Series: standalone

Guest Review: Paris For One and Other Stories by JoJoMoyes

Posted January 7, 2018 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 18 Comments

Happy 2018 Everyone! I know it’s a couple of days too late, but it’s been a long month in general. But, now that the holidays are over lets try and get back into the swing of things shall we? Today we are kicking off with Sophia Rose and her review of JoJo Moyes new book, enjoy!

Guest Review: Paris For One and Other Stories by JoJoMoyesParis for One and Other Stories by Jojo Moyes
Series: standalone
Published by Penguin Books on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 320
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars
Heat:two-flames

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

From the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Me Before You and After You, Paris for One and Other Stories is an irresistibly romantic collection filled with humor and heart.
"A vicarious jolt of Parisian romance. . . Delightful." -People Magazine
"An old-fashioned, feel-good love story. . . It's as if Moyes has booked a vacation and is taking us along. To Paris. Amour!" -USA Today "Dreamy escapism, a book you can curl up with and easily finish over a weekend, with or without a glass of wine." -Miami Herald
Nell is twenty-six and has never been to Paris. She's never even been on a romantic weekend away--to anywhere--before. Traveling abroad isn't really her thing. But when Nell's boyfriend fails to show up for their mini-vacation, she has the opportunity to prove everyone--including herself--wrong. Alone in Paris, Nell finds a version of herself she never knew existed: independent and intrepid. Could this turn out to be the most adventurous weekend of her life? Funny, charming, and irresistible, Paris for One is quintessential Jojo Moyes--as are the other stories that round out the collection.
From the Hardcover edition.

This was my first encounter with JoJoMoyes writing and I have to confess that I was somewhat reluctant after reading all the angsty and teary-eyed reviews of Me Before You. I’m a chicken about really heartwrenching stories so I held back. But then I spotted this short story collection and thought it might be safe enough.

Well, I made a good call I think, but not because Paris For One was devoid of angst. No, this was a fantastic collection that gave me an idea of the writing gift the author displays, her talent for going deep in an economy of pages, and gave me so many lovely story gems all in one volume. I might just be brave (read greedy for more, there) enough to pick up more of her books.

So… Paris For One and Other Stories.

There were nine stories total including Paris For One which is a novella and the others as short stories. Each showed a different facet of love and life all from each heroine’s perspective only: a young woman ditched by her boyfriend to do Paris alone, rekindling the romance for a middle-aged couple, a new chance at the road not taken (aka former lover vs husband), a woman finding her mojo when she finds some killer shoes, shop girl flirts with robber during hold up, finding contentment in a material world, an infidelity accusation backfires, a two-week pretend life for a bored woman, and a woman who sees her life clearly while on a hunt to fulfill her Christmas list.

They were all good in their own ways and I could see the appeal hitting me differently if I read these in different moods because they hit all facets of women’s lives and feelings. I enjoyed the most, Paris For One as a girl who never took a step without making a list learns to take chances now and then and finds her confidence, but also thought Hold Up was a hoot, Crocodile Shoes made me root hard for the heroine and Last Year’s Coat resonated with me the most, I think, because this woman struggled hard with every day issues.

And, I think that was the appeal of each story. All these gals were every day women that I recognized in myself or others I know. They were familiar, but yet they had new experiences. This book brought out my emotions, but also left me musing afterward.

All in all, I was well satisfied with this collection of shorts and definitely want to try her novel-length books. These are definitely for those who enjoy women’s fiction and chic lit.

My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange of an honest opinion.

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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Guest Review: Favour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle Franklin

Posted December 19, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 25 Comments

Morning everyone! Hope everyone has their cup off coffee, or a choice of drink because this morning the lovely Sophia Rose is back on the blog with another wonderful review!

Guest Review: Favour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle FranklinFavour of the Gods: A Frewyn Novel by Michelle Franklin
Series: standalone
Published by Self-published on October 22nd 2017
Genres: Fantasy
Pages: 276
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Author
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

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

A story about Gods and children, love and friendship:

Every child in Frewyn is taught that they were created by the Gods, and that every Frewyn is therefore considered with the same affection and given the same attention as everyone else.

This is somewhat untrue.

Aoidhe Dreen is a Gods' Son, a child thought to have a Frewyn God as a parent. While the birth of such a child is not common in the kingdom, and often goes unproven, the divine parentage of Aoidhe Dreen is accidentally discovered by Cgnita, a young cleric at the Kileen monastery, who suddenly finds himself the victim of the God of Japes and Justice, making him very sorry to have received the Favour of the Gods.

A charming gently-paced, fantasy tale of the Frewyn gods when they secretly defy the father god’s rule and dabble a little in the lives of their people. Each in their own way misses walking among and directly caring for their people and find ways to bestow aid where they will. I was delightfully engaged in this easy and light ramble that mostly follows the antics of the colorful, whimsical, and at times volatile, Aoidhe, as he responds to the needs and prayers of his people in his own brand of care.

The story takes place in the fantasy land of Frewyn made up of humans who are most akin to the earth though the greater world include other lands full of other peoples and magics. In time past, the gods retreated from their world and the people are left with some having faith they exist and care for the people and others in doubt.

The world is well drawn and elaborate so that I felt I could be reading of another culture’s real mythology. The people of Frewyn worship a pantheon of gods whose mythology will have familiar traits though apportioned differently perhaps such as Aoidhe who is a god of passion, fire, trickery, and justice or Fuinnag, a god of sky, weather, birds, and hope.

The plot is gentle, but steady in pacing. It has a high fantasy tone to the writing and employs older language and obscure words that solidify the feel of something of a slightly foreign, spicy flavor.

Part of the story follows the life of two Frewyn church brothers, Cgnita and Brudha- one a healer and the other the leader of the monastery like compound- who separately find themselves with an intimate encounter with the trickster Aoidhe and his brother gods in their turn. Cgnita needs a little help finding love which he cautiously accepts along with Aoidhe’s teases and Brudha is bemused at having a god for a friend.

And beyond this pair, there is a larger tale of Aoidhe and his fellow gods sometimes clashing and sometimes agreeing about how they can get around the edict that was set by the father of gods to stay out of the people’s lives so they can truly care for and help the people where they are called upon. I enjoyed each new encounter and had a good time with the lusty, down to earth Aoidhe as he negotiates matters to his satisfaction. It was fun to see him interacting with his brothers and the other gods. I have a soft spot for the ‘moper’, the god of earth and mountains, Menor.

In the end, I was delighted for the last scene to bring things full circle to an old familiar certain irascible farm woman, Baba Connridh. While, this story is a standalone, I definitely got more out of this final scene by having already read the earlier released, Baba Connridh novella.

I would recommend this book and others in the Frewyn world if you appreciate High Fantasy with a classical flavor and particularly if you enjoy good strong world building and mythology.

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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Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller

Posted December 13, 2017 by Lily B in Guest Post, Reviews / 14 Comments

Hey Lovelies! Hope you December is going great! Our has been super busy, so reading is a bit slower. Today I have Sophia Rose on the blog with a review, hope you enjoy her opinion on The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living and leave her some love.

Guest Review: The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living by Louise MillerThe City Baker's Guide to Country Living by Louise Miller
Series: Standalone
Published by Penguin Books on November 7th 2017
Genres: Womens Fiction
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.

"Mix in one part Diane Mott -Davidson's delightful culinary adventures with several tablespoons of Jan Karon's country living and quirky characters, bake at 350 degrees for one rich and warm romance." --Library Journal
A full-hearted novel about a big-city baker who discovers the true meaning of home--and that sometimes the best things are found when you didn't even know you were looking
When Olivia Rawlings--pastry chef extraordinaire for an exclusive Boston dinner club--sets not just her flambeed dessert but the entire building alight, she escapes to the most comforting place she can think of--the idyllic town of Guthrie, Vermont, home of Bag Balm, the country's longest-running contra dance, and her best friend Hannah. But the getaway turns into something more lasting when Margaret Hurley, the cantankerous, sweater-set-wearing owner of the Sugar Maple Inn, offers Livvy a job. Broke and knowing that her days at the club are numbered, Livvy accepts.
Livvy moves with her larger-than-life, uberenthusiastic dog, Salty, into a sugarhouse on the inn's property and begins creating her mouthwatering desserts for the residents of Guthrie. She soon uncovers the real reason she has been hired--to help Margaret reclaim the inn's blue ribbon status at the annual county fair apple pie contest.
With the joys of a fragrant kitchen, the sound of banjos and fiddles being tuned in a barn, and the crisp scent of the orchard just outside the front door, Livvy soon finds herself immersed in small town life. And when she meets Martin McCracken, the Guthrie native who has returned from Seattle to tend his ailing father, Livvy comes to understand that she may not be as alone in this world as she once thought.
But then another new arrival takes the community by surprise, and Livvy must decide whether to do what she does best and flee--or stay and finally discover what it means to belong. Olivia Rawlings may finally find out that the life you want may not be the one you expected--it could be even better.
From the Hardcover edition.

A gentle nostalgic, heartwarming piece showcasing a woman’s slow transformation from bright lights and big city to country charm. It’s a New England fairytale that brings into play all that a person can imagine of the best and quirky parts of country living.

The City Baker’s Guide to Country Living is a combination of women’s fiction and contemporary romance. It focuses on Livvy’s personal growth, her friendships, her adjustments to a new lifestyle, and a bit of a slow burn romance.

I enjoyed the ambience and tone, the pacing and all the little details of this ideal nostalgic country life that teetered on the line of real and fantasy (not in a paranormal sense), but more wishful thinking. It was a Normal Rockwell setting and people come to life, if you will. I think if one goes in expecting this then it will work better. Livvy is snooty about it at first and is always making comparisons until she sees that there is value in both lifestyles after she settles in.

I only had one real niggle with the story. In the beginning, Livvy was ‘the Other Woman’ in an affair with a married man. There were a few other little things, but that one just stuck. I think it set the tone for me and I never completely connected with her even if I could keep reading and appreciate the rest of the book.

This is definitely a foodie’s book, too. I spent most of the book with my mouthwatering as Livvy worked her baking magic in the Inn’s kitchen or talked food with Chef, Margaret, or shopped in the market. Thankfully, her apple pie recipe is included in the back of the book.

I think the highlight for me was Livvy’s friendship with irascible Margaret. At first, they seem at odds, but then slowly Livvy learns more about her and sees the true Margaret and Margaret opens up a little.

It was not a quick reading experience, but one to pick up and curl up under a throw with me tea and appreciate. I found it a lovely reading experience all in all. I would recommend it to light women’s fiction lovers who appreciate a more soft-glow country life, a gentle romance, with a foodie as the main character.

I understand Louise Miller’s second novel, The Late Bloomers’ Club, is forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/Viking. My thanks to Penguin-Random House for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an honest review.

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: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

Posted November 27, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 25 Comments

Review:  Poison by Galt NiederhofferPoison by Galt Niederhoffer
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on November 21st 2017
Genres: Psychological Thriller
Pages: 320
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 1 Stars
Heat:two-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.

Poison is a literary psychological thriller about a marriage that follows minor betrayal into a bubbling stew of lies, cruelty, manipulation, and danger.
Cass and Ryan Connor have achieved family nirvana. With three kids between them, a cat and a yard, a home they built and feathered, they seem to have the Modern Family dream. Their family, including Cass' two children from previous relationships, has recently moved to Portland —a new start for their new lives. Cass and Ryan have stable, successful careers, and they are happy. But trouble begins almost imperceptibly. First with small omissions and white lies that happen daily in any marital bedroom. They seem insignificant, but they are quickly followed by a series of denials and feints that mushroom and then cyclone in menace.
With life-or-death stakes and irreversible consequences, Poison is a chilling and irresistible reminder that the closest bond designed to protect and provide for each other and for children can change in a minute.

Cass and Ryan Connor seem like a happy family on the outside. They have three children, two from Cass’ previous marriage and one between them. They have moved to Portland, have stable jobs, and a lovely family home. But the perfect marriage turns into a nightmare when Cass starts to discover that her husband had started to lie daily to her omissions and white lies that turn into a series of denials and threats. Soon Cass is in trouble as she goes up against her husband, who seemed like a loving father, but is now a completely different person and the people who are bent on believing a man’s word over the woman’s.

Okay, I hate giving one star reviews, but with this book I just couldn’t rate it higher.

I wanted to love it, but I quickly grew to despise it. If you are planning to read it and don’t want any spoilers, I’d stop reading the review now because the rant that follows is why I have such strong dislike for this wrong.

One, the format. It was all over the place. Sometimes the story jumped between present and past with no clear cut definitive line and it makes your head swim as you scramble to find out what just happened. One minute it’s in the past, the next minute the author is talking about the present, the switch is so sudden it felt like whiplash.

Second, I am not sure what the author was trying to do here. I get that she puts forth a lot of stuff she believes in and how she feels the world functions and it’s very feminist to the point of being overwhelming?

Like for example. Cass has this perfect family and out of no where, her husband grows another head and becomes a man that she no longer recognizes, capable of violence. There are odd scenes between Cass and Ryan when she confronts him about his cheating and he attacks her, and chokes her, and says your life is over now, you will leave me – something along those lines. It was the most random and weirdest thing, like… ever

Now here is the part that really starts to piss me off. Cass is being poisoned by her husband, but NO ONE believes her, with the exception of her best friend. She goes to the hospital and rather than checking her first for poison, they escort her to the psych ward because apparently hospitals don’t believe women if they come into the ER claiming that their husband is trying to murder them, only crazy people come into the hospital claiming to be poisoned. So rather than checking the person first to see if they are telling the truth, THAN sending them to loony bin if necessary, they do it automatically. Right…

So she goes to her lawyer, and he barely believes her.

She goes to the cops and they do not believe her…

She calls her father, who automatically accuses her of pissing her husband off. Oh, and does not believe her…

Even her mother turns on her.

So this well educated woman in her 30s? 40s? is suddenly being viewed by EVERYONE that she has a mental illness, because her husband said so and no one in this country believes women and they all try to discredit them, even our own parents and mothers will testify in court and say – yup this child I raised, who has a good education, has never had a mental illness is obviously mentally ill..

Excuse me? Are you KIDDING ME?

Fine… Let’s say there are hospital in the USA that will throw you into a psych ward if you come in accusing your husband with poisoning you (I’ve been told otherwise, anyone heard differently?) but it’s not like she didn’t have symptoms, she did.

But I never got the sense that her mother would turn on her, like what? Why? I mean, come on…

Also, why did he all the sudden turn on her? I understand she accused him of cheating, which we never got quiet the answer to that, or why he was trying to kill her.

It just did not work for me at all. I get the sense that the author had a strong dislike for the male population in general, including how this country is run in courts, in police, in hopsitals, there is a strong emphasis on male misogyny and was trying to spread the word (or hate) through a psychological thriller, but I never felt like it worked.

 

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Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine

Posted November 18, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 12 Comments

Review: The Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv ConstantineThe Last Mrs. Parrish by Liv Constantine
Series: standalone
Published by Harper on October 17th 2017
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Psychological Thriller
Pages: 400
Format: Kindle Edition
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 mesmerizing debut psychological thriller full of delicious twists about a coolly manipulative woman who worms her way into the lives of a wealthy “golden couple” from Connecticut to achieve the privileged life she wants.
Amber Patterson is fed up. She’s tired of being a nobody: a plain, invisible woman who blends into the background. She deserves more—a life of money and power like the one blond-haired, blue-eyed goddess Daphne Parrish takes for granted. To everyone in the exclusive town of Bishops Harbor, Connecticut, Daphne and her husband, Jackson—the beautiful philanthropist and the confident real estate mogul—are a golden couple straight out of a fairytale, blessed with two lovely young daughters.
Amber’s envy could eat her alive . . . if she didn't have a plan. Amber uses Daphne’s compassion and caring to insinuate herself into the family’s life—the first step in a meticulous scheme to undermine her. Before long, Amber is Daphne’s closest confidante, traveling to Europe with the Parrish family, and growing closer to Jackson. But a skeleton from her past may undermine everything that Amber has worked towards, and if it is discovered, her well-laid plan may fall to pieces.
With shocking turns and dark secrets that will keep you guessing until the very end, The Last Mrs. Parrish is a fresh, juicy, and utterly addictive thriller from a diabolically imaginative talent.

A story that follows two points of views, of two very different women. First, we have Amber, a small town girl who grew up dirt poor and believes she deserves better. In fact, she believes that so much that she had set her eyes on Jackson Parrish, the husband of Daphne Parrish – who happens to be handsome and rich – the two portraying the perfect golden couple. The second woman, is Daphne, the perfect wife, the perfect mother. She is gorgeous and rich, and Amber wants her spot.

This was a really interesting story, a really quick paced read with some interesting characters. I hated Amber, but we were meant to hate her. She was so deceitful that at times I couldn’t help but have to put the book down from the anger. I felt bad for Daphne, who we later discover has enough on her plate without this snake wiggling into her life.

This book was a good read, well written, totally engrossing with fantastic character development and progression. It was exciting, as it was uncomfortable and believe me the second part of the book had some really cringe worthy scenes when Daphne unravels everything and keeps us on the edge of the seat.

Unfortunately for me, the book was super predictable down to the bone because this was exactly like The Wife Between Us, but on steroids. There was just so much that was super similar, it was kind of weird how similar the two books were? There is even an expression nervous Nellie, which was odd cause it’s not something you see often for it not to be a coincidence? And there were other similarities as far as the story went.

Umm, the difference was how it was told, how it unrevealed and the authors of this one really went farther about the dynamics between Jackson and his wife. Plus the whole Amber plot line was completely different. It was still really well done. I really enjoyed it, a lot, in fact, and why wouldn’t I, I absolutely loved the storyline.

But after reading this, I am a little confused how that happened.

Anyway, that aside. Great book, great characters. The main plot line was different, but the point where this was heading and some things that occurred, felt the same…

I still highly recommended it for fans of psychological thrillers and domestic thrillers, because I found this to be enjoyable, uncomfortable, but still well done.

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Review: The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen

Posted November 13, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 22 Comments

Review:  The Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenThe Wife Between Us by Greer Hendricks, Sarah Pekkanen
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on January 9th 2018
Genres: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4.5 Stars
Heat:one-flame

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 novel of suspense that explores the complexities of marriage and the dangerous truths we ignore in the name of love.
When you read this book, you will make many assumptions.You will assume you are reading about a jealous wife and her obsession with her replacement.You will assume you are reading about a woman about to enter a new marriage with the man she loves.You will assume the first wife was a disaster and that the husband was well rid of her.You will assume you know the motives, the history, the anatomy of the relationships.Assume nothing.
Discover the next blockbuster novel of suspense, and get ready for the read of your life.

The Wife Between Us is a story about a woman whose husband has left her for another younger replacement. Richard was a lovely doting husband, who was wealthy, charming, and attractive. She thought she gave him everything, but now she lives with her aunt in a small apartment and works for the department store trying to keep as low key as possible.

She thought she was done with Richard, until she find out that Richard is now getting married to her younger replacement and now she must stop the wedding from happening. Especially since the young replacement has no clue.

Oh.., Wow.., Wow.. I will stop right there. I don’t think I can go on past this point without ruining the book and with this book you have to go into this completely blindly. It is far the best way to experience what is coming.

There is an abundance of secondary characters at play and everything is very well done, including the main characters.

Hendricks and Pekkanen do and amazing collaboration job with this book. Once I started it, I was completely hooked from the first chapter. I could not put it down. The writing just drew me in and did not relinquish me until I was done. I wanted to know what was happening, I needed to know how it was going to end.

There are a lot of twists and turns, at times it feels like the authors spun you around into a circle. I don’t find it a bad thing, despite the fact that it felt a little flip floppy and at times I was questioning what I originally knew about the book. Looking back at it, it was all just part of the ploy to keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until the very last page.

I applaud the two ladies for a job well done. For the addictive writing style of this book. For a well done, interesting plot that kept me hooked and flipping through the pages.

This book felt like a puzzle and it is because it’s not till you keep reading do you see the pieces come together as more is revealed through the story and finally everything starts to come together as a whole.

I personally found that I really enjoyed this, not because just for how it was done, but because of the plot. I found that I really loved the plot. It wasn’t easy to read at time, especially the relationship parts, but oh, I was hooked.

I think the only issue I had was, that I wanted to know more about Richard’s sister and the fact that at times it did feel a little flip floppy – but again – this was all part of the plan and that plan was the reason I was so hooked through the entire book. The style was creative, it felt original, I have not myself read anything like it, and I really appreciated it. But, guys I absolutely love books like these that feel like domestic thrillers, they get bonus brownie points.

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Review: Night Road by Kristin Hannah

Posted November 10, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 14 Comments

Review:  Night Road by Kristin HannahNight Road by Kristin Hannah
Series: standalone
Published by St. Martin's Press on March 22nd 2011
Genres: Womens Fiction
Pages: 385
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon

For a mother, life comes down to a series of choices. To hold on…To let go..To forget…To forgive…Which road will you take?
For eighteen years, Jude Farraday has put her children’s needs above her own, and it shows--her twins, Mia and Zach, are bright and happy teenagers. When Lexi Baill moves into their small, close knit community, no one is more welcoming than Jude. Lexi, a former foster child with a dark past, quickly becomes Mia’s best friend. Then Zach falls in love with Lexi and the three become inseparable.
Jude does everything to keep her kids safe and on track for college. It has always been easy--until senior year of high school. Suddenly she is at a loss. Nothing feels safe anymore; every time her kids leave the house, she worries about them.
On a hot summer’s night her worst fears come true. One decision will change the course of their lives. In the blink of an eye, the Farraday family will be torn apart and Lexi will lose everything. In the years that follow, each must face the consequences of that single night and find a way to forget…or the courage to forgive.
NIGHT ROAD is vivid, emotionally complex novel that raises profound questions about motherhood, identity, love, and forgiveness. It is a luminous, heartbreaking novel that captures both the exquisite pain of loss and the stunning power of hope. This is Kristin Hannah at her very best, telling an unforgettable story about the longing for family, the resilience of the human heart, and the courage it takes to forgive the people we love.

Night Road follows a woman named Jude, who is a mother to two twins Zach and Mia and Lexi a former foster child with a dark past. Lexi quickly befriends Mia and the two become inseparable even when later, Zach and Lexi fall in love.

Jude is helicopter mother. She does everything she can to keep her twins safe and she makes sure that they are both on track for college.

One night when the twins attend a high school party right before their graduation, Zach – who is suppose to be the DD ends up being mad at his mother and drinking, the other two don’t fare much better. When it came down to going home, they had to make a decision between calling their mother, or driving the one mile towards home. Last time the twins got drunk and called for their mother to pick them up, Jude reacted poorly and punished them, despite the fact that they did the right thing.

Well the kids choose to drive and a terrible accident happens, and leaves one of them dead and the events that follow changes everyone’s lives.

This was my first Kristin Hannah book and I honestly have no idea how to feel.

I had a hard time putting it down, it was engrossing, the plot was super interesting, it was emotional. This is one of those books that really takes you for a ride. We get to know Mia, Zach and Lexi as they grow up for the first half of the book and then this terrible tragedy happens and it’s hard to bear, because we actually got to know the kids before this life changing moment. I got to see them as young kids heading towards a future and for some reason books like these can be way harder to read over books that start with the tragedy because of that attachment.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

But the problem for me ended up being that after the tragedy that occurs, I found that the emotion that was most prominent was anger. I found myself angry for the rest of the book. Angry about how the scene at the hospital went, angry at Jude, because if she handled the night that the twins actually called her to get picked up better – than maybe the twins wouldn’t have gotten into the car drunk and instead had called their mother. Angry at the way Jude reacted towards Lexi when there was so many factors and people at fault for the accident. I felt like both Jude, Lexi, Zach and Mia were all at fault one way or another here, but the poor girl with the dark background is the one that gets the short end of the stick.

Lexi is unable to take what she had done and ends up pleading guilty and going to prison as MADD was already trying to make an example out of her and Jude had decided to press charges for Vehicular homicide.

I was discussing it with my husband and he asked me, so what is it you don’t like about this book, the fact that it’s realistic? No that is not it, I do believe it is realistic. I think Jude’s reaction is realistic for a mother that lost her child, but at the same time, it felt overwhelming for me. I spend a lot of the book being angry, and the book was a bit on the long side, so I spent a lot of time just trying to get through it. It just felt so emotionally draining that at times I just had a hard time with the book.

It feels like one of those books where the author chooses one character who already has a short end of the stick and keeps throwing punches at that character through the book, to me that is just seriously exhausting. Thought the book was well written and the story was interesting and compelling, I felt like it was also a little too long and it just felt like a little too much? Maybe I would have felt differently if Lexi wasn’t the one who kept taking those punches?

I just had a hard time with Jude at the end, her anger blended with my anger, but I felt like it was all just so unfair. Plus, I did find that Zach’s lack of involvement not very realistic. That night was honestly in part his fault, now Lexi was taking responsibility and he couldn’t even stand up for the girl he loved? He was 18 years old, he should have had a voice.

Overall, I still don’t know how to feel. It’s well done, it really draws some sort of emotion out of you. It’s suppose to be a tearjerker, but at no point in the book did I found myself able to feel that way when it was overtaken by strong anger. I was sad for what happened, it was absolutely heartbreaking and I don’t even want to imagine how that sort of thing feels, I don’t even want to know. I do believe that Jude’s emotion and the lashing out is probably true to form, but she let her grief rule her for so long, that I was honestly surprised her husband continued to stay in that relationship. She also seemed to have forgotten that she still had Zach and he needed a mother, but for years, she couldn’t even do that despite that her whole life was centered on being a mother.

But, the book did its job. It caused a real and a raw emotion and I think it doesn’t matter that it wasn’t tears, the author was able to write a novel that I felt strongly about and I applaud her for it. The writing is emotionally driven, the storytelling was well done and I really enjoyed it. As a mother this kind of a thing is terrifying and it wasn’t an easy read, but it was well worth it.

Rating Report
Plot
4.5 Stars
Characters
3.5 Stars
Writing
4.5 Stars
Pacing
3.5 Stars
Cover
4 Stars
Overall: 4 Stars

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Review: Blood Sisters by Jane Corry

Posted November 9, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Review:  Blood Sisters by Jane CorryBlood Sisters: A Novel by Jane Corry
Series: standalone
Published by Pamela Dorman Books on January 30th 2018
Genres: Psychological Thriller, Thriller, Mystery
Pages: 352
Format: Kindle Edition
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.

From the bestselling author of My Husband's Wife, a new thriller featuring three girls, one accident, and a lifetime of lies.

Three little girls set off to school one sunny morning. Within an hour, one of them is dead.

Fifteen years later, Kitty lives in an institution. She can't speak, and has no memory of the accident that put her there, or her life before it.

Nearby, Alison, a local artisan, struggles to make ends meet and to forget her past. When a job opens up in a prison as an art teacher, she takes it. Soon, though, she starts to receive alarming notes--followed by a frightening prisoner-on-prisoner assault while her back is turned. When an impressive new student arrives in Alison's class, things seem to settle down. But not for long.

For someone is watching both Kitty and Alison. Someone who wants revenge for what happened that day. And only another life will do. . .

Phew! This book took a lot longer to finish than I would have liked.

Oops, not a great way to start a book review.

Let’s back track a little.

One school day, three girls go to school, but a terrible accident happens, one girl is dead, one girl gets a head injury and the third girl walks away carrying an abundance of secrets.

Years later, those secrets come back to stalk Alison, who walked away. Ali is a teacher at a college doing glass classes. She feels something about what happened years ago, guilt, guilt for what happened to her sister Kitty and the secret she carries with her about what really happened that day.

Meanwhile, Kitty has a brain injury. She cannot speak, because the only thing coming out of her mouth is babbles that no one understands, so Kitty is stuck in her own mind. She doesn’t remember what happened, why she is the way she is. In a way, Kitty is trapped in a child’s mind, with tantrums and quiet a bit of profanity.

This book not only alternates between Kitty and Alison, but it also throws us back and forth between the past and present.

Okay, I am not 100% sure how to feel about this book. I didn’t like either of the characters, I honestly did not care for them, which seems harsh because Kitty underwent this traumatic experience. I am fully sympathetic about it and sad, it’s a horrible thing for anyone to go through and it’s a lifelong injury, that’s not something that you can always recover from. Thought Kitty was really hard to read, I really hope the author did her research when she wrote her character, I cannot vouch for the validity in this situation , it just seemed plausible.

Alison on the other hand, I just did not like her. I almost care by the end because of the twist, but the second part of the twist just nailed that coffin for me.

The writing itself was good. The story itself was enough to keep me somewhat interested and reading. I did enjoy the first part of the reveal/twist. I also really adored Ali and Kitty’s mom, she was probably my favorite person in all of this because she just tries so hard and has so much on her plate.

Overall, I found this okay, but it just wasn’t completely for me. Things just did not work. This is a story where you have to completely suspend your disbelief.

 

Favorite Quote

Love is close to hate when it comes to sisters. You’re as close as two humans can be. You came from the same womb. The same background. Even if you’re poles apart, mentally. That’s why it hurts so much when your sister is unkind. It’s as though part of you is turning against yourself.

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Halloween and Book Reviews

Posted October 31, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 11 Comments

Happy Halloween everyone! If you are into the spooky fun, I hope you have a good day today. It’s exciting for us because we get to take our little man around for a short trick-or-treat so it should be exciting for the whole family. At the moment, I have reviews two spooky reads for you today, enjoy! Let me know what you will be doing tonight!

Halloween and Book ReviewsNightfall by Jake Halpern, Peter Kujawinski
Series: standalone
Published by G.P. Putnam's Sons Books for Young Readers on September 22nd 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Horror
Pages: 346
Format: Hardcover
Source: Bought
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

On Marin’s island, sunrise doesn’t come every twenty-four hours—it comes every twenty-eight years. Now the sun is just a sliver of light on the horizon. The weather is turning cold and the shadows are growing long.
Because sunset triggers the tide to roll out hundreds of miles, the islanders are frantically preparing to sail south, where they will wait out the long Night.
Marin and her twin brother, Kana, help their anxious parents ready the house for departure. Locks must be taken off doors. Furniture must be arranged. Tables must be set. The rituals are puzzling—bizarre, even—but none of the adults in town will discuss why it has to be done this way.
Just as the ships are about to sail, a teenage boy goes missing—the twins’ friend Line. Marin and Kana are the only ones who know the truth about where Line’s gone, and the only way to rescue him is by doing it themselves. But Night is falling. Their island is changing.
And it may already be too late.

Marin lives on a Northern island where there is 14 years of light and 14 years of night. Every 14 years the people who live on the Island during the day must get on ships that come to pick them up and travel away from the Island, leaving their homes in the dark. Before they leave, they must clean the houses from top to bottom, leaving it spotless and just the way it was when they first arrived on the island.

When the boats arrive to pick people up, Marin realizes that her best friend Line is missing and with the help of her twin brother Kana, Marin hopes to find Line before the boats leave them behind.

But what happens when the worst comes to life?

This was such an interesting read.

I liked the setting, it seemed very creative and unique. 14 years of light, 14 years of darkness? I found myself really hooked wondering what exactly was going on, on the island when the darkness set. That alone had me flipping through the pages to get to the bottom of it.

Kana, Line and Marin were enjoyable enough characters to follow. I had to remember at times that they were pretty young.

That being said, I should also mention that this book is mostly a survival book. Because these three kids basically get left behind, by accident, they have to find their way off the island and avoid this thing that is suddenly hunting them. On top of it, Line is injured and something is going on with Kana that the other two don’t realize for a while. Add it together and it was pretty fast paced, I get through it quickly enough and I found that I was really enjoying it.

Of course, this isn’t without gripes. I wanted more world building, I did not think we got the whole background of the island clear enough. I also failed to understand why there was like 14 years of light/dark and the place they were going be on has like 3 days light/dark, that seems geographically impossible? Or is it just me, thinking the way planets would spin?

Also, it was a little weird how quickly these kids came into doing something violent to survive without like freezing. I guess it’s because you have to do what you got to do in the moment of danger or fear, but I pictured myself in that moment and I honestly felt like I’d just freeze up. My survival instinct isn’t all that great heh.

There was also this background with Kana I did not understand how he came to be because of how the creatures of the island interact, but I can’t get into much of this due to spoilers.

Overall though I am not going to complain too much, I did really enjoy this. It’s a quick paced read and I am looking forward to picking up other books by these authors.

I rounded the rating from 3.75 to 4 because I was in a good mood today.

Halloween and Book ReviewsThe House Next Door: A Ghost Story by Darcy Coates
Series: standalone
Published by Black Owl Books PTY LTD on March 15th 2017
Genres: Horror, Ghosts
Pages: 282
Format: Kindle Edition
Source: Kindle Unlimited
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I live next to a haunted house.

I began to suspect something was wrong with the gothic building when its family fled in the middle of the night, the children screaming, the mother crying. They never came back to pack up their furniture.

No family stays long. Animals avoid the place. Once, I thought I saw a woman’s silhouette pacing through the upstairs room… but that seems impossible; no one was living there at the time.

A new occupant, Anna, has just moved in. I paid her a visit to warn her about the building. I didn’t expect us to become friends, but we did. And now that Marwick House is waking up, she’s asked me to stay with her.

I never intended to become involved with the building or its vengeful, dead inhabitant. But now I have to save Anna… before it’s too late for the both of us.

Jo lives home next to a haunted house. For years she has seen families move in next door and leave in the hurry in the middle of the night shortly after the movie. The entire neighborhood avoids it, including Jo’s own cats. The lights turn on randomly at night, the doors slam on their own, and birds keep flying into it and breaking their neck.

Now a desperate young woman moves in and Jo cannot help but feel protective of her. There is something Anna isn’t telling her about her own past, that she wants to avoid, and the house is the only sanctuary she can afford. Anna is sweet, timid and remakes dolls, a perfect soul for the ghost to cling onto.

This was an interesting read. It was definitely a creepy ghost story, very chilling, very atmospheric, with a few scenes that made my stomach turn. It does have scenes with animals getting hurt in it, and those animals are usually birds that fly into the house. If that disturbs you, just be aware.

I only read this book once in the night and decided not to do that again. It most definitely gave me a nightmare.

The writing was good. It was my first Coates reads and it won’t be my last.

There were a few things that I had a gripe with and one of that was the fact that when Jo googled the house online, she couldn’t find anything about it. When she spoke to her neighbor, the neighbor told Jo that when the store broke it’s all the news spoke about on the TV, so I would have thought something would have been found online.

Second, there was a scene with Anna’s ex, who does not have proof that Anna lives in the house but goes through her trash one night and finds something in it and assumptions fly and the girls end up in danger. The whole thing was just weird for me.

Overall though, if you like ghost stories, this was a very creepy but interesting read.

 

 

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3 Quick Novella Reviews

Posted October 17, 2017 by Lily B in Reviews / 16 Comments

3 Quick Novella ReviewsThe Murders of Molly Southbourne by Tade Thompson
Series: Molly Southbourne #1
Published by Tor.com on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Science Fiction, Horror
Pages: 128
Format: Kindle Edition
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.

Every time she bleeds a murderer is born. Experience the horror of Tade Thompson's The Murders of Molly Southbourne.The rule is simple: don't bleed.
For as long as Molly Southbourne can remember, she's been watching herself die. Whenever she bleeds, another molly is born, identical to her in every way and intent on her destruction.
Molly knows every way to kill herself, but she also knows that as long as she survives she'll be hunted. No matter how well she follows the rules, eventually the mollys will find her. Can Molly find a way to stop the tide of blood, or will she meet her end at the hand of a girl who looks just like her?

For as long as Molly can remember, she has been watching herself die. Whenever Molly bleeds, another molly is born and is set on trying to destroy her.

Because of this, Molly lives on a farm with her parents and isn’t allowed to go anywhere. She also has to follow a certain set of rules.

But as Molly gets older, she trains to take care of herself and eventually her parents – although reluctantly – allow Molly to attend college. Unfortunately for Molly, she cannot escape who she is, no matter where she goes.

If you are looking for something bloody for Halloween, this is a good quick novella to pick up. I found the story interesting, albeit a bit on
a stomach turning side, as some of the scenes for me personally were a little much to read.

The story was quick and the concept I felt was really good, but it left me with a lot of questions. I know this is part of a short novella series, but I didn’t understand why this isn’t a fully composed book. I really wanted to know why this was happening to Molly, why the molly’s kept coming even if she wasn’t bleeding at some parts, and also why the one molly was different. Plus, why they want to kill her?

Too many whys.

Also, there is a bit of a language translation issue for me. The mother is supposed to speak Russian and Ukranian and keeps calling Molly Dorogoy. This isn’t conjugated properly, as Molly is a female the female version of that endearment would have been Dorogaya. It might not matter to some, but it is suppose to be the feminine version if used correctly.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsGwendy's Button Box by Stephen King, Richard T. Chizmar, Maggie Siff
Series: standalone
Published by Simon Schuster Audio on May 16th 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery
Pages: 2 hrs and 42 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Library
Buy on Amazon
Rating: 4 Stars

INCLUDES KING'S EDGAR AWARD-NOMINATED STORY "THE MUSIC ROOM" AND A CONVERSATION BETWEEN STEPHEN KING & RICHARD CHIZMAR!
Stephen King teams up with long-time friend and award-winning author Richard Chizmar for the first time in this original, chilling novella that revisits the town of Castle Rock—paired on audio with King’s Edgar Award–nominated story “The Music Room.”
There are three ways up to Castle View from the town of Castle Rock: Route 117, Pleasant Road, and the Suicide Stairs. Every day in the summer of 1974, twelve-year-old Gwendy Peterson has taken the stairs, which are held by strong—if time-rusted—iron bolts and zig-zag up the cliffside.
Then one day when Gwendy gets to the top of Castle View, after catching her breath and hearing the shouts of kids on the playground below, a stranger calls to her. There on a bench in the shade sits a man in black jeans, a black coat, and a white shirt unbuttoned at the top. On his head is a small, neat black hat. The time will come when Gwendy has nightmares about that hat…
The little town of Castle Rock, Maine has witnessed some strange events and unusual visitors over the years, but there is one story that has never been told—until now.

12 years old Gwendy Peterson takes the suicide stairs every day in hopes to eventually lose weight. One day she meets a strange man at the top of the stairs, who offers her a Button Box, insisting that the box belongs to Gwendy. In her gut, Gwendy believes that the Button Box is truly hers and spends years protecting the box, knowing that if fell into the wrong hands it could destroy everything.

This was a great quick listened. I enjoyed the story a tell, reminiscent of Pandora’s Box. Gwendy was an easy character to like and I enjoyed her growth through the years and how her age effected her reaction to the Button Box.

The story is set in Castle Rock and a large part of me was hoping this would be a more atmospheric kind of read.

Overall, the story was quick and enjoyable. I was a bit confused by the ending and it did leave me wanting more. I was expecting a lot more to happen as far as the box was concerned, and I also wanted to know more about the mysterious stranger.

Maggie Stiff did an amazing job narrating the story. I hope she does more audibooks in the future.

3 Quick Novella ReviewsHalloween Carnival Volume 1 by Robert McCammon, Kevin Lucia, John Little, Lisa Morton, Mark Allan Gunnells, Brian James Freeman
Series: standalone
Published by Random House Publishing Group - Hydra on October 3rd 2017
Genres: Short Stories
Pages: 165
Format: Kindle Edition
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.

STRANGE CANDY by Robert McCammonChocolate bars and sour suckers are trick-or-treat staples, but beware the odd sweet at the bottom of your bag. You never know who it’s from—or what it might do to you.
THE RAGE OF ACHILLES by Kevin LuciaFather Ward should have heeded the warnings about hearing confession on All Hallow’s Eve. Because a man is about to tell him a secret more haunting than any he has heard before.
DEMON AIR by John R. LittleFear of flying is not uncommon. But on this transpacific airline, the real danger isn’t the flight itself. It’s whoever—or whatever—is up in the air with you.
LA HACIENDA DE LOS MUERTOS by Lisa MortonTrick McGrew, former cowboy star of the silver screen, has never believed in tall tales. But down in Mexico, the land of La Llorona, he’s about to find out just how real urban legends can be.
#MAKEHALLOWEENSCARYAGAIN by Mark Allan GunnellsSome people will go to any lengths to rack up retweets, likes, and follows on social media, no matter who they end up hurting . . . or even killing.

Not sure I have much to say about this. Some of it was enjoyable. The story about the author and Halloween Murders was interesting, albeit a bit confusing in the end. I wanted the book to be more Halloweenish in it’s feel, but some of the stories were just downright sad. The first story was sad and the story about the father and his son was really sad.

I liked the last story in the book about the Mexican ghost. I thought it was creepy enough to be interesting. Even so, the story had a few problematic concepts.

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