The Queen of Hearts by Kimmery Martin



My Review:

Combine late hours working at the hospital with an irresistible, handsome, charming and persistent doctor…friendships and disasters go hand in hand in Kimmery Martin’s debut, The Queen of Hearts.  Zadie and Emma are best friends, from medical school to the present, currently living in North Carolina and both practicing doctors.  But as close as they were and are, there are still deep secrets they haven’t shared with each other, and when an old colleague moves to town, it conjures up the past memories, and they are forced to reveal some painful truths from their youth.

Kimmery Martin shows us how relationships evolve and grow overtime, so much so that when lives become intertwined, lifelong friendship can prevail and even the worst betrayal can be forgiven.

I do love a love triangle in a medical setting, and for those who enjoy tv shows like ER, Grey’s Anatomy and Chicago Med, this wonderful tale of the heart is for you!

As Seen on Goodreads:

Zadie Anson and Emma Colley have been best friends since their early twenties, when they first began navigating serious romantic relationships amid the intensity of medical school. Now they’re happily married wives and mothers with successful careers–Zadie as a pediatric cardiologist and Emma as a trauma surgeon. Their lives in Charlotte, North Carolina are chaotic but fulfilling, until the return of a former colleague unearths a secret one of them has been harboring for years.

As chief resident, Nick Xenokostas was the center of Zadie’s life–both professionally and personally–throughout a tragic chain of events in her third year of medical school that she has long since put behind her. Nick’s unexpected reappearance during a time of new professional crisis shocks both women into a deeper look at the difficult choices they made at the beginning of their careers. As it becomes evident that Emma must have known more than she revealed about circumstances that nearly derailed both their lives, Zadie starts to question everything she thought she knew about her closest friend.


About the Author:

Kimmery Martin is a physician, book reviewer, author interviewer, travel blogger, obsessive reader, and general all-around literary nerd who lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three children. The Queen of Hearts is her first novel.


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The Family Next Door by Sally Hepworth


My Review:

Pleasant Court is a family neighborhood where everyone is cordial and happy.  But author Sally Hepworth takes us behind closed doors and skillfully reveals secrets, lies and untruths.  A baby was left in a park, a mother lied about her pregnancy, a husband had a secret child, a wife had an affair.  There is also friendship, love, compassion and support to round it out – the complexities of life are exposed in The Family Next Door.

This family drama exposes lots of hidden mysteries. After postpartum depression, Essie and Ben relied on Barbara, Essie’s mom to help out with their two daughters.  Ange’s husband Lucas was unfaithful so she told him a lie to keep him interested in the marriage.  Fran stepped out on her husband Nigel and then questioned whether or not he was the father of their youngest child.  And then Isabelle moved in next door.  With a sketchy background and no husband or children, she stood out as an unlikely neighbor.   She weaseled her way into the neighborhood friendships and ultimately we learn why she is there, but it is not what I expected!

This story offers a glimpse of reality, showing complications in marriages, past histories, parents and children, with a shocking secret.

Always a fan of Sally Hepworth, I enjoyed this peek behind the curtain; a quick, easy and fun read.

As Seen on Goodreads:

The small suburb of Pleasant Court lives up to its name. It’s the kind of place where everyone knows their neighbours, and children play in the street.

Isabelle Heatherington doesn’t fit into this picture of family paradise. Husbandless and childless, she soon catches the attention of three Pleasant Court mothers.

But Ange, Fran and Essie have their own secrets to hide. Like the reason behind Ange’s compulsion to control every aspect of her life. Or why Fran won’t let her sweet, gentle husband near her new baby. Or why, three years ago, Essie took her daughter to the park – and returned home without her.

As their obsession with their new neighbour grows, the secrets of these three women begin to spread – and they’ll soon find out that when you look at something too closely, you see things you never wanted to see.


About the Author:

Sally Hepworth is the bestselling author of The Secrets of Midwives (2015), The Things We Keep (2016) and The Mother’s Promise (2017), and The Family Next Door (Feb 2018). Sally’s books have been labelled “enchanting” by The Herald Sun, “smart and engaging” by Publisher’s Weekly, and New York Times bestselling authors Liane Moriarty and Emily Giffin have praised Sally’s novels as “women’s fiction at its finest” and “totally absorbing”.

Sally’s novels are available worldwide in English and have been translated into 15 languages.  She lives in Melbourne, Australia with her husband and three children.


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Everything Here is Beautiful by Mira T. Lee


My Review:

Author Mira T. Lee so eloquently shows us when someone has a mental illness, it affects each person in the family and impacts all relationships.  Miranda and Lucia grew up very close, as loving sisters, Chinese American and from New York.  When their mother dies, Lucia marries an unlikely match for her, a kind, Israeli man with one arm, and after a time leaves him and gets involved in a relationship with a younger hispanic man, has his child and moves with him to Ecuador to live in a tiny hut with no bathroom, adjacent to his extended family.  Her behaviors are extreme and even after she had ended up in the hospital and been given pills to keep her even tempered, her decisions seem questionable to her sister who struggles with how much she should interfere.

Miranda and both of the men in Lucia’s life offer her support and compassion in their own ways, bringing to light the fact that mental illness is only one aspect of a person and no matter how flawed one is, love and belonging is still needed and deserved.

Everything Here is Beautiful is a beautiful story of family bonds, sisterly love, devotion and responsibility in the face of mental illness and its potentially devastating and damaging consequences.  This is a messy family drama with lots of love, pain and forgiveness. A powerful must read.


As Seen on Goodreads: 

Two sisters: Miranda, the older, responsible one, always her younger sister’s protector; Lucia, the vibrant, headstrong, unconventional one, whose impulses are huge and, often, life changing. When their mother dies and Lucia starts to hear voices, it’s Miranda who must fight for the help her sister needs — even as Lucia refuses to be defined by any doctor’s diagnosis.

Determined, impetuous, she plows ahead, marrying a big-hearted Israeli only to leave him, suddenly, to have a baby with a young Latino immigrant. She will move with her new family to Ecuador, but the bitter constant remains: she cannot escape her own mental illness. Lucia lives life on a grand scale, until inevitably, she crashes to earth. And then Miranda must decide, again, whether or not to step in — but this time, Lucia may not want to be saved. The bonds of sisterly devotion stretch across oceans, but what does it take to break them?

Told from alternating perspectives, Everything Here Is Beautiful is, at its core, a heart-wrenching family drama about relationships and tough choices — how much we’re willing to sacrifice for the ones we love, and when it’s time to let go and save ourselves.


About the Author:

Mira T. Lee’s debut novel, EVERYTHING HERE IS BEAUTIFUL, was recently named a Top 10 Debut of Winter/Spring 2018 by the American Booksellers Association. Her short fiction has appeared in journals such as the Southern Review, the Gettysburg Review, the Missouri Review, Harvard Review, and TriQuarterly, and has twice received special mention for the Pushcart Prize. Mira is a graduate of Stanford University and lives in Cambridge, MA.

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The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine


My Review:

Amber Patterson has had a disappointing life and so she sets her eyes on a handsome, rich married man, Jackson Parrish, with her goal being to make him hers, in The Last Mrs. Parrish.  She befriends his lovely wife, Daphne, and weasels her way into the family, developing relationships with his inner circle, even his young children.  Amber’s sisterly connection with Daphne deepens as they have what seems to be unbreakable ties as they bond over similar experiences of loss, and their friendship appears to be genuine and strong.  But Amber is conniving and she works her way into Mr. Parrish’s office, ultimately getting a job as his assistant, and manipulating him into being interested in her and thinking his wife is becoming a bore.  Continually scheming to get what she wants, this psychological thriller draws you in.  And then there is a twist…We learn about Daphne Parrish’s past, her relationship with her husband, Jackson, and the truth behind her seemingly beautiful life and perfect marriage.  Secrets are revealed fast and furious; The Last Mrs. Parrish is not a book to put down…it is a one day read…maddening and tragic, addictive, thrilling and entertaining….a great escape!

As Seen of Goodreads:

A mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.

Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.

Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn’t have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.

With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.



About the Author:

Liv Constantine is the pen name of USA Today and WSJ bestselling authors and sisters Lynne Constantine and Valerie Constantine. Separated by three states, they spend hours plotting via skype and burning up each other’s emails. They attribute their ability to concoct dark story lines to the hours they spent listening to tales handed down by their Greek grandmother. THE LAST MRS. PARRISH is their debut thriller. Visit them at

Rights for THE LAST MRS. PARRISH have been sold in 19 other territories, including Spain, Brazil, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Finland, Norway, Denmark, Holland, Germany, Hungary, Italy, France, the Czech Republic, Turkey, Korea, the UK, China, and Russia.


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First Survivor by Mark Unger


My Review:

The Unger’s endured every parent’s worst nightmare when their young son, age three, was diagnosed with cancer and given a 0% chance of survival. But the world of medicine is ever changing and with dedicated patient advocates like parents Mark and Mary Ellen, combined with the best doctors in this country willing to try something new, Louis Unger is cancer free and will be turning 20 this year. Heartwarming and heartbreaking, Mark Unger skillfully tells the story of his family; the love and support they have for each other pours off the pages as he navigates the specifics of the deadly cancer his son endured, and ultimately celebrates Lou’s victory as the First Survivor. I highly recommend this inspiring true story and recommend it to anyone who is faced with, or knows someone with a medical challenge.


As Seen on Goodreads:

This is a real life thriller about a family’s battle to save their son from a “zero chance of survival” diagnosis. With the world’s best doctors and the advocacy of his parents, Louis Unger would fight the battle for his young life. His grit and incredible attitude led to a breakthrough that would change how cancer is treated today. This is not a medical journal or a how-to guide. It is a true page-turner that gives you a front row seat to a miraculous story of courage, inspiration and determination.


About the Author:

Mark Unger was born and raised in Solingen, Germany, where his mother and father started a manufacturing business.  In 1978 the family moved to Weston, CT.  He graduated from Weston High School in 1984 and then attended Babson College in Wellesley, MA.  After working in the shipping industry for three years he joined his family business in 1992 and married the love of his life, Mary Ellen Delaney in 1994.

Harry, their first son, was born in 1996 followed by Louis in 1998.  The family was confronted wit Louis’s diagnosis of neuroblastoma, a rare and deadly childhood cancer, on Thanksgiving Day 2001, when he was three years old.  The battle to save Louis’s life and the incredible medical breakthrough that saved their son created a burning desire for Mark to document his unique story.

Today, Mark and his family live in Bethany, CT.  He is a Director and Owner of his family business, Unger Global, and active in a number of charities.  Mark enjoys traveling with his wife to explore new places, playing golf, fishing and riding snowmobiles.

All proceeds from this book will go to the Carrot Seed Foundation where they will be used to find neuroblastoma clinical trials and support the children and families who are stricken by this disease.

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The Immortalists by Chloe Benjamin



My Review:

Four children from a Jewish family on the lower east side of Manhattan visit a psychic in the summer of 1969 and are told the date they will die.  Does this information, this prediction, change the way they choose to live?  That question is left unanswered in The Immortalists, as we follow each of the siblings’ lives.   Author Chloe Benjamin provides us with a mesmerizing story of these rich characters, and their choices about how to live.  Simon, the youngest brother, moves to California to live his truth and gets caught up in the reckless ’80s sexual revolution.  His journey out west begins with his sister Klara, who is irresponsible in many ways and chooses to become a magician.  Daniel, the oldest brother is conflicted at work; he is a doctor in the army and must give clearance to young men, less fortunate than he. to serve in the military.  And Vanya is involved in anti-aging research, as she reduces caloric intake of primates to extend their lives.  We witness the strengthening and deterioration of relationships and we hope things will turn out ok, but do they?  Throughout the book I couldn’t help but question if the characters’ choices were made because of the knowledge they received regarding their death.

Another question to think about is:  quality or quantity…do you want to live a long time or live well during the time you have?  Would you want to know the date of your own death?

Some of what Chloe Benjamin writes about is based on her own knowledge and experiences; she grew up in California in the 80s, with a gay parent, a Jewish parent, and immigrant grandparents.  She was a ballet dancer and her mother was an actor…all of which influenced the setting and characters.  She also did massive research to learn about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the military, primate research, magicians and magic.  The narrative was rich with information and I really enjoyed the format, each section written about a different character.

The Immortalists, for me, was a lesson about embracing life and trying not to worry about the unknown.  It is a balance, like science and religion, to navigate our lives by making choices based on what we know to be true and what we believe is true.  I highly recommend this book!

As seen on Goodreads:

If you were told the date of your death, how would it shape your present?

It’s 1969 in New York City’s Lower East Side, and word has spread of the arrival of a mystical woman, a traveling psychic who claims to be able to tell anyone the day they will die. The Gold children—four adolescents on the cusp of self-awareness—sneak out to hear their fortunes.

Their prophecies inform their next five decades. Golden-boy Simon escapes to the West Coast, searching for love in ’80s San Francisco; dreamy Klara becomes a Las Vegas magician, obsessed with blurring reality and fantasy; eldest son Daniel seeks security as an army doctor post-9/11, hoping to control fate; and bookish Varya throws herself into longevity research, where she tests the boundary between science and immortality.


About the Author:

Chloe Benjamin is the author of THE IMMORTALISTS, a New York Times Bestseller, #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2018, Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Selection, #1 Library Reads pick, and Amazon Best Book of the Month.

Her first novel, THE ANATOMY OF DREAMS (Atria, 2014), received the Edna Ferber Fiction Book Award and was longlisted for the 2014 Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize.

Her novels have been translated into over twenty-three languages. A graduate of Vassar College and the M.F.A. in fiction at the University of Wisconsin, Chloe lives with her husband in Madison, WI.

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Origin by Dan Brown



My Review:

Perfectly written for the big screen, Dan Brown definitely knows how to keep a plot moving! He feeds the reader information, just enough to peek your interest, and to create mysteries and questions.  In each chapter he adds more fuel to the fire and slowly reveals clues to bring you closer to the reveal.   Origin, this thought provoking, action packed mystery left me breathless at the end of every chapter.  Brown takes us to Spain on what feels like a wild goose chase as we follow his beloved character Langdon from Bilbao to Barcelona.  His futurist friend, Edmond, had made a huge discovery that would answer the defining questions; Where did we come from, and where are we going…, impacting religion and science in a history making way.  But during the big announcement, in front of millions of people all around the world, something went wrong.  With the answer to these burning questions of humanity and the unknown discovery lying in the balance, Langdon is in a race against time to find out what happened to his friend and what the revelation was.

Although, for me the earth shattering discovery that effects all of mankind was the least impressive part of this novel, Dan Brown does bring to light the question about how we were created, the possibility that we came from God vs. Science.  He also indicates the idea that religion holds us back, and that technology has the power to take over man, or even to merge with humanity to become a new species.  Because we can’t go back in time we may never really know where we came from, but we can see where we are going short term and with cell phones, computers, Alexa and robocalls, it is clear that technology has a big part in our future. I highly recommend this one.

As Seen on Goodreads:

Robert Langdon, Harvard professor of symbology and religious iconology, arrives at the ultramodern Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao to attend a major announcement—the unveiling of a discovery that “will change the face of science forever.” The evening’s host is Edmond Kirsch, a forty-year-old billionaire and futurist whose dazzling high-tech inventions and audacious predictions have made him a renowned global figure. Kirsch, who was one of Langdon’s first students at Harvard two decades earlier, is about to reveal an astonishing breakthrough . . . one that will answer two of the fundamental questions of human existence.

As the event begins, Langdon and several hundred guests find themselves captivated by an utterly original presentation, which Langdon realizes will be far more controversial than he ever imagined. But the meticulously orchestrated evening suddenly erupts into chaos, and Kirsch’s precious discovery teeters on the brink of being lost forever. Reeling and facing an imminent threat, Langdon is forced into a desperate bid to escape Bilbao. With him is Ambra Vidal, the elegant museum director who worked with Kirsch to stage the provocative event. Together they flee to Barcelona on a perilous quest to locate a cryptic password that will unlock Kirsch’s secret.

Navigating the dark corridors of hidden history and extreme religion, Langdon and Vidal must evade a tormented enemy whose all-knowing power seems to emanate from Spain’s Royal Palace itself… and who will stop at nothing to silence Edmond Kirsch. On a trail marked by modern art and enigmatic symbols, Langdon and Vidal uncover clues that ultimately bring them face-to-face with Kirsch’s shocking discovery… and the breathtaking truth that has long eluded us.


About the Author:

Dan Brown is the author of numerous #1 bestselling novels, including The Da Vinci Code, which has become one of the best selling novels of all time as well as the subject of intellectual debate among readers and scholars. Brown’s novels are published in 52 languages around the world with 200 million copies in print.

In 2005, Brown was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine, whose editors credited him with “keeping the publishing industry afloat; renewed interest in Leonardo da Vinci and early Christian history; spiking tourism to Paris and Rome; a growing membership in secret societies; the ire of Cardinals in Rome; eight books denying the claims of the novel and seven guides to read along with it; a flood of historical thrillers; and a major motion picture franchise.”

The son of a mathematics teacher and a church organist, Brown was raised on a prep school campus where he developed a fascination with the paradoxical interplay between science and religion. These themes eventually formed the backdrop for his books. He is a graduate of Amherst College and Phillips Exeter Academy, where he later returned to teach English before focusing his attention full time to writing.

Brown is currently at work on a new book as well as the Columbia Pictures film version of his most recent novel.

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The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce


My Review:

If you love the 80s, music, tradition, England and love, you will want to read The Music Shop right away!  Frank had an odd childhood; growing up he called his single mother by her first name and, the only thing his not so nurturing, nontraditional mom ever taught him about was music.  Now, a single man outside of London, Frank owns a small music shop on a run down street.  He only sells vinyl records; refuses to keep up with the times and offer cds or even cassette tapes.  He has given up on the possibility for love and seems content in his role in life as a music expert. Frank matches customers and friends to songs he thinks they need to know.  He is quirky and old fashioned, but likable and has a reputation for being a good man and helping lots of people.

One day a beautiful, mysterious woman shows up at his shop
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One Station Away by Olaf Olafsson


My Review:

Reading this book I was pleasantly surprised…it was not what I expected, knowing the author, Olaf Olafsson, a successful businessman, is the Executive Vice President of Time Warner and was responsible for introducing Sony PlayStation.

 One Station Away is a thoughtful story about Magnus, a Yale neurologist, and three important women in his life; his patient, his fiancé and his mother.   He conducts research on head trauma patients who appear to have no mental capabilities but in fact may be conscious and communicative.  He spends many evenings holding his patient’s hand and feeling powerless to help as he thinks of ways to try and connect with her.  Magnus struggles with the recent loss of his
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