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!

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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!

Book Review: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

Title: How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method

Author: Randy Ingermanson

Format: Kindle ebook

Published: 2014

In case you haven’t heard, November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). If you choose to accept the NaNo mission, you try to write 50,000 words of a novel in–you guessed it–November. Some writers just sit down and write (“pantsing” – for writing by the seat of your pants), while others make detailed outlines that cover every plot detail. Then there are the rest of us, who, like Goldilocks, want a solution that’s neither too hot nor too cold. And speaking of Goldilocks…

She is the main character in the business parable that makes up the bulk of Ingermanson’s ebook, How to Write a Novel Using the Snowflake Method. Goldilocks goes to a fiction writing conference to learn how to make her dream of writing a novel come true. She tries Papa Bear’s outlining seminar, but outlining is too structured for her. She tries Mama Bear’s workshop on writing “organically,” i.e. pantsing, but that doesn’t work for her either, so she ends up in Baby Bear’s workshop on the Snowflake Method. What follows is about 40,000 words of Goldilocks’ adventures with various fairy tale characters as she learns how to plan her novel using the Snowflake Method.

As a beginning fiction writer, I’ve found the Snowflake Method exceptionally helpful for thinking through my first novel, and Ingermanson’s book presents it in a way that’s both fun and informative. We learn how to go from a one-sentence summary to a complete list of scenes using a method that provides just the right amount of structure. We also get to see the Big Bad Wolf as a literary agent (yes, really) and Robin Hood as a loveable sleazeball. There’s even a murder, because, you know, fiction needs to have conflict.

The book ends with a summary of the Snowflake Method and the snowflake for the book itself, so readers can see exactly how the method works with a real book. If you’ve ever thought about writing a novel–or if you just want to learn more about fiction writing and how novels are structured–join Goldilocks, Baby Bear, and the Big Bad Wolf for some edifying fun. 5 stars!

Book Review: The Truth Waits

Title: The Truth Waits

Author: Susanna Beard

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Legend Press for the opportunity to read The Truth Waits before its release on November 1, 2018 in exchange for an honest review.  Please make sure you come back HERE to Book In The Bag on November 9th for an exclusive stop on Susanna Beard’s blog tour!

We meet our protagonist Anna, who appears to be a depressed workaholic.  She resides in England, but, decided to take an extended work trip to Lithuania, where her factory that makes her clothing line is located.  She unfortunately gets stuck in Lithuania due to the volcano that erupted in Iceland and ends up having to extend her stay.  She goes out for a walk on the beach and ends up discovering the body of a dead girl washed ashore, with whom she becomes obsessed with.

Through all the chaos, she hesitantly meets a friendly couple, Gavin and Charlotte, at the hotel bar and ends up talking to them.  Through sitting and talking with this couple she also gets introduced to Will, whom she takes a liking to.  They end up spending a week together while stranded in Lithuania and continue to see each other in England, where they both reside.  Will ends up moving in with her and we see a strange, distant relationship blossom.

It ends up that both Anna and Will have some deep, dark secrets.  In the end both are innocent enough, however, as you are reading your mind takes you to crazy places with what is going on.  I was upset in the beginning of the book because it seemed too predictable and that the book was going down a path of a substandard thriller.  I was so wrong.

This book kept me hooked and became a quick read for me.  I had to know what was going on and I became as obsessed with the dead girl Anna found on the beach as she did in the book.  This was a captivating thriller that I got swept away in.  I appreciated the closure at the end of the book and through all the darkness, we were given a happy ending.

This is a solid 4 star read for me.  It comes out next week so pre-order it now, you won’t be disappointed.  Beard does not disappoint in this fast-paced thriller.  Be warned, if you are looking for a book that you will be able to put down to go to bed at night, this is not the book for you.  She captivates you and makes you believe that you don’t need to sleep for the night, you need to find out what is going on with Anna and Will.  Tune in next week for my review Into The Hollow by Lynn Vroman.  But more importantly don’t forget to come back in 2 weeks on Friday, November 9th for Beard’s stop HERE on her blog tour!

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Book Review: The Victims’ Club

Title: The Victims’ Club

Author: Jeffery Deaver

Format: Kindle Single Edition

Published: 2018

Being an Amazon Prime member, I get access to 10 books at a time that I can check out of the Kindle library for free.  I wanted to explore a Kindle Single story and chose this one.  Overall, it took about an hour to read which is great if you are looking for a quick read.  I would not recommend reading this in anything but one (or two really close together) sittings.

What was awesome about this story was you pretty much dove right in to the meat and potatoes.  A university professor was at a party off-campus when she was drugged and compromising pictures were taken of her and spread around campus.  It is up to the job of Jon Avery, private investigator, to figure out whodunit.

You can tell the author has experience and knowledge in law enforcement because he hooks you in.  Right away Avery has taken the case over from a colleague who has to go out of town.  The experience Avery has shines right through and is up against a lot of odds.

Avery feels everyone around him knows who committed the crime, however, no one wants to speak up.  Avery feels that even the college knows who was involved.  The college essentially threatens him that if he goes public with accusing any star athletes of such a crime, he will be punished.

Since this is a Kindle Single, the story is so short we find out who did it quickly.  Honestly, I had no idea it would take the twist it did at the end.  The way that Deaver penned this story was done just so remarkably, you will leave thinking there is hope that not everything is corrupted in this world.  Our protagonist was able to delicately seek out the truth and pull out information from people most people would not be able to.

I am giving this book 4 stars.  I enjoyed this short story and was left feeling as if I read an entire novel.  There was certainly a beginning, climatic suspense, and ending which can sometimes be difficult within a short story.  I felt all the necessary information was presented in the book and you are left satisfied.  Tune in next Thursday for my review of The Truth Waits by Susanna Beard!

Book Review: Lifeline

Title: Lifeline

Author: Abbey Lee Nash

Format: Kindle Edition

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Hidden Gems for the free copy of Lifeline in exchange for my honest book review!

What a solid read. This book takes us on the journey of a popular high school jock, Eli, who thinks he is untouchable.  He’s the lacrosse captain with the hot girlfriend and thinks he can use drugs whenever he chooses and can stop whenever…then he overdoses and loses everything.  This story takes us on his journey in rehab.

At first, he annoys the crap out of me because he’s being an idiot and not taking anything seriously.  As his time in rehab grows, so does he and I think it really shows how in denial you can be that you have a problem.  This would be an amazing read for any teenager to see it through a teen’s perspective on drug use.

I felt that this book was realistic and did not try and sugar coat anything.  Eli was essentially forced to go to rehab or be faced with crazy charges against him.  As his story plays out over 28 days, I can only imagine how hard it would truly be, especially for someone who does not think they have a problem.  We also learn how Eli’s past led him to where he is today and what he needs to do in order to achieve a better life.

I am sure that there are many teens out there where this is their life and maybe reading this book could help someone.  Even if you aren’t a teenager this book is still enjoyable.  It was very satisfying and I enjoyed how the story played out (even if it bugged the crap outta me in the beginning, however, it gave time for the character to grow).  I felt this book was real and honestly, wouldn’t be bad as required book for young minds to read.  You won’t regret picking this up to read!

I am giving this book 4 stars.  I enjoyed journey Eli went on and enjoyed the friends he made while in rehab.  There were some very tough times, especially when they left the facility, and the fact that those are brought to light shows extensive knowledge on the subject matter at hand.  Abbey Lee Nash did a remarkable job with her penmanship showing how addiction is a disease, life long struggle, and how it ultimately affects everyone around you.  Very powerful.  Tune in next week for my review of a Kindle Single, The Victim’s Club, by Jeffery Deaver.

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