Call me Pam.”

“Pam. Okay. Pam, would you like to go out to dinner with me next Friday?”

“Sure,” she said, smiling.

Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop by Daisy James @daisyjamesbooks @rararesources

About the Book:


Welcome to Tilly’s Tuscan Teashop, the first book in a brand new series from the author of the Hummingbird Hotel and the Cornish Confetti Agency series.When photographer Natalie Nicholson’s beach hut studio – and everything she’s spent the last two years working on – is destroyed in a fire, she doesn’t think things can get any worse. Until she sees her boyfriend Josh Clarke on Instagram frolicking on a palm-fringed Balinese beach with a fellow cabin crew member.Devastated and heartbroken, she heads to Italy to help out at her sister’s English teashop in the heart of the Tuscan countryside, where she encounters sun-dappled hilltop villages with attractive terracotta bell towers, cobbled piazzas housing world-famous art and architecture, and a national fixation with getting from A to B as quickly as possible whether in a glamourous Ferrari, a scarlet Vespa, or a snail-like ape.With handsome local filmmaker-cum-waiter Matteo Ferretti on hand to guide her, can Tilly learn to ditch her workaholic ways and embrace the Italian pursuit of la dolce vita? Or will she miss out on her chance at a happy-ever-after?


About the Author:

Daisy James loves writing stories with strong heroines and swift-flowing plotlines. She especially likes to create sunshine-filled settings in exotic locations – the Caribbean, Tuscany, Cornwall, Provence – so she can spend her time envisioning her characters enjoying the fabulous scenery and sampling the local food and d
When not scribbling away in her peppermint-and-green summerhouse (garden shed), she spends her time sifting flour and sprinkling sugar and edible glitter. She loves gossiping with friends over a glass of something fizzy or indulging in a spot of afternoon tea – china plates and teacups are a must.
Daisy would love to hear from readers via her Facebook page or you can follow her on Twitter @daisyjamesbooks, or on Instagram @daisyjamesstories.

Contact Daisy:

Twitter https://twitter.com/daisyjamesbooks
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100009889775019

My Review:

Daisy James is a favourite author of mine, and her books are great. I’ve reviewed a fair few now. Great that this is first in a new series so I could get the backstory straight away. 

Tilly and friends are likeable and Blossomwood Bay is quaint…until there’s an unthinkable tragedy. Tilly experiences more than she should when she has challenges in her relationship that make her rethink where she wants to be. 

Tuscany is amazing and I was happy she had her sister. I was wondering what was going to happen with Matteo and eager to find out if Tilly was going to find her new life or not. 

Daisy James has an excellent way with words, setting, romance, realistic characters descriptions of food and sunny places. Her books always make me forget about all my troubles. 

I’m looking forward to the next novels in the series.

Thanks to Daisy James, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

5 stars

Where to Buy:

US – https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0B6RDFSY6
UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B0B6RDFSY6


A Love to Last a Lifetime by Clare Swatman @clareswatman @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:


The one that she wants…
Adam Bowers; handsome, funny and with the charm of a rock star, from the moment she laid eyes on him, teenage Erin was smitten. But first loves don’t always last, and after a whirlwind romance, Erin and Adam go their separate ways. Yet, Erin never lets go of the feeling that Adam may have been her soul mate…
The one that she needs…


Greg fell in love with Erin in their first week at university. Solid, trustworthy and hopelessly devoted to Erin, he knows he’s better for her than the feckless Adam, who is forever leaving Erin broken-hearted, before winning her back with his charm. As far as Greg is concerned, it’s easy to promise the world, but it’s harder to love someone for a lifetime.


The one that got away…
Years later Greg and Erin are married, and although life hasn’t always been easy, Greg’s love for Erin has never dimmed. But when Adam comes back, in desperate need of Erin’s help, everything changes. Erin starts to wonder whether fate is trying to tell her something…
Will Erin risk it all for the man she had thought was ‘The One’?

About the Author:


Clare Swatman is the author of three women’s fiction novels, published by Macmillan, which have been translated into over 20 languages. She has been a journalist for over twenty years, writing for Bella and Woman & Home amongst many other magazines. She lives in Hertfordshire. Before We Grow Old, was published in January 2022.

Contact Clare:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/clareswatmanauthor
Twitter: https://twitter.com/clareswatman
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clareswatmanauthor/
Newsletter Sign Up: https://bit.ly/ClareSwatmannews
Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/clare-swatman

My Review:

TRIGGER WARNING: Early onset dementia, sudden medical diagnosis, brain injury.

What happens when a past love reappears?

I was really looking forward to this. I did not find the characters very well fleshed-out or very visual though, which is a shame. I struggled to get into this novel, but it grew on me because of the pace and plot.

The plot was good and I loved the way that songs were woven into it and the therapeutic aspect of them in the characters’ lives and as a kind of life soundtrack. I remember liking some of the songs, and I have some on CDs. The plot and songs bought me back to my own teen/university years and was nostalgic. There’s so much emotion in this book.

The writing style is easygoing and relaxing and the chapters are a good length. A Love to Last a Lifetime is a great combination of past love, loyalty to the past or present and made me ask who Erin’s true love really was. Her teen love or her husband? I liked Erin’s friend and Erin’s parents, but Erin was hard to like. She seemed self-centred and indecisive.

I felt like maybe this was intentional though, as the other characters were so different. There’s a real feeling of doubt and being hesitant about what you really want in life running through the book as a theme.

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

3.5 stars.

Where to Buy:

https://amzn.to/3fmBzOa

One Day With You by Shari Low @sharilow @BoldwoodBooks @BoldwoodBooks @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:


One day, five lives, but whose hearts will be broken by nightfall?
It started like any other day in the picturesque village of Weirbridge.Tress Walker waved her perfect husband Max off to work, with no idea that she was about to go into labour with their first child. And completely unaware that when she tried to track Max down, he wouldn’t be where he was supposed to be.At the same time, Max’s best friend Noah Clark said goodbye to his wife, Anya, blissfully oblivious that he would soon discover the woman he adored had been lying to him for years.And living alongside the two couples, their recently widowed friend, Nancy Jenkins, is getting ready to meet Eddie, her first true love at a school reunion. Will Nancy have the chance to rekindle an old flame, or will she choose to stay by Tress’s side when she needs her most?One Day with You – two fateful goodbyes, two unexpected hellos, and 24 hours that change everything.


About the Author:


Shari Low is the #1 bestselling author of over 30 novels, including My One Month Marriage and One Summer Sunrise and a collection of parenthood memories called Because Mummy Said So. She lives near Glasgow.


Contact Shari:


Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sharilowbooks/
Twitter https://twitter.com/sharilow
Instagram https://www.instagram.com/sharilowbooks/
Newsletter Sign Up: https://www.sharilow.com/newsletter/
Bookbub profile: bookbub.com/authors/shari-low

Where to Buy:

https://amzn.to/3i15igl

My Review:

I love Shari Low’s books, and have enjoyed the ones I’ve reviewed so far.

One Day with You was emotional from the start and I loved everything about it. The characters, the plot, the pace and all the themes. The book really made me think.

Thanks to Shari Low, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

5 stars


My Sister’s Secret by Diane Saxon @Diane_Saxon @bookandtonic @rararesources

About the Book:

Four sisters, four secrets. Who has the deadliest of them all?

Something happened to me when I was nine.

My childhood memories before that fateful day are gone. Extinguished.

The aftermath has become a living nightmare with a guilt that runs so deep that I’m not sure I can ever tell anyone. I fear I’ve left it too late…

The burden of my secret and the hurt and pain that silence cost each and every member of my family is too overwhelming.

But you can’t avoid fate and now I have the opportunity to right the wrongs inflicted on us.

There was no justice. Not then. Not now. But I can change that.

The big question is, how far am I willing to go?

About the Author:

Diane Saxon previously wrote romantic fiction for the US market but has now turned to writing psychological crime. Find Her Alive was her first novel in this genre and introduced series character DS Jenna Morgan. She is married to a retired policeman and lives in Shropshire.

Social Media Links –  

Facebook https://www.facebook.com/authordianesaxon

Twitter https://twitter.com/Diane_Saxon

Instagram https://www.instagram.com/dianesaxonauthor/

Newsletter Sign Up: http://bit.ly/DianeSaxonNewsletter

Bookbub profile: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/diane-saxon

My Review:

My Sister’s Secret by Diane Saxon is the first novel I’ve reviewed by her.Well formed characters and a twisty plot that kept me guessing.

Thanks to Diane Saxon, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review

4 stars

Where to Buy:

Blinded Me with Science by Tara September @TaraSeptember @rararesources

About the Book:


Opposites attract like a magnet to steel, or in this case, Emerson to SteelEmerson Powers has been so focused on obtaining her science degree that she’s neglected the more social aspects of college life. With the new start of her junior year, she’s determined to fix that with a real hands-on lesson in biology. The assignment is simple enough—teach the rock star’s son how to be good, while he shows her how to be very bad. Two objectives, one outcome … will the lesson be love or heartbreak?Steel is no longer the bad boy Emerson knew from prep school, and he’s set to prove it by helping Emerson complete her secret list of desired college experiences. And if he can convince her that they are meant to be together along the way, even better!While teaming up on experiments, both in and out of the classroom, Emerson discovers a new side to Steel. Leaving her to question everything she thought she knew. Still, is it enough to forgive the past or just mere chemistry?



Fueled by an IV of green tea and Prosecco, Tara September is a multi-award-winning contemporary romance author of bestselling sassy & steamy love stories filled with banter. Based in Southwest Florida, Tara holds a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, a B.A. from Wheaton College in Massachusetts, as well as attended college courses at Queen’s College in London, U.K. She is also the proud mom to identical twin 10-year-old boys and three cats.
Social Media Links –
Instagram ➜ https://instagram.com/taraseptemberauthor
Facebook ➜ https://facebook.com/taraseptemberauthor
Twitter ➜ https://twitter.com/taraseptember

My Review:

I liked the sound of this synopsis. It’s a long time since I requested a YA book, but I was doubly interested as it was an audiobook. And it was the first book I had listened to via Spotify. I enjoyed the experience.

The boy meets girl again he once knew. groupwork assignment and will-they-won’t-they find a connection that’s down to more than schoolwork/coincidence between them is one I’ve found in books before, but there are things that set Blinded Me With Science apart from other books with these themes.

I identified with the uncomfortable feeling of having to work with another student, and think so many people will, too.

Emmerson is a great character. She’s focused and caring. Steel is kind of a know it all at times, and sometimes I felt irritated by him. I was really wanting to know if they’d get on or not.

The narrator was absolutely outstanding.

Blinded Me With Science is a quick listen and the romance and internal thoughts for both characters get very hot at times. We see them being confident, vulnerable, lusting after each other then in conflict and then doubting what they feel…it’s a real emotional rollercoaster and the quick pacing with carefully chosen words and excellently placed visual details here and there makes for a great YA romance.

I didn’t know it was book 2 in the series, but it reads like a standalone. I am eager to find the other books in the series. I didn’t feel like I was missing things as sometimes happens with other series where I don’t start off with book 1.

Thanks to Tara September, and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review.

4 stars

Where to Buy:


US: https://amzn.to/3Cz3Dq3
UK: https://amzn.to/3SCNfKS
CA: https://amzn.to/3SFfaK1
AU: https://amzn.to/3CEUTyZ
And there is a free bonus chapter available at https://bit.ly/taraseptemberbonus

Berlin Calling by Lilo Moore @LeonieMAuthor @rararesources

About the Book:

Berlin Calling

The song contest is hotting up, on and off the stage!

Rose writes twee pop, smiles a lot, and believes in magic and rainbows. When the cheesy love song she wrote is chosen for the European Song Contest, her luck seems to be turning around – especially when a chance encounter leads to the hottest one-night stand of her life. It’s almost too bad she’ll never see him again.
But then Rose discovers it wasn’t a chance encounter. The hot German DJ with the sexy deep voice is her rival for song contest glory.
Grumpy Emil is incredibly talented and the song he spins with his sister could be a winner, even if he doesn’t appreciate the playful spirit of the contest. As the continent falls in love with Rose and Emil’s competitive banter on social media, they must hide their history from the press or risk losing credibility – and a future songwriting career.
With an anonymous gossip out to ridicule the colourful contestants and a plot to undermine European public broadcasting bubbling under the shiny surface, Rose must be strong in the face of criticism and stand up for everything the contest means to her.
If this Canadian girl can save the contest, maybe she can believe that her feelings for Emil are the real deal.

About the Author:

 Lilo Moore is the steamy romantic comedy pen name of travel romance author Leonie Mack. She lives among vineyards in Germany, creating fictional worlds and counting down to her next trip.

Contact Lilo:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lilo.moore.author

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LeonieMAuthor

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/lilo.writes.romance/

Mailing List – http://subscribepage.io/0EjRqT

My Review:

I have loved the Eurovision Song Contest since I was young, and so happily accepted my invitation for this blog tour. The European Song Contest is a good name for the contest and is imaginative and a good choice for the book.

Great songs, but I would have loved to have heard them.

The story is believable. I hope it gets made into a movie one day so we can hear the songs. The plot is original.

Thanks to Lilo Moore, Boldwood Books and Rachel’s Random Resources for my eaARC in exchangge for an honest and voluntary review.

4.5 stars

Where to Buy:

UK – https://www.amazon.co.uk/Berlin-Calling-Steamy-contest-romantic-ebook/dp/B0BN42SLN9/

US – https://www.amazon.com/Berlin-Calling-Steamy-contest-romantic-ebook/dp/B0BN42SLN9/

Moonrise over New Jessup by Jamila Minnicks @lionesstales @AlgonquinBooks

About the Book:

Winner of the 2021 PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction, a thought-provoking and enchanting debut about a Black woman doing whatever it takes to protect all she loves at the beginning of the civil rights movement in Alabama.

It’s 1957, and after leaving the only home she has ever known, Alice Young steps off the bus into the all-Black town of New Jessup, Alabama, where residents have largely rejected integration as the means for Black social advancement. Instead, they seek to maintain, and fortify, the community they cherish on their “side of the woods.” In this place, Alice falls in love with Raymond Campbell, whose clandestine organizing activities challenge New Jessup’s longstanding status quo and could lead to the young couple’s expulsion—or worse—from the home they both hold dear. But as Raymond continues to push alternatives for enhancing New Jessup’s political power, Alice must find a way to balance her undying support for his underground work with her desire to protect New Jessup from the rising pressure of upheaval from inside, and outside, their side of town.

Jamila Minnicks’s debut novel is both a celebration of Black joy and a timely examination of the opposing viewpoints that attended desegregation in America. Readers of Brit Bennett’s The Vanishing Half and Robert Jones, Jr.’s The Prophets will love Moonrise Over New Jessup.

About the Author:

Jamila Minnicks is the author of Moonrise Over New Jessup, the 2021 winner of the PEN/Bellwether Prize for Socially Engaged Fiction. Her work is also published in CRAFT Literary Magazine, The Write Launch, and The Silent World in Her Vase. Her piece “Politics of Distraction” was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan, the Howard University School of Law, and Georgetown University. She lives in Washington, DC. Find her at http://www.jamila-minnicks.com

Advanced Praise:

“My favorite novels light up my brain with things I hadn’t considered before – and this one does exactly that. The deep complexity of the American Civil Rights movement; the various, sometimes opposing approaches of its leaders to desegregation; the gains and inevitable casualties that social progress can claim. With compelling characters and a heart-pounding plot, Jamila Minnicks pulled me into pages of history I’d never turned before.”  
—Barbara Kingsolver 

“I was awestruck by its beauty, rapt by its originality, and astounded by its depth. But what astonished me most was learning that this is a debut. The craftwork is extraordinary. Was this book dreamed into existence? Did the Ancestors themselves place this story in the writer’s mind? From page one, I knew this work would transform me. It expanded the way I imagine what is possible in the art form. More than interesting, it is integral. More than important, it is inspiring. Read this book. Cherish it. Protect it. You must. Right out of the gate, Jamila Minnicks’s Moonrise Over New Jessup is a masterpiece.” 
—Robert Jones, Jr., author of The New York Times bestselling novel, The Prophets

“An immersive and timely recasting of history by a gloriously talented writer to watch. You will fall in love with New Jessup: the town and the book.” 
—Margaret Wilkerson Sexton, author of The Revisioners

 “Elegant and nuanced, Moonrise Over New Jessup is an incandescent work of art through-and-through, from a powerful new voice.”
—Jason Mott, author of National Book Award winner Hell of a Book

Moonrise over New Jessup is a tender and beautifully written debut that shines light on the untold stories of the women who supported the foot soldiers of the bourgeoning civil rights movement. Warm and affecting, this book will draw you in with its heart.”
—Heidi W. Durrow, author of the New York Times bestseller The Girl Who Fell from the Sky

“An outstanding writer, Minnicks excels at capturing the atmosphere and issues of a specific locale at a particular time, the Deep South at the dawn of the civil rights era. This highly recommended title is an excellent choice for book discussion groups and would make a great movie.”
Library Journal

“A warmly appealing book debut” with “impassioned characters. A thoughtful look at a complex issue.”
Kirkus Reviews

“No one who’s read Zora Neale Hurston ever forgets her Eatonville. So too will Jamila Minnicks’s New Jessup live on in the American imagination as both a place and an idea. Moonrise Over New Jessup is a staggeringly beautiful love letter to Blackness — particularly southern Blackness — that celebrates the joys, sadness, and multiplicity of existence outside the white gaze. An absolute triumph, Moonrise Over New Jessup confirms a major voice in Jamila Minnicks, a writer everyone should be watching.”
—Dionne Irving, author of The Islands

“Alice’s voice, her witty, generous, keenly observant, utterly compelling voice, will be with me for a long time. And the world of New Jessup that she evokes — not just her beloved, Raymond, and his family, but the whole community, each character so vividly drawn, from Miss Vivian to Patience to the ghost of Rosie, who hovers, for Alice, behind so much — that too is now part of my lived experience, as well as their struggles to preserve the integrity and autonomy of New Jessup in a period of great transition, to ensure a fully independent thriving Black community — it’s a complex history I didn’t know, and Jamila Minnicks brings it alive so powerfully. This beautiful novel deserves, and I’m sure will find, many readers.”

My Review:

Moonrise over New Jessup is a book that is so atmospheric. It has great attention to detail and I thoroughly enjoyed Alice’s journey. The period in history is a time I knew nothing about. 

The pacing is excellent and I am glad to have found a debut novel. 

Thanks to Jamila Minnicks and Algonquin Paublishing for my eARC in exchange for an honest and voluntary review. 

4 stars. 

Where to Buy:

$28.00 (US)

Shipping to the U.S. only. Please see our International FAQfor more information.

Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

About the Book:

The coming-of-age story follows Gwyn Madison, the summer after her high school graduation, as she grapples with her fast-approaching future. She’ll have to face more than she bargained for with her Aunt Delia, the family matriarch, who holds the purse strings and the final word. In the meantime, Gwyn stumbles upon a tightly held family secret. Could a mysterious letter provide Gwyn the leverage she desires? Will it only bring more family division? Or, maybe, the past was never meant to stay buried after all. Whispering Through Water navigates family dynamics, young love, and female autonomy with a little 1990s nostalgia.

Publisher: Monarch Educational Services, L.L.C
ISBN-10: 1957656052
ISBN-13: 978-1957656052
ASIN: ‎B0BCCW8T54
Print length: 265 pages

Purchase a copy of Whispering Through Water on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Bookshop.org. You can also add this to your GoodReads reading list.

About the Author:

Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler was raised in West Point, a small town in the Tidewater region of Virginia. From the moment she submitted her first short story to a young author’s contest in second grade, Rebecca knew she wanted to be a writer. Her love of writing led her to earn a BA in English and an MEd in English education. She spent several years as a high school teacher, during which she also developed a passion for mental health advocacy. Rebecca completed an MA in professional counseling and now works in the school-based mental health field and as a college adjunct psychology instructor. Rebecca also teaches yoga for the young and the young at heart, and she likes to infuse yoga and breathwork in her counseling practice wherever she can.

She believes the most valuable use of her time is teaching youth how to love and care for each other and the world around them. Her stories share her focus on positive relationships and a love of nature. Rebecca now lives in Durham, North Carolina, with her husband, two children, and two spoiled Siamese cats.

Whispering Through Water is her first YA novel and second book. Her picture book When Daddy Shows Me the Sky was released November 2021. You can follow Rebecca on Instagram @rebeccawwheeler_author and http://www.rebeccawwheeler.com.


Excerpt from Chapter 5 The Upstairs Room:

Uncle Beckett looked up from the counter, his brown eyes growing deeper. “Well, Gwynnie.” He rubbed his palm against the stair rail. “There’s more to Delia than appears on the surface. I know you two aren’t on the best of terms right now. I just wanted you to understand her a bit better before you left. Family fights, but family can reconcile too. Maybe, one day, the thing you have in common will bring you together.”
“You mean art.”
“Yes, at least that’s my hope.”
I smiled, without words to respond. Maybe the sadness that occasionally slipped into Aunt Delia’s eyes had something to do with the paintings. I hoped the price of becoming an adult wasn’t letting go of your passions for what the world deemed the more appropriate choice. Work, discipline, decorum, that’s all I knew my aunt to be. Maybe I was wrong, or maybe I only saw what she wanted me to see.
In the quiet of the moment, the gentle ticking of the clock amplified. Hanging above the bookcase of biographies, a silhouette of Shakespeare filled the center of the clockface. If I stared at old William long enough, his lips would rhythmically repeat tick tock. My uncle’s gaze followed mine to land on the clock.
“Gwynnie, aren’t you supposed to be at work in 10 minutes?”
“Oh,” I said, my eyes darting quickly from the clock to my uncle and back. “Love you. I’ll see you at home.”
I waved, slammed the door behind me, and ran the three blocks to the florist, clutching the glass ornament so it wouldn’t slip out of my hands.

©Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler

Check out all the blogs on the tou:

January 9th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the launch of Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. We interview the author and give away a copy of the book to one lucky reader.
https://muffin.wow-womenonwriting.com

January 10th @ Mindy McGinnis’ blog
Visit Mindy’s blog to read Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler’s guest post about things she’s learned about the author and editor relationship.
https://www.mindymcginnis.com/blog

January 10th @ Rockin’ Book Reviews
Visit Lu Ann’s blog for her review of Whispering Through Water. You also have the chance to win a copy of the book!

Home

January 11th @ Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews
Visit Lisa’s blog for an interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.
https://lisahaselton.com/blog/

January 12th @ Author Anthony Avina’s Blog
Join Anthony as he shares his thoughts about Whispering Through Water.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

January 13th @ A Storybook World
Deirdre features Whispering Through Water in a book spotlight.
https://www.astorybookworld.com/

January 14th @ Just Katherine
Katherine treats us to an excerpt of Whispering Through Water.
https://justkatherineblog.wordpress.com/

January 15th @ Reading is My Remedy
Join Chelsie for a review of Whispering Through Water.
https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

January 16th @ One Writer’s Journey
Sue shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about how her graduate program in counseling helped her write fiction.

https://suebe.wordpress.com/

January 18th @ Word Magic
Fiona spotlights Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.
https://fionaingramauthor.blogspot.com/

January 19th @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
Visit Joan’s blog for her insights about Whispering Through Water.
https://bookwomanjoan.blogspot.com/

January 21st @ Life According to Jamie
Visit Jamie’s blog for her thoughts about Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.
https://lifeaccordingtojamie.com/

January 24th @ Author Anthony Avina’s blog
Join Anthony as he shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about her different processes when writing young adult versus picture books.
https://authoranthonyavinablog.com/

January 26th @ World of My Imagination
Nicole reviews the book Whispering Through Water.
https://worldofmyimagination.com

January 27th @ Storeybook Reviews
Come by Leslie’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.
https://storeybookreviews.com/

January 28th @ Reading is My Remedy
Cheslie shares a guest post fro

m Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about gardening.
https://readingismyremedy.wordpress.com/

February 1st @ Beverley A. Baird
Join Beverley as she reviews Whispering Through Water.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 2nd @ Celticlady’s Reviews
Check out a book spotlight of Whispering Through Water. A must-read book to add to your collection!
https://celticladysreviews.blogspot.com/

February 2nd @ Knotty Needle
Visit Judy’s blog and read her review of Whispering Through Water.
http://knottyneedle.blogspot.com/

February 3rd @ Beverley A. Baird
Visit Beverley’s blog again for a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about growing up in a small town.
https://beverleyabaird.wordpress.com/

February 5th @ The Mommies Reviews
Join Glenda as she reviews Whispering Through Water by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler.
https://themommiesreviews.com/

February 6th @ One Writer’s Journey
Sue will be interviewing Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler. Learn more about this prolific writer!
https://suebe.wordpress.com/

February 7th @ Liberate and Lather
Join Angela as she reviews Whispering Through Water. She also shares a guest post by Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about simple things to do at home to be more eco-friendly.
https://liberateandlather.com/

February 9th @ Chapter Break
Julie interviews author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler about books, writing, life, and more.
https://chapterbreak.net/

February 10th @ From the TBR Pile
Visit Kari’s blog for a review of Whispering Through Water.
https://fromthetbrpile.blogspot.com/

February 11th @ Boots, Shoes and Fashion
Visit Linda’s blog for an in-depth interview with author Rebecca Wenrich Wheeler and her book Whispering Through Water.
https://bootsshoesandfashion.com/