Category: Reviews

Review: The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman

Posted April 20, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 4 Comments

Review: The Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna GoodmanThe Home for Unwanted Girls by Joanna Goodman
Series: standalone
Published by Harper Paperbacks on April 17, 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Philomena meets Orphan Train in this suspenseful, provocative novel filled with love, secrets, and deceit—the story of a young unwed mother who is forcibly separated from her daughter at birth and the lengths to which they go to find each other.
In 1950s Quebec, French and English tolerate each other with precarious civility—much like Maggie Hughes’ parents. Maggie’s English-speaking father has ambitions for his daughter that don’t include marriage to the poor French boy on the next farm over. But Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phénix. When she becomes pregnant at fifteen, her parents force her to give baby Elodie up for adoption and get her life ‘back on track’.
Elodie is raised in Quebec’s impoverished orphanage system. It’s a precarious enough existence that takes a tragic turn when Elodie, along with thousands of other orphans in Quebec, is declared mentally ill as the result of a new law that provides more funding to psychiatric hospitals than to orphanages. Bright and determined, Elodie withstands abysmal treatment at the nuns’ hands, finally earning her freedom at seventeen, when she is thrust into an alien, often unnerving world.
Maggie, married to a businessman eager to start a family, cannot forget the daughter she was forced to abandon, and a chance reconnection with Gabriel spurs a wrenching choice. As time passes, the stories of Maggie and Elodie intertwine but never touch, until Maggie realizes she must take what she wants from life and go in search of her long-lost daughter, finally reclaiming the truth that has been denied them both.

Trigger warning for rape

It’s 1950’s in Quebec and Maggie is the daughter of the local seed store owner. The French and the English just barely tolerate each other, the tensions are high. Maggie’s heart is captured by Gabriel Phenix, a poor french farmer from next door. When Maggie get’s pregnant at 15 years of age, her parents give up her baby Elodie for adoption so Maggie could get her life back on track.

Elodie is being raised in one of Quebec’s impoverished orphanage’s. When all the sudden the laws change, her orphanage is converted into a mental institution and hundred of orphans become trapped in that system, classified as mentally ill.

Years later, Maggie cannot stop thinking about Elodie, and hopes to find her daughter again.

This book follows both Maggie and Elodie and how they grow as people in the life they have been thrown in. This book also explores The Duplessis Orphans who were the children that were victimized and falsely certified as mentally ill by the government of Quebec, Canada mid 20th Century. It wasn’t easy to read at times, the beginning of the book especially was a bit rough for me, because it involves rape of Maggie as a teenager by an adult and it was very uncomfortable.

I thought the writing in this book was well done, the author did a fantastic telling both Maggie and Elodie’s stories, even if Elodie’s part was also difficult to read at times, you just cannot help but sympathize with the characters.

This topic was new to me, I did not know much about Canadian history prior to this book, nor about the animosity between the people. I found this whole topic fascinating and very heartbreaking, especially with what happened to these orphans.

There was a bit of a struggle with this book at times based on the misogyny of the male characters and how they kept assuming that children will make a bad marriage better. When Maggie first get’s married, I wanted to throttle her husband for disregarding Maggie’s dream and forcing her into producing babies. Thought given the time frame, it isn’t all that surprising, does not make it any less annoying.

The ending did feel like it wrapped up kind of weird and convenient, I didn’t expect it to be as neat but it was really touching.

Overall, the writing I found really good. The storytelling flowed. I did find myself invested in the characters and their storylines. I did enjoy it and looking forward to more from this author in the future.

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Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan London

Posted April 19, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 6 Comments

Review: Sleep Train by Jonathan LondonSleep Train by Jonathan London
Illustrator: Lauren Eldridge
Series: standalone
Published by Viking Books for Young Readers on April 3, 2018
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Pages: 32
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A perfectly pitched bedtime story and counting book for sleepy train lovers, illustrated in dramatic 3D sculptures!
A little boy climbs into bed with a book and starts counting the train cars in it, between the engine and caboose. "Ten sleepy cars going clickety-clack," reads the refrain. But as the boy counts cars and gets sleepier and sleepier, his room looks more and more like one of the train cars from his book--the sleeping car, of course!
Rhythmically told by the author of the Froggy books, Sleep Train is also stunning to look at. 3D illustrator, Lauren Eldridge, has sculpted an entire train full of intricate details. Part bedtime story, part counting book, part children's fantasy, Sleep Train is a magical ride to dreamland.

When your little one is ready to sleep, and loves trains, Sleep Train is a great book to pull out during those night time hours.

It’s a quick story about a sleep train making its way through the night with a little boy on the train who counts the box cars to sleep instead of sheep.

My son really enjoyed the story, but he is also really in love with trains so it was perfect. He loves the part where the little boy in the book starts counting the train cars and has even remembered some of the names.

I do believe both girls and boys will enjoy the story. I like that it does rhyme for the most part, but it tends to end up a little choppy at times. My son obviously did not mind it, as he enjoyed the story overall.

The illustrations are pretty, I like the night time setting, it’s very catchy. I do wish that the little boy in this book was a bit better done, I found him myself to be a little on a creepy side as he looked like a wooden boy that belongs in Pinoccio.

Overall, this was a great addition to our nighttime routine and my son enjoy the train.

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Review: Nil by Lynne Matson

Posted April 18, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 9 Comments

Review: Nil by Lynne MatsonNil by Lynne Matson
Series: Nil #1
Published by Henry Holt on March 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Science Fiction
Pages: 384
Format: Paperback
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.
Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.
Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

A few points about Nil

 

  1. The basic premise of this book was kind of exciting, a bunch of teenagers trapped on an island that is not suppose to exist and they have to find their way off the island. There is danger on the island and as far as they know, no one survived more than a year on the island. The rules seem to be simple, you must catch a gate, or you die.
  2. There is a large cast of characters, but we only get two POVs in the book. We get Charlie’s POV and Thad’s. Charlie is a new arrival at the beginning of the book, Thad is the current leader of the group and he seems to keep everything running smoothly and fairly. Of course, there will always be a person or two who do not like following the rules.
  3. The romance was the most frustrating part of the book. It seemed to be instalove but the characters act like petulant children and refuse to give into their feelings. Honestly, they start pouting, brooding and avoiding each other. Other people on the island have to step up and tell them to get it over with because they are tired of their moods.I honestly found myself rooting against the romance because I just did not like it.
  4. The setting and the plot were interesting to me. I did feel this had a bit of holes that were left to uncover in other books, which I guess makes me want to read the other books. The author was brutal and did not hold back any punches when it came to character death. It kept me flipping through the pages and reading.
  5. Overall, not too bad of a story – if you can grit your teeth at the romance, because the premise and the setting I actually did find enjoyable.

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Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church

Posted April 17, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 7 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review: All the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. ChurchAll the Beautiful Girls by Elizabeth J. Church
Series: standalone
Published by Ballantine Books on March 6th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 336
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 2.5 Stars
Heat:two-half-flames

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A powerful novel about a gutsy showgirl who tries to conquer her past amongst the glamour of 1960s Las Vegas--and finds unexpected fortune, friendship, and love.
It was unimaginable. When she was eight years old, Lily Decker somehow survived the auto accident that killed her parents and sister, but neither her emotionally distant aunt nor her all-too-attentive uncle could ease her grief. Dancing proves to be Lily's only solace, and eventually, she receives a "scholarship" to a local dance academy--courtesy of a mysterious benefactor.
Grown and ready to leave home for good, Lily changes her name to Ruby Wilde and heads to Las Vegas to be a troupe dancer, but her sensual beauty and voluptuous figure land her work instead as a showgirl performing everywhere from Les Folies Bergere at the Tropicana to the Stardust's Lido de Paris. Wearing costumes dripping with feathers and rhinestones, five-inch heels, and sky-high headdresses, Ruby may have all the looks of a Sin City success story, but she still must learn to navigate the world of men--and figure out what real love looks like.
With her uncanny knack for understanding the hidden lives of women, Elizabeth J. Church captures both the iconic extravagance of an era and the bravery of a young woman who dances through her sadness to find connection, freedom, and, most important, herself.

TRIGGER WARNING for Child Abuse/Sexual Assult.

 

I wish I knew about the trigger warnings in this book before I started reading this. I love historical fiction and have read quite a bit of it in the past, so needless to say when the author dwells into parts of child sexual abuse as part of her story, it took me a bit by surprise. I never expected it to be so in my face and in a way, graphic. I would have appreciated it if the author had implied the fact, but this felt like it crossed a line when a scene between the main character and her uncle takes a very disturbing turn. Was it meant to shock people or make them aware of such incidents?

The story follows a young girl named Lily, she is the sole survivor after her family ends up in a car crash. She ends up living with her Aunt and Uncle and as a little girl, she always craves for her aunts love and approval. Only problem is? Her aunt never had children and does not really know how to give love in the way Lily craves it. Her uncle on the other hand, is a disgusting pig who visits Lily at night time and takes advantage of her. I found these parts really hard to read, but I have this bad habit of not finishing a book so I somehow managed to plow on through all the stomach rolling scenes. To top it off, the frustration mounted when Lily, as a teenager finally lets the secret slip in front of her Aunt and she does not believe her despite the shock that rolls through her.

I felt as a reader, I am aware of certain things and that the author wrote some of the scenes between Lily and her uncle as a shock value. If it’s meant to educate, I guess I can understand that, but I felt that implied would have been enough in the case that this is a historical fiction.

Moving on, Lily is in Vegas and is struggling. She is now going by the name of Ruby Wilde. She really wants to be a dancer, but is not cut out to be the type of dancer she wants. She is approached by a man asking her to reconsider being a showgirl and upon attending a show, Ruby Wilde changes her mind about how distasteful it is and becomes a showgirl.

This book started out rocky, it got a lot more interesting in the middle. I loved the entire part about her being the showgirl and her struggles with her past that she had to overcome in order to be comfortable around men and in her own skin. I have never read anything about Vegas in this era before so it was fascinating to learn about the type of bubble they lived, the glitz and the glamour while the rest of the world was going through reality and struggles.

I really loved how Ruby got close to her girlfriends and there was a struggle with drug use, but she managed to get past that with the help of her friend Rose.

It felt like it was going great, until Ruby meets a man and the book takes a disturbing turn into abuse category again. To top it off, it also proved that there was no character growth for Ruby until the last few chapters of the book. It was both infuriating and frustrating, especially since so many people who she trusts tried to warn her and help her.

I do have to say, the writing itself in this book was actually really well done. The author is a gifted writer, that is for certain, it’s just the story in general did not work for me.

Overall, once you bypass the first part that wasn’t just hard, but disturbing and disgusting to read – the Vegas parts of this book were informative – and then it takes a turn with the love interest I did not care for. I can’t say I recommend this book, but if your interested, a library is a great way to go.

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Guest Review: Twenty-One Days by Anne Perry

Posted April 14, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 4 Comments

Guest Review: Twenty-One Days by Anne PerryTwenty-One Days by Anne Perry
Series: Daniel Pitt, #1
Published by Ballantine Books on April 10, 2018
Genres: Historical Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: Hardcover
Source: Gifted
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

In this first book in a new series, Thomas Pitt's son Daniel races to save his client from execution, setting him against London's Special Police Branch.
It's 1910, and Daniel Pitt is a reluctant lawyer who would prefer to follow in the footsteps of his detective father. When the biographer Russell Graves, who Daniel is helping defend, is sentenced to execution for the murder of his wife, Daniel's Pitt-family investigative instincts kick in, and he sets out to find the real killer. With only twenty-one days before Graves is to be executed, Daniel learns that Graves is writing a biography of Victor Narraway, the former head of Special Branch and a close friend of the Pitts. And the stories don't shed a positive light. Is it possible someone is framing Graves to keep him from writing the biography--maybe even someone Daniel knows in Special Branch?
The only answer, it seems, lies in the dead woman's corpse. And so, with the help of some eccentric new acquaintances who don't mind bending the rules, Daniel delves into an underground world of dead bodies and double lives, unearthing scores of lies and conspiracies. As he struggles to balance his duty to the law with his duty to his family, the equal forces of justice and loyalty pull this lawyer-turned-detective in more directions than he imagined possible. And amidst it all, his client's twenty-one days are ticking away.

I love that the author is tackling the next generation with this first book in the Daniel Pitt series. I adored the long running series set in the late Victorian era about Daniel’s parents. This one is during the Edwardian Era and begins perhaps a decade after the last released Thomas and Charlotte Pitt book.

Daniel is fresh out of university with a law degree and his father helps get him in with a prestigious London law firm. Now he must prove himself to his new employer and to his father with his first courtroom case- a big one, since his client is in the dock for murder. No sooner than he finishes this trial than he is put on an even bigger one.

I loved getting to know this adult Daniel who has the best of both his parents in him and lots of promise. He’s vulnerable and also confident, but he has definitely been tossed into the deep end with these cases. I enjoyed getting to know the situation and the surrounding cast of characters.

The author uses her gift for historical setting, social issues of the day and a profound gift for writing complex characters to tell a steadily paced, twisting mystery. Daniel uncovers the clues that will either hang his detestable client or free him, but things get complicated fast leading close to home. The case brings out domestic abuse, the plight of people with disabilities, the issues of responsible writing when it comes to tell-alls, illegitimacy, women’s equality, and so much more. The author teases out these social issues as part of the plot without getting pedantic.

As usual, the mystery is not as easy as it looks from the beginning and the moral dilemma that comes with it is just as challenging for Daniel. The title refers to the fact that he has twenty-one days from the time his client is charged with murder and the hanging date. I started to get an inkling when the clues popped up, but that just made things more knotty instead of easier. I enjoyed how the mystery tied this first of Daniel’s cases back to the earlier series so his parents make an appearance, but also established itself in its own right.

I hope the new cast of characters will end up being regulars because I loved the Blackwoods with their shades of gray quirkiness, Daniel’s kind landlady, Miriam the female forensics scientist who is the daughter of Daniel’s boss.

So yes, this first in the new spin-off series was great. Love this peek at the Edwardian Era, a new main character, and a great twisting mystery plot. While I think a reader could get by starting with this book, it does have strong ties to the earlier Thomas and Charlotte Pitt series- and they are fabulous so why miss them. Definitely a recommend for historical mystery lovers.

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke Daniels

Posted April 12, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 17 Comments

Review: Hounded by Kevin Hearne, Luke DanielsHounded by Kevin Hearne
Narrator: Luke Daniels
Length: 8 hrs and 11 mins
Series: The Iron Druid Chronicles, #1
Published by Brilliance Audio on April 19, 2011
Genres: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
Format: Audiobook
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-half-flames

8 hrs and 11 mins
Atticus O’Sullivan, last of the Druids, lives peacefully in Arizona, running an occult bookshop and shape-shifting in his spare time to hunt with his Irish wolfhound. His neighbors and customers think that this handsome, tattooed Irish dude is about twenty-one years old - when in actuality, he’s twenty-one centuries old. Not to mention: He draws his power from the earth, possesses a sharp wit, and wields an even sharper magical sword known as Fragarach, the Answerer.
Unfortunately, a very angry Celtic god wants that sword, and he’s hounded Atticus for centuries. Now the determined deity has tracked him down, and Atticus will need all his power - plus the help of a seductive goddess of death, his vampire and werewolf team of attorneys, a sexy bartender possessed by a Hindu witch, and some good old-fashioned luck of the Irish - to kick some Celtic arse and deliver himself from evil

Atticus O’Sullivan is the last of the Druids. He seems to live mostly a peaceful life in Tempe, Arizona. He owns an occult bookshop that he also sells herbs and tea’s out of. On his spare time, he likes to shape-shift and go hunting with his Irish wolfhound. Life almost seems good, but an angry Celtic god wants his sword and he has been looking for Atticus for a while. Suddenly, people are showing up to try and kill him to get the sword back and Atticus needs to put this fight behind him ones and for all.

I listened to this on audio and oh wow, wow. I wish I did that sooner. I did have a physical copy of this book for a long time, I picked it up, but my attention strayed and I had to put it down. On audiobook, this series is a gem, Luke Daniels is a fantastic narrator. He just really brings Atticus and Oberon to life and makes you fall in love with them and the story. I found myself invested and it became such an addictive read. I have not had a lot of books where the audiobook enhances the series, so if you thought about trying this one out, I strongly suggest you give a shot. It was such a great experience.

I loved Atticus, and I loved Oberon his dog. The relationship is just so much fun, and the humor in this book is fantastic. I had the hardest time walking away from this book and I wanted to know what happened next.

There is a lot going on in this book with a wide array of characters but Luke Daniels does a wonderful job keeping them apart. I absolutely adored the fact that he used Celtic mythology in this, it’s just so refreshing and different for me.

Overall, I am not completely in love with this series. I highly recommend it on audio, because the narrator does a fantastic job and the story is just so much fun with a brilliant cast of characters. Already on to book two myself.

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Review: The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette

Posted April 11, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan PaquetteThe Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette
Series: standalone
Published by Philomel Books on March 20, 2018
Genres: Middle Grade, Fantasy
Pages: 208
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

A magical story about a boy's love for his dying father and his journey to the mythic Train of Lost Things, where beloved lost objects are rescued and protected until they can be returned. Perfect for fans of The Phantom Tollbooth, The Bridge to Terabithia, and Lost in the Sun.
Marty cherishes the extra-special birthday present his dad gave him -- a jean jacket on which he's afixed numerous buttons -- because it's a tie to his father, who is sick and doesn't have much time left. So when his jacket goes missing, Marty is devastated. When his dad tells him the story of the Train of Lost Things, a magical train that flies through the air collecting objects lost by kids, Marty is sure that the train must be real, and that if he can just find the train and get his jacket back, he can make his dad better as well.
It turns out that the train is real -- and it's gone out of control! Instead of just collecting things that have been accidentally lost, the train has been stealing things. Along with Dina and Star, the girls he meets aboard the train, Marty needs to figure out what's going on and help set it right. As he searches for his jacket, and for a way to fix the train, Marty begins to wonder whether he's looking for the right things after all. And he realizes that sometimes you need to escape reality in order to let it sink in.
In this achingly beautiful adventure, it is the power of memories, and the love between a father and son, that ultimately save the day.

Marty receives a jacket from his father for his birthday, a few days before he finds out that his father has the bad kind of cancer. The jacket is meant for Marty and his father to build memories between the two of them, and for each memory, Marty get’s a pin to put on the jacket to remember his father by. When Marty and his mother travel back from a trip because his father is doing worse, Marty ends up losing his jacket. In order to find it, Marty has to believe his dad’s story about the Train of Lost Things and find a way to get on this mythical train.

This story was just wonderful. It’s a story about loss in different forms told in that fantastical, magical, mystical Middle Grade way. I found this story to be important and so well done. It was both beautiful and heartbreaking. The writing was great. The author really knew how to weave an emotional and important story with elements that children and parent’s will equally enjoy.

I find this book to be a keeper and an important one at that. It definitely allows you to use your imagination on an interesting setting of a magical train where your hearts most precious possessions go when they get lost.

I highly recommend this book for parents with children that read Middle Grade and it will go on my shelves for my son as a keeper as well.

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Guest Review: Jubilee’s Journey by Bette Lee Crosby, Narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley and Sean Crisden

Posted April 6, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 10 Comments

Guest Review: Jubilee’s Journey by Bette Lee Crosby, Narrated by Amy Melissa Bentley and Sean CrisdenJubilee’s Journey by Bette Lee Crosby
Narrator: Amy Melissa Bentley, Sean Crisden
Length: 9 hours 50 minutes
Series: Wyatteville #2
Published by Tantor Audio on March 27th 2018
Genres: Historical Fiction
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

From award-winning USA TODAY Bestselling Author BETTE LEE CROSBY comes a heartwarming Southern family saga that redefines the meaning of family.

Crime is a rarity in the small town of Wyattsville, so when one occurs it is front page news. Grocery store owner, Sidney Klaussner, shot in the course of the robbery, is lying in the hospital unconscious. In the room across from him the young man assumed to be the shooter.

Although no one knows the truth of what happened inside that store, Sidney's wife is determined to see the boy punished. The lad's only hope is his sister Jubilee. She knows why he was there but is anyone going to believe a seven-year-old?

A heartwarming saga of finding forgiveness and coming together as a family. Spare Change readers are sure to welcome back Olivia Doyle and the colorful residents of the Wyattsville Arms.

Sophia Rose’s Review

 

This was a poignant story told in the modern historical era of the American South. The times, the setting, and the characters were all brought to life so well that I was immediately feeling nostalgic for a time before I was even born. There was a fleeting, golden afternoon quality to the words that left me with an appreciation for how life is never all sweet and sometimes things happen that are out of our control, but we must find a way to live through to the other side.

I wasn’t sure what to expect and I was a little confused by the early part of the book since it didn’t match the blurb, but I soon realized that the author was starting events well before the current time of the story. To be clear, I didn’t mind- just confused. What I mean is that the early chapters tell the story of Bartholomew and Ruth, their early lives, becoming a family, and tragedy to the present when Paul and Jubilee, their children, take the fateful journey that sets up the events for the rest of the story. Their story is juxtaposed against another man, Hurt’s early story and what put him on an angry, murderous crash course with the two children there in a Wyattsville grocery store. This choice of how to take things back to the earlier years made sense as the story progressed.

Paul and Jubilee’s story is sad, but they have each other and try to stay hopeful because they have nothing else. Paul is an amazing young man who left school and childhood behind when he was still a young child himself to take care of his sick mother, his sister, and the household while his dad work the mines. Then when both parents were gone, as a teenager and newly evicted from their home, he takes Jubilee and all they have in a backpack to seek out a way to start over. Then, tragedy strikes again and they live under a cloud of injustice as other people work to right the wrong. I was teary-eyed and cheering for this pair of kids, but particularly this amazing young man.

I thought this whole story that had a small main cast of people trying to help Jubilee who is first thought to be a lost orphan and not associated with the kid in the hospital who was thought to be part of an armed robbery was captivating. It has a small town, slow paced feel as events march on. The story is part mystery and part fiction following the case of the armed robbery and Jubilee’s mysterious past, but also delves into the lives of several key people including Olivia Doyle, her grandson Ethan Allen Doyle, and Detective Jack Mahoney from the previous book.

I will add that there are a few times that I felt it lagged a little, but not to the point of boredom. Olivia tends to be a brooder and dithers a little and Detective Gomez was driving me to violence the way he put his career ahead of actually working Paul’s case so that went on longer than it should have. Jack Mahoney was the real hero of the story doing the actual police work since Gomez wouldn’t. He was up against department jealousies, jurisdictions, biting into his own family time and work, and then even Olivia’s shenanigans because she called him in, but barely trusted him with the truth. Olivia got on my nerves how she expected so much from him and used him even calling on his weekends at home, but had her own agenda though I get that it was on Jubilee’s behalf.

 

About Sophia Rose

Sophia is a quiet though curious gal who dabbles in cooking, book reviewing, and gardening. Encouraged and supported by an incredible man and loving family. A Northern Californian transplant to the Great Lakes Region of the US. Lover of Jane Austen, Baseball, Cats, Scooby Doo, and Chocolate.

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Review: The Wife by Alafair Burke

Posted April 5, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review: The Wife by Alafair BurkeThe Wife by Alafair Burke
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on January 23, 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller
Pages: 352
Format: Paperback
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

His scandal. Her secret.
When Angela met Jason Powell while catering a dinner party in East Hampton, she assumed their romance would be a short-lived fling, like so many relationships between locals and summer visitors. To her surprise, Jason, a brilliant economics professor at NYU, had other plans, and they married the following summer. For Angela, the marriage turned out to be a chance to reboot her life. She and her son were finally able to move out of her mother’s home to Manhattan, where no one knew about her tragic past.
Six years later, thanks to a bestselling book and a growing media career, Jason has become a cultural lightning rod, placing Angela near the spotlight she worked so carefully to avoid. When a college intern makes an accusation against Jason, and another woman, Kerry Lynch, comes forward with an even more troubling allegation, their perfect life begins to unravel. Jason insists he is innocent, and Angela believes him. But when Kerry disappears, Angela is forced to take a closer look at the man she married. And when she is asked to defend Jason in court, she realizes that her loyalty to her husband could unearth old secrets.

The Wife is a type of thriller that starts out with a bang, hooks you and never lets you go.

Angela is married to Jason Powell, they live with her son in a charming carriage house in Manhattan. When Jason wrote his book, his career exploded, and he became the center of the media – a place Angela was careful to avoid. Now, charges are being filed against Jason for inappropriate behavior, by one his current intern and another by a woman claiming rape.

I thought this was interesting, but I thought it could always have been a bit better.

I went into this book completely blind and it was definitely a way to do it. It kept me on the edge of my seat the entire time wondering what was really happening with Jason and the women who accused him of such terrible actions.

I did struggle a bit with this. First, I wasn’t a big fan of Angela. At the beginning she felt like a big pushover, until we learn more about her past and why she is the way she is. It started to shed some light on her actions and demeanor.

This book digs into the rape “culture” in America. I don’t like to call it that, but I wasn’t sure if there was a politically correct term for it. Thought this plays a huge role in the story, I felt like such an important topic could have been handled a little differently in this book. Needless to say I wasn’t sure I was a fan of how it turned out or was used in this case and when the unraveling came, I found myself a bit upset about it. I don’t think I can say much without spoiling the book, but it just feeds into certain misconceptions.

The ending, I did not see coming. I was trying to put together what was happening, but it ended up being nothing like what I thought it was going to be. Honestly, I wasn’t sure if I completely bought it due to the actions throughout the book – at times it felt like it was just thrown there at the end as a shock factor because the original might not have been strong enough.

Overall, despite certain issues with the book, I did find myself enjoying it. I do like endings that are unpredictable, so I cannot complain too much about it and the story flowed and was fast paced. If you are a fan of twisted endings and psychological thriller’s this is definitely worth checking out.

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Review: Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo (illustrator)

Posted April 4, 2018 by Lily B in Reviews / 10 Comments

Review: Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo (illustrator)Can Somebody Please Scratch My Back? by Jory John, Liz Climo
Series: standalone
Published by Dial Books on March 20th 2018
Genres: Childrens, Picture Books
Pages: 40
Format: Hardcover
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3 Stars

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Persnickety Elephant has an itch--a big one--and he can't reach it! While he isn't above asking for a little help, no one is up to the task. Turtle is too lazy, Snail is too slimy, and Alligator... well, Elephant isn't sure he wants his assistance. Does Elephant have to do everything himself?

A story about an Elephant who isn’t able to reach an itch on his back, so he is looking for someone who can help him scratch his back. He asks an array of different animals and each pose a bit of a problem when it comes to back scratching, until a very unlikely helper comes along.

I thought most of this story was really cute. I liked the illustrations because they were clean, well done and very eye pleasing. I liked that it featured different kind of animals doing what they can to help the elephant with his problem.

I did not understand the end…

It was funny, sure, but the elephant used the one animal that tried to help him and kind of tossed him aside in turn causing the animal its own problem. I thought the lesson of the story would be “if you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” but the lesson was kind of lost on me when the elephant turned out to be kind of rude.

Maybe I am overthinking this? My son did enjoy the book and found it funny, but I am trying to teach him using the example in this book – that if someone helps you with your problem, don’t use the person and be rude about it, because you never know what consequences might come of it. It is always better to respect the people who help you.

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