There have been a few books we’ve been checking out over the past few months, but we haven’t had time to write-up full reviews. BUT, we don’t want you to miss them. …we have copies to giveaway!


Pretty creepy cover, right? Well you’d be correct thinking Barbara Gowdy’s new book, LITTLE SISTER (TinHouseBooks) is going to give you ibby-geebies. This was my first introduction into reading a Barbara Gowdy novel and it won’t be my last. Apparently she has rapid fans who can’t wait for her novels, and it’s been some time, since she published one. All I know it that LITTLE SISTER was weird, but wonderful, and its haunting style was more than a little unsettling. In other words, delicious.

LITTLE SISTER explores the always fertile territory of mothers, daughters and sisters – the guilt of the female psyche. I was sucked into her literary world and plan on venturing into her backlist. You may not hear from me for a while.


Barbara Gowdy is the author of seven books, including Helpless, The Romantic, The White Bone, Mister Sandman, We So Seldom Look on Love and Falling Angels, all of which have met with widespread international acclaim. Gowdy has been longlisted for The Man Booker Prize. Born in Windsor, Ontario, she lives in Toronto.




Suellen Dainty’s, THE HOUSEKEEPER (WashingtonSquarePress), is part of BookSparks Summer Reading Challenge 2017 #SRC2017. Anne Morgan’s super successful restaurateur boss-boyfriend dumps her for another woman and she’s desperate to find a new job and place to lick her wounds. At the same time, Emma Helmsley, England’s answer to Oprah and Martha needs a new housekeeper, pronto who is used to being around A-listers. Ta-da: A match.

Anne is quickly swept into a world of constant parties and media appearances. Emma tells the world how to live a perfect life, while her academic husband writes a book about a shrink leading a cult. Their two well-adjusted teens add to the picture of perfection they present to the outside world.

But everyone has dirty laundry, and its easy to find, especially when you’re doing the laundry. Anne tries to maintain order, meanwhile unburied secrets threaten to cause dangerous consequences. THE HOUSEKEEPER is a nail-biting psychological thriller about the dark places in our mind.


Suellen in her own words:

My first novel, After Everything, was published in 2014, by Atria/Simon and Schuster. Soon after, Target selected me as one of their 2015 Emerging Authors.

I grew up in Sydney, where I worked as a journalist and television reporter before moving to England two decades ago. I’ve worked for Sky News as a producer and director for the original series of The Book Show. I’ve also run a B and B, worked as a cook, a gardener and a carer. I live in London, where I like writing in the London Library, walking the Thames River towpath and going to the theatre as often as possible.




It’s Chicago in the 1960s in Renee Rosen’s novel, WINDY CITY BLUES (Berkley). Leeba Goski finds herself in the middle of a musical and social revolution. She doesn’t exactly fit in, but her love of music is not lost on her childhood friend, Leonard Chess, who offers her a job at his new record company.

What starts as low-level assistant job turns into  more than Leeba ever dreamed of. She becomes a songwriter and crosses paths with legendary performers like Chuck Berry and Etta James. But it’s Red Dupree, a black blues guitarist from Louisiana, who captures her heart and changes her life.

Their relationship is unwelcome in segregated Chicago and they are cut off from Leeba’s Orthodox Jewish family. Yet in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, Leeba and Red discover that, in times of struggle, music can bring people together.


Renée is the bestselling author of  WHITE COLLAR GIRL, WHAT THE LADY WANTS: A NOVEL of MARSHALL FIELD and the GILDED AGE and DOLLFACE: A NOVEL of the ROARING TWENTIES, as well as the young adult novel, EVERY CROOKED POT. She lives in Chicago.




Gritty New York City in the 1970s is the setting for Randy Mason’s debut novel, FALLING BACK to ONE (Archer). A cop about to lose his badge and a messed up abused teen are each other’s last hope at surviving in this fast-paced, multi-layered story.

Detective Sergeant, James Baker finds himself facing suspension or the end of his career at age thirty-eight, unless he agrees to something completely out of the box; being the acting legal guardian of a convicted juvenile offender. Under incredible stress, he choses being a guardian.

Seventeen-year-old Micki Reilly is not what Baker expects. First she’s a girl, she’s much more violent and she says she has no memory of her past. Baker can’t wait to get rid of her, while at the same time, she dreams of a new life. It’s a battle back and forth between Baker and Reilly, but they know they’re each other’s way out, so they need to stick together. It turns out this arrangement is more important and dangerous than either one of them expected. A tragic decision is made and they discover it’s going to take both of them working together to survive.


Randy Mason grew up in New York City, where she has lived most of her life. FALLING BACK TO ONE is her first novel.




Bestselling author, Anne D. LeClaire joins the Lake Union Publishing family with the release of her novel, THE HALO EFFECT. It was supposed to be a typical October evening for renowned portrait artist Will Light. Over dinner, his wife, Sophie, would share news about chorus rehearsals for the upcoming holiday concert, and their teenage daughter, Lucy, would chatter about French club and field hockey. Only Lucy never came home. Her body was found, days later, in the woods.

The Eastern Seaboard town of Port Fortune used to be Will’s comfort. Now, there’s no safe harbor for him. Not even when Father Gervase asks Will to paint portraits of saints for the new cathedral. Using the townspeople as models, Will sees in each face only a mask of the darkness of evil. And he just might be painting his daughter’s killer.



Anne grew up on a farm in a small town in Western Massachusetts. She’s a graduate of the MacDuffie School in Springfield, Massachusetts and an alumna of Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams, Massachusetts and Miami University, Oxford, Ohio. Her interests are gardening, yoga, theater, travel and aviation (she’s a private pilot). She’s also interested in genealogy and a cousin of the poet Emily Dickinson.


Annette Gendler tells her personal story in her memoir, JUMPING OVER SHADOWS(SheWritesPress). When Annette falls in love with a Jewish man in Germany in 1985, history is repeating itself; her great-aunt Resi had been married to a Jew in Czechoslovakia before World War II. That marriage, while happy, meant tremendous difficulties for the extended family, once the Nazis took over their hometown.

While Resi’s marriage did not withstand the pressures of “the Nazi times,” Annette and Harry’s love was a nightmare for his family of Holocaust survivors. Burdened by their family histories, she and Harry kept their relationship secret until they could forge a path into the future.


Annette is a writer, photographer and blogger. She writes literary nonfiction and focuses on the photography of place. In 2014-15 she had the privilege of serving as writer-in-residence at the Hemingway Birthplace Home in Oak Park, Illinois.

Her essays have appeared in many literary journals, and links can be found under Writing. She regularly writes for the Washington Independent Review of Books and the Jewish Book Council.

She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte. After 15 years of working in consulting, she left the corporate world several years ago.
She teaches memoir writing at StoryStudio Chicago and handles communications for her children’s former school. She lives in Chicago with her husband and three children.




In this second book of the series, Henrietta and Clive, Michelle Cox delightfully rewrites Pride and Prejudice—with a hint of mystery in A RING of TRUTH (SheWritesPress).

Newly engaged, Clive and Henrietta now begin the difficult task of meeting each other’s family. “Difficult” because Clive has neglected to tell Henrietta that he is in fact the heir to the Howard estate and fortune, and Henrietta has just discovered that her mother has been hiding secrets about her past as well. When Clive brings Henrietta to the family estate to meet his parents, they are less than enthused about his impoverished intended. Left alone in this extravagant new world when Clive returns to the city, Henrietta finds herself more at home with the servants than his family, much to the disapproval of Mrs. Howard—and soon gets caught up in the disappearance of an elderly servant’s ring, not realizing that in doing so she has become part of a bigger, darker plot.


Michelle Cox holds a B.A. in English literature from Mundelein College, Chicago, and is the author of the award-winning, A GIRL LIKE YOU, the first in the Henrietta and Inspector Howard series. She is known for her wildly popular blog, “How to Get Your Book Published in 7,000 Easy Steps—A Practical Guide” as well as her charming “Novel Notes of Local Lore,” a blog dedicated to Chicago’s forgotten residents. Michelle lives with her husband and three children in the Chicago suburbs.




In Margot Singer’s novel, UNDERGROUND FUGUE (MelvilleHouse), the background is the 2005 tube bombings in London. For those reading who are unfamiliar with the term “tube,” it is the British subway system. Four characters are dislocated by personal loss, political violence and betrayal.

It’s April and Esther has left New York for London, partly to escape her dissolving marriage, and partly to care for her dying mother; Lonia, Esther’s mother, is haunted by memories of fleeing Czechoslovakia on the eve of World War II; Javad, their next-door neighbor and an Iranian neuroscientist, struggles to connect with his college-aged son; and Amir, Javad’s son, is seeking both identity and escape in his illicit exploration of the city’s forbidden spaces.

As Esther settles into life in London, a friendship develops among them. But when terrorists attack the London transit system in July, someone goes missing, and the chaos that follows both fractures the possibilities for the future, and reveals the deep divides of the past.


Margot is the author of a collection of short stories, The Pale of Settlement (University of Georgia Press, 2007), winner of the Flannery O’Connor Award for Short Fiction; and co-editor, with Nicole Walker, of Bending Genre (Bloomsbury Academic, 2013), a collection of essays on creative nonfiction.

Her short stories and essays have appeared in The Kenyon Review, The Gettysburg Review, Conjunctions, Shenandoah, Prairie Schooner, Agni, Ninth Letter, The Sun, and many others. Winner of the 2013 James Jones First Novel Fellowship, she has also received a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, the Reform Judaism Prize for Jewish Fiction, the Glasgow Prize for Emerging Writers, the Carter Prize for the essay, and an honorable mention from the judges of the PEN/Hemingway Award.



We have copies of all of these novels, except LITTLE SISTER to giveaway. Just tell us which one you’d like to read and why. We’ll announce winners next Wednesday. Good luck!



  1. I would love to read The Housekeeper. I love books with secrets and this one sounds like it has plenty! Thank you for the chance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have to say Falling Back To One is probably the one I would most like to read, since the one I would have picked first is not available. Also. ….I would like to read others. 🙂 I’m sort of an addict.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I’d love to read The Housekeeper! I heard about this book not long ago & couldn’t wait for it to come out. It sounds like one that’ll have a lot of shocks and surprises!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. These all sound so good! Little Sister sounds interesting to me and the one I’d like to read. Not a genre I usually read but interested in checking this one out. Jumping Over Shadows is second as I love reading memoirs and the time period in this one is one I enjoy reading about. Thanks for the chance.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well, of course, I want to read them all who wouldn’t? I have been following “The Windy City Blues” through Twitter and Facebook and through reviewers blogs and posts. “The Housekeeper” looks like it would be one to digest in one sitting. I guess it is like the song for Pokemon “Gotta have them all”.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow!! Several of them sound really good….but my top pick would have to be: HOUSEKEEPER by Suellen Dainty. From just reading your review Cindy, it sounds like a real winner to me! Who wouldn’t want to be able to go through the “dirty laundry” of a TV talk show host? The psychological thriller part is what has me intrigued! How is THIS novel a thriller? I sure can’t wait to read it and find out!!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I would like to read A Ring of Truth. I read Michelle Cox’s first book, A Girl Like You. I want to read the continuation of Henrietta and Clive’s story. Thank you for the opportunity to win.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I would lke to read Jumping Over Shadows. I really enjoy history and reading about the challenges of religious prejudice. THank you so much!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. They all sound wonderful, but the one I’m most interested in is Windy City Blues. I read White Collar Girl by Renee Rosen last year and really enjoyed it.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I really want to read Windy City Blues. I’ve read several great things about the book. I follow Renee on Facebook. My friend has read it and raved about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. “The Housekeeper” and “Falling Back to One” sound great, but I’ll go with “Underground Fugue” both because it doesn’t seem as popular in the comments and because it sounds like an intriguing combination of multiple character studies and a look at how the (sad) state of the world we currently live in can personally affect us. Plus, I love books set in the UK. mbradeen@yahoo.com


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