Looking for Me

By Beth Hoffman

 

Book Blurb

Beth Hoffman’s bestselling debut, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt, won admirers and acclaim with its heartwarming story and cast of unforgettable characters. Now her unique flair for evocative settings and richly drawn Southern personalities shines in her compelling new novel, Looking for Me.

Teddi Overman found her life’s passion for furniture in a broken-down chair left on the side of the road in rural Kentucky. She learns to turn other people’s castoffs into beautifully restored antiques and eventually finds a way to open her own shop in Charleston. There, Teddi builds a life for herself as unexpected and quirky as the customers who visit her shop.  Though Teddi is surrounded by remarkable friends and finds love in the most surprising way, nothing can alleviate the haunting uncertainty she’s felt in the years since her brother Josh’s mysterious disappearance. When signs emerge that Josh might still be alive, Teddi is drawn home to Kentucky.  It’s a journey that could help her come to terms with her shattered family—and to find herself at last.  But first, she must decide what to let go of and what to keep. (Goodreads.com)

My Review

Beth Hoffman is an excellent storyteller.  From early in the book through the end she had me hooked on the story of Teddi Overman.  As a young girl, Teddi discovers her life’s passion when she finds an old chair left on the road near her home in rural Kentucky.  When she takes it home and fixes it up, her mother dismisses it as junk.  Teddi loved it and as an adult rescues old furniture, repairs it, and sells it in her own shop in Charleston, South Carolina.

There were sad stories of the disappearance of her brother Josh and the loss of her parents. The misunderstanding between Teddi and her mother that created a rocky relationship between the two is a story many can relate to. There were truly funny accounts of various characters such as Albert, her grumpy furniture restorer, the hilarity of sticky-fingered Tula Jane Poteet, and a bit of romance.  In all this story had a perfect balance of all these elements.

The characters, of which there were quite a few, were well drawn out and believable.  I especially liked Olivia and her loyalty to her best friend, Teddi.  Sam was a surprise, and you’ll see what I mean when you read the book.  Albert was quite the personality and won my heart from the time I met him. Teddi was a complex character with a lot of hurdles to overcome along life’s path. She eventually discovers where her heart really lies, but it takes a long while for her to realize this.

I will definitely read more by Beth Hoffman and would recommend LOOKING FOR ME to anyone who enjoys women’s fiction.

About the Author

Twelve days after Beth Hoffman’s first novel was published in 2010, she became a New York Times bestselling author with foreign rights selling to prestigious publishers in Italy, Germany, France, Poland, Norway, Hungary, Indonesia, Korea, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

Following an extensive national tour, Beth returned home to Kentucky and the solace of her writing studio. Drawing from vivid memories of childhood on her grandparents’ farm and her love of animals, nature, and antiques, a surprising story quickly took form. When asked about her second novel, which is titled Looking for Me, Beth says: “This book encompasses my deepest passions—it’s the story that woke me in the night and demanded to be told.”

Before beginning her writing career, Beth was the president and co-owner of an interior design studio. An artist as well as an award-winning designer, her paintings are displayed in private and corporate collections in the United States, Canada, and the UK.

Beth lives, along with her husband and two very smart cats, in a restored Queen Anne home in a quaint historic district in Northern Kentucky. Her interests include the rescue of abandoned and abused animals, nature conservancy, birding, historic preservation, and antiquing. (Goodreads.com)

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The Good Liar

By Catherine McKenzie

 

Book Blurb

Can you hide a secret with the whole world watching?

When an explosion rips apart a Chicago building, the lives of three women are forever altered.

A year later, Cecily is in mourning. She was supposed to be in the building that day. Instead, she stood on the street and witnessed it going down, with her husband and best friend inside. Kate, now living thousands of miles away, fled the disaster and is hoping that her past won’t catch up with her. And Franny, a young woman in search of her birth mother, watched the horror unfold on the morning news, knowing that the woman she was so desperate to reconnect with was in the building.

Now, despite the marks left by the tragedy, they all seem safe. But as its anniversary dominates the media, the memories of that terrifying morning become dangerous triggers. All these women are guarding important secrets. Just how far will they go to keep them?

My Review

Catherine McKenzie can always be counted on to spin a great tale, and The Good Liar is no exception. We meet three women who were present when a large explosion rocked Chicago killing more than 500 people on October 10th at 10:00 a.m.  Theirs are stories of secrets, deceptions, and guilt.  In this character-driven story, Cecily, Kaitlyn (Kate), and Franny find themselves confronting their sins of the past year as memorials for “Triple Ten” approach.  I found them each to be believable and profoundly changed by the events of the previous year.  Were they likable characters?  Cecily was the true victim of the story and I liked her a lot, though I found myself getting frustrated with her from time to time.  Kate was so twisted that I couldn’t understand how she could leave her family thinking she had died in the explosion.  I disliked Franny from the start. She was too conniving, and I wanted to have nothing to do with her.  The story is told in the first person by Cecily and Kate giving us a deep insight into their characters, while Fanny’s story was told in interviews and thus was impersonal.

Just when you think you’ve figured it all out, the author throws another twist at you keeping you engaged in reading.  Full of the unexpected, The Good Liar is a book you should watch for.  It will be published in April 2018.

I am giving The Good Liar 4 stars because I felt it was confusing going back and forth among the three women. While I could grasp Cecily’s and Kate’s comments, I had a hard time connecting to Franny’s interview format at first.

Would I recommend The Good Liar?  Unquestionably!

I received an ARC from the author in exchange for my honest review.

About the Author

A graduate of McGill University in History and Law, Catherine is a partner in a litigation boutique in Montreal, where she was born and raised. Catherine’s novels, SPIN, ARRANGED, FORGOTTEN, HIDDEN, SMOKE and FRACTURED, are bestsellers and have been translated into numerous languages, including French, German, Portuguese, Polish, Turkish, Slovakian and Czech. SMOKE was named one of the Top 100 Books in 2015 by Amazon and one of the Best Books of October 2015 by Goodreads. FRACTURED was named one of the Best Books of October 2016 by Goodreads.

Catherine’s first book writing as Julie Apple (the protagonist in FRACTURED), THE MURDER GAME, was released in November, 2016. SPIN has been optioned for a television series. A short film of ARRANGED was made in 2014 and won a Canadian National Screen Institute Award. Catherine was on set while they filmed it. It was one of the highlights of her writing life.

Catherine’s next novel, THE GOOD LIAR, will be published on April 3, 2018.

An avid skier and runner, Catherine climbed the Grand Teton in 2014.

And if you want to know how she has time to do all that, the answer is: robots.

Visit her online at www.catherinemckenzie.com, on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/catherinemckenzieauthor, and on Twitter and Instagram at @CEMckenzie1

Due Out April 3, 2018

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