Book Review · Books

How To Make A Life

If you love family sagas then you need to go grab a stunning copy of How To Make A Life. This novel tumbles you first into Ida’s world, the old country, the Ukraine. Due to the first war she escapes off to America with her two young daughters, where she works to build a brand new life for them. Ida can’t wait to put away the horrors of the war behind her.

This novel touches on the tough subject of mental illness and how society has viewed it through the decades and how family members can view it very differently. Would you be strong enough to call it out when a family member may need help instead of keeping quiet since you speak out loud just may bring shame on the family?Another subject that is focused on is sisterhood. When is being a sister go from caring to usury?

Each chapter gives the point of view from a different family member through different eras. Join Ida, Bessie, Jenny, Ruby, Morris, Irene, Abe and others on their adventures through life.

I received my complimentary copy of How To Make A Life by Florence Reiss Kraut from She Writes Press, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. I love the cover of this book. I have a soft spot for WWII books and this cover gives off the rustic, charming, 1940’s antique look. It makes me feel like I could walk right out onto the cover and be there with the characters.

Book Review · Books

In The Neighborhood Of True

Ruth Rob moves to Atlanta from New York after her father passes. Living with her grandparents, along with her mom and sister is different. Her grandparents are well off and into social status. Ruth is plain Jane, but wants to fit into the new social circle she’s trust into at her new private school. Her mom is not wanting her daughter to get into the whole debutante scene that she ran away from herself. She wants her daughter to keep her independent self intact, not become a fufu sheep.

Ruth has her own secret she holds to her heart. Her Jewish faith. When Ruth decides she wants to participate in the social ball her mom makes her agree to going to the local Temple with her. There Ruth meets Max. He’s a tad quirky, but he’s not Ruth’s crush, Davis whose part of the fufu crowd at school. Both teen boys vey for her attention.

Diving into life in Atlanta in the late 50’s is fraught with social clashes between Jews, whites and blacks. When an awful event happens, Ruth has to determine which teen boy is worthy of her. Is Davis all true charm? Is Max just nerdy, or is there more depth to him? Will Ruth ever come clean about her own beliefs?

This novel delves into the ugly topic of racism in the south in the 50’s. This book’s description of this era is spot on. Written charmingly, details so accurate I want to put on bright classy red lipstick and a cute skirt with a cardigan. There are details in this novel I wanted to jump up to Google because it sounded so unique I wondered if it was truly something from that era.

I received my complimentary digital copy of In The Neighborhood Of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton from Algonquin Books, Care of NetGalley. The views expressed are mine and my own choice. This book is hard to put down. It handles the topics within it honestly, raw and with grace. I hope the author will choose to write a sequel.

Books

The Depth Of Six Feet Under (SPOILERS)

Last night I pretty much finished my fourth round of watching Six Feet Under all the way through. Each time I do a different character stands out to me. This round didn’t disappoint.

If you haven’t ever watched this highly popular HBO drama, then you are missing out. The only warning I have is there is a hearty dose of colorful language, nudity, violence and of course different death scenes at the start of every episode. If you find funeral homes fascinating, then do proceed.

A quirky family that owns a funeral home in Los Angeles. You’ve got the three offspring. One is following in their father’s footsteps (David), the elder son who escaped before getting sucked into the family business (Nate) and the youngest, Claire whose moody, artistic and still in high school. Their mother, Ruth is a repressed woman who secretly is having an affair with her hairdresser. Their father, Nathaniel, Sr. is engrossed in his family business with occasional time with his kids. When the father is in a fatal accident his sons have some big choices to make. It doesn’t help that it happens on Christmas Eve.

This show delves into the psyche of the different characters. This fourth watch had me change my angelic like view of Nate and how the character Brenda gets royally screwed over ultimately after she worked through her own issues, to focus on staying true and present with Nate and his young daughter, Maya. I saw the realistic representation of a person off their antidepressant medication through Billy’s character. Seeing Ruth’s character blossom after she grieves her husband’s passing is epic. Not only does she deal with deep grief, but menopause. David’s character is very adolescent like at the start when he’s still coming out to himself and learning his self worth and confidence. I still can’t say I’m a fan of Keith. Claire is one of my favorite characters. She’s moody, but how she comes into her own throughout the show is inspiring.

This time around the character that stood out to me most is Brenda. She’s a complex character whose always been thrown into the motherly role with her brother since her academic parents are too, obsessed with their clinical work. Billy is a ball of ranging emotions he helps curb with medication and having Brenda at his beck and call. When Brenda attempts to create her own life without Billy being front and center it doesn’t go over well. Brenda loves Nate, but commitment feels foreign and scary, so she acts out different fantasies. After a turn of events she chooses Nate and they marry, but sadly things aren’t as they seem.

This show deals with topics that are very adult. The subject of death is the central theme with other topics that range from suicide, marriage, divorce, domestic abuse, mental illness, coming out, children and more. I don’t know why I love this show so much. It never fails that anytime I hear the end finale song I’ll bawl my eyes out. I think I love how deep each character is in their own weird, twisted way. This show can be challenging to stomach at times, but to me the end result shows just how important family relationships are and that dynamic can be varied.

Book Review · Books

The Moonglow Sisters

Some books are life changers. Some stories take you down a long dark tunnel that is scary as Hell, but the story stays with you, to comfort and guide you to the end where your life becomes that much brighter. This story is one of those gems.

Gia, Shelley and Maddie were as close as three sisters could be until the night their bond was destroyed and they each went their own, separate ways. Five years pass and Gia gets a strange letter from their grandmother. Her request of Gia is to reunite the sisters. Gia is not quite sure if their grandmother’s request will be heeded, but she can try. Who knows if Maddie, or Shelley will come back to home base?

The C word is scary, ugly and something none of the sisters want to face, but all three show up. Wether or not their bond is able to be mended is still out for debate, but Gia hopes Maddie and Shelley will try. In order to help spur the truce along, Gia has a nuts idea to help get them to finish the quilt. The dang quilt tied to the day that reunited their sisterhood, but will Gia’s plan work?

Follow Gia, Shelley and Maddie as they embark on a journey of self discovery, challenges, hopes, dreams and the occasional road block. Hear from each sister, from their view of what transpired to ruin their sisterhood and what might be their saving grace. Can these sisters redeem their sisterhood?

I received my complimentary copy of The Moonglow Sisters by Lori Wilde from William Morris, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a copy for your own click here and to read more about the lovely author here.

This novel was EPIC. I didn’t want to finish this lovely, deep, challenging family drama. Each character was unique and I could see myself in each one. Gia, the youngest who is the ever peace keeper. Shelley, the free spirit and Maddie, the eldest who took her big sister role seriously. You will step into their lives and not want the last page to arrive.

Book Review · Books

The Sea Of Lost Girls

I love when I discover a new author whose writing style I can just dive into and can’t put down. The Sea Of Lost Girls is a story that will naw at your mind and heart after you’ve finished the final page.

Tess is a teacher at a fancy boarding school that her husband works at as well. This boarding school has a unique past of originally being a place for wayward girls to be sent to. Her son Rudy attends there and has a girlfriend Lila who seems to be a great influence on him. Life seems like its perfect until the night Rudy asks Tess to come pick him up from their safe spot and Rudy’s girlfriend is found dead later that early morning.

Who killed Lila? Tess is sure it can’t be Rudy. He loves his girlfriend. Yes, he has anger issues, but not to the point of murder. Tess wants to uncover who killed Lila, but in sleuthing she discovers there’s more to the sordid history of the boarding school. Is there something to maiden stone?

I received my complimentary copy of The Sea Of Lost Girls You by Carol Goodman from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and of my own choice. To grab a gorgeous copy visit HarperCollins and find out more about the author.

Book Review · Books

Cross Her Heart

Lisa’s life is finally getting into a great rhythm with her daughter Ava. She has a great job, landed a big account at work and has the best friend ever in her coworker, Marilyn. Ava is turning into a classic surly teenager with attitude. She can’t understand why her mom is so protective of her. Ava is practically an adult, can’t her mom are that? Lisa knows they can get through her daughter’s rebellious phase.

One afternoon at a local town fair Ava saves a little boy who falls into the river. Being on the high school swim team has it’s perks. Ava swallows up all the attention while Lisa is trying to avoid being a part of the spotlight.

The affects of Ava’s heroism turn Lisa and Ava’s world upside down when people come looking for someone named Charlotte. Whose Charlotte? Does she know Lisa? Does Lisa know her? Are things as they seem for Lisa and Ava?

I loved Sarah Pinborough’s young adult novel 13 Minutes. Cross Her Heart is even better. For fans of Gone Girl, this new book by Sarah will definitely become a new all time favorite. I already want to read it again. If you adore suspense and psychological thrillers then this is a must read.

I received my complimentary copy of Cross My Heart by Sarah Pinborough from William Morrow, care of TLC Book Tours. The views are mine and my own choice to post. Pick up a copy here and learn more about the author. I thought I was a big fan of Sarah Pinborough, but after reading Cross Her Heart, I’m now an avid fan and am going to read her other novels.

Book Review · Books

The Years After You

Lily is in love with her 20 years older boss, Harry. The challenge is that he has a wife, Pippa and two teenage sons. Harry adores Lily and wants to be with her all the time. She doesn’t want him to leave his wife, though she loves when she gets Harry all to herself. When Harry starts to get paranoid and stalk Lily, will she notice this disturbing change in him?

Told between alternating views between Lily, Harry and Pippa you are taken on a tour-de-force of what happens in a marital affair. The author, great niece of Virginia Woolf, Emma Woolf writes with such vividness inside each character’s head that I felt as though I was there witnessing all that happens with Harry and Lily’s office romance.

I received my complimentary copy of The Years After You by Emma Woolf from Amberjack Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views are mine and of my own choice. The topics covered in this novel aren’t easy to stomach. The topic of marital affairs isn’t pretty and is down right uncomfortable, but in today’s world life happens. We all make different choices that have consequences beyond our own vantage point.

This novel brings to life the nitty gritty of what happens when flirtation migrates to sex. I highly recommend this novel. It’s a deeper novel than merely being just about an affair, but to find out more you have to go grab a copy. I will definitely be looking out for more novels by Emma Woolf.

Book Review · Books

The Six Gifts Part 1: Secrets

Olivia has an NDE when she is three by almost drowning. She sees this white light, feels peace and love, but then she’s rescued out of the pool. Through the years she longs to discover that peace again. Olivia is so desperate for this peace she felt she attempts to drown again, but it doesn’t work.

When Olivia marries Marco they build a life in NJ until she becomes mysteriously sick. At first her husband feels she’s exaggerating, but when he starts to get the same symptoms they go to the doctor. After many visits they find out their was a pipe leak and they were being slowly poisoned. This leads them to move to a new state for a fresh start, but to Olivia she begins to feel caged. Olivia and Marcos have two sons. One still close with them and the other estranged.

Via social media Olivia discovers her old high school boyfriend was in a fatal crash. Even though she’s long over this ex, Olivia decides to go on a cross country adventure with one of her dogs to his funeral. Marcos is leery of her going alone due to her health, but Olivia feels she has to go. Not only to pay her respects to her ex, but to do some healing regarding her family’s past before Marcos came into the picture.

This is Olivia’s adventure with her dog Tucker. Will she come to terms with her past? Will Olivia ever feel better? What really is ahead for her?

I received my complimentary copy of The Six Gifts Part 1: Secrets by Christie K. Kelly from Bruce Farr Publishing, care of Smith Publicity. The views expressed are of my own free will and strictly mine. This novel is rich in characters, location description (who doesn’t love the beauty of Colorado?) and a story that will have you begging for more. I know I’m wanting to continue reading more. This novel is fiction with a possible dose of magic.

Book Review · Books

Where Hope Begins

Some beautiful book covers are just that. Beautiful. The innards don’t always mirror the outer. Where Hope Begins by Catherine West is a book I asked to review because I thought the cover was gorgeous. The cover didn’t remotely prepare me for the depth of the story waiting for me.

Savannah is a mother still reeling from the untimely passing of her eldest daughter when her husband, Kevin, decides he wants to separate. He had an affair and decides to move out to go live with the other woman. To help herself heal and move forward, Savannah decides to go stay at her parent’s cabin.

She discovers she has nice neighbors to keep her company. One of the neighbors is Maisy, a little girl who looks so much like her late daughter. Savannah is captivated by Maisy’s Dad, Brock, not realizing who he actually is. Through her neighbor’s friendship she begins to heal her broken heart. Brock’s Aunt Clarice keeps Savannah on her toes spiritually, seeming to know so much without Savannah having to say a word.

Savannah feels like her life is finally showing signs of healing when Kevin wants back in. Will Savannah let him? How can you forgive someone you love and trust after betrayal? Is it possible for a family to be repaired? Can a family move forward after the loss of a child?

This novel tackles so many tough topics that are realistically portrayed through Savannah’s story: marriage, betrayal, death, faith, love, hope, family, relationships, friendship and more. This novel will stick with you long after the last page. I wish there was a sequel. Better yet a movie.

I received my free paperback ARC copy of Where Hope Begins by Catherine West for free from TLC Book Tours care of Thomas Nelson in exchange for honest review. To learn more about this talented author check out her website and buy a copy from Amazon.

Book Review · Books

A Sin Such As This

If you love reading novels by Ellen Hopkins then you will love A Sin Such As This. This sequel to Love Lies Beneath finds main character Tara married to doctor Cavin Lattimore. Tara is ready to move beyond her previous home in San Francisco to Lake Tahoe where her husband and stepson, Eli live.

Tara is glad to have a fresh start with Cavin, though she is not used to having a stepson whose quite the charmer. The atmosphere in her new home is a bit rocky with her niece Kayla living with them and dating Eli. Tara doesn’t trust easy, but does her best to trust both her new husband and her stepson. Her niece is a different story.

Life takes a turn when she realizes her husband’s ex fiancé, Sophia lives too, close for comfort for her tastes. Cavin says he’s over her, but when Tara keeps encountering her at Cavin’s office, her concerns rise.

Does Tara have anything to worry about in regards to Sophia? Will Eli keep his libido in check? Why is her sister, Melody acting strange all of a sudden?

This book sheds light on integrating two families, cultures and what happens when people we think we know aren’t all they seem. I received my free ARC copy of A Sin Such As This from TLC Book Tours care of Atria Books. If you haven’t read book one have no fear. I haven’t and was able to follow the storyline along just fine. This book had hot scenes, humerus one’s and nail biting ones. To buy a copy click here for Amazon and to contact Ellen Hopkin’s check out her website. Now I’ll want to go read the first book in this series.