A harrowing debut novel of a tragic disappearance and one sister’s journey through the trauma that has shaped her life.
For eleven-year-old Esme, ballet is everything—until her four-year-old sister, Lily, vanishes without a trace and nothing is certain anymore. People Esme has known her whole life suddenly become suspects, each new one hitting closer to home than the last.

Unable to cope, Esme escapes the nightmare that is her new reality when she receives an invitation to join an elite ballet academy in San Francisco. Desperate to leave behind her chaotic, broken family and the mystery surrounding Lily’s disappearance, Esme accepts.

Eight years later, Esme is up for her big break: her first principal role in Paris. But a call from her older sister shatters the protective world she has built for herself, forcing her to revisit the tragedy she’s run from for so long. Will her family finally have the answers they’ve been waiting for? And can Esme confront the pain that shaped her childhood, or will the darkness follow her into the spotlight?


Esme is the third of four children. She’s 13 when her younger sister Lily disappears right from their house, with everyone but their mother present in their house during the time. This disappearance leaves behind despair and guilt. Esme’s mother blames her father. The police initially have the eldest of the siblings, Nick, the 17 year old deadbeat brother. Madeline, the second sister feels guilty for the last words she said to the 4 year old Lily was that they were better of without her. Esme, who was the closest to Lily feels her own guilt for putting off Lily’s request for a story because of an exam the next day, and not going to comfort her when Madeline said those harsh words.

Lily’s disappearance leaves her family damaged. Cerise is obsessed with finding her daughter, and can’t forgive Andre for letting Lily disappear in his presence. Cerise also is not above pointing fingers at her son. Even Esme and Madeline can’t help but be suspicious of him. This creates a distance between Nick and the others. Cerise is ready to do anything to find her daughter, even if it involves taking help from a psychic or hiring a private investigator. Amidst all this, Esme is intent on not letting it break her, choosing to believe that Lily would be back. She feels the distance with her family, more than ever. Her only solace is in ballet. She also has her mentor Amelia and eventually a close friend Adam to lean back on, while keeping her family at bay.

The complexities in the relationship between the family members, due to the tragedy and the feelings of mistrust it creates among them, were beautifully conveyed. It was heartbreaking to see the distance between these characters, when it was clear that there still was love beneath it all. The characters were sketched such that all of them had their own voice. I just wish that we could see a little more before the ending. I also would have liked seeing Lily’s POV. But other than that, it was a great book, with a well-executed plot and strong characterization.



Publication Date: 1st April, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Amazon| Goodreads | Book Depository


Hallie Flynn’s favorite place in the world is her great Aunt Clara’s beautiful beachside house, with its inviting wraparound porch and enchanting views across the sparkling turquoise ocean. For Hallie, going to Firefly Beach, filled with magical childhood memories, feels like coming home. But all that is about to change…

In one moment Hallie’s world is turned upside down. She’s left broken-hearted when her adored Aunt Clara passes away.

As always, Aunt Clara has thought of everything. In her last letter she included the bucket list Hallie wrote when she was twelve-years-old—and Clara’s final wish is for her to complete it. For once, Hallie decides not to hesitate. Stepping away from her dead-end job and predictable schedule, she embraces Aunt Clara’s words.

Spending the summer at Firefly Beach, Hallie encounters old friends and begins to remember the things that matter most to her. All the time her childhood friend Ben Murray is there, supporting her every step of the way. But following the bucket list isn’t an easy journey. And if that wasn’t all, a run in with wealthy Gavin Wilson, a newcomer to Firefly Beach, leaves her questioning her future, and facing something buried deep in her heart which she’d rather not admit to.

Update : So I just found out that this is the 50th ARC I’m reviewing for Netgalley. That makes me so happy!



I wonder which is better or worse – a book leaving you with feelings of anger and disappointment. Or leaving you with no feelings at all, just plain old indifference.

I guess it depends on whether we pick up a book in hopes to escape our own feelings, or to fill up a void of feelings we have in our own life.

But why am I thinking about these things right now, you ask? Because I didn’t feel anything from this book. This book was not good. It was not bad. It just was…

I don’t even feel like dissecting what was it about this book that has me so apathetic. I just want to move on. But since I’ve been so kindly provided an ARC by the publisher in exchange of an honest review, I’ll have to attempt at anyway.

So what was it about this book?

It might have been the odd place the book starts off. Hallie and her family are grieving their aunt Clara. But we don’t see her dying. We don’t see Hallie decide to stay back in the beach. It’s all already happened. It was a very weird introduction.

If you want to build a whole story based on a a family’s grief over one person’s death, I don’t know, but maybe try starting off by making us feel something for that person too? For example, I recently read A Lily in the Light. It was about a missing girl who only appeared initially in the beginning for only a couple of pages. But that was enough for me to feel an attachment towards the girl, and make me invested in the story. This book lacked that. There was no hook to capture my interest.

It might have been the central romance. I liked Ben well enough. But for lack of a better word, I found him boring. I did not feel any spark in the writing. There was no tension.

Yes. Tension! That’s the right word. There’s a clear lack of tension in the book. Hallie is left a bucket list to fulfill which she wrote back when she was 12. But I didn’t feel any excitement or sense of adventure from the existence of this list. It was all a very dull affair. There was this sub-plot about a potential criminal. But even that failed to engage me.

It might just have been the writing. It didn’t pack any real punch or emotions to draw me in.

Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe, I’ve read too many intense books in the recent past that a simple story as this just didn’t do it for me.

I’ll give it 3 stars, because going back to my first point, I’ve decided that right now I’m better off not feeling any anger or disappointment over this book.



Publication Date: 17th June, 2019.
Source: ARC from Publisher (via Netgalley)

Links – Amazon | Goodreads


Wrapping Up April ’19


April Reads :

ARCs :

Suddenly Single ★★☆☆☆
The Time of Our Lives ★★★☆☆
Have You seen Luis Velez ★★★★★
I am Fine and Neither Are You ★★★★★
A Lily In the Light ★★★★☆
The One that Got Away ★★★★★


Non- ARCs :

The Girl He Used To Know ★★★★☆
Famous In a Small Town ★★★★☆
Don’t You Forget Me ★★★★★
You’d Be Mine ★★★☆☆
Field Notes on Love ★★★☆☆
The Place on Dalhousie ★★★★★
Lovely War ★★★★★
The Flatshare ★★★★★


Non – Review Posts

Top Ten Tuesday :
Do These Things Make Me Pick A Book?
Rainy Day Reads
First 10 Books I Reviewed
Thought Provoking Posts

QOTW – Quote(s) Of The Week :
Love, War & Loneliness

Tags :
The Zodiac Challenge

April has been a splendid reading month for me. And I couldn’t be happier about it! I don’t know whether I’ll be able to read as much in May as Ramadan is upon us, and fasting slows my reading down. But I have quite a few ARCs pending and I hope to make progress with them. Happy May, you all!


How to protect your heart:
Let your bodyguard have it.

Jane Cobalt is an American princess. The loyal and painfully curious twenty-three-year-old has inherited immense pressure to preserve the Cobalt legacy. But for Jane — sex, love, and life have been a series of royal failures.

After a friends-with-benefits ended in disaster, she’s sworn to a “no sex” hiatus for, well, eternity — and she has no intention of letting anyone in her bed and definitely not her heart.

Twenty-eight-year-old Thatcher Moretti is painfully professional. As the stern 24/7 bodyguard to Jane, thinking about unbridled sex with his sweet client is a sin. One that he keeps committing. But the real act is a hard line he’d never cross.
When a family member betrays Jane’s trust, the media becomes obsessed with matchmaking the perpetually “single” Jane Cobalt and unwanted attention suddenly compromises her safety.
Thatcher would do anything to protect her, and one solution may level the threats:
Become the fake boyfriend to an American princess.
Entwined together with boiling chemistry, new “professional” parameters, and an oath, unsaid feelings threaten to rise and change everything.

The first question that came to my mind after reading the book –

“Why did this book get so many good reviews?”

It feels like the authors ran out of ideas and recycled a lot of their previous characters and plots here. And I’m fine with that. But what I’m not fine with is them butchering already established characters just to create some new conflict for the new book.

Connor and Rose were my absolute favorite characters from Calloway Sisters. And weren’t Rose and Connor initially written as characters who would go to any lengths to protect their family – even to the extent that it could be called interference? Their daughter is going through a disastrous security situation because of her grandmother, and her parents don’t make a single appearance to help her? No. I just can’t buy that.

Jane’s relationship with Rose was another thing that I just couldn’t digest. The way they interpret Rose’s character here just rubbed me the wrong way. I waited all book for their appearance and when they did appear in the end, it was really underwhelming.

Okay, on to the main characters. I found Jane and Thatcher to be boring. Jane seems to be a recycled version of Lily. I was annoyed with her thought process regarding her weight. I just could not bring myself to care or feel interested in these two. And their connection felt very underdeveloped, with the focus on only the physical attraction which came off as too exaggerated and unrealistic.

You know what else is unrealistic? The hints of more of the bodyguards and the cousins hooking up. There was a certain reveal of a hookup and the other characters’ reactions to it that left me a little disturbed. But the general direction this series is taking is completely unoriginal and repetitious. I’m not even the slightest bit interested in how the other stories will pan out. This is so not the way I wanted to say goodbye to this world of characters, but I just don’t think that I can take any more of this.