Favorite Quotes on Books and Reading

"A book is a gift you can open again and again." Garrison Keillor

Literature is a textually transmitted disease, normally contracted in childhood.” Jane Yolen

"It is what you read when you don't have to that determines what you will be when you can't help it." Oscar Wilde

"Books have furnished, burnished, and enabled my life." Julia Keller

Monday, September 28, 2015

2015 Book 308: EVERY SECOND by Rick Mofina

Every Second (Kate Page #3) by Rick Mofina
ISBN: 9780778317517 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781460390214 (ebook)
ASIN: B00TXCFGM8 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 29, 2015 
Publisher: MIRA


Terror claws into the lives of an American family… 
On a quiet night in their tranquil suburban home, the Fulton family awakens to a nightmare. Four armed men force bank manager Dan Fulton to steal a quarter million dollars from his branch—strapping remote-detonation bombs on him, his wife, Lori, and their young son. 
A relentless reporter discovers an agonizing secret… 
The FBI moves swiftly with a major investigation while Kate Page, a reporter with a newswire service, digs deep into the story. In the wake of the Fulton family's abduction, questions emerge, including one of the most troubling: is the case linked to Lori Fulton's tragic past? 
Time ticks down on a chilling plan… 
Working as fast as they can, Kate and the investigators inch closer to a devastating truth—it's not only the Fultons' lives at stake, but thousands of others…and every second counts in the race to save them.  


Lori Fulton is brutally awakened one night to find several armed men in her bedroom. The Fulton family is quickly bound and fitted with "suicide vests." The abductors force Dan to go into his bank branch and take $250,000 and tell him everything will be fine if he just does what he's told. But all is not what appears when one abductor tells Lori that her family deserves everything that is going to happen to them. Can the authorities and journalist Kate Page find the truth as the clock ticks down in Every Second by Rick Mofina?

The Fulton family appears to be a typical American family, hardworking parents with an elementary school-aged child and a devoted dog with no known enemies. Dan is the manager at a local bank branch. Lori works for an insurance company. Have they been targeted because of Dan's job? All Lori and Dan know is that their family's safety hinges on Dan getting the money the abductors want. Little do they know that their abductors have planned something major and the abduction of the Fulton family is only one minor part of their plan. Fortunately, one of Dan's bank employees realizes that Dan's actions aren't bank-sanctioned and tips off the authorities. What is initially presumed to be a bank robbery by a bank employee quickly becomes a search for the Fulton family and their abductors. Kate Page, a reporter based in New York, is on the story and tracks down leads that the authorities wish she hadn't found. Kate's search for background finds that Lori was a police officer in California before her family moved to New York and further investigation reveals that this abduction and robbery may be tied to Lori's past. Now the questions raised are who these abductors are and what exactly do they want? The answers raise even more questions and put everyone on high alert for a possible home-grown terrorist attack.

Every Second packs in a lot of action, suspense, and thrills. This fast-paced read has a home invasion, bank robbery, home-grown terrorists with possible international terrorism links, and government agencies that are two-steps behind in following through on potential terrorist threats. At one point one of the FBI agents on this case thinks ". . . the suspects were untrained, inexperienced amateurs, possibly homegrown, self-radicalized extremists . . ." and that only raises more questions. All of the action is packed into the span of only a few days, and the reader witnesses Kate and the FBI try to connect the dots between the Fultons and the abductors/terrorists. Now I could tell you what happens, but then you'd have no incentive to read the book. What I will tell you is that Every Second is a fast-paced and enjoyable read filled with plenty of thrills and suspense. I spent my late night-early morning hours reading rather than sleeping just to find out what happens next. Every Second is the third book in the Kate Page series, but it is possible to read it without reading the previous books (you'll want to read the previous books because they are just as good). If you've already read the first two books in this series, Whirlwind and Full Tilt, then you'll definitely want to read Every Second.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Saturday, September 19, 2015

2015 Book 301: EVERYTHING SHE FORGOT by Lisa Ballantyne

Everything She Forgot by Lisa Ballantyne
ISBN: 9780062391483 (trade paperback)
ISBN: 9780062391490 (ebook)
ASIN: B00SG1ELOG (Kindle edition)
Publication date: October 6, 2015 
Publisher: William Morrow


They're calling it the worst pile-up in London history. Driving home, Margaret Holloway has her mind elsewhere—on a troubled student, her daughter's acting class, the next day's meeting—when she's rear-ended and trapped in the wreckage. Just as she begins to panic, a disfigured stranger pulls her from the car just seconds before it's engulfed in flames. Then he simply disappears.
Though she escapes with minor injuries, Margaret feels that something's wrong. She's having trouble concentrating. Her emotions are running wild. More than that, flashbacks to the crash are also dredging up lost associations from her childhood, fragments of events that were wiped from her memory. Whatever happened, she didn't merely forget—she chose to forget. And somehow, Margaret knows deep down that it's got something to do with the man who saved her life.
As Margaret uncovers a mystery with chilling implications for her family and her very identity, Everything She Forgot winds through a riveting dual narrative and asks the question: How far would you go to hide the truth—from yourself?  


Margaret Holloway is a devoted teacher as well as a loving wife, mother, and daughter. After fighting to keep a student in school, she begins her drive home only to wind up in a horrific multi-car accident. Margaret is trapped in her car as it begins to burn due to a ruptured fuel tank. Thankfully, she's saved by a stranger, who quickly disappears from the scene. The accident and the kindness of this stranger awaken long-lost memories in Everything She Forgot.

The story begins in December 2013 on the day of the tragic multi-car accident, and alternates between December 2013 and late September and early October 1985 as we're introduced to seven-year-old Molly Henderson, Big George McLaughlin, Angus Campbell, and Kathleen Henderson. Ms. Ballantyne provides the backstory to George McLaughlin's life and obsession with the love of his life, Kathleen Jamieson, and their daughter Molly. George decides to find Kathleen and, once again, ask her to marry him, but he finds that Kathleen is married and seems to be quite happy in her new life. He then decides to introduce himself to his daughter Molly, only after seeing her being bullied by three girls on her way to school. That introduction turns into an unplanned abduction that forces George to run from Scotland into England with his daughter. Angus Campbell is a local reporter in the area Molly was abducted from. All he wants is to be a respected journalist and he decides that it is his duty to find out all he can about Molly and Kathleen and he has to be the one to bring Molly safely back home. 

Everything She Forgot is a story that I didn't want to put down. I quickly became invested in Margaret, George, and Molly's stories and wanting to know what happens next. I wanted to know more about Margaret and her apparent obsession with the stranger that saved her. I needed to know more about George and Molly and their "adventure" into England. The more I read, the more I found myself pulled into the story. I empathized with Kathleen as she awaited news about her daughter. I felt sorry for George and the horrible childhood he had but rejoiced over the connections he was building with his daughter. His abduction of Molly may not have been planned, but it still caused needless trauma to Molly and her parents. It took a while for me to get used to the back-and-forth between past and present, but once I did the story seemed to suck me in. Did I enjoy Everything She Forgot? Yes! Ms. Ballantyne has crafted a beautiful and haunting story about memories, relationships, and the need for family. If you enjoy reading well-written stories, then you'll want to add Everything She Forgot to your reading list.


This review and tour brought to you by:



Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."


Thursday, September 10, 2015

2015 Book #292: SHE'S NOT THERE by P.J. Parrish

She's Not There by P.J. Parrish
ISBN: 9781503945043 (paperback)
ASIN: B00U0N5GDI (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 8, 2015 
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer


They say it's better to battle the devil you know. But what if you don't recognize him before it's too late?
She knows her name is Amelia, but after waking up in a hospital battered and bruised with just the clothes on her back, it's all she knows. Unable to piece together her shattered memory, she's haunted by a vision: menacing faces and voices implying her nightmare is far from over.
Relying only on her wits and her will to live, Amelia becomes a fugitive from a mysterious man, and a life she can't even remember. But the past she's fleeing has no intention of letting her go.  


Amelia Tobias wakes up in the hospital with no real memory of where she is, who she is, or what happened to her. All she can remember is a dark-haired man and an overwhelming sense of fear. When her husband arrives at the hospital all she can think to do is run. Alex Tobias is a well-known lawyer in Fort Lauderdale and when his wife runs away from her hospital bed his only concern is finding her and getting her the help she needs. Alex and his business partner hire Clay Buchanan, a well-regarded skip tracer, to track down Amelia in She's Not There by P.J. Parrish.

Amelia Tobias awakens in a hospital. She's suffered a severe head injury, possibly due to a car accident and has no memories of who she is or what has happened. Some memories return after she awakens and she knows that her name is Amelia and that she's in danger. When she leaves the hospital in Florida, she pawns her engagement ring and hops on a bus. Amelia stays a few days in Georgia before running away again. She has vague memories of her family and her life, but she isn't sure of anything except she needs to run. She stops in Iowa before being tracked down again by Buchanan. The confrontation with Buchanan ends with her shooting him and she runs again, landing in California. The only family she has is her husband who she's afraid of, and her grandmother who's suffering from dementia. While Amelia is being chased by her demons and seeking to regain her memories, Buchanan is running away from his demons and trying to forget his past. Can either of them outrun their pasts? 

I found She's Not There to be a fast-paced and enjoyable read. The main storyline is Amelia running away from her husband, but there's a lot more going on. As Amelia recovers memories, the reader is given her backstory as a ballet dancer, the deaths of her parents and brother, and even her marriage to Alex. Clay Buchanan is a well-known skip tracer, but the disappearance of his wife and infant son continue to haunt him. His in-laws obtained custody of his young daughter after his wife and son's disappearance, so he no longer has "family" just his career. Clay's past and current circumstances become a minor storyline that is continued until the very end of the story. Of course there's a lot more going on that just Amelia running away and Buchanan looking for her, but if I told you everything you wouldn't need to read the book. She's Not There is a great choice for mystery-suspense readers or those simply looking for a good story to read. She's Not There is the first book I've read by P.J. Parrish, but it definitely won't be my last.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Tuesday, September 8, 2015

2015 Book #291: THE HUMMINGBIRD by Stephen P. Kiernan

The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan
ISBN: 9780062369543 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780062369567 (ebook)
ASIN: B00R1K3V94 (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 8, 2015 
Publisher: William Morrow


Deborah Birch is a seasoned hospice nurse whose daily work requires courage and compassion. But her skills and experience are tested in new and dramatic ways when her easygoing husband, Michael, returns from his third deployment to Iraq haunted by nightmares, anxiety, and rage. She is determined to help him heal, and to restore the tender, loving marriage they once had.
At the same time, Deborah's primary patient is Barclay Reed, a retired history professor and expert in the Pacific Theater of World War II whose career ended in academic scandal. Alone in the world, the embittered professor is dying. As Barclay begrudgingly comes to trust Deborah, he tells her stories from that long-ago war, which help her find a way to help her husband battle his demons. 
Told with piercing empathy and heartbreaking realism, The Hummingbird is a masterful story of loving commitment, service to country, and absolution through wisdom and forgiveness. 


Deborah Birch is a caring hospice nurse and only wants to make things easier for the dying and their families. She is also a loving wife and has no  idea how to help her husband, Michael, heal from the psychological wounds he suffers as a result of fighting in Iraq. Barclay Reed is a former college professor and dying from kidney cancer. Deborah enters at the end of Barclay's life in The Hummingbird by Stephen P. Kiernan.

Deborah begins her time with each client by reviewing their records in the office and gently caressing her totem, a small wooden hummingbird. That hummingbird is a symbol and a reminder that each patient may provide her with gifts and "...to see the person behind the problem." Deborah has had difficult patients and difficult families to tend to in her years as a hospice nurse, but Barclay Reed is perhaps one of the most tragic. Mr. Reed, or Professor Reed as he has Deborah call him, is dying without friends or family. His 30+ year career ended in a huge scandal, so he isn't even leaving behind the legacy of his good name. To say the Professor Reed is somewhat cantankerous is a major understatement. He wants what he wants, how and when he wants it. Sadly, in his quest to get what he wants he has gone through three hospice agencies and several hospice nurses. Deborah is determined to provide him not only what he wants but what he needs. Over the course of Professor Reed's final weeks, Deborah learns more about the man and his final work that caused the scandal, The Sword. What is the lesson Deborah will learn from assisting Professor Reed?

"If you think of a person, anyone, even someone you dislike, if you imagine for a moment how one day they will lose everything—family and home and pleasures and work—and people will weep and wail when they die, you cannot help it: You feel compassion for them. Your heart softens. What's more, every single human being is going to experience this same thing, without exception: Every person you love, everyone you hate, your own frivolous struggling self. It is the central lesson of hospice: Mortality is life's way of teaching us how to love." The Hummingbird

You might think a story about a soldier suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and a dying professor might be overly sad and morbid, but The Hummingbird is simply a darn good story. Mr. Kiernan takes the current happenings between Deborah, Professor Reed, and Deborah's husband Michael and alternates it with the story of a Japanese WWII pilot that firebombed Oregon and returned as a guest of the city years later. Michael is just as trapped by his sense of guilt over his actions as a sniper, as well as a sense of honor by serving his country as the Japanese pilot was in the past. Deborah must decide if she believes the Professor's story and if she can find something that might allow her to help her husband. I thoroughly enjoyed reading The Hummingbird and found it to be a riveting read. Seriously, I pulled an all-nighter just to finish the story and I'm way too old for all-nighters. I enjoyed the characters, the storylines, and the settings. Mr. Kiernan has a deft way of writing that pulls me into his stories with just a few pages. He deals with death, dying, and the trauma of war in a realistic yet sensitive manner. If you read The Curiosity then you'll definitely want to read The Hummingbird. If you haven't read The Curiosity, what are you waiting for . . . read it and then read The Hummingbird. I look forward to reading more from Mr. Kiernan in the future.

Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via Edelweiss and a print copy via LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."



Friday, September 4, 2015

Book Promo: BLESSED ARE THOSE WHO MOURN by Kristi Belcamino




Mystery / Detective
ISBN:  9780062389428 (Ebook)
ASIN:  B00SG1ELNW (Kindle version)
Date Published: September 29, 2015
Publisher: Witness Impulse / HarperCollins Publishers

San Francisco Bay Area reporter Gabriella Giovanni has finally got it all together: a devoted and loving boyfriend, Detective Sean Donovan; a beautiful little girl with him; and her dream job as the cops' reporter for the Bay Herald. But her success has been hard-won and has left her with debilitating paranoia. When a string of young co-eds starts to show up dead with suspicious Biblical verses left on their bodies—the same verses that the man she suspects kidnapped and murdered her sister twenty years ago had sent to her—she begins to question if the killer is trying to send her a message.
It is not until evil strikes Gabriella's own family that her worst fears are confirmed. As the clock begins to tick, every passing hour means the difference between life and death to those Gabriella loves...



EXCERPT



Chapter 1

Saturday

The setting sun turns my family into dark silhouettes as I step onto the warm sand. The beach is nearly deserted, except for a lone figure walking north of us along the sand where the waves are crashing in from the Pacific Ocean.

A cool breeze makes me glad I trekked to the car to retrieve my daughter's little lavender parka. We promised her we'd stay until the sun set.

Donovan's back is turned, phone held to his ear. He's pacing in his bare feet, his jeans rolled up, a scowl on his face from what he’s hearing. A murder. Every once in a while he glances back at Grace kneeling in the sand playing.

Grace has dug deep channels with a small red shovel, chatting to herself, weaving tales about mermaids and sea creatures and fairies. She bounces a plastic dinosaur along the sand, a prize won in kindergarten for reading two books in one week.

Everything I've ever wanted is on that beach—Donovan and our daughter, Grace. My own little family. My life.

I'm still far away, closer to the parking lot, when I see the figure walking along the shore is growing closer.

It's a man. His shadow, with its elongated arms and legs, stretches across the beach until it seems to take on a life of its own. Something about his movements seems angry and frenetic—instead of the wandering gait of a casual sunset stroll—and sets off small alarms in my head. I walk faster, the sand seeming to reach up and grab at my ankles, slowing my progress.

Donovan's pacing takes him in the opposite direction, away from Grace. He’s not paying attention to anything besides his phone call. The man is now closer to Grace, who seems alone on the beach, although Donovan is twenty feet away. Donovan squints up into the pink and orange clouds, raking a hand through his perpetually spiky hair.

The man's path takes him straight toward Grace. My heart races. I can't tell for sure, but it seems like he's watching her. He walks at a determined clip, covering ground much faster than me in my flat, strappy sandals. I lean over in mid-stride and rip a sandal from one foot without stopping. Then I scoop up the other in one fluid motion.

Still, each step feels like my bare feet are being sucked into quicksand. I hurry, but feel like I'm moving in slow motion.

"Grace." I shout, but my words are carried away on the wind. I'm breathless from fighting the sand tugging at my feet. The breeze, which has grown stronger in the past few minutes, whips my hair.

Grace's brown ringlets bob as she hops her plastic dinosaur around, not noticing anything else.

Donovan isn't far from Grace, but now the man is closer.

At the same moment Donovan turns and sees the look on my face, the man reaches Grace. His long shadow falls over her small figure. She looks up with a smile and starts chatting. He leans down. His hand reaches toward her, his fingers millimeters from her arm. A wave of dread ripples through me. My feet feel cemented into the sand. My mind screams, but no words come out of my open mouth. Inside, I'm flailing and thrashing to get to Grace, but on the outside, I'm struck immobile.

The man reaches down and grasps Grace's arm, turning her toward him, and the spell is broken. I'm on wet sand running, the scream caught in my throat coming out as a birdlike garble. I scoop Grace up onto one hip and take a step back. I gasp for air, but I can't breathe. My heart is going to explode in my chest.

The man looks at me with surprise and for a split second, there is something in his eyes that sends panic racing up into my throat, but then the look is gone, as if I imagined it.

"Gosh. I'm so stupid," he says in a nasally voice. He wipes his palms on the legs of his jeans, as if he is sweating even though the temperature is rapidly dipping along with the sun.

Donovan is at my side. "Gabriella, is everything okay?"

He's used my full name and he's looking at me instead of Grace in my arms. Guilt flicks through me. I'm not acting irrational or hysterical. A strange man walked up to our daughter and grabbed her arm.

Any mother would react the same, wouldn't she?

At first glance, the man seems boyish with his bowl haircut, baggy jeans, and sneakers. Up close, a few crow's feet shows he is older. Maybe even my age—thirty. He has feminine pink lips, and piercing blue eyes, the color of the arctic sea. The collar of his black jacket is pulled up. His smile is all "gee, golly, shucks," abashed and embarrassed but doesn't reach his eyes. He paws at his jeans with his palms. He's done that twice now. He's nervous.

When he meets my eyes again, I realize that something about him seems off, something about his eyes, more than just their intense color. One eye is close to his nose and the other set far apart. It's jarring and somehow unsettling to make eye contact.

"I'm so sorry," he says in that same stuffed-up sounding voice. "What a knuckle-headed move. I should know better than to walk up to someone else's kid like that."

Donovan grips my arm.

"What's going on here?" His words are clipped.

I'm panting, but finally able to catch my breath. Still, the words will not come.

"Your kid is so darn cute. She looks just like my little sister used to look. I just wanted to say hi to her and didn't even think that was a total bonehead move to walk up to someone else's kid when her parents weren't around." He gives an odd smile as he says this.

"We were around." Donovan says in a monotone, staring the man down.

The man looks down at the sand.

Grace is kicking and trying to get down. My knuckles are white gripping her.

"Ow, mama, you're hurting me," she says and tosses her curls in irritation.

Donovan shoots a glance our way before turning his attention back to the man.

"You live around here?" Donovan asks, seemingly casual, but the muscle in his jaw is working hard. His dark eyes under thick eyebrows have narrowed and hold a glint of menace. In a second, it alters him from the man on the cover of the "Sexiest Bay Area Cops" calendar into something feral and dangerous.

The man meets Donovan's eyes and for a second it looks like he is challenging Donovan to dispute his story, but then he looks down again and digs a sneakered toe into the sand, reinforcing my impression that he's a kid not a man.

"Marin. Meeting some friends here in the city for dinner. Was early so came here to kill some time. I didn't mean to cause any problems. I just wanted to say hi to her. Maybe you're over-reacting a bit."

Donovan runs a hand through his hair. His posture relaxes. Instinctively—or luckily—this man has honed in on Donovan's Achilles heel. We've talked at length about our tendency to be overprotective parents because of our jobs, me as a crime reporter, and him as a detective. Donovan has argued we can't
let this affect Grace's childhood. We need to protect her, but let her grow up carefree. I agree.

But it's easier said than done.

We've, also, talked about my irrational fear that something will happen to Grace.

This man may not realize it, but he's instantly off the hook with this one simple
word—Overreacting.

"Why don't you go head on out," Donovan says, dismissing him.

"My bad, really. Wasn't using my head. Have a nice night," the man says and turns to leave.

I set Grace down and Donovan wraps his arm around me.

"You okay?"

"I don't know."

I don't tell him that it felt like I was having a heart attack, that I couldn't breathe or move. A stranger walked up to my daughter and I stood there, weak, helpless, frozen.

Donovan gives me a look before we both turn and watch the man's figure growing smaller. We watch without saying a word. We stand there until the man turns and heads toward the wooden boardwalk bordering the road. He never looks back.



About the Author


Kristi Belcamino is a writer, photographer, and artist. In her former life as a newspaper crime reporter in California, she flew over Big Sur in an FA-18 jet with the Blue Angels, raced a Dodge Viper at Laguna Seca, watched autopsies, and interviewed serial killers. She is now a journalist based in Minneapolis and the Gabriella Giovanni mysteries are her first books. Find Kristi on Facebook
www.facebook.com/kristibelcaminowriter or on Twitter @KristiBelcamino





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Thursday, September 3, 2015

2015 Book #282: THE GATES OF EVANGELINE by Hester Young

The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young
ISBN: 9780399174001 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9780698190771 (ebook)
ASIN: B00UG2MVFY (Kindle edition)
Publication date: September 1, 2015 
Publisher: G.P. Putnam's Sons


When New York journalist and recently bereaved mother Charlotte "Charlie" Cates begins to experience vivid dreams about children she's sure that she's lost her mind. Yet these are not the nightmares of a grieving parent, she soon realizes. They are messages and warnings that will help Charlie and the children she sees, if only she can make sense of them.
After a little boy in a boat appears in Charlie's dreams asking for her help, Charlie finds herself entangled in a thirty-year-old missing-child case that has never ceased to haunt Louisiana's prestigious Deveau family. Armed with an invitation to Evangeline, the family's sprawling estate, Charlie heads south, where new friendships and an unlikely romance bring healing. But as she uncovers long-buried secrets of love, money, betrayal, and murder, the facts begin to implicate those she most wants to trust—and her visions reveal an evil closer than she could've imagined. A Southern Gothic mystery debut that combines literary suspense and romance with a mystical twist, The Gates of Evangeline is a story that readers of Gillian Flynn, Kate Atkinson, and Alice Sebold won't be able to put down. 


Charlotte "Charlie" Cates has been deeply depressed since the tragic death of her son, Keegan. Everyone around her has been patient, but her job is on the line. Upon her return to work, she decides she doesn't really want to continue at a "fashion" magazine and the opportunity to write a book about the disappearance of a child in the South seems to be the job she needs. Charlie's search for the truth seems to be aided by the paranormal, psychic visions in The Gates of Evangeline by Hester Young.

Charlie initially thinks she's losing her mind when she begins to have "dreams" about children. She dreams the daughter of her best friend injures her ankle and it happens. She has dreams about a young boy in a boat and assumes it must be related to the missing-child story, so she sets off for Louisiana. Unfortunately, her arrival at Evangeline is filled with a list of do's and don'ts, such as don't mention the true reason for her being there to anyone, especially Mrs. Deveau, the mother of the missing child. The last thing Charlie expected to find was romance, but she finds it with Noah Palmer, the gardener hired to restore the gardens at Evangeline. Charlie quickly connects with local police detective Minot after giving him a message from his comatose, dying daughter. Charlie's visions set her off on a search for the truth, but that search seems to run into dead ends and more twists and turns than she ever imagined. Is it possible to discover the truth about the disappearance of Gabriel Deveau after all these years? 

The Gates of Evangeline is part mystery, part Southern gothic suspense, and part romance with a bit of the paranormal thrown in just to spice things up. Ms. Young has provided a haunting story that is just as tragic as it is hopeful. I found this to be a fast-paced read that kept me turning the pages to see what was going to happen next. There are good guys (Charlie, Noah, Rae, and more) and not-so-nice guys (the Deveau sisters). I enjoyed the mystery and suspense, just as much as I enjoyed the romance and paranormal aspects of this story. The Gates of Evangeline presents tragedy after tragedy and rather than being a dark and dismal story, it is one about hope and second chances.  I enjoyed everything about this story: the characters, the plot, the action, and the settings. I highly recommend you add The Gates of Evangeline to your TBR list. In my not-so-humble-opinion, The Gates of Evangeline is the perfect read for a late summer weekend or a fall weekend . . . okay, it's a perfect read for anytime! I look forward to reading more from Ms. Young in the future.


Read an excerpt here. 


Disclaimer: I received a digital copy of this book for review purposes from the publisher via NetGalley. I was not paid, required, or otherwise obligated to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."