Book Review: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Title: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls

Author: Anissa Gray

Format: Advance Reader Copy Paperback

Published: 2019

TheCareandFeedingofRavenouslyHungryGirls

This is the debut novel from Anissa Gray which was recently released on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.  Thank you to Berkley Publishing for the advance reader copy in exchange for my honest opinion.

This is an emotional, raw read.  We meet the Butler family, all of whom have to been to hell and back, and get a glimpse into the life of an American family.  The eldest sister, Althea, and her husband, Proctor, get arrested for running a charity scheme where they were taking the money and using it on themselves.  Their own daughter turns them in.  Yikes.

Althea goes on a personal journey while she is in jail and I can’t help but feel heartbroken for this broken woman.  While she is on the inside, her sisters Lillian and Viola are left to pick up the pieces with their twin daughters.  Lillian is doing all she can but can’t reach them and desperately needs Viola.  Each sister is facing ghosts from their past and through the book they work through them.  Just when you thought no one was there for you, your family ends up being what you need.

I felt so much emotion while reading this book, yet, I felt something different for each character.  Sometimes I was angry and sometimes I was sad.  After finishing this book I had to just breathe for the day before I picked up another.  I don’t feel it is a heavy read, however, it does pull at the heartstrings.  I really liked how Gray ended the book.  

We see the internal problems each character have become resolved in a manner that is absolutely appropriate for the book.  Loose, flowing ends are tied up into an appropriate bow. **I would like to note that there is no clear cut problem with a resolve, it is a story that just flows.  If you are looking for a clear cut beginning, middle, and an end with conflict resolution of an issue, this is not the book for you.  If you enjoy a book that flows and tells a tale and is a book you can reflect upon, read it!**

4 star read for me.  The vernacular used on the characters in this book was also so spot on I felt like I was transformed from my living room into theirs.  There is the use of some foul language so if you are easily offended this may not be the book for you, however, it is absolutely appropriate in each setting it is used in.  If you enjoy stories about families and the struggles they face, this book is for you!

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Book Review: Before We Were Yours

Title: Before We Were Yours

Author: Lisa Wingate

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2017

 

A co-worker lent me this book and I am so glad she did!  This is not a book I would pick up on my own if a trusted colleague told me this was a good read, I am taking their word for it…and this book drew out a few tears from me!

The basic synopsis of the story is based off a true life scandal which is absolutely heart wrenching.  Five siblings are living on the river with their parents.  Their mother is pregnant and goes to the hospital with their father and while they are gone, people come and take the kids, saying their parents sent for them.  They take the children into a home and place them for adoption with wealthy families.

Yes, these people stole children, ended up finding the parents and having them sign over their rights, and then sold the children to make a profit.  Disgusting.  We follow their lives through the adoption agency (where they aren’t treated nicely) and when they get adopted out (and what eventually happens to the agency).

The book is told from 2 perspectives; 12 year old Rill going through the process of being stolen and adopted in the late 1930s/early 1940s and present day Avery Stafford, a born into wealth and privilege woman with a budding career in politics.  Avery starts to suspect something may be off with her grandmother and starts to do some investigative work.  I don’t want to say much more because that will ruin the surprise of the story.

I will add there is the perfect touch of romance in this story.

This is a 4 star read for me.   It is a gut punching, sad, true life read that you can’t help but end up smiling at the end.  Despite the horrible events that happen surrounding children, it still makes you feel good with the present day ending.  Some family secrets are scandalous, and this certainly is one, but, in the end it is one of pure happiness.  You won’t regret picking this book up for yourself!

 

Book Review: Believe Me

Title: Believe Me

Author: JP Delaney

Format: Hardcover

Published: 2018

 

Costco.  Costco always sucks you in and lets you leave with things you didn’t really need.  For me that was another book, Believe Me.

We meet our protagonist Claire, a struggling actor who has made her way to America from Great Britian.  She is here in not the greatest of legal terms, so her work is fairly limited.  To make ends meet she ends up taking a job with a firm of divorce lawyers and she goes out and acts as an interested woman to see if the husbands will cheat.  Let’s make it clear, she never acts beyond meeting them in a public place.

Everything is going ok for Claire until the woman of her last decoy attempt is murdered in her hotel room.  Claire immediately becomes a suspect.  After several grueling hours she is set free and ends up working with the police to try and frame her husband.  She goes through psychological testing and training to catch who Dr. Latham, a forensic psychologist, calls a serial killer.  We go through the months of Claire of getting close to a possible killer, trying to draw out a confession, if at all.

I felt this book was written from the get go with the ending in mind. It felt rushed and the ending was quick in climatic action and then just ended. The book kept my interest but the writing in the middle of the book fell flat to me. Granted, I did not see the ending coming, it did surprise me, however, it felt very far fetched and just happened. Again, it felt like the twist ending was planned before the beginning and middle of the book.

The book is also written in a screenplay-type format too. It was a little weird at first but I guess since Claire is an actress, it fits the bill.

I am giving Believe Me a 3-star rating. This was also a re-release, it was originally published in 2002 with the title The Decoy by Tony Strong. If someone lends you this book go ahead and read it, you’ll be entertained. If you have something else on your to be read list, read that first. Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? I felt this book had a lot of hype around it that I just didn’t see. At least I managed to be surprised with the ending! Tune in next week for my review of Bad Blood by John Carreyrou.

Book Review: The Suspect

Title: The Suspect

Author: Fiona Barton

Format: Netgalley Advance Reader Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

 

The Suspect officially is released on Tuesday, January 22nd, so go ahead and place your pre-order for this thriller now!  Thank you Netgalley for the advance copy in exchange for my honest review!

This is a story about Kate Waters, a newspaper journalist, who comes across the story of 2 local girls missing on a trip in Thailand.  The parents are worried wrecks and are trying everything they can to reach the girls.  They agree to talk to Kate and she starts to write about them in the paper and then the day no one was looking forward to comes.  The girls are found.  They’re dead.

This suddenly becomes the hot story and Kate is on her way to Thailand to investigate.  She has created a bond with the parents and she is the only one they like talking to.  Kate has been a journalist for years and has all kinds of connections and is doing all she can to help these parents find closure, while writing the best story she can.  They find out the girls died in a fire that the Thai officials deemed an accident.  Things seem off and Kate starts to investigate more only to be hit with a shock herself.

Kate has a few skeletons of her own in her closet.  One of those skeletons is that her son has been living in Thailand himself for the past 2 years after he dropped out of college.  The police say there was a witness to the fire and he is being treated at the hospital.  Kate rushes over to try and talk to the witness but arrives too late, he has already left.  The nurse eventually breaks down and tells Kate the name of the patient.  It’s her son.

Kate now has a rocky relationship with the families when they discover her own son was at the scene of the crime and has vanished.  Kate is dismissed from the story and goes on her own investigation to see what her son, if anything, had to do with the fire and possible murder of these 2 girls.

Kate is an absolute detective when it comes to her investigating.  The newspaper wants her to rest and take time off to wrap her head around what is happening, however, she needs to find her son.  While she is no longer writing stories about the girls, she is in investigation mode full force, using her journalist ties to get to the bottom of the mystery.

This was a solid 4-star read for me.  I found the book to go a little slow in the middle, but I was interested enough to keep reading.  The story line is well planned out and keeps your interest.  I had to know where her son was and why he was hiding.  I enjoyed the story being told from the girls, as well as the journalist.  It paints a picture at how they ended up dead.  I did not expect the ending to turn out the way it did, I was blind sighted.  Tune in next week for review of The Lies We Told by Camilla Way.

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Book Review: The Au Pair

Title: The Au Pair

Author: Emma Rous

Format: Netgalley Advance Readers’ Copy Ebook

Published: 2019

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Kensington Books for the opportunity to read The Au Pair before its release on January 8, 2019 in exchange for an honest, impartial review.

Wow.  What a crazy, wild ride I just went on.  There was so much going on in the last part of the book I am still in shock.  Currently I am suffering from a book hangover, I’m sad this book is over and I just cannot pick myself up and move on just yet.

The premise of the story is about a wealthy family who lives in their grandmother’s home; The Summerbourne House.  This family is about to uncover a web of secrets that they aren’t sure they can handle.  When the “Summerborn Summerbourne” twins were born, there was a lot of mystery surrounding it.  To top it all off the mother killed herself on the day her twins were born.  Only picture from the day of their birth can be found and the mother is only holding one child; which one and why was only one in the photo?

Before any questions can be answered, the family is faced with another tragedy as their father suddenly and unexpectedly passes (albeit 25 years later).  Seraphine, one of the twins, takes it upon herself to find answers about the day of her birth by seeking out the only person who could have them, the au pair who was there that day taking care of her older brother.

I did not see how this story was being played out.  We have an older brother and a set of twins and the author does a fantastic job at weaving the stories of the children in and out.  One cannot possibly guess what is going to happen with them until the very end of the book.  I could hardly put this book down.  So.  Much.  Happens.  At.  The.  End.

I usually am a fast reader but at the end of this book I had to slow down to keep up with what was happening.  It all comes to the surface at once.  You have to brace yourself, take deep breaths, and prepare yourself for what Seraphine will finally uncover.  Have no fear when it comes to the end, The Au Pair treats us with a fitting ending and an even more appropriate epilogue.  YES!

This is a must read, 5 star book.  It flips from the au pair telling her story in 1992 to Seraphine telling her story in the present day.  The puzzle starts to be put together, but, there are still key pieces missing until the very end which always makes for a great psychological read.  This definitely keeps you guessing and your brain will explode when the truth comes to light at the end of the book.  Wow.  I am just elated that we found out what really happened on the day the twins were born and what came of the truth being set free 25 years later.  Don’t miss out on this read!  Tune in next week when I review an advance copy of The Elephant in the Room: One Fat Man’s Quest to Get Smaller in a Growing America by Tommy Tomlinson!

 

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Book Review: Restoring Christmas

Title: Restoring Christmas

Author: Kate Kasch

Format: Kindle through Voracious Readers Only

Published: 2018

 

Thank you to Voracious Readers Only for letting me get my hands on this lovely holiday read!  I enjoyed every single minute of this book and I’m looking at you Hallmark to turn this in to a movie next year!  Fair warning right now, if you don’t like the typical Hallmark Christmas movies then pass over this review because you won’t like this book.  If you’re a sucker for a predictable holiday romance, this book is for you.

The story starts out innocent enough, we meet two sisters, Gretchen, an aspiring photographer who works at a bar, and Adrienne, a workaholic at Morgan Lynch.  They both have not spoken to each other and years and when they both receive a red letter at their door steps, they realize they have to.

Their parents died 4 years ago, right before Christmas, in a car accident.  The tragedy did not sit well with the girls and Adrienne took off, leaving her world behind as she knew it.  She moved to New York City and began a new life.  Gretchen also moved to New York City, trying to make a life for herself, always hoping to make it big.  They both never let the house go and as it turns out, never paid taxes on the house in a year and it was going to be sold unless they came up with $25,000 by the end of the year.

They go back to their hometown in Connecticut and see the disarray the house has become.  They get the idea to decorate their home back up for the holidays and try to win the grand prize of $25,000 and keep the house.  Being back in their hometown, Adrienne re-encounters her ex-boyfriend, whom she just up and left without saying goodbye to 4 years ago.  He ends up coming to her rescue with a friend to help them get the house back into tip top shape.

The girls start to get help from the community and realize what an impact their parents had.  They feel guilty for ever parting ways and start to mend their relationship.  We also get to see a relationship bloom with Gretchen and Adrienne’s ex-boyfriend’s best friend.  Will sparks fly between Adrienne and her ex?  Mind you, she has a current boyfriend.

Without ruining too much (and again, this book IS predictable) I was a little disappointed in the end.  I was rooting for Adrienne and I did not feel I got enough out of it for her.  Gretchen hit the jackpot, which, good for her, she’s struggled for a few years, but, ugh, I was just hoping for more for Adrienne!

This is a 4-star book from me, provided again, you love the super cheesy holiday books.  It is a heartwarming story to see 2 estranged sisters come back together for a good ause.  Their parents would be so proud.  If you’re looking for a feel good story with a touch of romance, this book is for you, read it now!  Tune in next week for yet another holiday book review of The Christmas Wish by Tilly Tennant.

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Book Review: Christmas Glitter

Title: Christmas Glitter

Author: Ann B. Harrison

Format: Kindle

Published: 2017

 

In July, my mother got me addicted to Hallmark Christmas movies.  I decided this holiday season I would read some cheesy, Hallmarky novels and enjoy myself.  What I learned is that it is impossible for me to read a holiday romance novel in more than 1 sitting, it just doesn’t work.  I end up staying up until the book is finished, which is ok with me!

Let’s get one thing straight, yes, this book is absolutely predictable, just like every single Christmas Hallmark movie ever made.  The story is just plain adorable and had me sucked in.  This is also part of a series so guess what I’ll be reading in my near future!

This is the story about the super hunky soccer player, Adam, who moves back to his hometown to help his parents while his father recovers a heart attack and a woman, Dakota, who owns a fancy upscale, unique jewelry business.  Dakota recently suffered an injury in a car accident and can no longer craft how she used to and came to this small town to try and reinvent herself, while swearing off men.

Adam and Dakota meet when she goes to pick up the keys to her rental home.  Adam is stepping in for his father with his real estate business and instantly there is a connection.  They continue to bond over trying to save a dance hall in the town and Dakota steps up and leads fundraising efforts.

Dakota and Adam are doing everything they can to remain friends.  Dakota has to remind herself that he’s going to be leaving soon and going back to the world of soccer, so she is trying not to get too attached.  Everyone around them can see they are perfect together, so why do they keep denying it?

There are some grammatical errors in this book that make you stop and re-read what you just read to try and make sense of it.  Aside from that, this book is for you if you love and adore Christmas Hallmark movies.  In fact, Hallmark, this book needs to be made into a movie STAT!

This is a 4-star book from me, provided you love the super cheesy holiday romance.  If you are not into that at all, just skip over this book or pass it along to your Hallmark loving friend!  It is such a cute, sweet story and now I need to read the other books in this series to see what happens with the others in the story!  Tune in next week for yet another holiday book review of Restoring Christmas by Kate Kasch.

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