Kerra Bailey is a TV journalist hot on the trail of a story guaranteed to skyrocket her career to new heights. Twenty-five years ago, Major Franklin Trapper became a national icon when he was photographed leading a handful of survivors to safety after the bombing of a Dallas hotel. For years, he gave frequent speeches and interviews but then suddenly dropped out of the public eye, shunning all media. Now Kerra is willing to use any means necessary to get an exclusive with the Major–even if she has to secure an introduction from his estranged son, former ATF agent John Trapper.

Still seething over his break with both the ATF and his father, Trapper wants no association with the bombing or the Major. Yet Kerra’s hints that there’s more to the story rouse Trapper’s interest despite himself. And when the interview goes catastrophically awry–with unknown assailants targeting not only the Major, but also Kerra–Trapper realizes he needs her under wraps if he’s going to track down the gunmen . . . and finally discover who was responsible for the Dallas bombing.


My Thoughts: From the very beginning of Seeing Red, I was drawn into this layered tale full of numerous red herrings and good guys turning out to be bad guys, with many secrets only revealed at the very end.

Just when I thought I had all the bad guys figured out, another good guy would bite the dust. I must say that I was pleased with some of the so-called good guys turning bad, as smug people always annoy me.

Throughout, I loved how Trapper and Kerra worked together to find the answers, and the growing connection between them made what could have been a very grim tale lighter and more fun.

In some ways, my head was spinning because of all the dark connections, but in the end, I was smiling. My eyes were also blurring as I had to keep reading until the final denouement. 4.5 stars.





Paul Strom has the perfect life: a glittering career as an advertising executive, a beautiful wife, two healthy boys and a big house in a wealthy suburb. And he’s the perfect husband: breadwinner, protector, provider. That’s why he’s planned a romantic weekend for his wife, Mia, at their lake house, just the two of them. And he’s promised today will be the best day ever.

But as Paul and Mia drive out of the city and toward the countryside, a spike of tension begins to wedge itself between them and doubts start to arise. How much do they trust each other? And how perfect is their marriage, or any marriage, really?

My Thoughts: Our first person narrator throughout Best Day Ever is Paul Strom, husband, father, and a man intent on controlling everything about the day…and their lives.

In the beginning, his narrative seemed almost sweet, like someone wanting to have that perfect getaway. But the more we followed his monologue, the darker things seemed. It didn’t take long for me to feel the angst of a day and a life that would surely unravel.

As Mia reacts, and then as Paul reads her reactions, the intensity increases. Soon I am beginning to feel the fear and suspense of someone watching lives crash and burn.

The neighbor Buck adds to the intensity, as he shows up constantly, interrupting the two of them, but soon it begins to feel pre-planned. What is going on, and what will happen next?

A story of power and control, and breaking free of that control and regaining one’s power, kept me turning pages in this brilliant study of dysfunctional family dynamics. 5 stars.




Patricia Bosworth has gone beyond the image of an American superwoman to reveal a Jane Fonda more powerful and vulnerable than ever expected. Fonda emerged from a heartbreaking Hollywood family drama to become a ’60s onscreen ingénue and then an Oscar-winning actress. At the top of her game she risked all, rising up against the Vietnam War and shocking the world with a trip to Hanoi. While becoming one of Hollywood’s most committed feminists, she financed her husband Tom Hayden’s political career in the ’80s with exercise videos that began a fitness craze and brought in millions of dollars. Just as interesting is Fonda’s next turn, as a Stepford Wife of the Gulfstream set, marrying Ted Turner and seemingly walking away from her ideals and her career. Fonda’s multilevel story is a blend of the deep insecurity, magnetism, bravery, and determination that has fueled her inspiring and occasionally infuriating public life.

My Thoughts: In many ways, I have followed the numerous incarnations of Jane that have been described in Jane Fonda: The Private Life of a Public Woman. Her early childhood experiences, including the tragedy of her mother’s suicide when she was twelve, and also highlighting her quest for her father’s love and approval, could describe many children growing up in a world with celebrity parents. The vulnerability, accompanied by constant attention, could come to chip away at the self-confidence of anyone. The early chapters in this book were the least fascinating to me, but I did enjoy learning more about her childhood.

My interest grew as I learned more about how Jane’s early years as an actress helped her develop greater self-confidence, but which did not completely satisfy her need for love and approval.

The incarnation that captured my interest the most was how she turned to political activism as a way of coming into her own, and also became a way of expressing her unique and independent perspective. But despite those who found her articulate and knowledgeable, there were also those who focused on the media’s hatred of her visit to Hanoi during the war. The label of Hanoi Jane would follow her and threaten her for years.

Then in still another incarnation, her turn at developing her own business through the work-out tapes and the resulting empire would be followed by still another life as a tycoon’s wife.

Unexpected shifts over the years would reveal how much of Jane’s life could almost certainly be seen as a series of changes and reinvention. Fascinating and revelatory. I enjoyed this book and have awarded it 4.5 stars.



Welcome to another Bookish Friday, in which I  share excerpts from books…and connect with other bloggers, who do the same.

Let’s begin the celebration by sharing Book Beginnings, hosted by Rose City Reader; and let’s showcase The Friday 56 with Freda’s Voice.

To join in, just grab a book and share the opening lines…along with any thoughts you wish to give us; then turn to page 56 and excerpt anything on the page.

Then give us the title of the book, so others can add it to their lists!

What a great way to spend a Friday!

Today’s feature is a recent download:  Now That You Mention It (e-book), by Kristan Higgins, a witty, emotionally charged novel about the complications of life, love and family…



Beginning:  The first thought I had after I died was:  How will my dog cope with this?

The second thought:  I hope we can still go with open casket.

Third thought:  I have nothing to wear to my funeral.

Fourth:  I’ll never meet Daniel Radcliffe now.

Fifth:  Did Bobby just break up with me?


Friday 56%:  At home, when my heart turned on me in a panic attack, fluttering like that damn hummingbird, and I couldn’t breathe or remember where I was, Boomer would sense it and nudge my hand with his velvety snout, whining his love and concern.  When Bobby worked nights, the dog stayed glued to me, and the truth was, he made me feel safer than Bobby.


Synopsis:  One step forward. Two steps back. The Tufts scholarship that put Nora Stuart on the path to becoming a Boston medical specialist was a step forward. Being hit by a car and then overhearing her boyfriend hit on another doctor when she thought she was dying? Two major steps back.

Injured in more ways than one, Nora feels her carefully built life cracking at the edges. There’s only one place to land: home. But the tiny Maine community she left fifteen years ago doesn’t necessarily want her. At every turn, someone holds the prodigal daughter of Scupper Island responsible for small-town drama and big-time disappointments.

With a tough islander mother who’s always been distant, a wild-child sister in jail and a withdrawn teenage niece as eager to ditch the island as Nora once was, Nora has her work cut out for her if she’s going to take what might be her last chance to mend the family. Balancing loss and opportunity, dark events from her past with hope for the future, Nora will discover that tackling old pain makes room for promise…and the chance to begin again.


What do you think?  Do the snippets grab you?  Would you keep reading?



At the start of a New Year, I like to check out my reading progress in previous years, especially those years that have been neglected.  Check out my Books Purchased in 2014, and then let’s take a look at the remaining books unread.

Unread Books from 2014:

The Life List (e-book), by Chrissy Anderson

Everyone Worth Knowing, by Lauren Weisberger

Abducted (e-book), by T. R. Ragan

The Apple Orchard (e-book), by Susan Wiggs

My Mother Was Nuts (e-book), by Penny Marshall

Paper Towns (e-book), by John Green

In the Woods (e-book), by Tana French

The Shadow Tracer (e-book), by Meg Gardiner

Wife 22 (e-book), by Melanie Gideon

Ellen Foster (e-book), by Kaye Gibbons

Leaves (e-book), by Michael Baron

Lemon Orchard, The (e-book), by Luanne Rice

Owen’s Daughter (e-book), by Jo-Ann Mapson

Ruth’s Journey (e-book), by Donald McCaig

Some Luck (e-book), by Jane Smiley

All Good Deeds (e-book), by Stacy Green

Eleanor and Park (e-book), by Rainbow Rowell

Underside of Joy, The, by Sere Prince Halverson


Eighteen books?  Who knew, since most of these are hidden on Pippa, my Kindle.  The list looks pretty daunting, and I can see a few books that I will probably never read.  Have any of you read them?  What are your recommendations?




On my Favorite Books of 2017 page, I had a total of 14 favorites throughout the year.  So weeding out four of them to create my Top Ten List was no easy task.

If you want to see them all, check out this page…

And, drum roll!  Here are the Top Ten: (Click titles for my reviews)….

1.Orphan’s Tale, The, by Pam Jenoff – 342 pages – (historical fiction) – 1/16/17 (Amazon Vine Review)

2.Never Let You Go (e-book), by Chevy Stevens – 384 pages – (suspense thriller) – 2/26/17 (NetGalley – 3/14/17)

3.Night the Lights Went Out, The (e-book), by Karen White – 406 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 5/13/17

4.Marriage Pact, The (e-book), by Michelle Richmond – 432 pages – (suspense) – 7/17/17 –(NetGalley – 7/25)

5.Good Daughter, The (e-book), by Karin Slaughter – 528 pages – (suspense thriller) – 8/28/17

6.  Sunday Morning Coming Down, by Nicci French – 406 pages – (suspense thriller) – 8/1/17

7.Stolen Marriage, The (e-book), by Diane Chamberlain – 384 pages – (historical fiction) – 9/28/17 – (NetGalley – 10/3)

8.Then She Was Gone, by Lisa Jewell – 424 pages – (mystery) – 10/25/17

9.Poison (e-book), by Galt Niederhoffer – 304 pages – (psychological thriller) – 11/15/17 – (NG – 11/21)

10. Wife Between Us, The (e-book), by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen -352 pages – (thriller) – 12/4/17 (NG – 1/9/18)


What were your favorites?  Come on by and share…



Another great month has passed, and as always, I am grateful for the truly wonderful books I found on my shelves this month…and this year.

Visit The Book Date to add your link for your month in review.

Genres Read This Month:

     Mysteries/Thrillers – 6

    Contemporary Fiction – 3

    Literary Fiction – 3

    Historical Fiction – 1



The Wife Between Us, by Greer Hendricks/Sarah Pekkanen




BOOKS READ YTD:                                                                          174


Click my titles to read my reviews…


1.A Bella Flora Christmas (e-book, Ten Beach Road Novella), by Wendy Wax – 87 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 12/3/17

2.A Hundred Small Lessons (e-book), by Ashley Hay – 290 pages – (literary fiction) – 12/15/17

3.A Season to Lie (e-book, Detective Gemma Monroe Novel), by Emily Littlejohn  -290 pages – (mystery) – 12/13/17

4.Cruelest Month, The (e-book, CI Gamache Mystery), by Louise Penny – 318 pages – (mystery) – 12/1/17

5.Dead of Winter (e-book, Lily Dale Mystery), by Wendy Corsi Staub – 288 pages – (mystery) – 12/24/17

6.Fragments of the Lost (e-book), by Megan Miranda – 370 pages – (psychological mystery/YA) – 12/7/17

7.Girls in the Picture, The (e-book), by Melanie Benjamin – 448 pages – (historical fiction) –(NG-1/16/18)

8.Little Broken Things (e-book), by Nicole Baart – 346 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 12/9/17

9.Lost & Found Sisters (e-book) , by Jill Shalvis – 400 pages – (contemporary fiction) – 12/29/17

10.Snap Judgment (e-book, Samantha Brinkman #3), by Marcia Clark – 448 pages – (mystery/thriller) – 12/19/17

11.These Violent Delights (e-book), by Victoria Namkung – 220 pages – (literary fiction) – 12/23/17

12.Wife Between Us, The (e-book), by Greer Hendricks & Sarah Pekkanen -352 pages – (thriller) – 12/4/17 (NG – 1/9/18)

13.Wonder Valley (e-book), by Ivy Pochoda – 332 pages – (literary fiction) – 12/22/17






It is 1914, and twenty-five-year-old Frances Marion has left her (second) husband and her Northern California home for the lure of Los Angeles, where she is determined to live independently as an artist. But the word on everyone’s lips these days is “flickers”—the silent moving pictures enthralling theatergoers. Turn any corner in this burgeoning town and you’ll find made-up actors running around, as a movie camera captures it all.

In this fledgling industry, Frances finds her true calling: writing stories for this wondrous new medium. She also makes the acquaintance of actress Mary Pickford, whose signature golden curls and lively spirit have earned her the title “America’s Sweetheart.” The two ambitious young women hit it off instantly, their kinship fomented by their mutual fever to create, to move audiences to a frenzy, to start a revolution.

But their ambitions are challenged by both the men around them and the limitations imposed on their gender—and their astronomical success could come at a price. As Mary, the world’s highest paid and most beloved actress, struggles to live her life under the spotlight, she also wonders if it is possible to find love, even with the dashing actor Douglas Fairbanks. Frances, too, longs to share her life with someone. As in any good Hollywood story, dramas will play out, personalities will clash, and even the deepest friendships might be shattered.


My Thoughts: In the beginning of The Girls in the Picture, we meet Frances Marion. It is 1969, and she is reflecting on the past. She is about to visit Mary Pickford again after an estrangement of many years. I liked starting at “the end,” and then I wanted to know more about the journey.

What a journey it is! Mary is already acting when she and Frances meet, and as their bond grows, Mary pulls her in by persuading her to write scenarios for her, as she admires her writing style. Their team work begins in the era of silent movies. Slowly they become a brilliant duo, and almost from the beginning, they enjoy personal time together, too.

But the men in the industry and in their lives slowly pull them apart, and when “talkies” come along, everything changes for Mary. She doesn’t quite know how to flow with the new style, and other issues are interfering in her ability to act, too.

The journey plodded for me…and then, suddenly, as we come to the end, the intensity builds and I couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. I would have loved the book more if the middle hadn’t sagged for me. However, I did like learning more about the Old Hollywood era, and the author’s writing style kept me engaged. 4 stars.***My e-ARC came from the publisher via NetGalley



At Windemere School for Girls, one of America’s elite private schools, Dr. Gregory Copeland is the beloved chair of the English Department. A married father with a penchant for romantic poetry—and impressionable teenage girls—he operates in plain sight for years, until one of his former students goes public with allegations of inappropriate conduct. With the help of an investigative journalist, and two additional Windemere alumnae who had relationships with Copeland as students, the unlikely quartet unites to take him down.

Set in modern-day Los Angeles, These Violent Delights is a literary exploration of the unyielding pressures and vulnerabilities that so many women and girls experience, and analyzes the ways in which our institutions and families fail to protect or defend us. A suspenseful and nuanced story told from multiple points of view, the novel examines themes of sexuality, trauma, revenge, and the American myth of liberty and justice for all.

My Thoughts: Journalist Jane March is planning a new story when her intern, Caryn Rodgers, approaches her with a very secretive assignment. She has written an essay detailing events in a private girls’ school years before, and has included supporting e-mails from the perpetrator.

Once they have cleared the way with their legal team, and verified the facts, they decide to publish the essay in the Sunday paper. What Jane and some of the other women notice immediately is how quickly the male staff want to discredit the events…wondering why the young girl (fifteen at the time) hadn’t gone to the police. These reactions pave the way for what they will face down the road.

Publication leads to more girls coming forward, though, and while this sounds like a good thing, it also leads to more pain for the victims. They are supported by some, but vilified by others. The long road ahead will be even more brutal for Sasha, one of the girls, whose own personal background had been abusive. Her fragility led to stunning and painful events.

A story that could have been ripped right out of today’s headlines, These Violent Delights gripped me and kept me glued to the pages. The multiple narrators offered the opportunity to feel the experiences of the characters, which made for compelling reading. Recommended for those who enjoy books based on flawed individuals making bad choices, and the consequences that literally change their lives. 5 stars.