Review – The Sparrow Sisters by Ellen Herrick

Title: The Sparrow Sisters
Author: Ellen Herrick
Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 384
Genre: Magical Realism/Fantasy
Format: Kindle/Paperback

 


With echoes of the alchemy of Practical Magic, the lushness of Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, and the darkly joyful wickedness of the Witches of East End, Ellen Herrick’s debut novel spins an enchanting love story about a place where magic whispers just beneath the surface and almost anything is possible, if you aren’t afraid to listen.

 

The Sparrow Sisters are as tightly woven into the seaside New England town of Granite Point as the wild sweet peas that climb the stone walls along the harbor. Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are as colorful as the beach plums on the dunes and as mysterious as the fog that rolls into town at dusk.

 

Patience is the town healer and when a new doctor settles into Granite Point he brings with him a mystery so compelling that Patience is drawn to love him, even as she struggles to mend him. But when Patience Sparrow’s herbs and tinctures are believed to be implicated in a local tragedy, Granite Point is consumed by a long-buried fear—and its three hundred year old history resurfaces as a modern day witch-hunt threatens. The plants and flowers, fruit trees and high hedges begin to wither and die, and the entire town begins to fail; fishermen return to the harbor empty-handed, and blight descends on the old elms that line the lanes.

 

It seems as if Patience and her town are lost until the women of Granite Point band together to save the Sparrow. As they gather, drawing strength from each other, will they be able to turn the tide and return life to Granite Point?

 

The Sparrow Sisters is a beautiful, haunting, and thoroughly mesmerizing novel that will capture your imagination.

 

Purchase the Sparrow Sisters

 

Harper Collins     Amazon     Barnes & Noble     Kobo     Google Play     Audible

Add to your Goodreads

 

The Amazon.com links used in this post are directed to the paperback copy of The Sparrow Sisters. This is an unusual case where the paperback is less expensive than the Kindle copy, FYI!

 

BFF K’s Review

 

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The Sparrow Sisters is an absolutely lovely book and the perfect pick for your fall book club meeting! I was captivated by the beautiful imagery and remarkable sense of place created by Ellen Herrick in this book. At first Granite Pointe is such an idyllic little seaside town. The residents and their surroundings are seen through the eyes of several of the characters. You learn about the quirks and nuances of Granite Pointe and its’ inhabitants. At the center of the community are the Sparrow Sisters and their nursery.

The mystical presence surrounding the Sparrows is woven through the first parts of the book and you’re left believing in the magic of who they are and what they can do through the plants that they grow in their nursery. The synopsis of the book hints at a pending tragedy and the build up creates a delicious sense of angst and suspense. There were a couple of times I was so nervous, I hesitated to turn the page or press play on Audible for fear of what might be coming.

Sorrel, Nettie and Patience are intertwined with the town and you soon realize that the success or failure of one is equal to the other. When Dr. Henry Carlyle arrives in Granite Pointe, he is immediately drawn into a passionate and life altering relationship with Patience Sparrow. When the tragedy strikes, the relationships of EVERYONE in Granite Pointe are tested and strained. I was so intrigued by the way that town turned on one of their own and the strife created from the discontent. It was too easy, almost unsettling, the way the witch hunt unfolded with the Sisters and Henry at the center. But, the devotion that the Sparrow sisters have to one another and their close-knit circle of friends/family is heartwarming. It’s critical for the women of Granite Pointe to take a stand and the Girl Power is fully awesome!

I had hoped for a little more magic and mystery, but the exceptional characters and relationships made up for any lack of alchemy. Herrick has created a delightful world full of beautiful passages and quirky characters. I enjoyed the entire book, both audio and written. The Sparrow Sisters has an immensely satisfying ending, but still leaves an opening to revisit these endearing characters. I’m looking forward to discovering what’s in store for Sorrel and checking in with all of the Sisters.

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This book was reviewed using a combination of audiobook and Advance Reader Copy. The audiobook was purchased by the reviewer, the ARC was received from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author

Ellen Herrick was a publishing executive in New York until she moved to London for a brief stint; she returned nearly twenty years later with three grown children (her own, it must be said). She now divides her time between Cambridge, Massachusetts and a small Cape Cod town very much like Granite Point.

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Duo Review – The Bourbon Kings by J.R. Ward

The #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood delivers the first novel in an enthralling new series set amid the shifting dynamics of a Southern family defined by wealth and privilege—and compromised by secrets, deceit, and scandal….

For generations, the Bradford family has worn the mantle of kings of the bourbon capital of the world. Their sustained wealth has afforded them prestige and privilege—as well as a hard-won division of class on their sprawling estate, Easterly. Upstairs, a dynasty that by all appearances plays by the rules of good fortune and good taste. Downstairs, the staff who work tirelessly to maintain the impeccable Bradford facade. And never the twain shall meet.

For Lizzie King, Easterly’s head gardener, crossing that divide nearly ruined her life. Falling in love with Tulane, the prodigal son of the bourbon dynasty, was nothing that she intended or wanted—and their bitter breakup only served to prove her instincts were right. Now, after two years of staying away, Tulane is finally coming home again, and he is bringing the past with him. No one will be left unmarked: not Tulane’s beautiful and ruthless wife; not his older brother, whose bitterness and bad blood know no bounds; and especially not the ironfisted Bradford patriarch, a man with few morals, fewer scruples, and many, many terrible secrets.

As family tensions—professional and intimately private—ignite, Easterly and all its inhabitants are thrown into the grips of an irrevocable transformation, and only the cunning will survive.

BFF’s Duo Review

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BFF A’s Review

A summary of the text conversation between BFF K and myself.

BFF K: You HAVE to read The Bourbon Kings. It’s soooooo good.

Me: OK

BFF K: No, you have to download it NOW and start reading, I need to talk to someone about this book. I love it so much. (I think there may have been a little drooling on her part)

Me: Ookaay!!

So of course I buy the book. I mean, how can I not after that conversation? When your best friend insists you read a book, you do it, right?

Here’s the text after I finished reading:

Me: I did it! I started and finished reading The Bourbon Kings yesterday.

BFF K: OMG, I’ll call you when I’m on my way home! What did you think? I might cry if you didn’t love it.

Me: Please don’t cry. Of course I loved it, I read the whole thing in one day!

So, if you haven’t dropped everything you are doing and started reading The Bourbon Kings, you must do it now!

I was so caught up while reading; it felt like I was living through the story. I was upset when I didn’t find myself relaxing by my gorgeous outdoor pool, being delivered fresh lemonade by the butler while watching the gardener create fabulous floral arrangements and the maid cleaning the house. Reality check, I guess it’s up to me to get all of that accomplished, not the staff I have at the estate. I also found myself wanting to shop for large, fancy hats to wear to the derby while sipping on a glass of the family reserve of bourbon.

The story line is just like a soap opera; there are a lot of characters and so much going on, but once I got to know each of them and make connections, I couldn’t put it down. Start with the wealthy family trying to cover up deep down secrets and hide love affairs that are not supposed to happen. Mom is sick and bed ridden, unable to communicate with the family. Children have been kidnapped, lost and abused and end up with scars, both physically and mentally. Daddy is hiding many demons and always getting his way, even if that means cutting off all the family money when one of the children doesn’t do what he wants. A crazy wife married to one of the sons, she is so manipulative, you just want to reach in a slap her. But the best part is the love story. Love between two people that is so genuine and real, but not without broken hearts and obstacles to overcome to get to your true love. Death, manipulation, lies, tears, and secrets are exposed, but not all answered, which kept me hanging on, wanting to know more and find out the truth. I can’t wait until the next book comes out!

BFF K’s Review

I grew up watching Dallas, Knots Landing and Days of Our Lives. I’m a BIG fan of epic, sprawling, family-based, character driven stories; the seedier and steamier, the better! I remember my mom and my aunt’s gathering on Friday nights to watch a new episode of Dallas and then sitting around for hours discussing the characters and their predicaments. We would hypothesize for days anticipating the next episode and wondering what dastardly things would happen the next week. The Bourbon Kings is just like that, only BETTER. Think Dallas meets Downton Abbey, soaked in bourbon and deception!

I thoroughly enjoyed the audio version of The Bourbon Kings. I’ve listened to the audio TWICE in the last 6 weeks. I’ve got bookmarks and notes everywhere and keep replaying my favorite parts over and over! This narrator’s thick, deep, smooth, southern drawl has me swooning like you wouldn’t believe. I’ve been over to BFF A’s house to pet the hard copy because seriously, how beautiful is this cover?!?! I just bought the Kindle version. I LOVE everything about this book.

Lane and Lizzie…I adore this couple. Their re-connection and struggle to stay together despite all the drama in their lives is the steady heartbeat of this story. Lane is the playboy who runs away from adversity. His return to Charlemont, Kentucky, and Easterly, his family home, is fraught with emotions and entanglements. Lizzie King is the sweet, genuine, hard-working, love of his life that he left behind. This cast of characters is extensive and colorful. Everyone has a story, a secret (or 10) and a HUGE personality. Lane and Lizzie, Gin and Samuel T, Edward and Sutton/Edward and Shelby, Miss Aurora, William Baldwine, Chantal Baldwine, Rosalinda Freeland, Richard Pford….I can’t get enough of these characters! My heart soared and broke, and my anger flared with every drama-filled chapter!

I’m addicted to these characters and their stories. I have read/listened to parts over and over again. I’m dying to know what happens next and what the outcome will be for my favorites and the foes! I’ve badgered many of my BFFs into reading it, raved about it on Facebook, and talked with anyone who will listen about this amazing book! I know that the price point is higher than most of the books we recommend but, it is worth EVERY PENNY!

Please, please, please buy this book and then contact me so that we can chat because the only thing I like better than listening to/reading this book is talking about it with my BFF’s!

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BFF K’s Favorite Quote

“I’m prepared to be a very patient man when it comes to you. I will seduce you for how ever long it takes; give you space if you need it or follow you tight as sunshine on your shoulder if you’ll let me.”

His eyes locked on hers.

“I lost my chance with you once Lizzie King. That is not going to happen again.”

I’m not kidding – this quote gives me all the feels! And, you should hear it on the audio – OMG!!! Swoon!

Purchase The Bourbon Kings on Amazon

Purchase The Bourbon Kings on Audible

About the Author

 

J.R. Ward is the number one New York Times bestselling author of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series of vampire books. She is a winner of the prestigious Romance Writers of America RITA award for Best Paranormal Romance and is a multiple RITA nominee. A graduate of Smith College, she was a double major in History and Art History with a medieval concentration in both and she still longs at times for a return to those days sitting in dark lecture halls, looking at slides of old triptychs and reliquaries. Prior to becoming a full time writer, she was a corporate attorney, serving for many years as the Chief of Staff of one of Harvard Medical Schools premier teaching sites. Her idea of absolute heaven is a day filled with nothing but her computer, her dog and her coffee pot and the Brothers, of course.

 

 

 

 

 

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Review – A Stone in the Sea by A.L. Jackson

He wanted nothing at all…

Until he found she had everything to give…

Sunder lead singer and guitarist Sebastian Stone has everything–fans, fame, and fortune. He also has a heart full of bitterness and a reputation for a short-fused temper. But an outward reputation rarely reveals the true man inside. Facing assault charges after trying to protect his younger brother, Sebastian is sent to Savannah, Georgia to lie low until the dust settles in L.A.

Shea Bentley is beautiful, kind, and hiding from the very lifestyle Sebastian has always embraced.

When the mysterious, tattooed stranger begins hanging out at the bar where she works, Shea is quick to recognize he is nothing but trouble, but she’s helpless to the way her body lights up every time his intense grey eyes tangle with hers.

They both soon find themselves drowning in a sea of desire and passion that won’t let them up for air.

Sebastian knows firsthand secrets never die, and he’s not the only one who’s hiding them.

Loving someone always comes with a price. But will it be Shea’s past that costs them everything?

BFF K’s Review

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A Stone in the Sea is a book that I had purchased at release time, but waited to read….I’m not always a big fan of super angsty emotional reads, so I kept putting this off. Then, it popped up on my Audible match so I downloaded the audio, gave it a listen, and this book blew me away!

A Stone in the Sea is an amazing story with rich, deep, well-written characters. Both Sabastian (Baz) and Shea are complex people trying their hardest to do the very best that they can. They’re both keeping secrets, but only to protect those they love. They also try to keep their distance; they’re trying to protect each other and their own hearts. But, they can not overcome the incredible pull they have to one another. Sabastian’s alpha-male protective instincts draw him to Shea when his brain tells him to stay away. And, Shea is fantastic. She’s sweet and light, but with an incredible strength and self-awareness that makes her a delight to read.

Oh….and did I mention that Baz is a brooding, tattooed, rock and roll icon who is super sexy and knows how to bring the steam???? Oh yeah, so there’s that too….

There were twists and turns in the book that I didn’t see coming. This was one of those books that I would listen to in the car, find reasons to listen at home (like cleaning-yuck) and then sneak a few minutes reading on the Kindle. I was so drawn in, I couldn’t wait to know what happened next.

Baz and Shea are one the best couples I’ve read all year. I’m dying to know what happens next. Drowning to Breathe, the next book in the series, will release next month and I won’t wait at all to dive right in!

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WARNING: cliffhanger

iBooks    AMAZON   Barnes & Noble

 

About the Author

A.L. Jackson is the New York Times bestselling author of contemporary and new adult romance.

She first found a love for writing during her days as a young mother and college student.  She filled the journals she carried with short stories and poems used as an emotional outlet for the
difficulties and joys she found in day-to-day life.

Years later, she shared a short story she’d been working on with her two closest friends
and, with their encouragement, this story became her first full length novel. A.L. now spends her days writing in Southern Arizona where she lives with her husband and three children.

Review – Scoring Wilder by R.S. Grey

What started out as a joke– seduce Coach Wilder–soon became a goal she had to score.

With Olympic tryouts on the horizon, the last thing nineteen-year-old Kinsley Bryant needs to add to her plate is Liam Wilder. He’s a professional soccer player, America’s favorite bad-boy, and has all the qualities of a skilled panty-dropper.

* A face that makes girls weep – check.
* Abs that can shred Parmesan cheese (the expensive kind) – check.
* Enough confidence to shift the earth’s gravitational pull – double check.

Not to mention Liam is strictly off limits. Forbidden. Her coaches have made that perfectly clear. (i.e. “Score with Coach Wilder anywhere other than the field and you’ll be cut from the team faster than you can count his tattoos.”) But that just makes him all the more enticing…Besides, Kinsley’s already counted the visible ones, and she is not one to leave a project unfinished.

Kinsley tries to play the game her way as they navigate through forbidden territory, but Liam is determined to teach her a whole new definition for the term “team bonding.”

BFF K’s Review

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Liam Wilder is the ultimate soccer fantasy! He’s all bad boy and muscled athletic hotness. But, he’s also sweet, kind and a little misunderstood. Enter Kinsley Bryant, female soccer phenom and the person to rock Wilder’s world! Put them together and it’s the dream team combo! The book is fun and silly and fast-paced. I loved the story lines and both Liam and Kinsley are fun characters. They’re surrounded by a pretty good cast of supporting characters as well and those side stories add to the overall enjoyment of the book.

I read Scoring Wilder awhile ago, but hadn’t gotten around to my review. Two recent happenings have me thinking about this book. 1 – the 2015 US Women’s World Cup Soccer Victory…. I like to think (pretend) that Kinsley and Becca are on that team of champions! 2 – the ESPN Magazine Body Issue was released last week and I have this crazy thought that both Liam and Kinsley could be featured in this issue!

If you’re looking for a lively book with great characters, laugh out loud moments and some super hot athletes – this is a MUST read!

**Note – I did a combo read and listen for this book. The written version is terrific and the audio version is entertaining. I was a bit put off by the female announcer on the audio. The pacing was incredibly fast, in fact, I slowed the audio down in order to make it more enjoyable. Though it was a little annoying, I do think the narration was true to the authenticity/age of the character!

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About the Author

I am a lover of books, chocolate, reality TV, black labs, and cold weather. Seriously, if I had it my way, I would be curled up on the couch with all of those things… everyday.

I live in Texas where I spend my free time writing and reading. My favorite authors include Mindy Kaling & Jonathan Safran Foer. I’m a comedy geek and love all things “funny”. Women like Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, and Mindy Kaling are definitely the biggest inspirations for my writing, though I think my work tends to skew a bit smuttier than theirs.

Review – Searching for Always by Jennifer Probst

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New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Jennifer Probst sparks a blissful mind-body connection as her “sexy, satisfying” (Kirkus Reviews) new series continues!

She’s an expert in helping others de-stress, but Arilyn Meadows is running on fumes. Along with her job counseling singles seeking soul mates at the Kinnections agency in Verily, New York, she’s a yoga teacher, animal shelter volunteer, anger management therapist, and helping hand to her beloved grandfather. No time to find Mr. Right—but after discovering her yogi boyfriend in a compromising asana, Arilyn would rather dog-sit for her honeymooning friend Kate than risk her heart on another downward dog. And when police officer Stone Petty—radiating masculinity and bad-boy attitude—is sent to her for mandatory lessons in cooling off when the job gets too hot, Arilyn vows to ignore his seductive glances and sexy grin. But there’s no halting their sizzling flirtation—a red-hot, high-speed chase that’s breaking all the limits.

BFF K’s Review

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Officer Stone Petty. The name alone is super sexy, but the name has nothing on the MAN! Stone is holy-hotness, uniform-wearing, muscle-flexing, dominating, alpha-male with a soft-side even he didn’t know about! When he meets tree-hugging, dog-rescuing, vegetarian Arilyn in an anger management class (she’s the teacher) – the sparks FLY! And, it is so much FUN!

I LOVED Stone Petty. He is just the kind of fabulous, alpha male character that I love to read. Arilyn is a terrific heroine and I really liked the fact that she wasn’t all drama and self-pity. Her character is enjoyable mostly because she’s real and authentic. Arilyn is a good communicator. That skill enhances their relationship and is gratifying to read. There’s a definite ‘steam-factor’ and some of the scenes are hot, hot, HOT! But, it’s just the right amount of hot and sweet.

AND, wait until you meet Pinky! Stone’s relationship with this rescued chihuahua is precious. Stone is a stellar Book Boyfriend for lots of reasons, but his love and care for Pinky seals the deal!

I loved Searching for Beautiful, but Searching for Always is even better! I will absolutely be going back to read the first two books in this series. Searching for Always has solidified Jennifer Probsts’ spot on my must-read author list!

I enjoyed Searching for Always in both Kindle and Audiobook formats. This was fantastic because it allowed me to fly through the story twice as fast. [I’m talking – read until 2a, listen in the shower, listen in car, headphones to walk from car to the office, listen in car, home to read!] The audio version has great narration and fantastic pacing. If you’re an audiobook fan, you really need to check this one out!

No matter how you tackle this book, it needs to be on your To Be Read List – immediately! <3

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Be sure to check out my review for book #3 in the Series – Searching for Beautiful. All of the books in this series can be read as stand-alones.

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An ARC of this book was received via NetGalley in exchange for a fair review. The audio book was purchased by the reviewer.

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About the Author

Jennifer Probst

Jennifer Probst wrote her first book at twelve years old. She bound it in a folder, read it to her classmates, and hasn’t stopped writing since. She took a short hiatus to get married, get pregnant, buy a house, get pregnant again, pursue a master’s in English Literature, and rescue two shelter dogs. Now she is writing again.

She makes her home in Upstate New York with the whole crew. Her sons keep her active, stressed, joyous, and sad her house will never be truly clean.
She is the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author of sexy and erotic contemporary romance. She was thrilled her book, The Marriage Bargain, was ranked #6 on Amazon’s Best Books for 2012. She loves hearing from readers. Visit her website for updates on new releases and her street team at www.jenniferprobst.com.

LINKS:

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Goodreads

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Review – Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

While performing the greatest love story of all time, they discovered one of their own…

Cassie Taylor was just another acting student with big dreams at her prestigious performing arts college, then she met Ethan Holt. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy on campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing on stage, Cassie and Ethan’s epic romance seemed destined. Until it ended in tragedy when he shattered her heart.Now they’ve made it to Broadway where they’re reunited as romantic leads once again, and their passionate scenes force them to confront the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their intense college affair. For Ethan, losing Cassie was his biggest regret, and he’s determined to redeem himself. But for Cassie, even though Ethan was her first and only great love, he hurt her too much to ever be trusted again. The trouble is, working with him reminds her that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks. And when it comes to love, sometimes it’s the things that aren’t good for us that are the most irresistible.
Don’t miss the intoxicating romance beloved by over two million fans online–a story that will captivate you and hold you breathless until the final page.

BFF K’s 6-Rated Review

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As you can obviously tell by this rare-6-rating, I absolutely LOVE Bad Romeo! I don’t even know where to begin to describe how much I love this story and the characters. The writing, the feel, the pace, everything about it is perfection! The book is written part in present day and part in flashbacks, but it is seamless and impeccable storytelling.

Cassie Taylor and Ethan Holt are amazing. There is so much to identify with and love about both of these characters. They are deep and complex. Cassie is sweet but tough. She’s kind and open but conflicted and driven to succeed. Throughout the book, I cheered for Cassie and celebrated her growth. I want her to find love with Ethan, but more than anything, I want her to be whole and happy. And Holt. OMG – Holt. He is broken and closed off, but endearing in a way that few characters are. He wants to be better, but doesn’t know how and doesn’t know that he deserves better. You want so much for him to find forgiveness and redemption.

The cast of supporting characters is fantastic, richly developed and integral to the storyline. The settings are interesting and unique.

This book gave me all the feels! I had butterflies and that feeling of excitement and love that builds in your chest as you read a really wonderful romance story. I laughed and raged and teared up and celebrated and swooned with the characters. Everything about the book is splendid. It is absolutely a MUST READ and I can’t wait to finish the story of Cassie and Ethan in Broken Juliet which releases this week!

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**Side note – I did a combo read and listen for this book. The written version is terrific and the audio version is probably the BEST audiobook that I have listened to in a VERY long time! If you enjoy audiobooks, this is a must-listen!

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One Click on Amazon

Purchase to listen on Audible

About the Author

Writing has always been a passion for Leisa, and even though she originally intended to be an actress, it wasn’t long into her time at drama school that she began writing plays.

Those plays were bad. Very bad. Well, her friends thought they were good, but that’s because they were always cast in them and any opportunity to be on stage was met with an obnoxious amount of enthusiasm.

Since then, she’s honed her craft, and several of her plays have been produced and toured throughout Australia.

These days, playwriting has given way to fiction writing, and her debut novel, BAD ROMEO, will be available in a worldwide release through Macmillan Publishing in December 2014. The sequel, BROKEN JULIET, will be available in April 2015.

Leisa lives in Australia with her husband, two little boys, three judgemental cats, and a kangaroo named Howard. (*NB: Howard may or may not be her imaginary marsupial friend. Everyone should have one.*)