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Friday, June 28, 2019

REVIEW: The River at Night by Erica Ferencik @EricaFerencik @gallerybooks

The River at Night 
by Erica Ferencik


Publisher: Gallery/Scout Press
Publish Date: August 1, 2017
320 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Mystery, Suspense, Adventure

Winifred Allen needs a vacation.

Stifled by a soul-crushing job, devastated by the death of her beloved brother, and lonely after the end of a fifteen-year marriage, Wini is feeling vulnerable. So when her three best friends insist on a high-octane getaway for their annual girls’ trip, she signs on, despite her misgivings.

What starts out as an invigorating hiking and rafting excursion in the remote Allagash Wilderness soon becomes an all-too-real nightmare; a freak accident leaves the women stranded, separating them from their raft and everything they need to survive. When night descends, a fire on the mountainside lures them to a ramshackle camp that appears to be their lifeline. But as Wini and her friends grasp the true intent of their supposed saviors, long buried secrets emerge and lifelong allegiances are put to the test. To survive, Wini must reach beyond the world she knows to harness an inner strength she never knew she possessed.

My Review:

Oh Ferencik - what ever are you doing to me?  I read Into the Jungle earlier this year and LOVED it so obviously had to pick up The River at Night.  First she has me in the jungle dealing with mother nature there and now I'm coughing up river water as I read this one.  While two totally different books, the way the author puts you right in the middle of all the action comes across with such force in both.

We have four girls who have been lifelong friends going on a rafting adventure.  Ferencik does this seamless job in showing the different dynamics of each girl and how they comes together as friends.  I go on vacation once a year with my two best girlfriends and we certainly have our own very different personalities so a lot of this really did resonate.  As we get to know these women, then tragedy strikes and now it's how they react and persevere and this is where the story truly takes off.  It's all just so HUMAN and yet utterly insane as well (in the best way).

Ufffff.  DEAN! If you read this book, let's please talk about Dean.  When Dean and Simone were introduced my mind went entirely in one direction just to be pulled back into a different one and at the end of the day, Dean is the character that made the most impact on me in this read.  Love or hate on any of these characters, the fact is you're going to FEEL. 

The way the author brings everything to life is truly amazing.  I can feel the rush of the river.  I can feel my heart start to race as my anxiety level rises. There are definitely some surprising scenes that made me gasp a couple of times and the author doesn't shy away from the intricate detail in some gory moments.  I'll be honest, I did like Into the Jungle a tad more but maybe it's because I read that one first? Either way, both are solid 5 star reads for me and I look forward to whatever else she will be bringing our way.


Tuesday, June 25, 2019

BLOG TOUR: The Flatshare by Beth O'Leary @OLearyBeth @flatironbooks

The Flatshare 
by Beth O'Leary 

Thanks to Flatiron for this copy and stop on the blog tour.

Publisher: Flatiron Books
Publish Date: May 28, 2019
Kindle Edition
336 Pages
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Chick Lit

Tiffy Moore and Leon Twomey each have a problem and need a quick fix.

Tiffy’s been dumped by her cheating boyfriend and urgently needs a new flat. But earning minimum wage at a quirky publishing house means that her choices are limited in London.

Leon, a palliative care nurse, is more concerned with other people’s welfare than his own. Along with working night shifts looking after the terminally ill, his sole focus is on raising money to fight his brother’s unfair imprisonment.

Leon has a flat that he only uses 9 to 5. Tiffy works 9 to 5 and needs a place to sleep. The solution to their problems? To share a bed of course...

As Leon and Tiffy’s unusual arrangement becomes a reality, they start to connect through Post-It notes left for each other around the flat.

Can true love blossom even in the unlikeliest of situations?
Can true love blossom even if you never see one another?
Or does true love blossom when you are least expecting it?

About the Author:

Beth O’Leary worked in children's publishing before becoming a full time author. THE FLATSHARE is her debut novel. The idea for The Flatshare came to Beth when her doctor boyfriend was doing long night shifts as part of his training and they could go weeks without seeing each other, but she could track his life by how many cups of coffee were left on the counter, by how much he’d eaten and whether the bookmark in his novel had changed locations. It made her wonder – what could you learn about someone if you lived together but never overlapped?

My Review:

Ah... contemporary rom-coms are my jam, jelly AND peanut butter!  While we all know I'm an avid thriller lover, books like The Flatshare are the bright spots in between.  I do find them highly predictable but it's not what's important in books like these.  It's the journey, the laughs, the quirky characters - especially when we have the (typical) dynamic of the eccentric woman with an more demure and introverted man.  Hello opposites attract.  But O'Leary gives us this formula in this unique Flatshare scene where they're sharing a bed without meeting for months and learning about each other through post-its. AH-DOR-ABLE! 

These books aren't so much about where the book will go because they tend to be pretty predictable and you know where the ending will go.  It's more about being on the journey with these characters and falling in love with them along the way.  The author also brings in the subject of abusive relationships which, in this case, is not physical but emotional and phew... that's a tough subject to discuss and can sometimes leave a bigger mark than the physical.  Been there so there have been some moments that certainly resonated with me. 

The only thing I found a bit bothersome was the back and forth of quotation marks to none.  Though it didn't bother me outright in a "difficult to read" kind of way, it was just inconsistent and as a person who reads law documents all day at work, consistency is something that I notice.  Just a very little picky thing for my own personal liking. (and also could just be something in the arc)

What I loved best was the quirky Tiffy and her banter with her friends and with her flatmate, Leon.  So many giggly moments and I would certainly recommend this to anyone that needs something feel good and a little laugh in their lives.  The story has a lot of heart.


Friday, June 21, 2019

BLOG TOUR: Room 553 by Britney King @britneyking_

Room 553
Britney King

Publish Date: June 14, 2019
252 Pages
Genre: Psychological Thriller

“๐˜š๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ต ๐˜ฏ๐˜ฐ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ฎ๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ๐˜ด๐˜ฆ ๐˜ง๐˜ฐ๐˜ณ ๐˜ฅ๐˜ณ๐˜ข๐˜ธ๐˜ช๐˜ฏ๐˜จ ๐˜ฃ๐˜ญ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฐ๐˜ฅ. ๐˜๐˜ฏ ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ ๐˜ค๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ต๐˜ฆ๐˜น๐˜ต ๐˜ฐ๐˜ง ๐˜ต๐˜ฉ๐˜ฆ๐˜ช๐˜ณ ๐˜ณ๐˜ฆ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ต๐˜ช๐˜ฐ๐˜ฏ๐˜ด๐˜ฉ๐˜ช๐˜ฑ, ๐˜ช๐˜ต ๐˜ฉ๐˜ข๐˜ฅ ๐˜ช๐˜ต๐˜ด ๐˜ฑ๐˜ญ๐˜ข๐˜ค๐˜ฆ.”

For Max and Laurel, nothing is off limits when they meet in room 553. Their illicit affair is exhilarating, passionate—and dangerous. 

Driven as much by compulsion as pleasure, Max can't stop. His mistress is Jesus on the streets, and Satan in the sack. But when things take a sharp and sudden turn for the worse, he finds himself ensnared in a trap of his own making. 

Under heavy scrutiny by the police and the media, Max is hailed as a cold and evasive womanizer. He made mistakes, to be sure. But does that make him a killer?

Unnerving and addictive, Room 553 is a vivid and sensual psychological thriller that weaves a story of cruelty, reckless desire, and blind, bloody justice.

My Review:

Bring on the illicit, the deviant, the sociopathic, the manipulative, and the guilty, because honey, ain't nobody innocent in this book. Britney has done it yet AGAIN. Where does King's mind live and can I please visit for an extended period of time?

When it comes to matters of the heart, there very rarely is a winner when your heart (or your loins) belongs to someone that's not your spouse. Let's take it next level with Max and Laurel. The games have begun.

I will say that this one started a bit slower than other books I've read by this author. The back and forth from present to past, the different voices (that all felt slightly similar) had me scratching my head on where this could be going. And then SNAP, it all hit me and I was like ok, ok, ok... here we are - in true Britney, twisty, style and I LOVE IT.  HI Max,  Hi Lauren. **waves**  I definitely could feel her bringing in her sexier vibes from past books, such as Bedrock, and adding it to the psychological thrillers she's more well known for throughout Bookstagram. This meld just might be a favorite of mine.

Let's not say too much more - just know this is yet another book by her that I highly recommend, "Promise." **wink**


Britney King lives in Austin, Texas with her husband, children, two dogs, one ridiculous cat, and a partridge in a pear tree.

When she's not wrangling the things mentioned above, she writes psychological, domestic and romantic thrillers set in suburbia.
Currently, she's writing three series and several standalone novels.
The Bedrock Series features an unlikely heroine who should have known better. Turns out, she didn’t. Thus she finds herself tangled in a messy, dangerous, forbidden love story and face-to-face with a madman hell-bent on revenge. The series has been compared to Fatal Attraction, Single White Female, and Basic Instinct.
The Water Series follows the shady love story of an unconventional married couple—he’s an assassin—she kills for fun. It has been compared to a crazier book version of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. Also, Dexter.
Around The Bend is a heart-pounding standalone, which traces the journey of a well-to-do suburban housewife, and her life as it unravels, thanks to the secrets she keeps. If she were the only one with things she wanted to keep hidden, then maybe it wouldn’t have turned out so bad. But she wasn’t.
The With You Series at its core is a deep love story about unlikely friends who travel the world; trying to find themselves, together and apart. Packed with drama and adventure along with a heavy dose of suspense, it has been compared to The Secret Life of Walter Mitty and Love, Rosie.
The Social Affair is an intense standalone about a timeless couple who find themselves with a secret admirer they hadn’t bargained for. For fans of the anti-heroine and stories told in unorthodox ways, the novel explores what can happen when privacy is traded for convenience. It is reminiscent of films such as One Hour Photo and Play Misty For Me. 
Without a doubt, connecting with readers is the best part of this gig. You can find Britney online here: 
Web • Instagram • Facebook • Twitter • Goodreads  

To get more-- grab two books for free, by subscribing to her mailing list at or just copy and paste into your browser. 

Happy reading.


Wednesday, June 19, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Girl in Red by Christina Henry @berkleypub @C_Henry_Author @jessmapreviews

The Girl in Red 
by Christina Henry

Thanks so much to Berkley for this read. 

Publisher: Berkley
Publish Date: June 18, 2019
304 Pages
Genres: Retelling, Fantasy, Horror

From the national bestselling author of Alice comes a postapocalyptic take on the perennial classic "Little Red Riding Hood"...about a woman who isn't as defenseless as she seems.

It's not safe for anyone alone in the woods. There are predators that come out at night: critters and coyotes, snakes and wolves. But the woman in the red jacket has no choice. Not since the Crisis came, decimated the population, and sent those who survived fleeing into quarantine camps that serve as breeding grounds for death, destruction, and disease. She is just a woman trying not to get killed in a world that doesn't look anything like the one she grew up in, the one that was perfectly sane and normal and boring until three months ago.

There are worse threats in the woods than the things that stalk their prey at night. Sometimes, there are men. Men with dark desires, weak wills, and evil intents. Men in uniform with classified information, deadly secrets, and unforgiving orders. And sometimes, just sometimes, there's something worse than all of the horrible people and vicious beasts combined. 

Red doesn't like to think of herself as a killer, but she isn't about to let herself get eaten up just because she is a woman alone in the woods.... 

My Review:

Retellings are always a hit or miss for me but Henry and her dark retellings are always a fun read.  Fun? I'm not sure if "fun" is the correct adjective considering the somber feel of them, but the darker the better for me!

In this case, we have Cordelia, also known as Red, living in an apocalyptic world where sickness is ravaging and like all books show, people go to their basest raging selves and no one is really safe.  Not safe from the government who want to "quarantine" them and not from themselves.  All she wants is to make it to her Grandmother's house where she feels strongly she will be safe.

(don't think about Adam)

In full honesty, this book took me a little bit to get into it.  It runs from present day solo Red, wary of everyone and hater of guns to past Red with her family and the beginning of her journey.  Leaving loved ones behind and while she's cynical and extremely smart in both parts, her jadedness increases the more days that pass as she's on her way.  It isn't until almost the half way point that I became truly involved with this book... and with Red.  While her sarcasm and brassiness may put some people off, I absolutely love how smart she is.. and we also learn she does have a heart.

While I see the retellingness (is that a word?) of Little Red Riding Hood with her pullover, journey to her Grandmother's and the "wolves" trying to stop her on her way, the rest of it was just a dystopian story that did resonate and was well written.  I kept forgetting I was reading a retelling to be honest.

This story is a lot about survival and family. It's dark, a bit gory at times and the ups and downs of taking the "easy way" compared to fighting for what you feel you need.  Sometimes not just for yourself.  I did feel that the story did end a bit abruptly and I'm curious about what else would've happened but I'm also mostly satisfied with the read as a whole.  Sometimes you don't need that bow tied.


Jessica's Review:

I've been a huge fan of Henry's since I picked up LOST BOY a couple of years ago. This was my third outing with Christina's retellings (THE MERMAID last year), and I was not disappointed. The dark fairy tale retellings genre is one that I've always loved and have a special place for in the mix with all of the crime fiction and thrillers. If you're a fan of this genre like I am, then I highly recommend you picking this one up.

THE GIRL IN RED is a new take on Little Red Riding Hood with a post-apocalyptic backdrop. Taking place after what Red calls The Crisis, she is forced to survive the woods at night. Which also means surviving the terrors lurking in the shadows - wolves, snakes, coyotes, and worst of all, men with evil intentions. Red is willing to do whatever it takes to protect herself in this new world, even when she realizes there is something much worse out there than the creatures and men of the night.

In true Henry fashion, this is dark and foreboding all the way through. It's a quick read at just about 300 pages and I read it in about two sittings. I love Red. She's another fierce female lead, but with her own challenges to overcome. Little Red Riding Hood has never been so unstoppable. Armed with her intellect and an axe, she's ready to take on whatever comes her way on her journey to get to her grandmother.

With diversity, a quick moving plot, well-developed characters, and fleshed out relationships, I would highly recommend this to those that love the retelling genre. I know they aren't for all readers, but if you're a fan of the author or the genre, then get this on your TBR. Now, it's about time I pick up the ALICE series from Henry.

4 stars 

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

SPOTLIGHT: A Shattered Lens by Layton Green

A Shattered Lens 
by Layton Green

A detective investigates the murder of a teenage golden boy that has rocked a small town--and the chief suspect is the victim's mother.

Annalise Stephens Blue is a Creekville high school student with plans to become a world-famous filmmaker. As she begins filming an exposรฉ of the town called Night Lives, she uncovers more than she bargained for: on the very first night of filming, she stumbles upon a murder in the woods, and flees the scene steps ahead of the killer.

Detective Joe "Preach" Everson is called to investigate the murder. The victim, David Stratton, is the town's golden boy and high school quarterback. A modern version of what Preach used to be. Not only that, the boy's mother is Claire Lourdis, a beautiful divorcรฉe who Preach fell for in high school. She is also the main suspect in her son's murder.
Despite the cloud of suspicion hanging over her, old feelings resurface between Claire and Preach, straining the detective's relationship with his girlfriend Ari, a prosecutor in nearby Durham. As Preach delves into the secrets lurking beneath the surface of the town and searches for a missing girl who may have witnessed the crime, he must put his own feelings aside and pursue the answer to a terrible question: is a mother capable of murdering her own child?

GOODREADS: /LaytonGreen

LIBRARYTHING: /greenlayton

Layton Green is a bestselling author who writes across multiple genres, including mystery, thriller, suspense, horror, and fantasy. His novels have topped numerous lists (including a #2 overall Amazon bestseller) and have been nominated for major awards, including two finalists for an International Thriller Writers award. Layton is also the co-editor of International Thrills, the online magazine of International Thriller Writers (ITW).

In addition to writing, Layton attended law school in New Orleans and was a practicing attorney for the better part of a decade. He has also been an intern for the United Nations, an ESL teacher in Central America, a bartender in London and a seller of cheap knives on the streets of Brixton. Currently based in Durham, North Carolina, Layton has traveled to more than sixty countries, lived in a number of them and has a burning desire to see every country, city, beach, moor, castle, cemetery, twisted street and far flung dot on the map.

Layton Green is an international Amazon Bestseller, with his books spending time in the Amazon top 50 in the U.S., Great Britain, France, and Germany.  The Shadow Cartel was an Amazon #2 overall bestseller. The Dominic Grey series has been 10 Ten Overall in Mystery/Thriller/Suspense, Top 5 Action/Adventure, and #1 Horror.

What does your writing process look like?
 I work a full day during the week. Most of it is writing, but I also work in marketing, publicity, editing, plotting, research, interviews, and other random tasks.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process? Your writing Kryptonite?
Great question! For me, knowing what to keep in the final draft is extremely hard. Balancing all the editorial advice, and the story that exists in my head, versus what works on paper.

How many hours a day do you write?
About 6.

Do you have any strange writing habits?
I am terribly vanilla when it comes to my writing habits. I produce better work within a routing: wake up early, guzzle coffee, write while my brain is fresh. 

What is your least favorite part of the writing / publishing process? Favorite part?
My least favorite part is writing the first draft. It’s hard. And I suppose it should be, if we’re doing it right. I still love it, but it’s really, really hard to face a blank page. On the other hand, I love editing, making a gem out of coal.

What was an early experience where you learned that language had power?
Interesting question. I can’t recall a specific experience but being an early reader probably instilled that concept in me from an early age.      
How long does it usually take you to write a book?
My first one took a decade. Now it takes me about 6 months for the first draft  - though often there are years of plotting and thinking about characters (off and on) before that draft begins.

What are you working on now? What is your next project?
I’m working on the second novel in the Unknown Nine Trilogy; the first will be published next March. The next project after that? I’ll let you know when I figure it out!

If you could cast the characters of any of your books for a movie, who would play your characters?
 The Dominic Grey series has been optioned, so I’ll speak to that. I’d love for Christian Bale to play Dominic, who is a lean, brooding, badass type of guy with inner demons. I mean, ‘natch. And you didn’t say I couldn’t reach for the stars!

For Preach and Ari, the leads in the Preach Everson novels including A Shattered Lens), hmm. I haven’t thought about that yet. Maybe Tom Hardy for Preach, and Shannyn Sossamon for Ari.

Do you read your reviews?  Do you respond to them, good or bad?  Any advice on how to deal with the bad?
I do read them, though I probably shouldn’t. I like to know what people are thinking about the novels.
I would never respond, no. I deal with the bad ones by immediately reading a good one.

If you didn't like writing books, what would you do for a living?
I’d like to be a detective solving crimes against children around the world.

What's the best money you ever spent as a writer?
 Hiring my first private editor (Richard Marek).

Have you ever gotten reader's block?  How did you get out of it? (and yes, I meant reader's) :D
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
 A dire wolf. Wait, are those real? Maybe just a wolf.
What authors have inspired you?
 Here’s a small sample in mystery/suspense: Dan Simmons, Charlie Huston, James Lee Burke, Barry Eisler, Dostoevsky, Agatha Christie, Edgar Allen Poe, Dashiell Hammett, Scott Turow.

What's one piece of advice you have received that has always resonated with you?
The best thing you can do as a writer, after finishing a novel, is to start the next one.

SPOTLIGHT: Safe Houses by Dan Fesperman @DanFesperman @aaknopf

Safe Houses 
by Dan Fesperman 

Publisher: Knopf Publishing Group
Publish Date: July 3, 2018
416 Pages
Genres: Thriller, Suspense

In this gripping new work of suspense from the author of The Double Game, a young woman discovers a nefarious truth at the heart of the CIA's operations in postwar Berlin and goes on the run for her life; years later she's gruesomely murdered along with her husband, and her daughter begins to chase down these startling secrets from her past.

West Berlin, 1979. Helen Abell oversees the CIA's network of safe houses, rare havens for field agents and case officers amidst the dangerous milieu of a city in the grips of the Cold War. Helen's world is upended when, during her routine inspection of an agency property, she overhears a meeting between two people unfamiliar to her speaking a coded language that hints at shadowy realities far beyond her comprehension. Before the day is out, she witnesses a second unauthorized encounter, one that will place her in the sightlines of the most ruthless and powerful man at the agency. Her attempts to expose the dark truths about what she has witnessed will bring about repercussions that reach across decades and continents into the present day, when, in a farm town in Maryland, a young man is arrested for the double murder of his parents, and his sister takes it upon herself to find out why he did it.

Dan Fesperman’s travels as a writer have taken him to thirty countries and three war zones. Lie in the Dark won the Crime Writers’ Association of Britain’s John Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for best first crime novel, The Small Boat of Great Sorrows won their Ian Fleming Steel Dagger Award for best thriller, and The Prisoner of Guantรกnamowon the Dashiell Hammett Award from the International Association of Crime Writers. He lives in Baltimore.

Monday, June 17, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: The Perfect Plan by Bryan Reardon @duttonbooks @reardon_author @jessmapreviews

 The Perfect Plan 
by Bryan Reardon 

Thanks to NetGalley and Dutton for these copies.

Publisher: Dutton 
Publish Date: June 18, 2019
Kindle Edition
Genres: Contemporary, Thriller

Liam Brennan teeters on the edge. Early one morning, he snaps, kidnapping a young woman who works for Drew Brennan, Liam’s older brother and the upstart candidate in a heated election. This sudden, vicious attack appears to be the beginning of an unthinkable spiral. But when it comes to the Brennan brothers, nothing is what it seems.

To the rest of the world, Liam is the troubled problem child who grew up to be his brother’s enforcer, while Drew has always been the perfect son and a charismatic leader who has his sights set on the governor’s mansion with his charming and beautiful wife, Patsy, by his side.
Now, as Liam tries to stay one step ahead of the authorities and his brother, every passing minute provides a deeper glimpse into the brothers’ past, long hidden behind a picture-perfect suburban veneer. With the threat of the truth surfacing, Liam and Drew are driven toward one final, desperate act.

My Review:

A somber read that is less thriller and more character studies of Drew and Liam. Their sibling relationship and how they grew up affecting their present day decisions. 

Their past created two different types of people. Sociopathy runs rampant with no one to help either of them. While the characters are hard to like, I did feel for Liam. His desperate acts to reach a turning point. What happens when there's no where to turn except for within yourself?

This won't be a read for everyone. However, the writing is distinctive and extremely well done in showcasing the characters within. I'm having a hard time really putting how i feel about this into words. I do think this is a story worth reading. However, it won't be the story most thriller readers are expecting to read.


Jessica's Review:

Last year I picked up Reardon's THE REAL MICHAEL SWANN and it was a gripping psychological thriller that incorporated social media and had a very real feel to it. Going into THE PERFECT PLAN I was anticipating another fast-paced thriller, but what I got was a slower burn that was more of a character study. While there's nothing wrong with that combination, it just wasn't what I was expecting.

The author dives into the relationship between Drew and Liam - two brothers - and how their choices in life have brought them to where they are now. Liam is troubled, to say the least, and has convinced himself that he needs to kidnap this woman. Well, this woman works for his brother, Drew, who happens to be running for office. Will he be able to stay one step ahead of not only the authorities closing in on him, but also ahead of his older brother?

This is one of those books where it's hard to like or relate to the characters, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. I think this one is definitely worth the read, but go into it knowing it isn't the thriller that it's being marketed as. Gotta hate when the marketing does that to a book! Overall, I'll definitely still pick up more from Reardon in the future, I do really enjoy his writing and how he brings us into the minds of his characters.

3 stars

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

#ATBR2019 Review: This is Home by Lisa Duffy @atriabooks @lisaduffywriter @jessmapreviews

This is Home 
by Lisa Duffy

Thanks so much to Atria Books and Lisa Duffy for this endearing read.

Publisher: Atria Books
Publish Date: June 11, 2019
304 Pages
Genre: Contemporary

Sixteen-year-old Libby Winters lives in Paradise, a seaside town north of Boston that rarely lives up to its name. After the death of her mother, she lives with her father, Bent, in the middle apartment of their triple decker home—Bent’s two sisters, Lucy and Desiree, live on the top floor. A former soldier turned policeman, Bent often works nights, leaving Libby under her aunts’ care. Shuffling back and forth between apartments—and the wildly different natures of her family—has Libby wishing for nothing more than a home of her very own.

Quinn Ellis is at a crossroads. When her husband John, who has served two tours in Iraq, goes missing back at home, suffering from PTSD he refuses to address, Quinn finds herself living in the first-floor apartment of the Winters house. Bent had served as her husband’s former platoon leader, a man John refers to as his brother, and despite Bent’s efforts to make her feel welcome, Quinn has yet to unpack a single box.

For Libby, the new tenant downstairs is an unwelcome guest, another body filling up her already crowded house. But soon enough, an unlikely friendship begins to blossom, when Libby and Quinn stretch and redefine their definition of family and home.

My Review:

Listen up people!! If you have't read Duffy's The Salt House, I suggest you run out and buy that immediately and while you're there, might as well pick this one up too.  Both are solid 5 star reads for me and this one truly touched my heart because of the very real and important subject matter of PTSD that this story surrounds.  As a military brat and as someone who did a year internship at the Domiciliary Care Unit at the VA hospital in Dayton helping those with PTSD, this one just shot straight to my heart.  Especially in looking at the side of those who love those that suffer from this terrible affliction.  This is an extremely important subject that should absolutely be discussed and honestly, I'm horrified at our government and the limited access and help that the VA gets to help the military personnel that need it from defending our country and people.  Uff - /rant or this will turn into a soapbox and not a review.

So, back to the story at hand.  Duffy does an extremely good job in touching on PTSD - and really looking at the different sides.  She also dips her toe in addiction and domestic abuse in this story but it translates so smoothly across the pages that you don't even realize you're eyes are about to leak until your vision goes hazy and you think you're going blind.  The last few chapters really just squeezed my heart.  I was IN IT.  Now, before you think this is such a bleak and highly emotional read (which it IS very emotional), the author also manages to sprinkle in humor that helps balance this out.  All the characters... ALL of them, are al so very real and human that you can't help but get involved with each and every one of them.  EACH AND EVERY ONE. 

Libby is someone I would love to sit down on a porch and talk with - where I'm sure she would teach me some very important lessons.  Desiree and Lucy are two I would grab a beer or two with (or attend a work out class with).  I'd rub Rooster's tummy and I would go out of my way to help Quinn.  Let's not forget about Jimmy and Flynn - these two ... oh these two.  Listen, I could go on and on about these characters.  And can I please have Bent as a second father?  While the storyline and plot itself is an amazing read, it is the characters that absolutely make it.  Duffy created a family that I am very pleasantly and delightfully happy to have been a witness of. 

Lisa, I need more stories from you.  I have created a little home inside your brain because that's where I want to live right now!  Also, everyone, I am honored to be in her acknowledgments.  Never for a second question whether or not your support and reviews make a difference to every author out there. 


Jessica's Review:

When THE SALT HOUSE released a couple years ago, I instantly knew that Lisa Duffy would become a new auto-buy author for me. Well, her second novel, THIS IS HOME did not disappoint. I highly recommend going out and picking up both of these, right now. What I loved the most about THE SALT HOUSE was how effortlessly Duffy seemed to weave the story and the characters all while pulling at your heart strings and making you experience all of the ups and downs with them.

We meet Libby, a teenager who is dealing with the death of her mother while navigating living with her dad and her two aunts. Her father, Bent, is a former soldier now working as a policeman and with his schedule Libby is frequently with her aunts, Lucy and Desiree. They live in the third floor apartment of this three story home. Soon, Quinn moves into the first floor apartment. A woman whose husband is dealing with PTSD after his multiple tours in Iraq. Her husband was in Bent's platoon and he is willing to do whatever he can to help them.

The characters feel entirely real. While the plot is solid and holds your interest, the characters are what captivate you. Duffy touches on the ever-present issues of those suffering with PTSD, as well as the way it affects those around them. Despite there being a lot of characters, none of them feel lost in the story. Every single person has their own unique voice and their own struggles. While I'm not one to cry when reading (or at movies, TV, etc), I can see this being an emotional one for some readers out there (I just know my mom will be one of them - she's looking forward to this one!).

Now, the waiting game begins for Lisa's next novel!

5 stars