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Saturday, August 30, 2014

COLLIDING WITH DESTINY (SARAH JAKES)



Baker Publishing Group|September 2, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7642-1289-5

Story Description:
 
Find a fuller, richer life by letting God direct your destiny.

The story of Ruth is a journey of transformation. By allowing God to transform her circumstances, Ruth went from a widow who would be excluded from society to a wife with a secure and protected future, a future that ultimately paved the way for the birth of King David! Her story is full of collision--loss, heartache, poverty, even shame--but she she never let her past define her. Instead, the most painful time of her life became her most pivotal, propelling her to a destiny she never imagined.

Perhaps you have a past you're struggling to overcome. If disappointments, whether a result of your own choices or the actions of others, have kept you from being your true self, this book is for you. Follow Ruth's life and discover the hope available to each of us. Your yesterday does not have to dictate your tomorrow.

Despite your past pain, you, too, can find redemption and restoration.
My Review:
 
Unfortunately, I was sorely disappointed in Colliding With Destiny, it's not at all what I expected. Perhaps had the format been different I would have enjoyed it more but I found it difficult to get through the way it was written.

I expected to read the entire story of Ruth and then find comparisons, questions, comments and the like after the story had been told, not snippets from Bible chapters with commentary written inbetween. It just wasn't what I was hoping for in this particular book.

I'm sure, however, that there are a lot of you out there who love this format and will undoubtedly love the book and I wish you much luck and enjoyment with it.

I would like to thank Graf-Martin for the sending me a copy in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

NEVER KNOWING (CHEVY STEVENS)



St. Martin's Press|May 22, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-250-00931-9
Story Description:
 
From the acclaimed author of "Still Missing" comes a psychological thriller about one woman's search into her past and the deadly truth she uncovers.

All her life, Sara Gallagher has wondered about her birth parents. As an adopted child with two sisters who were born naturally to her parents, Sara did not have an ideal home life. The question of why she was given up for adoption has always haunted her. Finally, she is ready to take steps and to find closure.

But some questions are better left unanswered.

After months of research, Sara locates her birth mother - only to be met with horror and rejection. Then she discovers the devastating truth: Her mother was the only victim ever to escape a killer who has been hunting women every summer for decades. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out about her father is him finding out about her.

What if murder is in your blood?

NEVER KNOWING is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman's quest to understand herself, her origins, and her family. That is, if she can survive...
My Review:
 
Imagine finding out that your birth father is known as the Campside Killer! That's just what poor Sara Gallagher comes to learn when she launches a search for her birth parents. After locating her birth mother at a nearby college and learning the truth about who her birth father is, Sara must fight tooth and nail to survive and protect her little girl, Ally, at the same time.

NEVER KNOWING was a fast-paced compelling read that had my heart pounding throughout the story. I never knew where we were going to end up next and if Sara was going to make it or not. This was one book I just couldn't put down. Chevy Stevens certainly knows how to write a psychological thriller and you won't be disappointed. I'll definitely be looking for more of this author's work.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

THAT NIGHT (CHEVY STEVENS)



St. Martin's Press|June 17, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-250-05751-8
Story Description:
 
As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni, is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she's doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy - not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But in That Night by Chevy Stevens, the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all.
My Review:
 
That Night was a phenomenal read that I just couldn't put down. I read it in two days it was that good. I kept telling myself just "one" more chapter but would read 5 or 6 more, I couldn't stop myself.

The terrible outcomes of bullying ring loud and clear in this novel. People just don't realize the damage that bullying does until it's too late. There are a lot of emotions wrapped up in bullying and the fear is very real and the feelings can and do last a lifetime and often have sad endings as in this story. Bullying leads to all sorts of difficult situations that make it impossible for the one being bullied to get out of.

For eighteen-year-old Toni Murphy, the competition in keeping up with sugar n' spice sweet sister is difficult. Toni has problems with just about every relationship she encounters and finds it hard to cope.

Toni is adamant that she did not kill her sister, Nicole. But if she didn't, who did?

You'll have to read the novel to find out, but if you've been bullied yourself in your life, be prepared because the story will bring back some hard to deal with memories. It's plainly obvious that Ms. Stevens did a great deal of research for this novel and it shines through in her writing. You will be truly frightened in certain chapters as you read along. This would make a great book club pick because there is so much than can be discussed.

GOOD GRACES (LESLEY KAGEN)




NAL Trade|May 1, 2012|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-451-23665-4
Story Description:
 
"To this day, my sister insists it was nothing more than the unrelenting heat that drove us to do what we did that summer, but that's just Troo yanking my chain the way she always has. Deep down, she knows as well as I do that it wasn't anything as mundane as the weather. It was the hand of the Almighty that shoved us off the straight and narrow path..."
 
Whistling in the Dark- a national bestseller-captivated readers with the story of ten-year-old Sally O'Malley and her sister, Troo, during Milwaukee's summer of 1959. Now it's one year later, and Sally, who made a deathbed promise to her daddy to keep Troo safe, is having a hard time honoring her vow. Her sister is growing increasingly rebellious amid a string of home burglaries, the escape from reform school of a nemesis, and the mysterious disappearance of an orphan-events that have the entire neighborhood on edge. And in that tense, hot summer, Sally will have to ground her flights of imagination, and barter her waning innocence, in order to sort the truths from the lies to protect her sister and herself.
My Review:
 
I totally fell in love with Sally and her younger sister, Troo. The story is told through the voice of Sally who is very smart, charming, witty, and full of integrity.

The summer of 1960 Milwaukee is the setting for this beautiful story and I was wishing I could somehow crawl through the pages of the book to be there and tag along with Sally and Troo.

Poor Sally works so hard to keep her father's deathbed request that she watch out for and protect, Troo. Sally takes on this responsibility with seriousness, almost to the detriment of her own pleasures in life. Sally is well-mannered where, Troo, is bossy, mouthy, and constantly stirring up some type of drama or trouble.

Good Graces is actually the sequel to ''Whistling in the Dark'' which I also recommend you read. However, each can be read as stand-alone novels as Kagen has made enough references from the first book that you wouldn't miss the message of this story. All-round a great read that I'll definitely be recommending to my book friends and family.

SWEET WATER (CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE)



SWEET WATER (CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE)
William Morrow|July 1, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-236100-4
Story Description:
 
Cassie Simon is a struggling artist living in New York City. When she receives a call from a magistrate telling her she has inherited sixty acres of land in Sweetwater, Tennessee, from her grandfather, whom she never knew, she takes it as a sign: it's time for a change. She moves to the small Southern town where her mother, Ellen, grew up - and where she died tragically when Cassie was three.

From the moment she arrives in Sweetwater, Cassie is overwhelmed by the indelible mark her mother's memory left behind. As she delves into the thicket of mystery that surrounds her mother's death, Cassie begins to discover the desperate measures of which the human heart is capable.
My Review:
 
I must say that I was sorely disappointed in Sweet Water. I've read other works by Kline that far exceeded my expectations of the novel before I even began to read. For example: "Orphan Train" was a phenomenal read.

Sweet Water lacked luster and polish and felt as though it had been written by someone other than Kline herself. The most disappointing part was the ending of the story. There I was merrily reading along, turned the page and DONE! Where was the rest of the story?

Overall, Sweet Water wasn't a horrible book by any means, but it certainly fell short of Kline's usual top-notch writing.

Monday, August 18, 2014

AMERICAN BLONDE (JENNIFER NIVEN)



AMERICAN BLONDE (JENNIFER NIVEN)
Plume/July 30, 2014/Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-452-29821-7
Story Description:
 
A fearless and spirited pilot conquers Hollywood. Now can she survive movie stardom?

In 1945, Velva Jean Hart is a bona fide war heroine. After a newsreel films her triumphant return to America, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer promises to make her a star. They give her a new life story and a brand new name. As "Kit Rogers," she navigates the movie sets, recording sessions, parties, staged romances, and occasional backstabbing that accompany her newfound fame. She also navigates real-life romance, finding herself caught between a charismatic young writer and a sexy and enigmatic musician from her past. But when one of her best friends dies mysteriously and the most powerful studio in the world launches a cover-up, Velva Jean goes in search of the truth - risking her own life, as well as her heart, in the process.

Set during Hollywood's Golden Age and peopled with a cast of unforgettable characters, American Blonde will mesmerize readers of The Chaperone as well as fans of the Velva Jean series.
My Review:
 
Velva Jean Hart was considered a war hero in 1945 when she returned to American and was caught on the newsreels that very day.

Once home in her mountain cabin, a man from MGM shows up asking her if she'd like to enter into a movie contract. Velva Jean has always been a singer and nothing pleased her more than belting out a song. One of the big draws at MGM was singing lessons so Velva Jean jubilantly takes up his offer and off she goes to Hollywood.

Hollywood didn't think Velva Jean Hart was a very fitting actresses name and thus changed it to Kit Rogers. When Hollywood gets wind of the fact that Velva Jean was a WASP and war heroine who saved her own brother from the enemies and that she herself had suffered harsh treatment, the newsreels never stopped rolling which catapulted her to stardom in the eys of the American people.

Kit's first role as an actress is portraying a woman named Betsy Ross in a war movie that MGM hopes will become a box office hit slamming their profit up into the millions. As part of her contract with MGM, Kit receives singing lessons and acting lessons and meets everyone from stage hands to script writers to directors to fellow actors and actresses. One actress she becomes deeply friendly with is Mudge, a.k.a. Barbara Fanning.

One night at party her best friend, Barbara turns up dead! Although MGM doesn't want their name tarnished and try to clear up some details about the death they don't want the police to know, Kit is not going to allow that to happen. Kit knows she will lose everything she has worked for if she continues snooping around trying to get to the truth but she doesn't care. Barbara was too good a friend to have died in a supposed lie and Kit is just not going to allow that to happen. Although she is trhreatned, underwent suspicious accidents and other dangerous things, her own honesty and commitment to her friend, Velva Jean is stronger. She will soon find out just how tough she really is when she is pushed too far.

American Blonde was fast-paced and one of those books where you keep telling yourself "just one more chapter" before stopping for the day. I couldn't put the book down and one night I even got back out of bed to return to my reading room as I had been at an integral part of the story when I stopped for the night that I couldn't sleep for thinking about it.

There is no doubt whatsoever in my mind that American Blonde is yet another hit and bestseller for Ms. Niven. Way to go!

Thursday, July 31, 2014

IN DOUBT (DRUSILLA CAMPBELL)



MY REVIEW:
Grand Central Publishing | August 26, 2014 | Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4555-1033-7

I have read every book Drusilla Campbell has written and all of them have been top caliber and IN DOUBT was no different.

So, Sophie Giraudo is a defense attorney who has just opened a new practice in San Sebastain, California. She desperately needs new clients to pay the bills for all the new furniture and plush carpeting she just purchased. It isn't long before Sophie gets her wish when a quiet, introverted teenager named, Donny Crider, shoots the Governor at a crowded venue with lots of witnesses. He was arrested on the spot.

Sophie is intriqued as to why a seemingly quiet, layed-back boy would commit such a crime. Against the wishes of family, co-workers, and friends, Sophie decides to take on Donny's case. She knows it's going to be difficult to defend the boy but she delves in head-on vowing to learn all she can about this boy.

Obtaining the information she needs to mount a defense almost blows up in her face after meeting, Donny and discovering he is not a talker and not one to divulge information that could possibly save his own life. His mother is a nightmare and his father has been absent from his life for fifteen years.

According to the Prosecutor, this kid doesn't have a leg to stand on and is going to jail for a long, long time. Can Sophie somehow find a way through all the muck and mire to mount a proper defense to help, Donny?

In Doubt did just that, kept me in doubt throughout the entire story. I always think most books end up the way we think they should but not all. Read this one to find out what happens, it'll shock you to your core.