Amazon & The Kindle: Part 6 Your Local Library & Your Kindle #Overdrive #Libby #Library #Hoopla #Ebook #Digital #Kindle

😦  Here are we are to Part 6 of my Amazon & The Kindle series!  This is my LAST one in this informational series!!!!  I hope you have learned a new thing or two with your Kindle device!  This week we are focusing on…if you reside outside of the United States, please read on because there ARE options for you too!!

Your Local Library & Your Kindle




Here is where having a Kindle and a library card can become DANGEROUS.  The first thing you need to do is get yourself a local library card.  Consult with your local library and see what services are offered through them.  Each library district is different with what they offer, I will be going over the most popular options and what exactly they are.  Bottom line, they are SIMPLE to use with your Kindle!!  Even my 80+ year old grandmother can check out library books to her Kindle!

*Let me interject here.  Some library districts are small and do not offer a lot.  I am going to highlight a few public libraries that you can buy a yearly membership to.  Some people like to go with these libraries regardless because they have a much bigger library to choose from.  I am lucky enough to have 2 library districts in my area that I am a member of and I have found what my smaller district does not have available in an ebook format, the larger one does.  Check with your local library first and see if they have any reciprocal or sister libraries you are eligible to borrow from too!  These are just a few options…

Orange County Library System (Florida) 3 months $75, 6 months $100, 1 year $125 (They allow membership to lose who live OUTSIDE of the United States as well!)

Brooklyn Public Library (New York) 1 year $50

Free Library Of Philadelphia  1 year $50 (They also allow membership to those who live OUTSIDE of the United States as well!)

Fairfax County Library (Virginia) 1 year $27

Check this blog out for even more options!

**Side note…I would love to have the ability to borrow from a library in England/Europe/Overseas (because you guys get a lot of books over there first that I want to read) so if anyone knows of any libraries like these, PLEASE reach out and let me know!

Let’s move on to the actual ways you will borrow from the library now…my favorite…


Overdrive is one of the main borrowing systems libraries use for ebooks.  They have a website and app you can use and your local library usually has a link set up on their website to their Overdrive library.  From there you can browse around.  You will use your library card and password to log in to Overdrive so make sure all of that is set up with your local library first!  Now…Overdrive has an app, but I don’t find it to be user friendly.  The also have Libby (presented by Overdrive) which is SUPER easy to use!  You can download it to your device and log in with your library credentials.  I have 2 libraries connected to my account and bounce back and forth between them.

On one side of the app is your shelf, which shows what you have borrowed and you can look at your holds shelf for what you have coming.  On the other side is the library side where you can search and find ebooks and audiobooks.  The audiobooks read right through the app, it’s easy and magical.  This is what I showed my grandmother to use and guys…she doesn’t need ANY help to navigate it.  That’s how easy it is!!!! Here is a quick look at the inside of my account just so you can see how pretty it looks…


Once you have a library book checked out to you, you will click on it and it will take you right to the Amazon website where you can check out the book to borrow.  Most libraries let you choose how long you want the hold for (7 days, 14 days, 21 days) so make sure you pay attention to that detail!  Once your hold is up the ebook will automatically go back to the library, no late fees!!  I do check my books back in early through Libby and AGAIN through Amazon (I go to and select the book and click on return, sometimes the book won’t go back to your library early unless you do this, you’ll get a note on your Kindle with the book saying return ended and you can just delete that off your Kindle and it’s off for good).  Just a helpful tip for returning through Overdrive!


Next there’s Hoopla…


Hoopla’s biggest perk?  There’s NO waiting period (unlike with Overdrive and the more popular books)…everything that is available in the library is available to you IMMEDIATELY.  The selection is not as big with the latest releases, but you can borrow so much MORE through Hoopla…the Hoopla app is available on iOS, Android, AND the Amazon app store.  You can access it via Chromecast, Roku, Fire TV, Apple TV, and Android TV.  Why would you need all that?

Because you can borrow ebooks, audiobooks, movies, music, comics, and television!!  WOW!  My local library allows me to borrow 8 items a month.  The only downside is everything is done through the app so I can’t take the ebook I borrow and read it on my Kindle Paperwhite, I have to read it on a device that has the Hoopla app on it (it would work on the Kindle Fire tablet).  They even have a kids area to the app (which my kids LOVE) to explore.  They enjoy checking out movies and shows…just be careful of your library’s limit!!!  Even if you return items, you are only allowed that amount to be checked out each month!  


That’s really all I wanted to highlight as those are the 2 most popular eborrowing tools with public libraries.  Check with your local library to see what they have to offer.  My local library also offers extra services such as a free membership to Creativebug and the children’s learning program Socrates.  Support your local library!!  Please let me know if you have any other questions about any eborrowing abilities or if your library has a really neat feature.

I hope this series has helped you unlock the potential in your Kindle.  To recap all the series posts…

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 5 Kindle Unlimited #Amazon #Kindle #KU #Ebooks #KindleUnlimited

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 4 #FreeNewsletters #Free #Kindle #FreeReads #Amazon #FreeEbooks #Ebooks

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 3 #Kindle #AmazonPrime #Amazon #Reading #Ebooks #Perks

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 2 #Kindle #Amazon #KindleTips

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 1


Happy Sunday!!!!!!


Amazon & The Kindle: Part 5 Kindle Unlimited #Amazon #Kindle #KU #Ebooks #KindleUnlimited

Here are we are to Part 5 of my Amazon & The Kindle series!  I hope you are enjoying all of this information week in and and week out.  After this part, there is only one more part to my series left!


Kindle Unlimited



Personally, I do not subscribe the $9.99 a month to Kindle Unlimited.  I have a crazy huge Kindle library thanks to Amazon & The Kindle: Part 4 #FreeNewsletters and my local library with the Libby/Overdrive app (to be featured NEXT WEEK), so I would probably never read enough to justify the $9.99 a month!  It does not mean it won’t be worth it for you!


You can browse books in the Kindle store and if you see Kindle Unlimited above the book title it means it is within the Kindle Unlimited library.  Essentially you are paying $9.99 a month for the ability to borrow up to 10 books at a time.  You do not get to keep them and once you stop paying the monthly fee you lose access to all of those books.


They offer a 30 day free trial so you can try it before you start to commit to it.  Authors get paid by the pages you read, so that is how they make their money when they offer their books to the Kindle Unlimited library.  A few times a year Amazon will offer a 3 month subscription for 99 cents and that’s an even BETTER deal.  They just had this offering a few weeks ago so in another few months (probably around Black Friday) I would assume they’ll be offering it again!


Are you a member of Kindle Unlimited?  Do you enjoy it?  Any other questions?  Reach out and I will do my best to answer them!  I hope this helped you decide if Kindle Unlimited could be right for you!  Next Sunday will be my last installment of my Amazon & The Kindle Series, Your Local Library & Your Kindle.  This will be an absolutely amazing discovery if you did not already know how much your local library can offer with Kindle!!!!!



Amazon & The Kindle: Part 4 #FreeNewsletters #Free #Kindle #FreeReads #Amazon #FreeEbooks #Ebooks

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 3 #Kindle #AmazonPrime #Amazon #Reading #Ebooks #Perks

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 2 #Kindle #Amazon #KindleTips

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 1

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 4 #FreeNewsletters #Free #Kindle #FreeReads #Amazon #FreeEbooks #Ebooks

I have previously done a post on this over at Book In The Bag where I would do weekly guest blogs.  Not much has changed as far as my discovery of free newsletters has gone, so aside from a little updating, it will be pretty similar!



The focus of today’s post is FREE EBOOKS!  Yes, 100% (and even access to some cheap reads) ebooks you can download to your Kindle (and yes, other ereaders).  I find some of these are repetitive, but hey I won’t turn down a free book!


Newsletter: Book Bub

Web Address:

My Thoughts: This was the first eBook newsletter I was exposed to.  They offer a few free ones here and there (not as many as other newsletters), but have many offerings from 99 cents to $3.99, great deals!


Newsletter: Freebooksy

Web Address:

My Thoughts: This is my favorite newsletter.  This newsletter is always filled with 100% free books.  You just need to make sure you read it on the same day because the books are usually only free for one day!  I LOVE the format of their email too, it’s very eye pleasing!


Newsletter: Voracious Readers Only

Web Address:

My Thoughts:  You sign up with your e-mail and mark off the genres you enjoy (you can always change these later).  The send out individual e-mails when they get a new book and you can click on the link and then get the free eBook.  Many times when you click the link you are also signing up for the author’s mailing list.  I don’t feel they send out too many e-mails and they offer different ones I haven’t seen on any other newsletters.  They DO expect feedback on the books you select to read…you can’t just hoard these on your ereader and expect to read them at your leisure.  Only agree to read a book if you’re going to start it soon and will give them a small review!


Newsletter: Ereader News Today

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Again, you sign up with your e-mail address and select the genres you wish to receive.  Remember, don’t limit yourself, maybe you’ll find a book in a new genre you’ll fall in love with!  They offer free and heavily discounted priced books!  I love the ability to pick the genres I want in my newsletter.


Newsletter: Early Bird Books

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Early Bird Books offers great discounts on popular reads!  Yes, on occasion they have some big name authors!  If you’re looking for a deal, this is the newsletter for you.  This will have more bestsellers priced usually from $1.99 to $3.99 (and occasionally free).


Newsletter: Many Books

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Many Books offers a website filled with free eBooks, as well as a newsletter, which highlights free and discounted eBooks. I am not really a fan of this newsletter and I’m not sure why.  It would be the layout or that I don’t find many eBooks I’m interested in. But it is still something to take a look at.


Newsletter: Book Adrenaline

Web Address:

My Thoughts: This is for all my fellow thriller and mystery lovers out there!!  Book Adrenaline offers free and discounted mystery and thriller books.  You will not find any other genres here.  I love mysteries and thrillers so this is right up my alley.  I have put so many books from here on my amazon wish list I have yet to figure out when I will read all these books!


Newsletter: Pillow Talk Books

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Where are all my romance lovers?  This is a newsletter just for romance books!  They sent out a daily newsletter with cheap and free romance books.  If romance is your genre of choice, you definitely need to sign up for this newsletter!


Newsletter: Bookzzle

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Another newsletter for free & bargain priced fiction and non-fictions reads.  You cannot pick and choose what genres you are interested in, they just send you a newsletter with the deals for the week!


Newsletter: The Fussy Librarian

Web Address:

My Thoughts: Last but not least, my other absolutely favorite newsletter: The Fussy Librarian.  They make sure you sign up and get the books YOU want. They also have 2 lists; one list is for bargain eBooks and the other is for mainly free eBooks.  Pick the genres you like, the days you want to receive e-mails, and away you go!  Yes, you can pick what days you want the newsletter!  If daily is too much you can pick any combination of the days of the week!  AWESOME!


I would like to note that many of these offer their books on multiple platforms (Kindle, Nook, Apple, Kobo, Google, etc) so don’t worry about how you’re reading an eBook, there will be books for you within these newsletters!!  Do you know of another newsletter?  Let me know about it in the comments!  Are you a member of any of these?  Tell me how much you love them and which one YOUR favorite is!  I tried to be as all encompassing as I could be and for research sake, I am on every single one of these lists.  I have created a monster of a Kindle library (thanks to these newsletters) and just need about 1,000 years to read all the books I have now!  At least I can say I will never not have a book to read or a plethora to choose from!  Next Sunday will be Part 5 in the series: Kindle Unlimited.  Happy Sunday!



Amazon & The Kindle: Part 3 #Kindle #AmazonPrime #Amazon #Reading #Ebooks #Perks

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 2 #Kindle #Amazon #KindleTips

Amazon & The Kindle: Part 1

Book Review: Mine @Court_Writes @Netgalley @GalleryBooks #Revenge #Infidelity #Unfaithful

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Books for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review!

The author penned a letter to readers on Goodreads and I would like to copy that and put right here for you to read….

Dear Reader,

Before you begin reading this story, I should tell you… this is about every wife’s worst nightmare.
You think it can never happen to you.
It can.
You think you’re impervious to it because you do your best to keep your husband happy.
You’re not.
Trust me, I know.
The title of this story, MINE, has a double-meaning.
Ethan is Tessa’s, so from her point of view, MINE is self-explanatory.
But also… this story… is mine.
At least, parts of it.
My husband was unfaithful. It was a crazy circumstance, a perfect storm of irony and tragedy. It gutted me and brought my world down around me in bits and pieces.
When something like this happens to you, your mind plays tricks on you and turns you into someone you aren’t. I can’t tell you how often I fantasized about terrible things after I found out about the affair— things I would never truly act upon.
Then, one day, I decided to write this story. To unleash the darkness that dwelled in my heart, the things I would never actually do, in a cathartic way to channel my anger.
I’ll let you wonder and decide where reality ends and my dark fantasies begin in this story.

After reading Mine let me tell you what I will never do…and that is to cross Courtney Cole *insert wow face here*. I hope writing this novel was therapeutic for her!

The story is about Tessa, who discovers her husband of 20 years has been having an affair with a young bombshell.  She takes the opportunity when her husband is out of town to trap the mistress at her house.  How?  She sends her a text from her husband’s iPad he left open at home (where she discovered nude pictures and messages).  The mistress comes in, finds notes “he” left her, and ends up handcuffing herself to his bed, just waiting for “him…”

The book is told through the perspective of Tessa, the wife, and Lindsey, the mistress.  I loved how the story was told in present time with Tessa and Lindsey in the same room with going back to the recent past to tie in to what Lindsey was telling Tessa.  At first I felt bad for Tessa, then bad for Lindsey, then really bad for Tessa, and nothing for Lindsey.

I spent most of this book thinking that Tessa is going to end up in jail, if not prison.  She goes a little off the wall.  Tessa is very intense.  Then, the book takes an odd turn.  Suddenly Lindsey is free from being handcuffed to the bed and when you think bloodshed would occur, it doesn’t.  It almost becomes too surreal and it loses the oomph it had in the beginning.  We went from crazy intense to all of a sudden we’ve worked through being the wife and the other woman in a matter of mere hours??  It just seemed unrealistic for what was happening at the beginning.

This was an OK read, very fast paced.  I read this book rather quickly and it’s very easy to follow.  I think any woman faced with finding her husband in an affair would want to do what Tessa did.  I just don’t think I would ever be as gracious as Tessa is in the end.  You’ll have to read this one and be the judge for yourself.



Title: Mine

Author:  Courtney Cole

Publisher: Gallery Books

Release Date: May 28, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

May Wrap Up


That is the amount of books I read during the MONTH of May!!!  Don’t ask me how that happened, but I’ll take it!  Here are my stats…

4: Ebooks

6: Physical Books

3,395 pages

I have fallen behind, so behind, on all my reviews of what I’ve read so expect my blog to be jammin’ with some content this month!  Thankfully I have the time off where I can play catch up!!  Here’s a collage of what I read…


What did you read in May?  Have you read any of these or are any on your TBR???  Drop me a line and let me know!

Book Review: The Mother-In-Law @SallyHepworth @MacMillanUSA @StMartinsPress #TheMotherInLaw #Netgalley

Thank you to Netgalley and MacMillian USA for my advance copy of this book.  I am so terribly sorry my reviewed has been delayed, but I’m here with it now!

I just want to note that my husband was reading a magazine where The Mother-In-Law is featured as a book to read this summer…he made sure to let me know about this book because I had to go out and get it to read it…I let him know I already read it and he was right, I did love it!

Lucy meets Ollie, falls in love, and hopes to gain a mother since her own mother died when she was young.  Lucy gets everything except a mother…from the get go Diana, Ollie’s mother, does not like Lucy and makes no qualms about it.

They have a strained relationship.  When Lucy births her first child, Diana puts priority in helping a refugee instead of being there for her family…so you get the idea of the type of person Diana is.  Yes, I loved hating her as I read this book.

A weird thing happens though…toward the end of the book I absolutely love and respect the relationship that Diana and Lucy have.  Is it a good one?  No.  It is one that is oddly filled with trust and some respect.  Yes.

Overall this story tells a tale of a mother who has all the means in the world, but refuses to help her own children.  She has a charity where she works with refugees from other countries and that is where her passion and assistance lay.  This starts to cause a rut between her and her children and well…you just need to read it.

The ending.  Thank you, thank you, thank you for creating an ending where we see a little into the future with what happens with everyone.  I will tell you, you may think you know who killed who (yes, someone dies), but you will not have pegged who did it.  Or why they did it.

This is a wonderful 4 star read.  It’s a page turning mystery that you won’t be able to put down until you know who did it.  Plus, the strained relationship is a train wreck you can’t help but keep watching.  Pick this book up, you’ll be glad you did!



Title: The Mother-In-Law

Author:  Sally Hepworth

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Release Date: April 23, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon

Back At The Library #hendersonlibraries #friendsofthelibrary #bibliophile

Well, today was the day…I walked back in to my local library, paid my embarrassingly high fine, and walked out WITHOUT a book for myself!  The restraint is REAL today guys!


Because my fine was so high I opted to get this special edition tote bag because, well, I stayed up way too late last night finishing up Dark Places by Gillian Flynn.  This bag is totally appropriate.  Plus, I ended up checking out 9 books (5 for my daughter and 4 for my son).  Do you think I was going to lug those books around in my arms?  Psh!  Now, they have a place to stay when they’re at home so we don’t lose any…

I bet you’re wondering how I walked out with no book in my possession…well, wait until you see the stack of books I own that I want to get through this summer.  The real reason I finally went down was to start my OverDrive account!  I already have 4 books on hold once I got home with tips from my local librarian.  Do you use any ebook service through your local library??  Tell me all about it, I’m all ears!  I cannot wait until my first hold comes out and I can really test this out!

Book Review: Tell Me Goodnight

(*Disclaimer: I did receive a free advanced reader copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.  Thank you Kelsey for the copy!)

Here’s the synopsis of Tell Me Goodnight which is out TODAY here.  A widowed father and his 3 young daughters find a way to make it through life…with the help of a newly hired babysitter who comes into their lives at the right time.  You can read more about the summary of the book on Amazon or Goodreads, usually I would give more detail, however, I am here to tell you what this book is truly, sincerely about.

Every line in this book is damn near quotable.  Every.  Line.  The magic felt in this book was unreal and tears sprang to my eyes numerous times throughout this novel.  This book deals heavily with loss and grief, but we also see a hurting man go through the healing process.  Sometimes we find friends in unlikely places and situations and this certainly rings true for Jon.  Sometimes we need that friend to kick our butt into gear and get us out of a funk and that is exactly what happens.  I have never cheered more for a couple than I have while reading this book…


This sweet quote above is spoken by Jon (the widowed father) to his girls every night before they go to bed.  We eventually find out where it came from and the reason why it is said, is so sweet.  Maybe even as sweet as the love that slowly blooms in this read (Kelsey SLAYS the slow burn in this one).


When we think all hope is lost and a dream is about to given up, magic happens.  Sometimes we can’t see the forest through the trees and that’s what happened to Jon.  Characters from past novels of Kelsey are seen in this book, but don’t worry.  If you haven’t read Daisies & Devin or The Life We Wanted you won’t miss anything.  If you have, you will be SO PLEASED with the cameo appearances!

I have never written a review that lacks in a summary, but this book was just so moving.  I hope I have done this book justice and I have let you know just how freaking amazing it is.  It was a very emotional and healing read.  Words cannot express the flow of words that traveled on paper like a beating heart looking for its soulmate.  If you are a fan of romances this is a must read.  If you are struggling with grief and heartache, pick up this book.  Let the words speak to you, because they will.  Yes, there is a happy ending and I understand there is one because it’s a work of fiction, but that doesn’t mean that the words within this book cannot help heal you as well.

5 stars.  This book blew away all my expectations.  If you have read it, let’s chat.  If you haven’t, get it STAT.

Blog Tour: The Scent Keeper



What an interesting read.  The first thing I want to say is that if you are part of a book club, this is a MUST READ.  I promise you there is SO much to talk about throughout the book.  My thoughts?  I am very conflicted…

I could not get into this book until Part 2.  The entire first part of this book talks about scented paper and living on a deserted, desolate island where this little girl and her father forage for food.  Mermaids leave surprises in boxes every so often for supplies, but it all centered around a machine that made scents.  They left the paper in bottles and eventually the smells started to fade and it sent the father into a nose dive depression.   I just could not get into this book about scents.  I ended up speed reading most of this book as I really was having a hard time grasping the concept of it.  Toward the end of part 2 and for all of part 3 I did slow the pace of my reading down and really try to understand it.

We get past the scents and eventually the daughter, Emmeline (pronounced like on-the-line…don’t do what myself or her school teacher do and call her Emmelene haha), makes it to civilization and learns a whole new world (complete with a love interest).  Here is where my interest peaked and where she started to learn who she was and sought to seek out where she came from (remember, she was only raised by Dad and had no idea what her last name was or who her mother was).

I also enjoyed how the book ended.  I usually am only a fan of concrete endings, however, I know where Emmeline is going to end up and I really like how she leaves things off…the author did a good job.  For this book, it was the perfect ending.

People may wonder why I even bothered to continue to read this book if I was not enjoying it at first.  Here’s the thing.  Just because I personally do not like something, does not mean that someone else out there won’t.  Despite the fact that I was not into it, the author did a fantastic job at describing the surroundings and I was able to imagine such beautiful scenery.  The writing in this book was top notch, I just didn’t care for the content (at the beginning).  I also feel like this book needed that content at the beginning to create the book that it is.  Bauermeister is very talented, that is very obvious within her writing.

For this reason, I am not rating this book.  What I will do when I most my review to Goodreads and Netgalley, I’m not too sure, but I will figure something out.  This is a stop on The Scent Keeper blog tour and below please find more information about the author and the book.  Included is a sample of the first chapter so you can judge for yourself.  Again, this book turned in to an amazing read and I am happy I read it.  There is SO much to discuss about this book.  If you’ve read it, let’s chat!!

This book is released TOMORROW, May 21, 2019, so look for it at the links below or at your local bookstore!

Scent Keeper - Author Image_credit to Susan Doupé

About the Author:
Erica Bauermeister is the author of the bestselling novel The School of Essential Ingredients, Joy for Beginners, and The Lost Art of Mixing. She is also the co-author of the non-fiction works, 500 Great Books by Women: A Reader’s Guide and Let’s Hear It For the Girls: 375 Great Books for Readers 2-14. She has a PhD in literature from the University of Washington, and has taught there and at Antioch University. She is a founding member of the Seattle7Writers and currently lives in Port Townsend, Washington.
About the Book:
Erica Bauermeister, the national bestselling author of The School of Essential Ingredients, presents a moving and evocative coming-of-age novel about childhood stories, families lost and found, and how a fragrance conjures memories capable of shaping the course of our lives. 
Emmeline lives an enchanted childhood on a remote island with her father, who teaches her about the natural world through her senses. What he won’t explain are the mysterious scents stored in the drawers that line the walls of their cabin, or the origin of the machine that creates them.  As Emmeline grows, however, so too does her curiosity, until one day the unforeseen happens, and Emmeline is vaulted out into the real world–a place of love, betrayal, ambition, and revenge. To understand her past, Emmeline must unlock the clues to her identity, a quest that challenges the limits of her heart and imagination.
Lyrical and immersive, The Scent Keeper explores the provocative beauty of scent, the way it can reveal hidden truths, lead us to the person we seek, and even help us find our way back home.

Chapter One Excerpt…


Back before there was time, I lived with my father on an island, tucked away in an endless archipelago that reached up out of the cold salt water, hungry for air. Growing up in the midst of the rain and moss and ancient thick-barked trees, it was easy to forget that the vast majority of our island was underwater—descending down two, three, five hundred bone-chilling feet. Forever really, for you could never hold your breath long enough to get to the bottom.

Those islands were a place to run away, although I didn’t understand that at the time. I had nothing to run from and every reason to stay. My father was everything. I’ve heard people say that someone is their “whole world,” their eyes filled with stars. But my father was my world, in a way so literal it can still grab my thoughts, pick them up, and toss them around like driftwood in a storm.

Our cabin was set in a clearing at the center of the island. We were not the first to live there—those islands have a long history of runaways. Almost a century ago there were French fur trappers, with accents that lilted and danced. Loggers with mountainous shoulders, and fishermen who chased silver-backed salmon. Later came the draft dodgers, hiding from war. Hippies, dodging rules. The islands took them all in—the storms and the long, dark winters spat most out again. The beauty there was raw; it could kill as easily as it could astonish.

Our cabin had been built by the truest of runaways. He set up in a place where no one could find him and built his home from trees he felled himself. He spent forty years on the island, clearing space for a garden and planting an orchard. One autumn, however, he simply disappeared. Drowned, it was said. After that the cabin was empty for years until we arrived and found the apple trees, opened the door. Raised the population of the island to two.

I don’t remember arriving on the island myself; I was too young. I only remember living there. I remember the paths that wandered through those watchful trees, the odor of the dirt beneath our feet, as dark and complicated as fairy tales. I remember our one-room cabin, the big chair by the woodstove, and our collection of stories and science books. I remember the smell of wood smoke and pine pitch in my father’s beard as he read to me at night, and the ghostly aroma of the runaway’s pipe tobacco, an olfactory reminder that had sunk into the walls and never quite disappeared. I remember the way the rain seemed to talk to the roof as I fell asleep, and how the fire would snap and tell it to be quiet.

Most of all, I remember the drawers.

My father had begun building them when we moved into the cabin, and when he was done they lined our walls from floor to ceiling. The drawers were small things, their polished wooden fronts no bigger than my child-sized hands. They surrounded us like the forest and islands outside our door.

Each drawer contained a single small bottle, and inside each bottle was a piece of paper, rolled around itself like a secret. The glass stoppers of the bottles were sealed with different colored waxes—red in the top rows, green for those below. My father almost never opened the bottles.

“We need to keep them safe,” he said.

But I could hear the papers whispering inside the drawers.

Come find me.

“Please?” I’d ask, again and again.

Finally, he agreed. He took out a leather book filled with numbers and carefully added one to the list. Then he turned to the wall of drawers, pondering his choice.

“Up there,” I said, pointing up high to where the red-wax bottles lived. Stories always begin at the top of a page.

My father had built a ladder that slid along the wall, and I watched him climb it almost to the ceiling, reaching into a drawer and drawing out its bottle. When he was back on the ground, he carefully broke the seal. I could hear glass scritching against glass as he pulled out the stopper, then the rustle of the paper as he unrolled it into a plain, white square. He leaned in close, inhaling, then wrote another number in the book.

I meant to stay still, but I leaned forward, too. My father looked up and smiled, holding out the paper.

“Here,” he said. “Breathe in, but not too much. Let the smell introduce itself.”

I did as he said. I kept my chest tight and my breath shallow. I could feel the tendrils of a fragrance tickling the inside of my nose, slipping into the curls of my black hair. I could smell campfires made from a wood I didn’t recognize; dirt more parched than any I had ever known; moisture, ready to burst from clouds in a sky I’d never seen. It smelled like waiting.

“Now, breathe in deeply,” my father said.

I inhaled, and fell into the fragrance like Alice down the rabbit hole.


– – –


Later, after the bottle had been stoppered and sealed and put back in its drawer, I turned to my father. I could still smell the last of the fragrance lingering in the air.

“Tell me its story,” I asked him. “Please.”

“All right, little lark,” he said. He sat in the big chair and I nestled in next to him. The fire crackled in the woodstove; the world outside was still.

“Once upon a time, Emmeline . . .” he began, and his voice rolled around the rhyme of it as if the words were made of chocolate.

Once upon a time, Emmeline, there was a beautiful queen who was trapped in a great white castle. None of the big, bold knights could save her. “Bring me a smell that will break the walls,” she asked a brave young boy named Jack . . .

I listened, while the scents found their hiding places in the cracks in the floorboards, and the words of the story, and the rest of my life.

Book Review: Little Lovely Things

Thank you to Maureen Joyce Connolly for the advance copy of Lovely Little Things…I know…this book was released April 2, 2019 and here we are in May.  I am behind on posting and writing reviews, I told you, that class sucked up all my time!  Yikes!  Better late than never, right?

TRIGGER WARNING.  This book was difficult for me to read.  I usually don’t find books a challenge to read because of their content, but this one hit. me. hard.  If you cannot handle a child’s death or kidnapping, do not read any further.

This story is about a married couple with a woman who may be a little off her rocker.  We aren’t really sure what is going on with her.  One day she drives into the city and has a sudden attack.  She gets gravely ill and pulls her car (barely) over to a gas station and makes it into the bathroom.  She leaves her car running with her two small children in the back as it’s in the midst of summer.

She comes out of the bathroom and her car is gone.

A tale of a family on the brink of disaster, a Lakota Indian man with a strong intuition, and gypsies is what this story is based around.  The mother, Claire, ends up befriending Jay, the Lakota Indian, and he ends up being the one who is able to give the police the only clues/leads they are able to get.

The story is told between the perspective of Claire (the mother), Jay (the Lakota Indian), and Moira (one of the gypsies who took the car with the girls inside).  It offers a unique perspective on a mother’s worst nightmare and the reasoning behind stealing a child.

Once I got past my own reservations, it was a quick, fast paced read.  The kidnapping takes place in 1991 and goes through to present day.  Trust me when I say it is worth reading.  I had tears in my eyes throughout the book.  For a debut novel, Connolly did a wonderful job telling this tale.

I am going to give this book 4 stars.   It was gripping with a great plot.  The ending…you guys know how picky I am with my endings…it melted my heart, I loved it.  The last half of the book I couldn’t put it down, I just had to know what happened, because as the reader, you know what is going on more than the characters.  I found myself yelling at the book!  Eventually they listened to me, haha.  If you come across this book, grab it!  If you’re in a book club, this would be a great read for your group!



Title: Little Lovely Things

Author:  Maureen Joyce Connolly

Publisher: Sourcebook Landmarks

Release Date: April 2, 2019

Find it here on Goodreads and Amazon