Wednesday, June 21, 2017

My Sweet Vidalia - Review

Idgie Says:
Who doesn't love a ghost baby story!?  This has a fascinating twist to that type of tale in that the baby is stillborn and was never "known" to her Mama. Instead she becomes a guardian angel of sorts. 
The prose flows smoothly and draws the reader into place and time easily.  The dialogue is firmly old rural South. The combination allows you to become fully immersed in the story and the people. 
This book may be a little hard to read in certain passages due to content, but it's well written and worth the effort.


On July 4, 1955, in rural Georgia, an act of violence threatens the life of Vidalia Lee Kandal’s pre-born daughter. Despite the direst of circumstances, the spirit of Vidalia’s lost child refuses to leave her ill-equipped young mother’s side. For as long as she is needed—through additional troublesome pregnancies, through poverty, spousal abuse, and agonizing betrayals—Cieli Mae, the determined spirit child, narrates their journey.

Serving as a safe place and sounding board for Vidalia’s innermost thoughts and confusions, lending a strength to her momma’s emerging voice, Cieli Mae provides her own brand of comfort and encouragement, all the while honoring the restrictions imposed by her own otherworldly status. Vidalia finds further support in such unlikely relations and townsfolk as Doc Feldman, Gamma Gert and her Wild Women of God, and most particularly in Ruby Pearl Banks, the wise, kind, and courageous church lady, who has suffered her own share of heartache in their small Southern town of yesteryear’s prejudices and presumptions.

My Sweet Vidalia is wise and witty, outstanding for its use of vibrant, poetic language and understated Southern dialect, as well as Mantella’s clear-eyed observations of “race relations” as “human relations,” a cast of unforgettable characters, an in-depth exploration of the ties that bind, and its creative perspective. My Sweet Vidalia is a rare, wonderful, and complex look at hope, strength, the unparalleled power of unconditional love, and a young mother’s refusal to give up.

Turner Publishing

Excerpt from Chapter One

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Beach House for Rent - Spotlight

Mary Alice Monroe is deeply loved by her readers - this was most evident when I stated I had received an Advanced Reader Copy of her newest book, Beach House for Rent.  A perfect summer read!  Available June 20th, published by Gallery Books.


New York Times bestselling author Mary Alice Monroe returns to her beloved Isle of Palms to tell the poignant, charming story of two women, one summer, and one very special beach house.

When Cara Rutledge rents out her quaint beach house on Isle of Palms to Heather Fordham for the entire summer, it’s a win-win by any standard: Cara’s generating income necessary to keep husband Brett’s ecotourism boat business afloat, and anxiety-prone Heather, an young artist who’s been given a commission to paint birds on postage stamps, has a quiet space in which to work and tend to her pet canaries uninterrupted.

It isn’t long, however, before both women’s idyllic summers are altered irrevocably: the alluring shorebirds—and the man who rescues them—begin to draw Heather out of the shell she’s cultivated toward a world of adventure, and maybe even love; at the same time, Cara’s life reels with sudden tragedy, and she wishes only to return to the beach house that had once been her port amidst life’s storms. When Heather refuses to budge from her newfound sanctuary, so begins the unlikeliest of rooming situations. While they start out as strangers, as everything around the women falls apart they learn that the only thing they can really rely on is each other.

And, like the migrating shorebirds that come to the island for the summer, these two women of different generations must rediscover their unique strengths so by summer’s end they, too, can take flight in ways they never imagined possible.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Gradle Bird - Review

Idgie Says:
Gradle has been living a hand-to-mouth existence for more years than she can remember.  Her Grandfather and she subsist basically on handouts and what work they can find.  Gradle deals with the dregs of society on a regular basis. 

When they move into an old family home that has been vacant for years, that life doesn't get any better.  Though they encounter a motley, assorted and interesting group of characters, this is definitely not a story where everyone comes together with love and bonding.  

There are plenty of disagreeable people and unpleasant events that fill the pages of this novel, but Gradle will pull you into her world and keep you there.

Koehler Books (June 15, 2017)


Sixteen-year-old Gradle Bird has lived her entire life with her Grandpa, Leonard, at a seedy motel and truck stop off Georgia's I-16. But when Leonard moves her to a crumbling old house rumored to be haunted by the ghost of Ms. Annalee Spivey, Gradle is plunged into a lush, magical world much stranger and more dangerous than from the one she came.

Here she meets Sonny Joe Stitch, a Siamese Fighting Fish connoisseur overdosed on testosterone, a crippled, Bible-thumping hobo named Ceif "Tadpole" Walker, and the only true friend she will ever know, a schizophrenic genius, music-man, and professional dumpster-diver, D-5 Delvis Miles.

As Gradle falls deeper into Delvis's imaginary and fantastical world, unsettling dangers lurk, and when surfaced Gradle discovers unforeseen depths in herself and the people she loves the most.

Gradle Bird is an unusual tale of self-discovery and redemption that explores the infirmities of fatherly love, the complexities of human cruelty, and the consequences of guilt, proving they are possible to overcome no matter how dark and horrible the cause.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

The Space Between the Stars - Review

Idgie Says:
You wake up after 3 days of devastating illness to discover you are alone.  A superbug has taken out 99% of humanity.  It traveled through the stars to all of the outpost planets, meaning the possible 1% of humanity is scattered throughout the galaxy.  How do you feel?  How do you act?

Jamie ran away from her home planet after the loss of a baby.  She left her husband behind.  Now she desperately needs to know if he also perhaps managed to survive.  She must get back to Earth, but to do so she needs to depend on a motley group of people - who don't all have the same agenda. 

The characters in this novel are well fleshed out, fully alive.  Jamie isn't just dealing with the present, she continues to dwell over her past actions.  This isn't a space story, this is a human story with space as the backdrop.


The Space Between the Stars
by Anne Corlett

Pub Date


Mad: A Novel - Review

Idgie Says: 
I absolutely could not put this novel down once I started it.   The main character is one of the most unlikable women I have ever "met". Her actions are appalling.  I'm pretty sure she's psychotic.  There is a bit of backstory working toward explaining why she's as she is, but I am certain it goes deeper than that.   She's like a horrible train wreck that you simply can't take your eyes off. 

The writing is simply delicious and I can't tell you how excited I am that this is part of a trilogy.  I am definitely signing on for the entire wild ride. 

As a debut author, Chloe should be very proud of herself. 

Mad: A Novel (Mad, Bad, and Dangerous to Know Trilogy)
June 13, 2017 
Alvina Knightly: Uncensored. Unhinged. Unforgettable. 

'There's something you should know before we go any further: my heart is in the wrong place. Now don't say I didn't warn you...' 

Perhaps that's why nothing in Alvie's life has ever gone right? Until now.

She can finally abandon her credit card debt - and her fruitless three-way relationship with Tinder and Twitter - when fate gives her the chance to steal her identical twin's perfect life.

It's just a shame Beth had to die to make Alvie's dreams come true.

So begin seven days of sex, violence and unapologetic selfies - one wild week that sees Alvie break every rule in the book. She never did have much respect for boundaries.
It might be madness, but rules are meant to be broken. Right?

Mad is the first in the sexy, shocking and compulsively readable Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know trilogy, and the beginning of a rollercoaster ride that those still alive at the end will never forget.


In this compulsively readable debut, set between London and Sicily over one blood-drenched week in the dead of summer, an identical twin reveals the crazy lies and twists she'll go through to not only steal her sister's perfect life, but to keep on living it.
Alvie Knightly is a trainwreck: aimless, haphazard, and pretty much constantly drunk. Alvie's existence is made even more futile in contrast to that of her identical and perfect twin sister, Beth. Alvie lives on social media, eats kebabs for breakfast, and gets stopped at security when the sex toy in her carry-on starts buzzing. Beth is married to a hot, rich Italian, dotes on her beautiful baby boy, and has always been their mother's favorite. The twins' days of having anything in common besides their looks are long gone.

When Beth sends Alvie a first-class plane ticket to visit her in Italy, Alvie is reluctant to go. But when she gets fired from the job she hates and her flatmates kick her out on the streets, a luxury villa in glitzy Taormina suddenly sounds more appealing. Beth asks Alvie to swap places with her for just a few hours so she can go out unnoticed by her husband. Alvie jumps at the chance to take over her sister's life--if only temporarily. But when the night ends with Beth dead at the bottom of the pool, Alvie realizes that this is her chance to change her life.

Alvie quickly discovers that living Beth's life is harder than she thought. What was her sister hiding from her husband? And why did Beth invite her to Italy at all? As Alvie digs deeper, she uncovers Mafia connections, secret lovers, attractive hitmen, and one extremely corrupt priest, all of whom are starting to catch on to her charade. Now Alvie has to rely on all the skills that made her unemployable--a turned-to-11 sex drive, a love of guns, lying to her mother--if she wants to keep her million-dollar prize. She is uncensored, unhinged, and unforgettable.