Book Review: Winter In Paradise

Title: Winter In Paradise

Author: Elin Hilderbrand

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2018

 

I received this book from a colleague, she’s addicted to buying the latest hardcover reads from Amazon.  I reap the benefits.  I was so excited to read another Elin Hilderbrand book and this novel did not disappoint.  Well, it did, but, I will get into that at the end.

This book hooked me in from the beginning.  First, we read about a family in middle America who seemingly has it all for a low end high class family.  A marriage that is solid, beautiful children, and money to spend without worrying at night.  Then, we read about some friends on the beautiful island of St. John.  Her husband happens to die, mysteriously, in St. John, and his wife had no idea he was even there.

Hilderbrand intertwines the lives of these two groups of people beautifully.  I don’t want to give too much away, it will spoil it for you.  The characters have time to grow and everything feels so real.  I felt like I was driving around the island with how well Hilderbrand described everything.  The details are impeccable, no stone was left unturned.  She leaves you with just enough to develop your own theories on what is happening; some things you will get answers to and others you will not.

I could not put this book down.  Then, it happened.  The end.  I looked around.  I am stunned.  I am still stunned.  This is the first book in her latest winter trilogy series and she makes sure you will stick around for the next installment.  If you can’t read a book and be left with a cliffhanger, knowing an answer is coming in a year, then wait until all 3 books are out in a few years.  Warning, once you start reading you can’t stop so I am sure it will be a binge read.  My only question is can I ore-order book 2 now?

I am giving this book 5 stars.  I was enthralled and finished this book quickly, as I had to find out what was happening.  She leaves us with almost everyone missing a very important phone call except one person.  We find out who was calling since one character answered, and this just opens up a whole new can of worms and new theories I have about what is going on.  I will be impatiently waiting for the 2nd book to come out, Hilderbrand really knows how to keep you hanging on.  I won’t leave you hanging on though, tune in next week for my review of Christmas Glitter by Ann B. Harrison!

Advertisements

Book Review: The Hit

Title: The Hit

Author: David Baldacci

Format: Paperback

Published: 2013

How did I start down this path?  My family loves Clive Cussler and I asked my Dad for a few books to try him out.  He gave me a bunch of books and Mr. Baldacci was included in the pile.  I tried to read Clive Cussler but just could not get into it, so I picked up The Hit.  I.  Was.  Hooked.

Right away we are introduced to a scene where we have a man sitting behind a computer help orchestrate an assassination in another country.  When it is time for the shooter to make the hit, the man behind the computer has been shot and killed by the sniper instead.

In the next scene we meet Will Robie, expert sniper at the agency.  He successfully kills a target in Central Park, New York and immediately gets called to meet with higher ups at the agency.  It appears they have had an agent go rogue by the name of Jessica Reel.

The agency believes Jessica Reel killed Doug Jacobs, the man that was sitting behind his computer.  She was a sniper at the agency and started to defy orders and had gone off the grid.  The agency enlisted Robie to kill Reel so they could stop the rogue employee.  They chose Robie because he was the most like Reel, and they went through training together.  Together, they were a deadly force that even the most highly trained forces could not stop.

Robie takes on the mission and as soon as he does the Vice President of the agency has just been murdered.  Robie starts to feel that the agency is hiding things from him and accidently discovers in all the files he has received on Reel, they have omitted pages and pages of information.  He confides in Blue Man, a man high up in the agency, and starts to have a feeling he may not be doing what he should be.

As Robie dives in to find Reel, they end up saving each other on a few occasions.  How can Reel be a bad guy when she has saved his life?  She knows he is after her to kill her, so why spare him?  He was sent to kill Reel so when he has an opportunity to kill her, he ends up saving her.  Why?  What is going on?  Robie is determined to go off the grid himself and separate himself from the agency to get down to the bottom of what is going on.

I am giving this book 4.5 stars, which if you’re rounding up, is 5.  I loved the short burst chapters and the constant action going on.  Each chapter gave you a little insight into Reel and then bam, suddenly the page turned and gave you some insight into Robie.  The book ended on a high climatic note and has me pumped for more Will Robie.  I now have a box FULL of David Baldacci books that I cannot wait to get my hands on.  Tune in next Thursday for my review of Winter In Paradise by Elin Hilderbrand!

Book Review: The Sisters

Title: The Sisters

Author: Rosalind Noonan

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read The Sisters before its release on November 27, 2018 in exchange for an honest, impartial review.

I want to start out and say that this book may trigger more sensitive readers with regard to the topics of miscarriages and sexual abuse.  It does not delve in deep to these areas, however, they are here in the book.  What saddens me the most is that even though this is a work of fiction, there are innocent children out there today in this situation in this book.

This book is told through the story of 2 families that are connected to each other; Glory Noland and the McCullum family.  The book is broken down in to 3 parts; The Last Time I Saw You, The Shape Of Tea Leaves, and Glory’s Ghost.  Rosalind Noonan does a tremendous job alternating between the stories of Glory and the McCullum family.

Glory goes from the struggle of being in a biracial relationship to being a widow raising 2 biracial children on her own with no family willing to help her.  She meets a group of women at her local mall that call themselves The Sisters and ever so graciously end up taking her in.  On the other side, the McCullum family is secretly struggling to conceive and start a family, but, has all the family support in the world.

This book sucked me in and would not let me go.  I read this book with tears in my eyes so often, just wanting to jump in and help these women and children.  The character development in this book was remarkable and we watch Glory’s young children grow up to be beautiful young women, especially her eldest Ruby.  For a sixteen-year-old girl who has so much going on in her own life with her mother, she was certainly raised to do right in the world and is someone to be proud of.

This is a solid 4 star read for me.  I had to stop myself from reading at some points in time just so I could get some sleep.  I knew if I continued on, more would develop along in the story and the sun would be rising, as it would be time for me to get ready for work.  Noonan’s penmanship in this tale is heartbreakingly real and page turning.  While I would have wished for a different ending, Noonan does what is right and ends this book on realistic terms, which still please me.  Once you pick this book up, you will find it irresistible to put down.  Tune in next week for my review of The Hit by David Baldacci!

Susanna Beard The Truth Waits Blog Tour

Welcome to Susanna Beard’s The Truth Waits blog tour!! Book In The Bag is proud to be a stop along the way!

 

Let’s get right down into it, tell us who you are and what you usually write about.

I’m Susanna Beard, and I write psychological thrillers.

 

The Truth Waits was just released on November 1, 2018. What research did you do to write your latest thriller?

The story is partly set in Lithuania, where my character sources products for her online linen business. I already knew that the country was known for textile production, so that’s one of the reasons it’s set there – but I also wanted to find a deserted beach where the weather was harsh, in which to set the key incident in the story. Researching online, I found a fabulous unspoilt beach on the Baltic coast, a place called the Kuronian Spit, and I travelled there to see what it was really like. Then I took a train across the country to visit the capital, Vilnius, which features in the book, and was able to get a good impression of the place and the people.

I also met the attaché at the Lithuanian Embassy in London, who was extremely helpful and answered all my ignorant questions about the country!

Regarding the theme of sex trafficking and the police, most of my research was carried out online, though I was helped by various people who knew Belarus well and who had come across sex trafficking in the area.

 

What (if anything) did you edit out of the book?

A lot! Quite a few things changed from first draft to final manuscript, with around ten drafts in between! I can’t give you details without giving too much away…

 

What is the main thing you want readers to take away from The Truth Waits?

The overarching message of the book is that the truth has a way of getting out, however much you try to hide it.

 

What is something that your fans would be surprised to learn about you?

I’ve done a few surprising things: I’ve swum with whalesharks (the biggest fish in the world) in Australia (fabulous); I’ve walked through the sewers in Brighton (fascinating); and I’ve fallen into a crevasse in France (and climbed out uninjured!). And I used to get panic attacks in big groups of people. I seem to have overcome that now!

 

What made you become a writer and what about the writing life do you think is misunderstood by the public?

I’ve wanted to write novels since I was a teenager. I got the reading bug early – I was always in the library and read voraciously – and losing myself in a book was my favourite occupation. Writing has always been an important part of my working life, though writing fiction is relatively new to me.

People read novels without realising the huge amount of work – and very often heartbreak and soul-searching – that’s gone into them. That used to be me, so I understand why, and as an author, it’s wonderful that the effort is rewarded by readers enjoying your work. But we’re not all making millions, by any means, and the price of a book is low considering the work that goes into it: I don’t think people understand that.

 

Are you a plotter or pantster?

Nowadays, I’m a plotter, but not to the nth degree. I do an outline; I know the beginning and the end, and some of the points in between, and I do biographies of my characters in advance. It’s great to have a plan to refer back to when I start to go off-piste!

 

What is the biggest mistake that you’ve learned not to make while writing?

Don’t start editing before you’ve finished! Get that first draft done – then you have something to work on.

 

What is the last book you finished reading? What did you think?

The Silence of the Girls, by Pat Barker. Not my usual choice, but I do read widely. I really enjoyed it – it’s a brilliant retelling of The Iliad from the point of view of Briseis, a girl awarded to Achilles as a slave when her town is destroyed. There’s a clear feminist message to the story; it’s brutal and realistic and has many modern echoes.

 

What other hats do you wear besides the writer hat?

A marketing one! I still manage the PR for a handful of clients, which is varied and enjoyable. And I’m now running workshops for would-be writers.

 

Are there any URLs or social media accounts you would like to share?

My website is www.susannabeard.com; I’m @susannabeard25 on Twitter and @susannabeardauthor on Facebook

For the workshops, the website is www.riverwriting.co.uk

 

Thank you so much for the stop on the blog tour again!  Make sure you go out and get your copy of #TheTruthWaits today! Trust me, it’s a great read! Don’t forget to follow Susanna on her social media accounts! Until next time…have a great read!

 

Book Review: We Were Mothers

Title: We Were Mothers

Author: Katie Sise

Format: Kindle Edition (Amazon First Reads Edition)

Published: 2018

I am starting this review off with my overall rating.  5 stars.  This book was jaw dropping with its twists and turns.  Just when you thought the book was going in one direction it did a complete 180 and left you reeling in what was happening.  I reached out to the author on Facebook just raving about this book and stating what I just did.  I want to share with you her reply; “I’m so glad you liked it 😊 that’s what made it so fun to write – I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next 😊 this book really was so much fun to do!”

You can absolutely tell that Sise wrote this book and did not force anything.  Some books you can tell the author penned the novel with the twist in mind.  You can clearly tell that Sise let her creative juices flow with this novel.  If you can predict what happens next then you are a psychic and I would like to know what lottery numbers to play this week.

We Were Mothers is an intricate story which houses the story of two families that live across the street from each other.  The main family (and their best friend) is dealing with the loss of a daughter/sister in a drunk driving accident in which she was the driver.  It was the night of the living daughter’s engagement party.  This family is carrying a lot of baggage with this loss and this development within the characters with respect to this is absolutely amazing.

Now we have the family across the street that has been married since college and have two grown daughters.  The husband is a successful doctor in town and the mother dropped out of medical school when she became pregnant and has been a stay at home.  What deep, hidden, and dark secrets this family has.

The eldest daughter from across the street disappears and all I will say is that you will think that this book is about, but, it’s a far cry from it.  We go on a journey through each character and when you think you understand what is happening, Sise takes the wheel and jerks you around (in a good way).  I was left with my mouth wide open for the last quarter of this book.  I am still in shock!

So again, this master mind of a twisty, turny novel has earned a 5 star badge of honor from me.  This was just one of the best books I have read in a long time and makes any book I recently rated 5 stars seem like a 3 star novel now.  If you read this PLEASE let me know and comment here, I am DYING to talk about this book with someone! Tune in next week for my advance copy review of The Sisters by Rosalind Noonan.

Book Review: Into The Hollow

Title: Into The Hollow

Author: Lynn Vroman

Format: Ebook (courtesy Netgalley advance read)

Published: 2018

Thank you to Netgalley for the opportunity to read Into The Hollow before its release date of November 6, 2018 (my birthday)!

This young adult novel is set in the town of Poplar Branch, West Virginia, in the holler.  We meet Freedom Paine, 17, who is living in a shack with her younger brother and father.  Neither Free nor her brother attend school or have any friends (in fact, it’s not allowed, it’s almost as if they are in hiding).  Her father goes out and tries to scheme money where he can and is promising them a better life.  There is so much mystery to her living situation and how her mother died. As the book progresses, we start to learn more and more.

We also meet Cole, a senior in high school.  He has been sucked in to the holler life and is desperate to get himself out of there.  His father and brother are in jail, his sister is a high school dropout with a child, and his mother is a junkie.  Freedom catches Cole’s eye and eventually they end up working together at the same grocery store.  They bond over being able to both take home stale food to fill their bare cupboards until Free’s father forbids her to see him anymore.

The characters develop as the story is told.  I also could not help but read this story in my head with a very Southern twang.  It sucked me in and I had to get to the bottom of every situation.  Fair warning, I cried ugly tears twice in this book.

Free’s dad gets involved in a sticky situation and ends up seriously injured.  Free turns to Cole for help and essentially her world falls apart.  Once Freedom has to seek medical attention for her father, the police get involved because there are 2 minor children he has been caring for.  I can’t say much more without ruining the book.  Just know Cole is her constant and is there for her, always waiting, always willing.  It turns out though, Cole needed Freedom just as much as she needed him.  I don’t think I could written a better ending to the journey that Cole and Freedom end up taking together.  I will say there is light for them at the end of the holler.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  It is a solid, fantastic read.  The character development is spot on and the way the story gives us bits and pieces into Cole’s and Free’s lives is delectable.  The author makes you feel like you are about to go on a soul crushing ride when at the right moment she picks you up and leaves you with a smile.  Absolutely terrific read.  Once I got into part 2 I could barely put the book down.  Don’t let the category of young adult fool you, this is a great read for anyone of any age.  Tune in next week for my review of We Were Mothers by Katie Sise!

%d bloggers like this: