The Roxy Letters by Mary Pauline Lowry

OIP If you are looking for a book which is funny and sweet and a feel good read, look no further.  The Roxy Letters is all those things and more.  Roxy is somewhat like a Bridget Jones, comical, confused and looking for Mr. Right, but she is much more.  She’s a vegan who works at a deli department at a Whole Foods store  trying to get over a boyfriend she thought was the love of her life, who can’t seem to make a grown-up decision to save her life and she is always broke.

Roxy’s escapades are all told to us through letters which she writes to her housemate, Everett, a past boyfriend living with her now to help her not only split the rent, which according to some of the letters he seems to forget to do, as well as help take care of her pets Charlize Theron, a cat and Roscoe, a dog who needs a nightly insulin shot.

She comically tells tales of being Vegan and having to deal with patrons who order meat, from a deli, which sells meat! And don’t get her started on the run-ins with “Dirty Steve” her manager who seems to dislike everybody and keeps trying to get her fired, or give her food poisoning on any given day.

As she maneuvers through life, dating men who act like children… literally, pining over the one she lost, she befriends a woman name Armetis Starla who is so carefree and put together that Roxy envies her. Why can’t she be more like Armetis? But Roxy seems to become lost in her past unable to see any hope for a promising future.

Until a Lululemon store moves into their quaint block and Roxy, well just does not feel the store belongs. So she gathers her friends to make signs and picket the store. That’s when chaos really begins to ensue! As Roxy starts to stand up for what she believes, her confidence seems to grow and she becomes stronger.

Roxy learns she needs to let go of her past and forgive her ex to move on realizing that he may have actually loved her very much because he did let her go. And something unique begins to happen to her.  She begins to become an adult! And she learns a very valuable lesson…not everything is always what it seems!

The hijinks are never ending and pretty amusing and the dialogue is quick-witted as we follow Roxy and her merry band of misfits to a very satisfying ending.

Thank you NetGalley, Simon&Schuster, Elizabeth Breeden and Goodreads for the advanced copies.

This Is How I Lied by Heather Gudenkauf

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For 25 years Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe has lived with a terrible secret.  When she was only 15 years old her best friend Eve was murdered.  Maggie and Eve’s sister Nola were unfortunately the ones who discovered her body in the caves below the houses which they lived. But Maggie has always known more than she has told.

In all those years, although there were suspects, no one was ever held accountable for the murder.  There was Eve’s abusive boyfriend who seemed to have an alibi, and even Eve’s sister Nola who was known to be a bit strange to the kids at school and even to Maggie.  Nola had a fascination with death and dissecting animals.

Now, married, pregnant and on the police force which her father had once been Chief, including OIPduring the time of the murder, a new piece of evidence has emerged which once again puts the case front and center.  The new Chief wants Maggie to take a look at the investigation, hoping she will see something which was missed all those years ago. Reluctantly Maggie has to reopen old wounds for herself as well as everyone else.

Haunting memories of what happened that day years ago begin to flood Maggie’s mind.  And now with the files and evidence she had never been privy to, it only creates more questions and anxiety for her.  Unable to discuss the case with her dad who has retired and has dementia, Maggie begins to re-interview everyone from back then, some like Eve’s sister Nola who seems to hate Maggie for some unknown reason.  Now a veterinarian, Nola has secrets of her own buried deep in the basement of her house. Maggie is also startled to see potential suspects she never new about.

What skeletons lay in the caves and who would want to kill Eve? What secrets are the suspects keeping?  And what is Maggie keeping hidden that no one should ever know…or do they already? She cannot afford to be exposed from all those years ago. Clearly someone knows something and they aren’t talking…but who?

This Is How I Lied is a psychologically fulfilling story with surprising twists and turns which only make you want to keep coming back for more.

 


 

Book Summary:

With the eccentricity of Fargo and the intensity of Sadie, THIS IS HOW I LIED by Heather Gudenkauf (Park Row Books; May 12, 2020; $17.99) is a timely and gripping thriller about careless violence we can inflict on those we love, and the lengths we will go to make it right, even 25 years later.

Tough as nails and seven months pregnant, Detective Maggie Kennedy-O’Keefe of Grotto PD, is drTHIL Share MacMillaneading going on desk duty before having the baby her and her husband so badly want. But when new evidence is found in the 25-year-old cold case of her best friend’s murder that requires the work of a desk jockey, Maggie jumps at the opportunity to be the one who finally puts Eve Knox’s case to rest.

 

 

 


 

Author Bio:

Heather Gudenkauf is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of many books, including The Weight of Silence and These Things Hidden. Heather graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in elementary education, has spent her career working with students of all ages. She lives in Iowa with her husband, three children, and a very spoiled German Shorthaired Pointer named Lolo. In her free time, Heather enjoys spending time with her family, reading, hiking, and running.

Heather Gudenkauf

Social Links:

Author Website

Twitter: @hgudenkauf

Instagram: @heathergudenkauf

Facebook: @HeatherGudenkaufAuthor

Goodreads


  1. What is your writing process like? 

I approach each of my novels with the goal of being a plotter – someone who explicitly organizes and outlines her books – but it never quite works out that way for me. I make notes and outline the plot but ultimately the characters take over and do what they want to anyway. My process is messy and meandering. Thankfully, I have a brilliant editor who is able to see through the weeds and pull out the best parts of my plots and keep me on the right path. This is How I Lied completely evolved from my initial intentions. The characters changed, the plot shifted and the final ending poked its head up near the end of revisions and I couldn’t be happier with the results.

 

  1. Which came first: the characters or plot line?

For me, the two go hand in hand. The basic plot line comes first, and close behind comes the characters. It doesn’t matter how suspenseful of a plot I develop, if the right characters aren’t there to mold the story and carry it forward, it won’t work. Before I begin writing, I attempt to give my characters rich backstories. Often many of these details don’t make into the novel, but by fully developing their personalities and biographies, it helps keep me in tune with them as I write. Knowing the characters’ likes and dislikes, their foibles and strengths helps me to honestly and accurately determine their motivations and the decisions they make as they move through the novel.

 

  1. How do you come up with your plots?

I’m a news junkie! I’ll scan newspapers and websites and a story will catch my eye. It can be the smallest detail or a broader theme but if the idea sticks with me and keeps harassing me to write about it, I know I’m on the right track. For my novel Little Mercies, it was an article about a social worker who ended up on the other side of the justice system because of alleged negligence with her caseload. From this I created an entirely new story about a social worker who was fighting for her own child. In This is How I Lied, I was intrigued by news stories that dealt with the use of familial DNA to solve cold cases and it became a key detail in the novel’s resolution.

 

  1. Do you use music to help set a mood/tone for your books? 

I do listen to music as I write. It varies based on the story and what I think the characters might listen to. By curating these playsets, it helps me get into their mindset. As I worked on Maggie’s sections in This is How I Lied I listened to a lot of Avett Brothers and Lumineers. For Nola, I listened to classical music and hard rock – she’s an interesting mix. As for Eve, since she was sixteen years old and living in the 90s, I listened to plenty of Nirvana and Beck.

 

  1. Where did the idea for this story come from? 

 

Before I started writing This is How I Lied, I read I’ll be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara, about the author’s investigation of The Golden State Killer who, for decades, terrorized northern California. This book both terrified and fascinated me and I became intrigued by how modern technology was being used to close old cold cases. For my project, I thought it would be interesting to explore how this might play out in a small THIL Share McDonaldtown where the perpetrator thought the truth behind the crime would never be discovered.

 

As I was writing the novel, I learned about the developments in a 40-year-old cold case not far from where I live where familial DNA was used to ultimately convict the killer. Amazing!

 

  1. Do you find inspiration for your novels in your personal life? 

I often get asked what my childhood must have been like because of the twisty thrillers I write. Thankfully, I can say that I had a blissfully uneventful childhood with parents and siblings that loved and supported me. For me, the inspiration from my own life comes in the settings of my novels – the Mississippi River, farmland, the woods and bluffs – all found in Iowa. In This is How I Lied, the town of Grotto is loosely based on a nearby town until I moved to this part of Iowa, I never realized that we had cave systems.  Visitors to the state park, can literally step back thousands of years. The limestone caves and bluffs are beautiful, haunting and have something for everyone. You can take a casual stroll through some of the caves and have to army crawl through some of the others. Old clothes and a flashlight are a must! The caves made the perfect backdrop for a thriller and I was excited to include them in This is How I Lied.

 

  1. What is the one personality trait that you like your main characters to have and why? 

In looking back at all my main characters, though they are all different ages and come from different walks of life, I think the trait that they all seem to have in common is perseverance. I’ve had characters battle human evil and demons of their own creation but it doesn’t matter what traumatic events they have been through or the challenges they will face, they manage to make it through. Changed for sure, but intact and hopeful for the future.

 

  1. Why do you love Maggie and why should readers root for her?

I do love Maggie! As a police detective, Maggie has dedicated her adult life to helping others and is a loving daughter, sister and wife and is expecting her first child. This doesn’t mean that Maggie is perfect. Like all of my protagonists, Maggie is complicated and flawed and has made some big mistakes, but ultimately she is doing the best that she can.THIL share McKinnon

 

  1. What is one thing about publishing you wish someone would have told you?

As a former elementary school teacher, I had absolutely no insights into the publishing world beyond what I saw on television and in movies – which portrayed it as a dog-eat-dog world. I have to admit, as a new author, I was very intimidated. But to my delight –  and relief – the people I’ve encountered along the way– my agent, editors, publishing teams, fellow authors, booksellers and readers – all have been nothing but supportive, encouraging and kind.

 

  1. What is coming up next for you? 

I just finished the first draft of my next novel, a locked-room mystery about a reclusive writer working on a true crime book when a snow storm leaves her trapped inside her remote home, setting off a series of events that lead to a stunning revelation. It was so much fun to write!

 

  1. Has quarantine been better or worse for your writing? 

It’s been such a scary, unsettling time but I’ve found writing a nice distraction and a great comfort during this extended time at home. I’ve been able to turn off the news and get lost in my manuscript or other writing projects. It’s a lot like reading – a much needed escape from the real world.

 

  1. What was your last 5 star read? 

Julia Heaberlin has a new book coming out this August called We Are All the Same in the Dark and it has surged to the top as one of my favorite reads of the year. It has everything I love in a great thriller: a beautifully written small town mystery, with multilayered, unforgettable characters and a twisty plot. It was absolutely mesmerizing.


Thank you #NetGalley #ParkRowBooks #ThisIsHowILied #HeatherGudenkauf. You can preorder the book now with the following links:

Harlequin 

Barnes & Noble

Amazon

Books-A-Million

Powell’s

The Heirloom Garden by Viola Shipman

 

594-02-HTP-Spring-Reads-Blog-Tour-2020-----900x337Viola Shipman has once again shown us all how to overcome diversity, to accept and to understand that kindness and love can heal all types of wounds.

Iris Maynard lost her husband during WWII and her only child, a young daughter a little while later.  Unable to bear the heartbreak she felt, she poured herself into her gardens, as an homage to both her husband and daughter, and years later to all those who were dear to her and had died.

As the years progressed, Iris, who became a botanist later in life due to her love of flowers, began to recede from life.  Her gardens were her only friends and families.  She decided to shut herself off from people by building an enormous fence around her property which consisted of her house, as well as her mother’s house which also had a fence so her renters would be unable to see her.  She was slowly able, due to teOIPchnology, basically become a hermit, happily tending her gardens and buying all she needed from her computer and having it delivered.  She would never have to let another person into her life again.

Enter Abby, her husband Cory and their daughter Lily who rent Iris’ mother’s old house on the other side of the fence.  Cory, who has just returned from the Iraq War has had an extremely difficult time adjusting to life again after seeing so much death.  Refusing to seek help or medication his days revolve around drinking, sleeping and trying to remember to tend to his young daughter Lily.  Abby, feeling the walls close in around her family and trying extremely hard to keep them together moved her family so they could hopefully have a fresh start. And Lily, just about the same age as Iris’ daughter Mary, is a bundle of curious love.

What they all soon discover is sometimes everyone needs a bit of a push and encouragement, remembering that everybody grieves in different ways.  That sometimes a little help can go a very long way. And we all have something to teach each other. As Iris teaches about flowers and love and coping with loss, Cory teaches Iris to take baby steps into entering a world she abandoned many years ago.

The story, with glorious floral prose describing the different flowers from each season tells not only their own story, but the stories of each character. And as the healing begins and continues, fences start to come down and are replaced by friendship and love.

What a heartwarming story on the lessons of the sadness of death, the struggle to become whole again and the illumination of a new life if you’ll only take the chance.


Viola Shipman Flower-Themed photo

Viola Shipman is the pen name for Wade Rouse, a popular, award-winning memoirist. Rouse chose his grandmother’s name, Viola Shipman, to honor the woman whose heirlooms and family stories inspire his writing. Rouse is the author of The Summer Cottage, as well as The Charm Bracelet and The Hope Chest which have been translated into more than a dozen languages and become international bestsellers. He lives in Saugatuck, Michigan and Palm Springs, California, and has written for People, Coastal Living, Good Housekeeping, and Taste of Home, along with other publications, and is a contributor to All Things Considered.

SOCIAL:

Author Website: https://www.violashipman.com/

TWITTER: @viola_shipman

FB: @authorviolashipman

Insta: @viola_shipman

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14056193.Viola_Shipman


Thank you so much to #NetGalley #Harlequin(JustineSha) #The HeirloomGarden #ViolaShipman for the advanced copy. You can buy the book now with the following links:

Harlequin

Indiebound

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Books-A-Million

Target

Walmart

Google

iBooks

Kobo

 

The Herd by Andrea Bartz

OIP The Herd is about a group of women who have been best friends since college.  These women are strong and feminists and willing to go above and beyond not only for themselves, but for their cause.  They believe they know everything about each other.  But do they?

THE HERD, HER D is a women’s only working space in New York.  The wait list to become a member, very long.  It’s conception the idea of one of the friends, Eleanor who is now The HERD’s CEO.

As THE HERD took off, she and the group of friends were able to make it what it has become, popular to women, empowering to women, but distasteful to some men.  So much so that the three offices had recently been vandalized with graffiti in the bathroom.

The women: Eleanor who has always been in charge and always been the go to person for the other friends.  Hanna is a PR person for THE HERD as well as a few other companies.  Katie is Hanna’s kid sister who is a writer who has recently moved to New York after a book deal went very bad.  Mikki rounds out the group as one of Eleanor’s right hands.

Everything is coming together for a merger with another company when Eleanor suddenly disappears on the night of the big announcement.  Everybody begins to scramble to find her.  But no one knows where she could be.

And with Eleanor’s disappearance the flood gates open as to who Eleanor really was and what was she hiding.  What lies had been told not only by Eleanor, but by each of the other women through the years. Could they even trust one another?

As they delve deeper into Eleanor’s life, they soon realize she may not really have been who they thought she was…but neither have they, because they all have a secret they have been hiding for many years. Something which could destroy them all.

Can the women stay strong in the hopes of finding out what happened to Eleanor, or are they on the road to destroying THE HERD and each other.

Bartz, whose first book The Lost Night, which is another fantastic read, has once again succeeded in keeping the suspense flowing and the reader guessing until literally the last page.

Thank you to #NetGalley #Ballentine/RandomHouse #TheHerd #AndreaBartz for the advanced copy.

Lock Every Door by Riley Sager

OIP Jules Larsen has just lost her job, her boyfriend and her apartment.  With no family and no money she finds herself sleeping on her best friend’s couch.  While searching the want ads she stumbles upon a job opportunity as an apartment sitter at THE most exclusive apartment building in New York City, the Bartholomew.

The job would consist of staying at one of the gorgeous, luxury apartments directly across the street from Central Park, for three months with a stipend of four thousand dollars per month.  Who could possibly pass up this offer?

But Jules soon learns there are some very strange rules attached to the commitment.  No visitors, no nights spent away from the apartment and never bother the other residents. Odd she thinks, but the money would be able to put her back on her feet.

After moving in she discovers a resident is Greta Manville, who wrote a book years ago called Heart of a Dreamer which Jules and her now missing sister would read together. There first introduction does not go as well as she would have imagined. She also discovers she is not the only apartment sitter.

Although being warned the Bartholomew had an eerie, sad history with possible hauntings, Jules spends her first few days becoming acquainted with the complex. She befriends another sitter named Ingrid whose personal problems mimic her own.  When Ingrid does not show up at a planned meeting and Jules finds out she left the Bartholomew without notice during the middle of the night, she becomes alarmed.

While searching for Ingrid, Jules is then plunged into the frightening reality of living in the Bartholomew.  It certainly is not what it seems to be.  She is determined to find out what has happened to her friend and in doing so opens up a Pandora’s Box of greed, privilege and murder, proving the saying, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Now Jules must find her way out of the Bartholomew before she too becomes a part of the mysterious Bartholomew’s legacy.

With each turn of the page the anxiety builds and the story begins to unfold into a very sordid and quite unexpected ending.  Very much worth the read!

Unfollow Me by Charlotte Duckworth

OIP When a popular social media mommy blogger suddenly goes dark, none of her followers can understand why.  So they do only what followers should do.  Go to social media to ask why and to give their opinion.  But none of them could have ever imagined the real reason why.

Violet Young is a married mother of three who has a successful YouTube channel and blog.  She holds nothing back.  And because of this she has many mothers who follow her because they know she understands them.  She is just like them.  She is one of them.

So when she shuts down all her social media overnight her followers not only don’t understand why, but go through a sort of withdrawal.

Lily has been following Violet’s media since her son was born.  She is a bit obsessed with Violet and her happy family.  As a single struggling parent in a going no where job, no real friends and Violet’s posts her only “real” companionship, she determines its her loyal duty to find out what has happened to Violet.

Yvonne is a photographer who is married to a handsome personal trainer.  They have been trying to have a child for a while and have been unable.  Yvonne follows Violet’s comings and goings for other reasons, none which are healthy.

Henry is Violet’s husband who although he lends his support to his wife on social media would rather keep their private life private.  He would also prefer she give him some attention rather than her followers.

These characters all have something in common.  They are all living with secrets and lies. Some unknown to the outside world and some even unrecognized in themselves. And just when you think you have them figured out another curveball is thrown!

Unfollow Me is a story about what social media can do to people from the media star themselves to their followers.  It shows the entitlement some people feel once you have allowed them into your life.  And how some followers can go from empathizing with their media “crush” to crushing them with their criticism.

Thank you #NetGalley #CrookedLaneBooks #CharlotteDuckworth #UnfollowMe for the advanced copy.

Writers & Lovers by Lily King

OIP I was fortunate enough to receive a copy of this incredible book from the publisher before it became a Read With Jenna Book Club pick.

Casey Peabody is a 31 year old nomad.  She has lived and loved and traveled.  Now back in Massachusetts working as a waitress in an upscale restaurant, still in mourning since her mother’s untimely death abroad, having just broken up with another boyfriend and not understanding why, debt collectors chasing her about her student loans, and still trying to finish a novel she has been writing forever, she realizes it may be time to grow up.

Living in the decrepit room of a friend of her brother’s yard, with a father she knows she has disappointed her whole life, and who has some seedy baggage himself, and a brother who lives states away, Casey begins to experience physical anxiety about her situation.

Then her life becomes complicated.  She meets and falls for two men.  Both writers, one famous and older, and one young, but with a steady job.  But both soon become the inspiration along with her late mother’s constant guidance to renew her pursuit to finish her book.

With this new motivation also comes a need to reflect on her past life, both family and social and her need to please everyone but herself.  How her lack of confidence in herself came from people she once adored, but she can now see were not healthy for her. Casey needs to become an adult and figure out her life without her mother’s loving presence.

The story is thoughtful, serious, yet funny.  The writing is smooth and flows.  The ending inspiring. All want-to be-writers should put this exceptional novel on their To Be Read list!

Thank you to #NetGalley #GrovePress #LilyKing #Writers&Lovers for the advanced copy.

 

I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb

OIP So every morning I get up, get myself a cup of coffee and sit down at my computer to go through my emails.  As a blogger, I get quite a few.  But there is one which I look forward to each morning.  My fellow blogger, Susanlovesbooks delivers an inspirational quote each morning. It’s truly a great way to start my day.

With that said when I saw I Really Needed This Today by Hoda Kotb I first thought of Susan and then decided to purchase the book. And my friends, I am so glad I did!

The book is filled with a daily quote, 365 of them with Hoda’s comments about what each quote means to her and perhaps what it could mean to her reader as well.  There are inspiring quotes, funny quotes and some extremely profound quotes.  I believe the book itself is a love story to her friends, family, her children and fiancé, as well as an uplifting read to her devoted fans, some who have been with her as she journeyed through cancer, divorce, messy breakups, finding love and children.

One touching example is “Sisters mean you always have back-up”. Hoda goes on to explain that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer she had to undergo an MRI.  Being scared and overwhelmed and a bit claustrophobic, she didn’t think she would be able to do this.  Her sister Hala who had taken her to the appointment saw the distress she was in.  She told the technician to start the machine.  She was then told she needed to leave the room due to the radiation.  She pulled up a chair next to Hoda and said, “Nope, start the machine, I’m staying right here.”

Another quote which stuck with me is “Do more of what makes you happy”. Hoda explains, first, figure out what that is and second, just do it! So simple, yet so wise! And I now find myself thinking this each time I need to make a decision.

There are also funny little inspirational takeaways as well as extremely heartfelt thoughts.  If you only read one of these inspirations a day, I guarantee your life will change for the better.

Just as mine does each morning while checking emails and drinking coffee…

When Life Gives You Lululemons by Lauren Weisberger

OIP

 

 

 

 

When Life Gives You Lululemons is the third installment of the Devil Wears Prada book series by Lauren Weisberger.  In all honesty, I did not know this was a book series and never read the second book, but that was not a problem at all.

In this story we still have some of the original cast of characters such as Emily and even Miranda, but we are introduced to Miriam, a stay at home frumpy Greenwich, Connecticut mom who use to be a powerful attorney whose handsome husband has just sold his company and come into money and Karolina Hartwell, a former supermodel who is now married to a powerful senator and is helping him raise his child. Although she wants more children, Karolina has been desperately trying to get pregnant for five years by everything.

So when Karolina is arrested for drunk driving with young children in the car even though she only had a few sips of wine, and her husband now seems to want to distance himself from her, the world she has once known is gone.

Karolina’s friend Miriam calls her fancy pants friend who lives in LA, an image consultant and former Runway assistant Emily Charlton to come to Connecticut and put Karolina’s life back together.

And this is when the story not only gets better, but it gets even funnier! Emily is not happy to be in Greenwich, never mind having to meet her pal Miriam’s friends.  She does not appreciate (or even like) the children she sees and cannot understand the yearning these women have for them.

Miriam is still trying to adjust to the lifestyle of a stay at home mom whose days seem to go from one social event, coffee with moms in the morning, to lunching with moms in the afternoon, to attending sex toy parties with moms in the evenings.

As they work to piece together the very suspicious arrest of Karolina, they realize that perhaps she was being framed.  But why and who would do that to her? All she wants is her life and son back.

The story is funny and honest from the point of view of a mom who wants it all but can barely function yet misses her old life, to the woman who wants to stay home and just be there for her son and husband, to the happy go lucky woman who loves her life and never wants to have children.

It is a cute but empowering story of the three women who have such different lives, who come together to not only help the one in need, but to give advice to each other in order for them to change their own lives, even though sometimes it hurts to hear.  What they really try to do is show that sometimes when live gives you lemons, you just have to make lululemons out of it!

Also, look for the little Easter eggs thrown in during the story about the movie.

Adequate Yearly Progress by Roxanna Elden

OIP

Adequate Yearly Progress is an extraordinary look into a year in the lives of teachers and administrators at a high school in Texas.  It shows the pressures which are put on teachers having their students score high enough on the yearly standardized test and the complications this pressure puts on them, administrators whose livelihood depends on high scores and the students.

Although filled with humor, the book explores the teacher’s perspectives, both good and bad, in their classes, their relationships with other teachers as well as their relationships with their students and the administration.

At Brae Hill Valley High School a new curriculum is introduced on the first day of classes to hopefully increase standardized test scores at the end of the year.  Not many of the teachers are happy about the changes.

Lena Wright is an English teacher with a flair for poetry.  Because she is not from Brae Hill she is looked down upon by some of the faculty and the students.  She will face many challenges this year, both personal and professional.

Hernan Hernandez is a biology teacher whose students love him.  His classroom, a welcoming zone to both students and teachers has a classroom filled with plants.  Bucking the system Hernan has never joined the teacher’s union.  Sees no reason to.  And he has a crush on Lena.

Maybelline Galang is a math teacher, a single parent whose daughter (with the physical education teacher) illegally goes to school in another school district.  Everything in Maybelline’s life is organized and by the book.  There is no coloring outside the lines.  She cannot tolerate either the teachers or administrators who slack off. And because of her, someone will not be coming back the following year.

Kaytee Mahoney is a history teacher with a secret blog.  At the beginning of the year the blog is filled with inspiring dialogue.  Until she is involved in an incident which will not only shake her to her core, but will make her question whether she is even in the right profession.

The story puts into perspective the dilemma teachers and administrators have as to teaching to pass a test versus teaching to learn. It shows the trials and tribulations of dealing with difficult children as well as what this type of pressure can do to their personal lives.

Thank you Atria Books (Isabel DaSilva) for the advanced copy.  What a treat!