revenge list

The people in Frankie Morgan’s life say she’s angry. Emotionally stunted. Combative. But really, who can blame her? It’s hard being nice when your clients are insufferable, your next-door neighbor is a miserable woman and the cowardly driver who killed your mother is still out living it up somewhere.

Somehow, though, she finds herself at her very first anger-management group session—drinking terrible coffee and learning all about how “forgiveness is a process.”

One that starts with a list.

Frankie is skeptical. A list of everyone who’s wronged her in some way over the years? More paper, please. Still, she makes the pointless list—with her own name in a prominent spot—and promptly forgets about it…until it goes missing. And one by one, the people she’s named start getting hurt in freak accidents, each deadlier than the last.

Could it be coincidence giving her the revenge she never dared to seek…or something more sinister?

If Frankie doesn’t find out who’s behind it all, she might be next.


an interior journey thoughts

When Frankie takes a big step toward dealing with her anger in The Revenge List, she soon realizes that there is a lot more to her issues than she thought. What or who is behind all the strange and terrifying events that begin to unfold as she checks off the boxes?

We can see that someone might be manipulating things along the way, but it was startling to discover just who that was. An intense tale that earned five stars.




senaror;s wife

In this town, anyone is replaceable. . . .

After a tragic chain of events led to the deaths of their spouses two years ago, D.C. philanthropist Sloane Chase and Senator Whit Montgomery are finally starting to move on. The horrifying ordeal drew them together, and now they’re ready to settle down again—with each other.

As Sloane returns to the world of White House dinners and political small talk, this time with her new husband, she’s also preparing for an upcoming hip replacement—the latest reminder of the lupus she’s managed since her twenties. With their hectic schedules, they decide that hiring a home health aide will give Sloane the support and independence she needs postsurgery. And they find the perfect fit in Athena Karras.

Seemingly a godsend, Athena tends to Sloane and even helps her run her charitable foundation. But Sloane slowly begins to deteriorate—a complication, Athena explains, of Sloane’s lupus. As weeks go by, Sloane becomes sicker, and her uncertainty quickly turns to paranoia as she begins to suspect the worst. Why is Athena asking her so many probing questions about her foundation—as well as about her past? And could Sloane be imagining the sultry looks between Athena and her new husband?

Riveting, fast-paced, and full of unbelievable twists, The Senator’s Wife is a psychological thriller that upends the private lives of those who walk the halls of power. Because when you have it all, you have everything to lose.

an interior journey thoughts

From the beginning of The Senator’s Wife, the reader is caught up in mysterious elements revealed gradually by alternating narrators. Our primary character Sloane captures us immediately, and as we watch how her life seems increasingly fragile, we are questioning who among the others is trying to weaken her, physically and psychologically.

We are pretty sure that her husband is up to no good, but some of the others had us completely fooled. By the end, we are stunned with how it all plays out. 5 stars.



After a childhood filled with heartbreak, Irene, a talented artist, finds herself in a small Central American village where she checks into a beautiful but decaying lakefront hotel called La Llorona at the base of a volcano.

The Bird Hotel tells the story of this young American who, after suffering tragedy, restores and runs La Llorona. Along the way we meet a rich assortment of characters who live in the village or come to stay at the hotel. With a mystery at its center and filled with warmth, drama, romance, humor, pop culture, and a little magical realism, The Bird Hotel has all the hallmarks of a Joyce Maynard novel that have made her a leading voice of her generation.

The Bird Hotel is a big, sweeping story spanning four decades, offering lyricism as well as whimsy. While the world New York Times bestselling author Joyce Maynard brings to life on the page is rendered from her imagination, it’s one informed by the more than twenty years of which she has spent a significant amount of her time in a small Mayan indigenous village in Guatemala.


an interior journey thoughts

 Described as “a big sweeping story spanning four decades,” The Bird Hotel captured the heart and soul of this reader. The tale carries us from loss and sadness to beauty in a new and unexpected environment in Central America, filled with so many characters who had tales to tell.

I kept rooting for Irene, among others, and was astounded by the many ways that connected the characters, from the past to the present.

Just when I thought that there wouldn’t be any more surprises, the conclusion brought me to tears with how our main characters’ lives were reunited once again. A brilliant 5 star read from one of my favorite authors.




Heather Willette has a good life in Concord, Massachusetts. But when her marriage fizzles out, Heather has to decide what sort of life to live next. Ready to seek out her own happiness and discover herself again, Heather decides to leave her husband and rent a cottage on Nantucket. And her plan is going perfectly—until her son, Ross, announces he’s moving to Nantucket to work at his girlfriend’s family’s construction business instead of going back home to work with his own father, like he’d promised. Worst of all for Heather, this means having to get along with her.

Kailee Essex is thrilled that Ross is willing to move to her hometown. She has big hopes for their happily ever after, especially now that her parents are finally showing interest in her career. She’s less thrilled, however, about his mother living nearby. Kailee has clashed with Heather since the day they met. But anything is possible in the summer sun and sea breezes of Nantucket—even reconciliation. And when change comes sooner than either Heather or Kailee expect, they must learn to overcome their differences to fight for the future they want.



an interior journey thoughts

As a fan of everything I’ve read by Nancy Thayer, I continued to be delighted as I immersed myself in All the Days of Summer. The gorgeous settings, from the outdoor beaches to the indoor furnishings of the cottages kept me intrigued throughout. I also loved getting to know the characters, who felt like real people, including those that were less than perfect. Spoiled and bratty Kailee did change a little over time, but Heather’s ex-husband remained disappointing throughout.

Just as the happy and sad moments unfolded, we had the opportunity to feel that wonderful glow as happily ever after appeared on the horizon. 5 stars.


There may be no tidy solutions or pithy answers to life’s big challenges, but Michelle Obama believes that we can all locate and lean on a set of tools to help us better navigate change and remain steady within flux. In The Light We Carry, she opens a frank and honest dialogue with readers, considering the questions many of us wrestle with: How do we build enduring and honest relationships? How can we discover strength and community inside our differences? What tools do we use to address feelings of self-doubt or helplessness? What do we do when it all starts to feel like too much?

Michelle Obama offers readers a series of fresh stories and insightful reflections on change, challenge, and power, including her belief that when we light up for others, we can illuminate the richness and potential of the world around us, discovering deeper truths and new pathways for progress. Drawing from her experiences as a mother, daughter, spouse, friend, and First Lady, she shares the habits and principles she has developed to successfully adapt to change and overcome various obstacles—the earned wisdom that helps her continue to “become.” She details her most valuable practices, like “starting kind,” “going high,” and assembling a “kitchen table” of trusted friends and mentors. With trademark humor, candor, and compassion, she also explores issues connected to race, gender, and visibility, encouraging readers to work through fear, find strength in community, and live with boldness.

“When we are able to recognize our own light, we become empowered to use it,” writes Michelle Obama. A rewarding blend of powerful stories and profound advice that will ignite conversation, The Light We Carry inspires readers to examine their own lives, identify their sources of gladness, and connect meaningfully in a turbulent world.


an interior journey thoughts

Another beautifully written tale about one woman’s journey toward working through fear, The Light We Carry helps us find strength in community as it shows us how to connect meaningfully in the world with all its challenges and discovering our potential.

Her anecdotal style brings us right into a conversation, as if we are sitting in a circle with her and her friends: around a kitchen table or by a fireside.

There is so much richness in the story, and I can’t wait to read more from her. 5 stars.




There was always something slightly dangerous about Joan. So, when she turns up at private investigator Henry Kimball’s office asking him to investigate her husband, he can’t help feeling ill at ease. Just the sight of her stirs up a chilling memory: He knew Joan in his previous life as a high school English teacher, when he was at the center of a tragedy.

Now Joan needs his help in proving that her husband is cheating. But what should be a simple case of infidelity becomes much more complicated when Kimball finds two bodies in an uninhabited suburban home with a FOR SALE sign out front. Suddenly it feels like the past is repeating itself, and Henry must go back to one of the worst days of his life to uncover the truth.

Is it possible that Joan knows something about that day, something she’s hidden all these years? Could there still be a killer out there, someone who believes they have gotten away with murder? Henry is determined to find out, enlisting help from his old nemesis Lily Kintner—but as he steps closer to the truth, a murderer is getting closer to him, and in this hair-raising game of cat and mouse only one of them will survive.


an interior journey thoughts

In alternating story lines, The Kind Worth Saving takes the reader through a series of murders in which some familiar characters appear and reappear.

I couldn’t stop reading as I watched Detective Kimball put the pieces together, and as we enjoy seeing how one person in particular keeps showing up again and again.

Whenever I realized more of the connections, something new and unexpected would occur and I was stunned again. A great tale that was well worth reading, and now I want to grab the previous novel. 5 stars.




Ellen was just trying to help a stranger. Giving a few minutes respite to a flustered young mother sitting opposite her on the train. A few minutes holding her baby while the woman makes an urgent call.

Five minutes pass.

The twist

As the train pulls into a station, Ellen is stunned to see the woman step off the train and rush away down the platform, leaving her baby behind.

Then she discovers a note in the baby’s bag, three desperate lines scrawled hastily on a piece of paper:

Please protect Mia
Don’t trust the police
Don’t trust anyone



an interior journey thoughts


 From the very first pages of Trust Me, I was caught up in the suspense of the mother, the baby, and the primary character who steps in to help the young mother. We are enmeshed in the story behind what is happening to Kathryn, as well as wondering what is going on with Ellen, and why she has decided to help.

When the police become involved, we are curious about their agenda, as already we are suspicious of them. Which police officer has his own dark plans and what will finally happen.

As the tale unfolds, I thought I had it all figured out. I just knew which person to trust and who not to trust…and then I was blindsided by what actually happened. An intense thriller that earned five stars.



Jane Morgan is a valued member of her law firm—or was, until a prudish neighbor, binoculars poised, observes her having sex on the roof of her NYC apartment building. Police are summoned, and a punishing judge sentences her to six months of home confinement. With Jane now jobless and rootless, trapped at home, life looks bleak. Yes, her twin sister provides support and advice, but mostly of the unwelcome kind. When a doorman lets slip that Jane isn’t the only resident wearing an ankle monitor, she strikes up a friendship with fellow white-collar felon Perry Salisbury. As she tries to adapt to life within her apartment walls, she discovers she hasn’t heard the end of that tattletale neighbor—whose past isn’t as decorous as her 9-1-1 snitching would suggest. Why are police knocking on Jane’s door again? Can her house arrest have a silver lining? Can two wrongs make a right? In the hands of “an inspired alchemist who converts serious subject into humor” (New York Times Book Review)—yes, delightfully.

an interior journey thoughts


From the very first pages of Ms. Demeanor, I was caught up in the events that turned a tale about house arrest into a journey toward food and love. It was a delightful romantic story with lots of interesting detours and characters.

Our journey takes us from a vicious woman with binoculars to other residents of the apartment building hoping to arrange a green card marriage. I quickly turned the pages until the very satisfactory ending. 5 stars.



In Oak Knoll, a verdant, tight-knit North Carolina neighborhood, professor of forestry and ecology Valerie Alston-Holt is raising her bright and talented biracial son, Xavier, who’s headed to college in the fall. All is well until the Whitmans—a family with new money and a secretly troubled teenage daughter—raze the house and trees next door to build themselves a showplace.

With little in common except a property line, these two families quickly find themselves at odds: first, over an historic oak tree in Valerie’s yard, and soon after, the blossoming romance between their two teenagers.

A Good Neighborhood asks big questions about life in America today—what does it mean to be a good neighbor? How do we live alongside each other when we don’t see eye to eye?—as it explores the effects of class, race, and heartrending love in a story that’s as provocative as it is powerful.
an interior journey thoughts

As we follow the people living in A Good Neighborhood, we learn about their current lives and background stories, just as we begin to pick sides. All of us will have favorites, but mine were the characters Valerie and Julia, although the teenagers Xavier and Juniper seemed to pull at the heart of the tale and brought the sharpest focus on the issues. Brad Whitman, the rich man who seemed to control the neighborhood, was beyond unlikable. His behavior set the tone for the neighborhood’s dark side.

Issues of race, the environment, wealth, and poverty…all that we see in contemporary America, flowed through the story and tugged at our emotions.

I couldn’t stop reading, turning the pages rapidly, and I was so glad I chose this book for my First Book of the Year. 5 stars.


Over the last few years, prominent people—a retired diplomat, beloved basketball coach, the CEO of an empire—have died in a series of fluke accidents and shocking suicides. There’s no apparent connection, no signs of foul play. Behind it all is a powerful group of women, the Sophie Foundation, who meet over wine and cheese to review files of men who behave very, very badly, and then mete out justice.

Jessa Hall jumped at the mysterious, exclusive invitation to this secret club. The invite comes when she’s at her lowest, aching for a way to take back control. After years of fighting and scratching to get ahead, she’s ready for a chance to make the “bad guys” lose. Jessa soon realizes, though, just how far she’s willing to go and how dangerous this game has become.

Once in the group, it’s impossible to get out. She has nowhere to turn except former friend Gabby Fielding who is investigating the mysterious death of her ex-husband. Aligned in their goal to take down the Foundation, Gabby and Jessa need each other but working together doesn’t mean they trust each other…or that either will survive to tell the truth.


an interior journey thoughts

When old college friends Gabby and Jessa reconnect in their adult lives in The Last Invitation, we are thrust into a sinister world of women meting out a form of justice to those deserving of this punishment.

Our characters alternate in their narrative of their lives and how they end up in this unique situation, and just when we think we understand all the ins and outs of the group, we learn how deadly it can be.

How will Gabby and Jessa fare as they fight the demands of the foundation, and will they find a way to move beyond the secrets of the past?

A tantalizing tale that held me in its grip all the way through, earning 4.5 stars.