THE FOREVER SUMMER by Jamie Brenner


Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: April 25, 2017
Source: Borrowed from the library
Rating: ★★★★


When a DNA test reveals long-buried secrets, three generations of women reunite on Cape Cod for the homecoming of a lifetime.

Marin Bishop has always played by the rules, and it’s paid off: at twenty-eight she has a handsome fiancé, a prestigious Manhattan legal career, and the hard-won admiration of her father. But one moment of weakness leaves Marin unemployed and alone, all in a single day. Then a woman claiming to be Marin’s half-sister shows up, and it’s all Marin can do not to break down completely. Seeking escape, Marin agrees to a road trip to meet the grandmother she never knew she had. As the summer unfolds at her grandmother’s quaint beachside B&B, it becomes clear that the truth of her half-sister is just the beginning of revelations that will change Marin’s life forever. THE FOREVER SUMMER is a delicious page-turner and a provocative exploration of what happens when our notions of love, truth, and family are put to the ultimate test.

Full of delicious descriptions of coastal New England and richly imagined characters, THE FOREVER SUMMER is an emotional, hot-topic page-turner and a summer must-read.


How shocking would it be to take a genetics test as a work-related project and get matched with a half-sister you knew nothing about? Marin Bishop is sure there must be a mistake with the test when someone from California makes that claim. This discovery leads the two young women to spend the summer on the northern tip of Cape Cod, home of a grandmother they’ve never met.

THE FOREVER SUMMER is a bittersweet tale of family secrets, love, and forgiveness, with a perfect summertime setting. I enjoyed the multigenerational cast of strong female characters, and reading about how this group of strangers forged a bond. There were tears, heartache, and other trying revelations along the way. This was a great beach read, and the Provincetown location was beautifully described. Sounds like an amazing place to spend the summer!

THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER by Karen Dionne


Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Release Date: June 13, 2017
Source: Penguin’s First to Read Program
Rating: ★★★★★


Praised by Lee Child and Karin Slaughter, and sure to thrill fans of The Girl on the Train and The Widow, The Marsh King’s Daughter is mesmerizing psychological suspense, the story of a woman who must risk everything to hunt down the dangerous man who shaped her past and threatens to steal her future: her father.

At last, Helena Pelletier has the life she deserves. A loving husband, two beautiful daughters, a business that fills her days. Then she catches an emergency news announcement and realizes she was a fool to think she could ever leave her worst days behind her.

Helena has a secret: she is the product of an abduction. Her mother was kidnapped as a teenager by her father and kept in a remote cabin in the marshlands of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. No electricity, no heat, no running water, not a single human beyond the three of them. Helena, born two years after the abduction, loved her home in nature — fishing, tracking, hunting. And despite her father’s odd temperament and sometimes brutal behavior, she loved him, too…until she learned precisely how savage a person he could be.

More than twenty years later, she has buried her past so soundly that even her husband doesn’t know the truth. But now her father has killed two guards, escaped from prison, and disappeared into the marshland he knows better than anyone else in the world. The police commence a manhunt, but Helena knows they don’t stand a chance. Knows that only one person has the skills to find the survivalist the world calls the Marsh King— because only one person was ever trained by him: his daughter.


Wow, wow, wow. I was riveted by this book, completely glued to the pages! THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER was more than just gripping psychological suspense; it was also a compelling blend of literary fiction and unique coming of age story.

This book tells the unusual life story of Helena Pelletier. She’s a wife, mother, and small business owner, but at one time her life was very strange, and growing up she didn’t realize it. The father whom she adored was actually a monster, a cruel psychopath who kidnapped her mother when she was a teenager. The three of them lived in an isolated cabin in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, completely cutoff from the rest of the world, until Helena was twelve years old. Now, after spending many years in prison, her father has escaped, and the only person cunning and skilled enough to track such as man is Helena herself.

Helena’s story alternates between the present as she hunts for her father, and the past when they lived alone in the marshlands. Moving between the two time periods bumped up the suspense. I was equally fascinated by both! As the reader, you already know that Helena will be separated from her father, but how? What was their life like before she knew the truth? What was it like for Helena to join the “real world,” and eventually be compelled to hunt him after his escape? My need for these answers made this a read-in-one-sitting situation!

THE MARSH KING’S DAUGHTER is a beautifully written book and a nail-biter at the same time. I loved it. Helena, her mother, and their haunting story will stick with me for a long time. Highly recommended.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Penguin’s First to Read Program in exchange for an honest review.

June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour #loveaudiobooks @Audiobook_Comm

Greetings! Welcome to my stop on the June Is Audiobook Month (JIAM) Blog Tour, organized by the Audio Publishers Association. Click HERE for a list of all participating blogs!

I started listening to audiobooks about 4½ years ago, and it was my blog buddy Felicia (The Geeky Blogger) who got me hooked on the format. I was hesitant at first, but then realized that audiobooks would let me read and do necessary non-reading things at the same time. Win-win! Yard work isn’t so bad when I can listen to a great book.

I’m an eclectic reader – or listener, as the case may be – so I’ve chosen a recommendation from a few of my favorite fiction genres. The samples below are linked to Audiobook.com.


PSYCHOLOGICAL THRILLER

YOU by Caroline Kepnes
Narrator: Santino Fontana
Play Sample

Why? YOU was a well written novel, unique, suspenseful, and full of pop culture references – I’ll forever associate YOU with IKEA – however, the BIG reason I enjoyed this book so much was the audio performance by Santino Fontana. His narration was brilliant, probably my all-time favorite on audiobook. Joe’s character was a total and complete sociopath, but dang it, Santino Fontana made me sympathize with Joe, even *gasp* love him in a crazy sort of way. He WAS Joe. Amazing… and chilling! Bonus: You can get a second helping of Joe in the sequel, HIDDEN BODIES.

WOMEN’S FICTION

THE SOUND OF GLASS by Karen White
Narrators: Therese Plummer, Susan Bennett
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Why? This was the first book I read by Karen White, and I was wowed! THE SOUND OF GLASS is a remarkable, character-driven story of mystery, family secrets, loss, second chances, and letting go. Narrators Therese Plummer and Susan Bennett did a wonderful job capturing the characters’ personalities, including stubborn Merritt, sugary sweet Loralee, and stoic Edith. This Southern family drama makes a perfect summer read.

MYSTERY

HE’S GONE by Deb Caletti
Narrator: Cassandra Campbell
Play Sample

Why? HE’S GONE is an intriguing blend of suspense and women’s fiction, with a puzzling mystery and emotional backstory to keep readers hooked. The story moves back and forth between the main character, Dani Keller, searching for clues to her missing husband’s whereabouts, and Dani’s introspective look at her life and what’s brought her to this point in time. Cassandra Campbell is one of my favorite narrators, and she was perfect as Dani Keller’s voice, capturing her personality and predicament very well.

HISTORICAL FICTION

MY NOTORIOUS LIFE by Kate Manning
Narrator: Terry Donnelly
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Why? The audiobook of Kate Manning’s MY NOTORIOUS LIFE was amazing. The notorious life in question is that of Axie Muldoon, a poor orphan who became a wealthy female physician and midwife in 19th century New York City. Axie’s character was inspired by the real life story of Madame Restell, a controversial family planning provider in the 1800s. This epic tale was brilliantly narrated by Terry Donnelly, who I believe was channeling Axie as she read her memoirs. Ms. Donnelly’s performance truly captured Axie’s passion and courage.

GOTHIC FICTION

JANE STEELE by Lyndsay Faye
Narrator: Susie Riddell
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Why? Like me, the character Jane Steele is a huge fan of JANE EYRE, and in many ways her life mirrors that of her favorite character. Only, Miss Steele is a wee bit of a sociopath, but in the best way possible! When she sees an injustice, she handles it in her own vigilante way. Retellings of classics can be tricky, but this one was clever and captivating, and I loved it. Narrator Susie Riddell’s performance made this an entertaining listen. The book was full of many characters with different accents, and she brought each of the players to life. I enjoyed every minute.

LITERARY FICTION

THE COLOR PURPLE by Alice Walker
Narrator: Alice Walker
Play Sample

Why? What can I say about THE COLOR PURPLE? Wow. It’s the ultimate story of survival, even when everything in life is stacked against you. When Celie tells her sister Nettie to write, and Nettie responds “Nothing but death can keep me from it!” well, that’s when the tears start flowing. I’ve loved this book for 25 years, and just recently did I get a chance to listen to it on audio. It’s narrated by the author herself, Alice Walker, and her voice was perfect for Celie. I enjoyed it so much, and I think everyone should give this book a read or listen. Powerful!


Thanks so much for stopping by today! Have you listened to any of these audiobooks or narrators? What did you think? Any recommendations for me?

Before you go, please check out my social links below, and remember to visit the other JIAM Blog Tour participants throughout the month. Happy listening!

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