The Sound Between the Notes by Barbara Linn Probst

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Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Description from the Publisher

Susannah’s career as a pianist has been on hold for nearly sixteen years, ever since her son was born. An adoptee who’s never forgiven her birth mother for not putting her first, Susannah vowed to put her own child first, no matter what. And she did.

After 16 years, Susannah understands that restoring her lost magic at the keyboard and maybe, just maybe, vaulting into the elite tier of “chosen” musicians will have a price. Everything does. But she never expected the price to be so high.  

Told through the unique perspective of a musician, The Sound Between the Notes draws the reader deeper and deeper into the question Susannah can no longer silence: Who am I, and where do I belong? It’s about a woman’s longing to understand where she belongs, as she learns how to honor her deep need for self-expression while also honoring her connection with those she loves.

“In her second novel, Barbara Linn Probst delivers yet another powerful story, balancing lyrical language with a skillfully paced plot to build a sensory-rich world that will delight those who loved Queen of the Owls and win countless new readers. Offering a deep exploration of the search for identity and connection, The Sound Between Notes reminds us to embrace everything we are–and everything that’s made us who we are.”

–Julie Cantrell, New York Times and USA TODAY best-selling author of Perennials

“A gifted storyteller, Barbara Linn Probst writes with precision, empathy, intelligence, and a deep understanding of the psychology of a woman’s search for self.” — Sandra Scofield, National Book Award finalist and author of THE LAST DRAFT

Author bio:

Barbara Linn Probst is a writer of both fiction and non-fiction, living on a historic dirt road in New York’s Hudson Valley. Her debut novel Queen of the Owls (April 2020) is the powerful story of a woman’s search for wholeness, framed around the art and life of iconic American painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Endorsed by best-selling authors such as Christina Baker Kline and Caroline Leavitt, Queen of the Owls was selected as one of the 20 most anticipated books of 2020 by Working Mother and one of the best Spring fiction books by Parade Magazine, and a debut novel “too good to ignore” by Bustle. It was also featured in lists compiled by Pop Sugar and Entertainment Weekly, among others. It won the bronze medal for popular fiction from the Independent Publishers Association, placed first runner-up in general fiction for the Eric Hoffer Award, and was short-listed for both the First Horizon and the $2500 Grand Prize. Barbara’s second novel, The Sound Between the Notes, is slated for publication in April 2021. Like Queen of The Owls, it shows how art can help us to be more fully human. Barbara has also published numerous blogs on the craft of writing on award-winning sites such as Jane Friedman and Writer Unboxed. She resides in New York. You can learn more at www.barbaralinnprobst.com

After Happily Ever After by Leslie A. Rasmussen

Publication Date: April 6, 2021

Description from the Publishers

Written by the TV screenwriter behind Drew Carey and Ralph Macchio among others, After Happily Ever After portrays the struggles that millions of women in the “sandwiched generation” face. This story will resonate with anyone who questions whether they made the best life choices, wondering if this is all there is; perfect for fans of Jennifer Wiener and Something’s Gotta Give

Seventeen years ago, Maggie gave up her blossoming publishing career to be the perfect wife and mother. But as her daughter Gia gets ready to head off to college, her husband is becoming more distant and keeping secrets, and her father is quickly deteriorating from Lewy body dementia. Now forty-five and feeling lost, a chance meeting with a hot stranger at the gym sends her down a tempting spiral of what ifs and maybes as she imagines a better life, one where she’s appreciated. After Happily Ever After is about second chances and a new lease on life that will having readers glued to the last page.

My Review

I was able to connect with Maggie for the most part with her life as a wife and mother. Although I was not a stay at home mom, Gia’s attitude was sometimes relatable. Maggie’s relationship with her husband had me both nodding in agreement with her and in disagreement with her decisions. Although this story does involve infidelity, at its’ core it is a story about family and relationships.

Maggie’s parents are aging and those were some of the most difficult parts to read as they were an honest look at that experience. I can’t say that this is my favorite read, but it was a one that I enjoyed (obviously not for the infidelity).

I gave this book 4 crowns.

Thank you to Sparkpoint Studio for the ARC of this book. All opinions are my own.

The Memory Collectors by Kim Neville

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Publication Date: March 16, 2021

Perfect for fans of The Scent Keeper and The Keeper of Lost Things, an atmospheric and enchanting debut novel about two women haunted by buried secrets but bound by a shared gift and the power the past holds over our lives.

Ev has a mysterious ability, one that she feels is more a curse than a gift. She can feel the emotions people leave behind on objects and believes that most of them need to be handled extremely carefully, and—if at all possible—destroyed. The harmless ones she sells at Vancouver’s Chinatown Night Market to scrape together a living, but even that fills her with trepidation. Meanwhile, in another part of town, Harriet hoards thousands of these treasures and is starting to make her neighbors sick as the overabundance of heightened emotions start seeping through her apartment walls.

When the two women meet, Harriet knows that Ev is the only person who can help her make something truly spectacular of her collection. A museum of memory that not only feels warm and inviting but can heal the emotional wounds many people unknowingly carry around. They only know of one other person like them, and they fear the dark effects these objects had on him. Together, they help each other to develop and control their gift, so that what happened to him never happens again. But unbeknownst to them, the same darkness is wrapping itself around another, dragging them down a path that already destroyed Ev’s family once, and threatens to annihilate what little she has left.

The Memory Collectors casts the everyday in a new light, speaking volumes to the hold that our past has over us—contained, at times, in seemingly innocuous objects—and uncovering a truth that both women have tried hard to bury with their pasts: not all magpies collect shiny things—sometimes they gather darkness.

My Review

This was a interesting read for me. One of the characters in this book can be considered a hoarder by today’s definition. The other two main characters upcycle items for profit. I liked the premise that each item holds a feeling that attracts a person to it. The feelings behind the item aren’t always positive ones however and the “evil” that lives within them can influence the current item keeper.

Ev and her sister have a unhealthy relationship and I just wanted Ev to take the time to work on herself. She enjoyed sailing and the friendships that could’ve developed from there weren’t explored as much. Owen’s role in the story wasn’t fleshed out like it could’ve been. Harriet was a character with so much history that was left unspoken that I wanted to either learn more about it or not know anything at all.

There was something about this book that irritated me but I can’t put my finger on it. It was well written but maybe the characters and I didn’t mesh well. I gave this book a solid 3 crowns.

I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses and Hope by Lisa Whalen

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Description

A lifetime of trying to be perfect lands Lisa Whalen in the psych ward at age 29. Eating-disorder treatment sets her on a path toward health, but her progress stalls until she meets 10 special horses. They teach her to face her fears, trust her intuition, live in the moment, and love her body. A story of resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of human-animal bonds, Stable Weight illustrates that what matters isn’t whether we fall, but that we rise.

My Review

The premise of this book intrigued me. I am a long time believer in equestrian therapy. I thought that this would have been more about that as opposed to the author taking riding lessons. Although the subject matter tackled infidelity, eating disorders, and depression; I found the writing style difficult to read. The author jumps back and forth in time without much reasoning and that left me annoyed. I did want to see the outcome of the story but it wasn’t exactly the type of book I hoped for.

I gave this book 3 crowns.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.