Books That Came My Way In March

I’ve had another busy mailbox this month with a bunch more great books coming my way.  I have become very picky with the books I agree to review become my time is limited.  So, you can be assured that if a book has arrived in my mailbox, I felt it was going to be worth my time and yours.

If you would like to purchase any of these books, clicking on the photo of the book will take you directly to Amazon.  If you choose to purchase, I will receive a small compensation without you having to pay any more for your purchase.  I appreciate you supporting SincerelyStacie.com book reviews.

APRIL’S BOOK CLUB BOOK

NECESSARY LIES 
By Diane Chamberlain


I have never read a Diane Chamberlain book and I know I am in the minority.  I have read many rave reviews for her books and she has a huge fan base.  I know I am going to love this book and have no doubt we will have a lot to discuss.


Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients’ lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?

BOOKS I RECEIVED FOR REVIEW

MY BROTHER IS MY BEST FRIEND
By Nicole Weaver 


I have already posted my review for this book, HERE. This is a great children’s book that is written in English, French and Spanish.  It shares the great love between two brothers.

ISLAND OF DOVES
By Kelly O’Connor McNees
Published: April 1, 2014

I will be posting my review of this book at the end of April.  I also will be giving away a copy to one of you!

Vivid and enthralling, Island of the Doves tells the story of a courageous woman who is desperate for freedom and of those who will risk everything to help her…

Susannah Fraser lives in one of Buffalo’s finest mansions, but her monstrous husband makes the home a terrible prison. When a local nun offers to help her escape, Susannah boards a steamship headed for Mackinac Island and a chance at freedom.

Magdelaine Fonteneau has seen her share of tragedy—a husband murdered before her eyes, two sisters lost—and she sees offering Susannah refuge in her island home as atonement for her many regrets. This act of kindness changes Susannah in ways she never could have imagined as she finds solace in the company of others who carry their own secrets and scars. Only together can they untangle their pasts—and find a future bright with the promise of new life….

EMBER ISLAND
Kimberly Freeman
Published: April 15, 2014


I will be posting this review in a couple weeks.  This is another book that brings the past and the present together.  It seems to be a theme in my reading so far this year and I expect this one to be a hit as well.

A riveting story of secrets and scandal

1890: Orphaned as a small child, Tilly Kirkland found a loving, safe home with her grandfather in Dorset. But nineteenth-century England is an unforgiving place for a young woman with limited means and as her grandfather’s health fails, it seems perfect timing that she meets Jasper Dellafore. Yet her new husband is not all he seems. Alone in the Channel Islands, Tilly finds her dream of a loving marriage is turning into a nightmare.
2012: Bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling with writer’s block and her disappointing personal life. Nothing is quite working. After a storm damages Starwater, her house on Ember Island, she decides to stay for a while and oversee the repairs: it s a perfect excuse to leave her problems behind her on the mainland. Then Nina discovers diary pages hidden in the walls of the old home. And a mystery unravels that she is determined to solve.
Though the two women are separated by years, Starwater House will alter the course of both their lives. Nina will find that secrets never stay buried and Tilly learns that what matters most is trusting your heart.

NO ONE COULD HAVE GUESSED THE WEATHER
By Anne-Marie Casey
Published: April 1, 2014 – Berkley Trade Reprint

This is another book I will be giving away this week! Be sure to check back and win your own copy! 

Sometimes what you want in your twenties isn’t what you want or need in your forties…
When Lucy Lovett’s husband loses his job, she is forced to give up her posh life in London and move their family to a tiny apartment in Manhattan, where her husband has managed to secure a lowly position. Lucy finds herself living in the center of cool and hip. Across from their apartment is a trendy bar called PDT—whenever Lucy passes by, she thinks, Please Don’t Tell anyone I’m a middle-aged woman.
 
Homesick and resentful at first, Lucy soon embarks on the love affair of her life—no, not with her husband (though they’re both immensely relieved to discover they do love each other for richer or poorer), but with New York City and the three women who befriend her.
 
There’s Julia, who is basically branded with a Scarlet A when she leaves her husband and kids for a mini nervous breakdown and a room of her own; Christy, a much older man’s trophy wife, who is a bit adrift as only those who live high up in penthouses can be; and disheveled and harried Robyn, constantly compensating for her husband, who can’t seem to make the transition from wunderkind to adult.
 
Spot-on observant, laugh-out-loud funny, yet laced with kindness through and through, No One Could Have Guessed the Weather is a story of what happens when you grow up and realize the middle part of your story might just be your beginning.

THE TAKE BACK OF LINCOLN JUNIOR HIGH
By Roseanne Cheng


I’m a sucker for books about school.  Since I work at a middle school/high school, I was really interested in this story.  This is written for tweens/teens and I think brings an interesting topic to light.  Schools all over our country are trying to find ways to bridge the financial gap.  Is selling out to a corporation the answer?  I can’t wait to find out!

Lincoln Junior High is out of money. For Andrew and Hannah, this means no sports, no music, and no fun. That is, until the principal begins a corporate sponsorship program to “Take-Back” the school. A few advertisements in exchange for cool programs and new technology can’t be that bad. Or can it?

MONDAY, MONDAY: A Novel
By Elizabeth Crook
Published: April 29, 2014


This is something different and the book description really intrigued me.  Look for this review in May.


In this gripping, emotionally charged novel, a tragedy in Texas changes the course of three lives.

On an oppressively hot Monday in August of 1966, a student and former marine named Charles Whitman hauled a footlocker of guns to the top of the University of Texas tower and began firing on pedestrians below. Before it was over, sixteen people had been killed and thirty-two wounded. It was the first mass shooting of civilians on a campus in American history.

Monday, Monday follows three students caught up in the massacre: Shelly, who leaves her math class and walks directly into the path of the bullets, and two cousins, Wyatt and Jack, who heroically rush from their classrooms to help the victims. On this searing day, a relationship begins that will eventually entangle these three young people in a forbidden love affair, an illicit pregnancy, and a vow of secrecy that will span forty years. Reunited decades after the tragedy, they will be forced to confront the event that changed their lives and that has silently and persistently ruled the lives of their children.With electrifying storytelling and the powerful sense of destiny found in Ann Patchett’s Bel Canto, and with the epic sweep of Jess Walter’s Beautiful Ruins, Elizabeth Crook’s Monday, Monday explores the ways in which we sustain ourselves and one another when the unthinkable happens. At its core, it is the story of a woman determined to make peace with herself, with the people she loves, and with a history that will not let her go. A humane treatment of a national tragedy, it marks a generous and thrilling new direction for a gifted American writer.

HOW TO WRITE A MEMOIR IN 30 DAYS
Step-by-Step Instruction for Creating and Publishing Your Personal Story
By Roberta Temes, PhD


I’ve never thought about writing my memoir.  But I do like keeping a journal and remembering things our children have said and done.  If anything this might help me with my writing in general.

A quick, fun and easy guide to writing a personal memoir in just one month! Step-by-step techniques, culled from writers and workshops taught by the author, are presented in a welcoming, non-intimidating style.



SILENCE FOR THE DEAD
By Simone St. James
Published: April 1, 2014

I will be giving away a copy of this book in the next week.  This is not my usual type of book, but the synopsis intrigued me.  I don’t think you will want to miss out on reading this book!

In 1919, Kitty Weekes, pretty, resourceful, and on the run, falsifies her background to obtain a nursing position at Portis House, a remote hospital for soldiers left shell-shocked by the horrors of the Great War. Hiding the shame of their mental instability in what was once a magnificent private estate, the patients suffer from nervous attacks and tormenting dreams. But something more is going on at Portis House—its plaster is crumbling, its plumbing makes eerie noises, and strange breaths of cold waft through the empty rooms. It’s known that the former occupants left abruptly, but where did they go? And why do the patients all seem to share the same nightmare, one so horrific that they dare not speak of it?

Kitty finds a dangerous ally in Jack Yates, an inmate who may be a war hero, a madman… or maybe both. But even as Kitty and Jack create a secret, intimate alliance to uncover the truth, disturbing revelations suggest the presence of powerful spectral forces. And when a medical catastrophe leaves them even more isolated, they must battle the menace on their own, caught in the heart of a mystery that could destroy them both.


BOOKS I HAVE PURCHASED THIS MONTH

DON’T GO
By Lisa Scottoline


I have never read any of Scottoline’s books.  I purchased this book to place in a gift basket for a fundraiser for our school.  Then I found it at Half-Price books and got it nearly free with my credits.  I’m looking forward to reading this author. She reminds me of Jodi Picoult and Kristin Hannah.

Bestselling author Lisa Scottoline has thrilled millions with her emotionally-charged novels that feature strong women exploring the boundaries of family, justice, and love.   In Don’t Go, she breaks new ground and delivers the story of a soldier who discovers what it means to be a man, a father, and ultimately, a hero.When Dr. Mike Scanlon is called to serve as an army doctor in Afghanistan, he’s acutely aware of the dangers he’ll face and the hardships it will cause his wife Chloe and newborn baby.  And deep inside, he doesn’t think of himself as a warrior, but a healer.

However, in an ironic turn of events, as Mike operates on a wounded soldier in a war-torn country, Chloe dies at home in the suburbs, in an apparent household accident.  Devastated, he returns home to bury her, only to discover that the life he left behind has fallen apart.  His medical practice is in jeopardy, and he is a complete stranger to the only family he has left – his precious baby girl.  Worse, he learns a shocking secret that sends him into a downward spiral.

Ultimately, Mike realizes that the most important battle of his life faces him on the home front and he’ll have to put it all on the line to save what’s dearest to him – his family.  Gripping, thrilling, and profoundly emotional, Don’t Go is Lisa Scottoline at her finest.

COME HOME
By Lisa Scottoline


While shopping at a Goodwill this last weekend, I saw this on the shelf and for just $1.99 I couldn’t pass it up.  It is only $2.99 on Kindle (price subject to change at any time) and so that is a great deal as well!

Lisa Scottoline has delivered taut thrillers with a powerful emotional wallop in her New York Times bestsellers Save Me, Think Twice, andLook Again. Now, with her new novel, Come Home, she ratchets up the suspense with the riveting story of a mother who sacrifices her future for a child from her past.

Jill Farrow is a typical suburban mom who has finally gotten her and her daughter’s lives back on track after a divorce. She is about to remarry, her job as a pediatrician fulfills her—though it is stressful—and her daughter, Megan, is a happily over-scheduled thirteen-year-old juggling homework and the swim team.

But Jill’s life is turned upside down when her ex-stepdaughter, Abby, shows up on her doorstep late one night and delivers shocking news: Jill’s ex-husband is dead. Abby insists that he was murdered and pleads with Jill to help find his killer. Jill reluctantly agrees to make a few inquiries and discovers that things don’t add up. As she digs deeper, her actions threaten to rip apart her new family, destroy their hard-earned happiness, and even endanger her own life. Yet Jill can’t turn her back on a child she loves and once called her own.

Come Home reads with the breakneck pacing of a thriller while also exploring the definition of motherhood, asking the questions: Do you ever stop being a mother? Can you ever have an ex-child? What are the limits to love of family?

THE MIDWIFE OF HOPE RIVER
By Patricia Harman

I was interested the first time I heard about this book.  When it ran as a Kindle Daily Deal, I snagged it.

A remarkable new voice in American fiction, creates an uplifting novel that celebrates the miracle of life.

A William Morrow Paperback Original
A debut novel featuring Patience Murphy, an Appalachian midwife in the 1930s struggling against disease, poverty, and prejudices-and her own haunting past-to bring new light, and life, into an otherwise cruel world

As a midwife working in the hardscrabble conditions of Appalachia during the Depression, Patience Murphy’s only solace is her gift: the chance to escort mothers through the challanges of childbirth. Just beginning, she takes on the jobs no one else wants: those most in need-and least likely to pay. Patience is willing to do what it takes to fulfill her mentor’s wishes, but starting a midwife practice means gaining trust, and Patience’s secrets are too fragile to let anyone in.

A stirring piece of Americana, The Midwife of Hope River beats with authenticity as Patience faces seemingly insurmountable conditions: disease, poverty, and prejudices threaten at every turn. From the dangerous mines of West Virginia to the terrifying attentions of the Klu Klux Klan, Patience must strive to bring new light, and life, into an otherwise cruel world.

THE PERFUME COLLECTOR: A Novel
By Kathleen Tessaro


This was another Kindle Daily Deal that I snagged.  I love the time period of the story.  It looks to be full of secrets and mystery and will likely be one I won’t want to put down.

An inheritance from a mysterious stranger . . .
An abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank of Paris . . .
And three exquisite perfumes that hold a memory . . . and a secret

London, 1955: Grace Monroe is a fortunate young woman. Despite her sheltered upbringing in Oxford, her recent marriage has thrust her into the heart of London’s most refined and ambitious social circles. However, playing the role of the sophisticated socialite her husband would like her to be doesn’t come easily to her—and perhaps never will.

Then one evening a letter arrives from France that will change everything. Grace has received an inheritance. There’s only one problem: she has never heard of her benefactor, the mysterious Eva d’Orsey.

So begins a journey that takes Grace to Paris in search of Eva. There, in a long-abandoned perfume shop on the Left Bank, she discovers the seductive world of perfumers and their muses, and a surprising, complex love story. Told by invoking the three distinctive perfumes she inspired, Eva d’Orsey’s story weaves through the decades, from 1920s New York to Monte Carlo, Paris, and London.

But these three perfumes hold secrets. And as Eva’s past and Grace’s future intersect, Grace realizes she must choose between the life she thinks she should live and the person she is truly meant to be.

Illuminating the lives and challenging times of two fascinating women,The Perfume Collector weaves a haunting, imaginative, and beautifully written tale filled with passion and possibility, heartbreak and hope.

I WILL NEVER FORGET
A Daughter’s Story of Her Mother’s Arduous and Humorous Journey Through Dementia
By Elaine C. Pereira


This is just $.99 on Kindle (price subject to change at any time).  I have worked with patients and caregivers suffering from dementia.  It is a terrible disease but one that is overlooked because the patient doesn’t appear “sick”. It can be extremely stressful and tiring for the caregiver.  I am anxious to read this one.

It is extremely difficult to watch a loved one decline as dementia ravages his or her mind, robbing him or her of memory, thinking abilities, and judgment. In her touching memoir, I Will Never Forget, Elaine C. Pereira shares the sometimes heartbreaking and occasionally humorous story of her mother’s journey through dementia, as seen through the eyes of her little girl.

Pereira begins by offering entertaining glimpses into her own childhood and feisty teenage years. Through it all, Pereira shares how her mom’s unconditional love and creative parenting style helped mold an opinionated young woman into a resourceful adult who eventually would move mountains on her mother’s behalf. As Betty Ward slowly begins to wander down the dark and narrow corridors of Alzheimer’s, Pereira details her mother’s amazing ability to mask the truth until something as innocuous as a drapery rod suddenly launches a waterfall of events. As their roles shift and a new paradigm forms, Pereira transforms into a caregiver who blindly navigates dementia’s unpredictable haze while her mother orchestrates Houdini-like disappearances and surprisingly rallies to take charge of her own destiny.

I Will Never Forget shares a powerful, emotional story that can help people affected by dementia take comfort in knowing that they are not alone.




TREASURING CHRIST WHEN YOUR HANDS ARE FULL
Gospel Meditations for Busy Moms
By Gloria Furman


I read a promotion spot about this book and just the title alone grabbed my attention. Then I read the synopsis and realized I needed this book.  With chapters like “Mommy Brain” and “The Good News and Mommy’s No-Good, Very Bad Day”, I’m pretty sure I will find grace, comfort, and reassurance in these pages.

Grocery shopping. Soccer practice. Dirty dishes.

Motherhood is tough, and it often feels like the to-do list just gets longer and longer every day–making it hard to experience true joy in God, our children, and the gospel.

In this encouraging book for frazzled moms, Gloria Furman, a pastor’s wife and mother of four, encourages us to reorient our vision of motherhood around what the Bible teaches. Showing us how to pursue a vibrant and ever-growing relationship with Christ–even when discouragement sets in and the laundry still needs to be washed–this book will help you treasure Christ more deeply no matter how busy you are.

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