The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl: a Review



The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl

By Paige McKenzie

April 2018

Hachette Books

Review Copy courtesy of publisher and Little Bird Publishing

Sunshine Griffith can communicate with ghosts. Even more amazing—to herself; her boyfriend, Nolan; and her adoptive mom, Kat—she’s recently learned she’s a luiseach, one of an ancient race of creatures who have lived among humans for centuries, protecting them from dark spirits and helping them move on to the afterlife.

Having survived an abyss full of demons, Sunshine Griffith must figure out who—or what—has been organizing the forces of darkness against her. Do they want to destroy her and the rest of the endangered luiseach? Do they want to take over the world? Nolan has figured out that Sunshine’s death would trigger a calamitous event, so not only does she have to stay alive for herself, but for the fate of civilization. It’s not just the demons who want Sunshine dead, though. Her biological mother, Helena, is back. And what is Helena’s history with the mysterious man in black?

Fortunately for Sunshine, she has a lot of people (and ghosts) to help her stop the darkness: Nolan, her father and mentor Aidan, her mom Kat, Victoria, Lucio, Anna, and Ashley—whose handsome new crush, Sebastian, seems hauntingly familiar. But time may be running out as an unexpected event unleashes a fierce war between the luiseach and the demon army. In the midst of the fiery battle, Sunshine will learn a shocking truth about herself and what sort of sacrifice is required to save the world.  Goodreads Synopsis

I went into The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl with the expectations of knowing it was a “lighter” horror book.  This series is based off of a You Tube sensation show by Paige McKenzie.  While technically the third in the series, The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl can still be read as a stand-alone novel.  I read that this book had a lot of back story, filling the reader in on what happened in the previous two books making it very easy to read and enjoy this third without reading the others.

This was a quick, fun little ghost and demon story that reminded me of the teenage horror movies I loved in the late 90s, like The Craft.  This book is perfect for those who want a fast, fun horror book, or for those who can’t stomach some of the adult horror books, but still like a fun creepy story.

Thanks to Little Bird Publishing for sending me a copy of The Sacrifice of Sunshine Girl in exchange for my review.



Not That I Could Tell: a Review

Not That I Could TellA07B8BCE-FC4A-428C-8963-C37AD0D9B996

Jessica Strawaer

March 27, 2018

review ebook courtesy of Netgally and St. Martin’s


When a group of neighborhood women gathers, wine in hand, around a fire pit where their backyards meet one Saturday night, most of them are just ecstatic to have discovered that their baby monitors reach that far. It’s a rare kid-free night, and they’re giddy with it. They drink too much, and the conversation turns personal.

By Monday morning, one of them is gone.

Everyone knows something about everyone else in the quirky small Ohio town of Yellow Springs, but no one can make sense of the disappearance. Kristin was a sociable twin mom, college administrator, and doctor’s wife who didn’t seem all that bothered by her impending divorce—and the investigation turns up more questions than answers, with her husband, Paul, at the center. For her closest neighbor, Clara, the incident triggers memories she thought she’d put behind her—and when she’s unable to extract herself from the widening circle of scrutiny, her own suspicions quickly grow. But the neighborhood’s newest addition, Izzy, is determined not to jump to any conclusions—especially since she’s dealing with a crisis of her own. Goodreads Synopsis 

As the police investigation goes from a media circus to a cold case, the neighbors are forced to reexamine what’s going on behind their own closed doors—and to ask how well anyone really knows anyone else.



This book had something me serious Big Little Lies vibes going on: a little privileged mom life drama, some mystery and scandal. While there were some surprises and twists and turns in the plot, for the most part it was very predictable. That didn’t mean it wasn’t an enjoyable read, I just felt like it wasn’t terribly original.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes women’s fiction, or domestic suspense reads. Not That I Could Tell would be a great vacation read for poolside over spring break!

Laura and Emma: a Review

IMG_7241Laura & Emma

by Kate Greathead

352 pages

March 2018. Simon and Schuster

Review copy courtesy of Simon and Schuster

A tender, witty debut novel about a single mother raising her daughter among the upper crust of New York City society in the late twentieth century from a nine-time Moth StorySLAM champion.
Laura hails from the Upper East Side of Manhattan, born into old money, drifting aimlessly into her early thirties. One weekend in 1981 she meets Jefferson. The two sleep together. He vanishes. And Laura realizes she’s pregnant.
Enter: Emma.
Despite her progressive values, Laura raises Emma by herself in the same blue-blood world of private schools and summer homes she grew up in, buoyed by a host of indelible characters, including her eccentric mother, who informs her society friends and Emma herself that she was fathered by a Swedish sperm donor; her brother, whose childhood stutter reappears in the presence of their forbidding father; an exceptionally kind male pediatrician; and her overbearing best friend, whose life has followed the Park Avenue script in every way except for childbearing. Meanwhile, the apple falls far from the tree with Emma, who begins to question her environment in a way her mother never could.
Told in vignettes that mine the profound from the mundane, with meditations on everything from sex and death to insomnia and the catharsis of crying on the subway, a textured portrait emerges of a woman struggling to understand herself, her daughter, and the changing landscape of New York City in the eighties and nineties. Laura & Emma is an acutely insightful exploration of class and family warfare from a new author whose offbeat sensibility, understated wit, and stylish prose celebrate the comedy and pathos that make us human. Goodreads Synopsis


Laura and Emma has a Gilmore Girls goes to New York City vibe.  Laura and Emma is the story of single mom Laura and her adventure in raising Emma in the city with all the dry wit you would expect from a thick skinned single mom New Yorker in the 90s.

This novel is told in short vignettes and wow, does it ever work for this book!  The writer has done an amazing job weaving the story together, building the characters and being throughly consistent in these brief little glimpses into the year.

I loved this book and I highly recommend it to anyone that’s a fam of women’s literature or the Gilmore Girls.  Thank you to Simon and Schuster for this free book in exchange for my review.



Ashes on the Moore: a Review

IMG_7229                                                   Ashes on the Moore

By Sarah M. Eden

384 pages

March 2018 Shadow Mountain Publishing

Review Copy courtesy of Shadow Mountain Publishing

The life of an impoverished schoolteacher is not one Evangeline Blake would have chosen for herself. Torn from her home and her beloved sister and sent to work in the gritty factory town of Smeatley, Evangeline must prove herself to her grandfather, a man who values self-reliance above all else, before he will grant her access to her inheritance. Raised to be a lady of refinement, she hasn’t any of the skills necessary to manage on her own nor does she have the first idea how to be a teacher. But failure means never being with her sister again.

Alone and overwhelmed, she turns to the one person in town who seems to know how she feels—Dermot McCormick, an Irish brick mason who is as far from home and as out of place as she is. Despite the difference in their classes and backgrounds, Evangeline and Dermot’s tentative friendship deepens and grows. Her determination and compassion slowly earn her the faith and confidence of the skeptical residents of Smeatley, who become like the family she has lost.

But when a secret from her past comes to light, Evangeline faces an impossible choice: seize the opportunity to reclaim her former life and rejoin her sister or fight for the new life she has struggled to build for herself—a life that includes Dermot.

Ashes on the Moor is the inspiring love story of one Victorian woman’s courage to fight against all odds, and the man whose quiet strength gives her the confidence to keep trying. Goodreads Synopsis


If you have followed along with my blog for any bit of time, you would know my love for the Shadow Mountain’s Proper Romance titles, both the historical and the new contemporary titles.  They are just wonderful, wholesome love stories without all the smut.

I will say that Ashes on the Moore isn’t my favorite title in the line.  It has a great plot, the characters were developed, and every element of a great book is there. I just didn’t connect with this one.

I think my biggest problem personally is there wasn’t a huge problem to overcome.  Yes, Evangeline’s  family all dies aside from her sister who is taken away from her as they are sent to seperate houses.  She has to start with literally nothing: no family, friends, food or material items and has to learn to be a school teacher.  All of this, and I still didn’t feel there was a big problem to resolve in the book.  This is probably just me, but it’s what I felt.  Just because it wasn’t one of my favorite books, doesn’t mean you won’t love it.  If you are a fan of historical fiction and romance, please give it a try.  I would love to hear your thoughts on it!!!


Thank you to Shadow Mountain Publishing for sending me the free ARC in exchange for my honest review.