Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters by Emily Carpenter

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters entangled in my homegrown pumpkin vine.

A sequel and a stand-alone, Emily Carpenter brings us Reviving the Hawthorn Sisters. The story of Ruth “Dove” Jarrod, one half of the heal-through-prayer sisters that traveled southern Alabama in the 1930s.

The story alternates between Ruth, who was born in an insane asylum to a mother who would later kill herself leaving Ruth to plan her escape, and her granddaughter Eve who has spent her life keeping secrets for Ruth. Ruth’s story is from her escape through her death and the events that made her who she was: an evangelist healer traveling the world to cure people’s ailments. Eve’s story is of a cover. She’s spent the last 8 years keeping Dove’s BIG secrets, that were otherwise buried with her, to protect her mother and brother. It turns out someone might know and expose her anyway. This she is sent racing through Dove’s last trying to uncover the secrets that are being threatened to be exposed in order to save the foundation Eve and her family run in Dove’s name.

This was my first trek through southern gothic fiction and it was such a great read and entertaining story. I definitely recommend if you liked The Lost Girls of Devon or Where the Crawdads Sing. I was so sucked into this story I couldn’t put it down until I started falling asleep…I got up immediately the next morning to finish.

Rarely does an author go from start to finish in a non-thriller and not lose me at some point along the way. You’re basically a passenger of Eve’s throughout the story with glimpses into the famous and infamous Dove’s past. Truly great read.

Dove Jarrod was a renowned evangelist and faith healer. Only her granddaughter, Eve Candler, knows that Dove was a con artist. In the eight years since Dove’s death, Eve has maintained Dove’s charitable foundation – and her lies. But just as a documentary team wraps up a shoot about the miracle worker, Eve is assaulted by a vengeful stranger intent on exposing what could be Dove’s darkest secret: murder…

Tuscaloosa,1934: a wily young orphan escapes the psychiatric hospital where she was born. When she joins the itinerant inspirational duo, the Hawthorn Sisters, the road ahead is one of stirring new possibilities. And, with an obsessive predator on her trail, one of untold dangers. For a young girl to survive, desperate choices must be made.

Now, in order to protect her family, Eve will join forces with the investigative filmmaker and one of Dove’s friends, risking everything to unravel the truth behind the accusations against her grandmother. But will the truth set her free, or set her world on fire?

Connect with Emily: Website l Instagram

Pre-order from your local store for October 20, 2020 release! Colorado local? Try Barbed Wire Books or The Used Book Emporium! Otherwise check Barnes & Noble, Target or even Amazon to get your hands on your next great Southern fiction read!

Thanks so much to Lake Union Publishing for my copy to read and share!

Questions of Perspective by Daniel Maunz

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

My TLC Book Tour stop this time is for possibly one of the most intriguing books I’ve read – thanks to TLC and Daniel Maunz for my copy to read and share!

Dave Randall’s life changed forever on April 19, 2011. Of course, he didn’t know it at that time or he might have made some different choices. Instead, when Dave’s friend and coworker John goes missing, Dave throws himself into his boring life as an insurance attorney.

Just as Dave’s life is getting to a new normal- work hard, go home, play with Peaches (the cat he adopted when John disappeared), go back to work and do it again- Dave is shown a new understanding to what happened to John. This leads Dave to search and try to uncover what it really means to live. In this search, he also looks to find what out happened to John and how and why.

This was told in such a way that I was reading about non-serial killer attorneys and their day to day and enjoying it. I wasn’t reading a fast paced thriller and yet I couldn’t put it down. I had to know what happened and then toward the end it’s like the book leveled up and all of a sudden I was with Dave on his race against time.

To wrap up: wow. Very interesting read with some laughable moments, the coolest cat, and some interesting questions. I’m still wondering what I would do in these characters’ shoes which is always a sign to me that more people should read a book!

No one knew it at the time, but April 19, 2011, was the most important day in the history of the world.

After his only friend and colleague, John Manta, disappears without a word, Dave Randall further entrenches himself in the humdrum life of an unenthusiastic lawyer. But once he begins to understand what happened, he embarks on a journey to uncover the deeper meanings and implications of John’s fate.

Accompanied by Peaches the cat, Dave uproots his life and reinvents himself in the midst of his search. Along the way, he is haunted by his piecemeal understanding of John’s fate and what it means for his existence. Little does Dave know, his journey of self-discovery will have ramifications that extend far beyond the borders of his own little life.

Purchase at: Amazon l Books-a-Million l Barnes & Noble

Connect with Daniel: Website l Facebook l Twitter l Instagram

Remedios by Deborah Clearman

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome back! I’ve joined TLC Booktours again-this time for Remedios by Deborah Clearman, author of Todos Santos and Concepción.

While a story about a drug running scheme in Guatemala, it’s more of a family drama and suspenseful what-will-happen novel with some meth being made in the background. I know-how could the drugs NOT be front and center? But Deborah did it!

This has been compared to Breaking Bad but since I’ve never seen it (cue gasps) I will just tell you that it’s a steady building of drama around the Granados family when the patriarch Fernando’s childhood friend Memo shows up. And Memo is sneaky. While charming Fernando into letting him build a meth lab on his land, he’s also charming some other family members into other things.

Of course, Memo isn’t just evil. He might just be out for a little revenge it seems due to some animosity for the reason he and Fernando “lost touch”. But he’s sure making a game out of it.

I really enjoy this writing style and while I’d prefer this to be more drug focused (because I’m a sucker for action and thrills), this was perfectly written for a slow build up of betrayals stacked upon each other while the drug scheme overheats in the background. I have a feeling if you like family drama and suspense but not thriller stories then this would be perfect for you!

Thanks so much to TLC Booktours and Deborah Clearman for my copy to read and share with you all!


• Paperback: 228 pages
• Publisher: New Meridian Arts (July 13, 2020)

Fernando Granados is a university professor in financial trouble when a boyhood friend he hasn’t seen in thirty years reenters his life. Memo Galindo, now part of a notorious Mexican cartel, soon persuades Fernando to build a meth lab on his country property, just outside the ancient town of Remedios. Fernando’s strong-willed wife Sandra and their beloved 18-year-old son Félix each fall under Memo’s charismatic spell. The cascading family crisis plays out on a larger stage, from its roots in Guatemala’s civil war in the ’80s to corruption in the Guatemalan army and American DEA, in a country where even the forces of nature wreak vengeance.

Purchase: Amazon l Barnes & Noble

Connect: Website l Facebook l Instagram

The Rescuer by Jason Sautel

A BarksBeachesBooks

Welcome, welcome! I’m here for my TLC Book Tour post this week to share The Rescuer: One Firefighter’s Story of Courage, Darkness, and the Relentless Love That Saved Him.

This was a powerful read. I was expecting an emotional and tug-at-your-heartstrings memoir but this was much more. From the first chapter Jason gives an eye-opening glimpse into what it is to be a fire fighter. Spoiler alert: it is not just fighting fires. And while it is camaraderie and brotherhood it is also a very emotionally and mentally difficult job. Jason takes readers through many different scenarios that can, and for him have, come up as a fire fighter. But deeper than that, he brings readers to see how he was affected and what was going on in his mind during the best and worst of times.

This was a truly incredible, heavy, and yet hopeful collection of stories that I am so glad I got the pleasure of reading. Everyone respects fire fighters in a general sense (especially since many will never need their help directly) but The Rescuer brings light to the many ways a fire fighter puts their life on the line every day. I recommend everyone reads this. Absolute must read and so important. It will completely change the way you look at fire fighters and give you a whole new sense of appreciation.

He helped save people every day—but he had no idea how to save himself.

Jason Sautel had it all. Confident in his abilities and trusted by his fellow firefighters, he was making a name for himself on the streets of Oakland, California. His adrenaline-fueled job even helped him forget the pain of his childhood—until the day he looked into the eyes of a jumper on the Bay Bridge and came face to face with a darkness he knew would take him down as well.

In the following months, a series of traumatic emergency calls—some successful, others impossible-to-forget failures—drove Jason deeper into depression. Even as he continued his lifesaving work, he realized he could never rescueeveryone, and he had no idea how to save himself.

In the end, Jason was forced to confront the truth: only the relentless power of love could pull him back from his own deadly fall. Action-packed, spiritually honest, and surprisingly romantic, TheRescuer transports readers inside the pulse-pounding world of firefighting and into the heart of a man who needed to be broken before he could finally be made whole.

Purchase: Amazon Books-a-Million Barnes & Noble

Followe Jason Sautel: Website Facebook Twitter

The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating by Margot Starbuck

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating and a big thank you to Margot Starbuck and TLC Booktours for allowing me to read and share!

*Four years after an unexpected divorce, best selling writer and funny lady Margot Starbuck found herself venturing into the unknown waters of online dating. What she discovered surprised her – and changed her.* Read to find her tips and tricks for online dating as well some funny dating fails and even interviews Margot gives.

First, I actually finished this. I don’t usually finish self-help type books. The humor was a big help (and what got my attention to begin with) because even if I’m not looking for a man, this was very insightful. Also I love to laugh and Margot has the own-biggest-fan and self-depreciating humor down perfectly. (I laughed out loud more than once.)

My favorite part was probably the emphasis on female friendships. You realize how important those are every year you get older which makes it sad to think back on older articles in magazines and online and even parts of books I’ve read that say not to tell your girlfriends (or anyone really) anything about your relationship because you will ruin it. This book is not that: red flags are real and should be discussed. Trust your girls, trust your family and trust yourself. I love that.

This is a Christian dating advice book but even if you’re not religious I think this could be helpful in your online search for a man. Or a woman. If I had a criticism it would be that this is very hetero-oriented and I do wish it hadn’t been so “woman gets husband” specific because the tips definitely apply to everyone. Not that this blatantly excludes any gender by any means, it just is definitely for any and everyone!

Also, and again not that I have any dating profiles, but I think you should absolutely put your biggest passions on your profile even if it’s just a picture of you at a protest or being your activist self or volunteering. Personally, I don’t want to meet anyone who has the exact opposite passions as me (because I’m always right, right?) but I also have very little patience for people in general so I would think it’d make it easier to be up front in that arena.

This was a fun read overall. Margot goes through the ups and downs of online dating and the fun parts and even the ugly ones. She also is very clear that self care is important in this journey which is awesome. It was a really refreshing take on something like online dating in general, but also for grown ass adults who may or may not have been left by their husband for another man. Did you have a disappointing or rough end to your last relationship? Margot has tips on healing as well.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, are you in the dating scene? Then this book is probably perfect for you. Write your bio with Margot’s insight and hook the fish you’ve been angling for!

P.S. Margot, want to grab coffee and tell me jokes some time? I have a feeling you will make me laugh even more in person and that’s my favorite thing.

Does the thought of joining a dating site invoke feelings of fear and anxiety—or, worse, insecurity or unworthiness? If so, then The Grown Woman’s Guide to Online Dating is the book for you. With practical advice about how these sites work, what to expect, and when to join and quit, along with proven tips for making the most of them, The Grown Woman’s Guide equips readers with all they need to take the plunge.

Purchase: Amazon l Thomas Nelson l Barnes & Noble

Follow Margot Starbuck on: Facebook l Twitter l Instagram l Website

The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my stop on the TLC Book Blog Tour for The Lost Girls of Devon by Barbara O’Neal.

This was an incredible read and so unexpected. I was thinking a beachy, light, family drama. This is that, plus a missing person’s case, a lost love story, generations of emotional trauma, and *trigger warning* human trafficking and sexual assault. I know, how could that much fit together at all (let alone perfectly) in 350 pages? BUT IT DOES.

Zoe’s best friend has gone missing so she takes her recently traumatized daughter, Isabel, back to London from Arizona to help look for her. But Zoe has her own trauma to face waiting for her in the form of her mother, Poppy, and her first love, Sage. Everyone comes together under Zoe’s grandmother Lillian’s roof.

Written in alternating points of few, Zoe, Poppy and Isabel tell their story from trauma to newly budding relationships while searching for Zoe’s missing friend. And let me just point out that I rarely see all of the characters so well written especially with age gaps like this. From Isabel at 15 to Lillian in her 80s, every character sounded like their age. For example, Isabel was smart but young so still sassy especially when Zoe tells her what to do. In contrast, Poppy was the wise-hippie-grandmother to Isabel while still frustrated with Zoe and their inability (read:Zoe’s unwillingness) to connect.

This was such a great read and I definitely recommend for fans of family drama, murder mystery, cozy mystery, or even just romance!

*Huge thanks to TLC and Barbara O’Neal for my copy to read and share with you all!*

One of Travel + Leisure’s most anticipated books of summer 2020.

From the Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestselling author of When We Believed in Mermaids comes a story of four generations of women grappling with family betrayals and long-buried secrets.

It’s been years since Zoe Fairchild has been to the small Devon village of her birth, but the wounds she suffered there still ache. When she learns that her old friend and grandmother’s caretaker has gone missing, Zoe and her fifteen-year-old daughter return to England to help.

Zoe dreads seeing her estranged mother, who left when Zoe was seven to travel the world. As the four generations of women reunite, the emotional pain of the past is awakened. And to complicate matters further, Zoe must also confront the ex-boyfriend she betrayed many years before.

Anxieties spike when tragedy befalls another woman in the village. As the mystery turns more sinister, new grief melds with old betrayal. Now the four Fairchild women will be tested in ways they couldn’t imagine as they contend with dangers within and without, desperate to heal themselves and their relationships with each other.

Purchase: Amazon Books-a-Million Barnes & Noble

Follow Barbara O’Neal on: Facebook Twitter Instagram Website

One Hundred Dogs and Counting: One Woman, Ten Thousand Miles, and A Journey into the Hearts of Shelters and Rescues by Cara Sue Achterberg

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

When Cara Sue Achterberg reached out to ask me to read and share One Hundred Dogs and Counting, I almost missed out on the opportunity. Due to the Covid19 pandemic, she could only offer an eBook, but I didn’t have an eReader. Over the next week I realized it wasn’t going to be quick for anything to arrive, so I decided to order an eReader. Once it arrived (because who knows if 2 days was going to be true (it wasn’t)), I reached out and confirmed with Cara. And I am SO GLAD I DID. 


I figured it would be a heart wrenching story about fostering dogs and that I would soon be crying. While it will tug at your heart strings, it is with information that you need to know. And while it will hurt the hearts of animal lovers a little bit, the information gained is worth the tiny bit of pain. In fact, I would recommend every animal lover IMMEDIATELY reads this. You will get insight into fostering dogs, but more than that you get to go on Cara’s journey visiting animal shelters in the south to see why there seems to be a never-ending flow of dogs going into and out of (and sometimes not) shelters. 


Additionally, Cara mentions how it would be possible to save all the dogs instead of just some if everyone were to have this knowledge and then pitch in however they can. Volunteer,donate to shelters (money, food, medicine), foster, spread the word on social media, and most of all just TALK about what is going on. Of course it’s a sad subject but it is so worth your time to help save innocent pups and even some kitties too. 


Go with Cara on this journey to see her difficulties and successes with fostering. See what the animal shelters look like that need the most help and no help. See what Cara sees when there are no shelters or no space or no resources and a lone citizen is willing to take on the job. Invest yourself how Cara invests herself: wholeheartedly. See what YOU can do to help and if fostering might be for you. 


My personal tips: 

1) Don’t adopt unless you plan on keeping that fur baby. Check with your apartments/cities to make sure it’s allowed to that you aren’t having to rehome.
2) Training is available and you should use it if you need to, especially if you’re considering rehoming due to behavior issues. Google it, call shelters, ask friends and family, get a trainer, utilize fund raising sites.
3) Keep your pet healthier and vet costs down by not letting your pet drink from other animals’ water bowls. Make sure open areas are safe for them (there is an algae in Colorado that comes yearly and can kill pets so I have to be careful where and when I hike).
4) Adopt don’t shop-there are so many good animals in need of homes in shelters. The fees usually cover the adoption and spay/neutering and aren’t profiting people that breed animals and then send them to a shelter once they can’t have anymore litters.

To purchase: http://www.carawrites.com/100-dogs–counting.html

*Thanks to the author for my copy to read and review!*

Don’t Turn Around by Jessica Barry

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Holy thriller. This was Joyride meets The Invisible Man (2020 edition). I even got a little bit of Christina Dalcher vibes from the male characters which was unexpected but added to the angry and rushing atmosphere. From page one this is a thriller with the already running car waiting to make a break for it. The action doesn’t stop either and I could not put it down. I only wish a certain someone at the end would have received the nicely packaged karma they deserved, however this missing sliver did not take away from the story.

Cait and Rebecca are headed to Albuquerque through the Texas and New Mexico deserts. Cait is bringing her own secrets along for the ride about why she is doing what she is doing. She knows why Rebecca is in her car and letting Cait drive her to NM. Or…she knows part of it. But can you ever really know anyone? Especially someone who you’ve just met?

When a truck appears behind the two women on the highway and starts bumping them and playing chicken, Cait and Rebecca each think it’s someone after themselves. The two women attempt to get away but keep running into problems – besides the obvious truck one. Just when they think they are clear, something else pops up in true thriller style. Jessica Barry knows her way around writing a thriller. I was so close to the edge of the seat I almost fell off. It’s so good to find a new (to me) author that can get my heart racing and keep me wholly invested in the book.

If you like multiple points of view, triple time lines, and a surplus of motives then this is the book for you. All this combined with terror in the desert made for a really gripping and lightning fast read that I didn’t want to end. I was on a deadline to read this which might have helped up my thrill levels. You likely won’t be on a deadline, so my recommendation? Pretend.

Thanks so much to Harper Collins for my copy to read and review!

5 Binge-worthy Reads Unofficially Inspired by Real Killers

If you’re a true crime addict, and you’re looking for a new way to explore your favorite obsession, then check out one of these five books unofficially inspired by real-life serial killers.

Jar of Hearts by Jennifer Hillier

Fourteen years after her disappearance, high school popular girl Angela Wong’s remains are discovered. No one suspected that her best friend Georgina “Geo” Shaw had anything to do with it, but the remains were discovered near her own childhood home. Detectives have determined that Angela was a victim of serial killer Calvin James, but who is Calvin to Geo? Geo and Calvin are both sent to prison where Geo tries to make a name for herself, so she has money when she leaves to start over. But Calvin quickly escapes and evades recapture. Which means when Geo’s time is up, she won’t be safe anymore.

The Vibe: Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka

The read the rest of the list, click here!

Thanks to Tittle-Tattle for having me!

Administrations of Lunacy: Racism and the Haunting of American Psychiatry at the Milledgeville Asylum by Mab Segrest

A BarksBeachesBooks Review

Welcome to my stop on the TLC Book Blog Tour for Administrations of Lunacy by Mab Segrest.

First things first, this book IS haunting. But unlike the title suggests, it is NOT a ghost story except in the sense of drawing out the history of the ghosts of our ancestors and how completely they wrecked psychiatry from the beginning for women and, especially, African Americans.

This is a rough and infuriating read about how the first white settlers in America used psychiatry to control women and people of color by extreme methods in the asylum as well as banning and refusing treatment to those deemed unable to have mental health issues outside of the asylum due to skin color.

Honestly, I was disgusted reading this and that is the entire point. We had so many chances to make a great mental health care system from the *literal* beginning, especially considering the fact that the first asylums were actually copied off the ones in Europe. The problem? The picking and choosing which parts to copied. If it was beneficial to white men (their own mental health, ridding them of wives and family members that were burdening them, power) then it was brought into the American asylum model. Was it beneficial to women and, again especially, to African Americans? Then it was disregarded.

It was a very hard read to get through seeing instance after instance after instance of people being thrown away or killed (because let’s be honest, MANY people died in these asylums) all for the benefit of white men rising to power. That being said, while a tough read, it is an EXTREMELY important read. Talk about history class omissions.

Here’s the thing about the book, the beginning is a lot of guessing about feelings (perhaps she thought, maybe he felt) which I didn’t care for. However, this quickly stops (and does serve a purpose) and as you continue through the book you see how even the smallest, most unlikely character (sometimes without even a name attached due to poor historical recording) ties into the stories of all and to the entire asylum scheme that still bleeds into psychiatry today. This reads like a textbook so don’t expect a fast-paced thriller, but do expect to take breaks because you will need them.

*Thank you to TLC Book Tours and Mab Segrest for providing my copy to read and review.*

About Administrations of Lunacy


• Hardcover:
 384 pages
• Publisher: The New Press (April 14, 2020)

A scathing and original look at the racist origins of psychiatry, through the story of the largest mental institution in the world

Today, 90 percent of psychiatric beds are located in jails and prisons across the United States, institutions that confine disproportionate numbers of African Americans. After more than a decade of research, the celebrated scholar and activist Mab Segrest locates the deep historical roots of this startling fact, turning her sights on a long-forgotten cauldron of racial ideology: the state mental asylum system in which psychiatry was born and whose influences extend into our troubled present.

In December 1841, the Georgia State Lunatic, Idiot, and Epileptic Asylum was founded. A hundred years later, it had become the largest insane asylum in the world with over ten thousand patients. Administrations of Lunacy tells the story of this iconic and infamous southern institution, a history that was all but erased from popular memory and within the psychiatric profession.

Through riveting accounts of historical characters, Segrest reveals how modern psychiatric practice was forged in the traumas of slavery, the Civil War, Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. Deftly connecting this history to the modern era, Segrest then shows how a single asylum helped set the stage for the eugenics theories of the twentieth century and the persistent racial ideologies of our own times. She also traces the connections to today’s dissident psychiatric practices that offer sanity and create justice.

A landmark of scholarship, Administrationsof Lunacy restores a vital thread between past and present, revealing the tangled racial roots of psychiatry in America.

Purchase: Bookshop.org Amazon Barnes & Noble

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Author, Mab Segrest

Mab Segrest is professor emeritus of gender and women’s studies at Connecticut College and the author of Administrations of Lunacy and Memoir of a Race Traitor (both from The New Press). A longtime activist in social justice movements and a past fellow at the National Humanities Center, she lives in Durham, North Carolina. Photo by Laura Flanders