Saturday, December 27, 2014

THE ORGAN TAKERS (RICHARD VAN ANDERSON)



BOOK SYNOPSIS:
Failed surgeon David McBride is in exile from the surgical community after making a costly error in judgment. Down but not out, he perseveres and is given a second chance to establish a career in surgery. But, as McBride stands on the threshold of a new life, the malignant underside of his fellow man intervenes. Under the threat of violence, David is forced to perform illegal organ harvests in a makeshift operating room hidden in a dilapidated meatpacking warehouse in lower Manhattan. Unable to resolve the excruciating moral dilemma faced each time he invades the body of an unwilling victim, David McBride fights to free himself from the situation and in the process, loses everything. When he finally loses the last shred of his humanity, he seeks revenge with surgical precision...and instrumentation.
MY REVIEW:
 
Oh-my-word!!!! This was THE most suspenseful, sit at the edge of your seat, harrowing, eye popping read I've had in a long while. The action just never stopped in this novel from the very first page until the very last. I don't remember a book ever holding my attention as much as this one did. My mind kept telling my eyes to read faster and faster, I just couldn't get through it quick enough to know what was coming next. The writing is unbelievable, Richard Van Anderson has given an outstanding performance in The Organ Takers.

The ending was so abrupt that it tells me there is definitely a sequel in the works and I sincerely hope it's not too long before that is forthcoming. I just have to know what happens to David McBride and the others involved in aiding him.

Please, DON'T MISS THIS ONE!!! You'll be doing yourself at great disservice if you do. You won't be able to put this down for a second to even make a cup of tea. Totally enthralling and eye glueing!! I will be highly recommending this one to everyone and anyone who will listen.

Friday, December 26, 2014

UNDERTOW (KELLY COZY)



Book Synopsis:
"Drew Finley was a crime journalist, until his mind couldn't shut out the images of blood and bodies. Alcohol made the images go away, but also ruined Drew's career and innocents' lives.

Drew's eager to make amends and he's got a story that will help him: a profile of a local celebrity who may have been framed for murder. As he digs deeper, he'll uncover secrets and grudges that will put the people he loves in danger."
My Review:
 
I couldn't put this book down. It was suspenseful and exhilirating all at the same time. Coach Jones Cavanaugh is in prison for murdering, Marianne, one of the players on his team and one he was rumoured to be having an affair with. Did he do it? Did he belong on death row for this crime?

Drew Finley was obsessive about this case and had more than a reporter's usual curosity to find out the truth once and for all. He just HAD to know the truth about, Marianne. He went to lengths most people wouldn't bother too in order to research the case. What he found out will thrill you and excite you but you'll still be perplexed.

Kelly Cozy does a fantastic job of keeping the secret right until the very end and I'll tell you, I certainly did not see that ending coming. It literally stole my breath away!! The entire novel keep me sitting at the edge of my seat. I kept promising myself to stop reading at the end of each chapter but would begin the first few lines of the next one and off I'd go again, hour after hour until I was done. Don't miss UNDERTOW, I highly recommend it to everyone.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

THE MISTLE TOE PROMISE (RICHARD PAUL EVANS)



MY REVIEW:

"Elise Dutton dreads the arrival of another holiday season.  Three years earlier, her husband cheated on her with her best friend, resulting in a bitter divorce that left her alone broken, and distrustful. 

Then, one November day, a stranger approaches Elise in the mall food court.  Though she recognizes the man from her office building, Elise has never formally met him.  Tired of spending the holidays alone, the man offers her a proposition.  For the next eight weeks - until the evening of December 24th - he suggests that they pretend to be a couple.  He draws up a contract with four rules: 

1. No deep, probing personal questions
2. No drama
3. No telling anyone the truth about the relationship
4. The contract is void on Christmas Day

The lonely Elise surprises herself by agreeing to the idea.  As the charade progresses, the safety of her fake relationship begins to mend her badly broken heart.  But just as Elise begins to find joy again, her long-held secret threatens the emerging romance.  And she might not be the only one with a secret."

Richard has once again outdone himself with THE MISTLETOE PROMISE.  You just can't help but fall in love with Richard's stories and this one was so unique, I just couldn't put it down.  I could have read it in one sitting but forced myself to make it last over two days.  This comes highly recommended, you won't be disappointed.  It's a feel good story for sure and at this time of year we can all use some feel good.

DEAR NOBODY: THE TRUE DIARY OF MARY ROSE (EDITED BY: GILLIAN MCCAIN & LEGS MCNEIL)



MY REVIEW:
This is the true story of Mary Rose, a young teen-age girl with cystic fibrosis. Her journal entries have been recorded in the book she as she had written them, totally unedited. There is course language as expected since that is the way most teenagers speak these days.

Mary Rose was a brave girl but treated her body shockingly for someone so ill. I guess knowing that she was going to die she figured she had nothing to lose and therefore just went with whatever she wanted. She stumbled through her short life drunk and full of drugs and fighting with her mother and her many abusive boyfriends but still managed to keep going until her death. It was a riveting book which I read in one sitting. Highly recommended for teens.

Friday, December 12, 2014

STOLEN IN THE NIGHT (GARY C. KING)



MY REVIEW:
"A known sexual psychopath. Joseph Duncan had been convicted of raping and torturing a 14-year-old boy in Tacoma, Washington. On the Internet he proudly boasted of his perversions. But the system turned Duncan loose, and no one would stop him from committing an even more horrifying act...

An innocent family. This time, he prepared meticulously. He chose his get-away car. He chose his murder weapon and loaded a video camera. Then, when he saw young Shasta and Dylan Groene playing outside their Idaho home, he struck - killing their mother and her boyfriend, and their older brother...and vanishing into the night with Shasta and Dylan.

A crime that shook the nation. Detectives pored over the bloody murder scene. The FBI scrambled to find the children and the abductor. And even when Duncan was finally located, the story was not yet over: Dylan was still missing...and the depth of one man's evil was still coming horribly to light..."

This true story is absolutely horrifying and shocking! I can't believe that the 'system', time and time again, lets these type of people out of jail. Each time they are let out they re-offend. Once caught, charged and thrown in jail, they serve their time and are again allowed out to re-offend yet again. Something needs to change. New laws need to be put in place to protect these innocent victims. You'll be shocked at what you read in "Stolen in the Night."

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

A MOST INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE (REGINA JENNINGS)



MY REVIEW:

"With few options of her own, nurse Abigail Stuart agrees to marry her patient, a gravely wounded soldier calling himself Jeremiah Calhoun.  They arrange a quick ceremony before he dies, giving Abigail the rights to his Ozark farm and giving Jeremiah the peace of knowing someone will care for his ailing sister after he's gone - a practical solution for both of them.

After the war, Abigail fulfills her side of the bargain - until the real Jeremiah Calhoun shows up, injured but definitely alive, and wastes no time in challenging Abigail's story, Abigail is flummoxed.  After months of claiming to be his widow, how can she explain that she's never seen this Jeremiah Calhoun before?  How can she convince him that she isn't trying to steal his farm?  And will she find a way to stay, even though this practical arrangement has turned into a most inconvenient marriage?"

I loved this book.  Got right into it and didn't stop until I was done.  The back and forth and the love/hate relationship between Abigail and Jeremiah was almost comical but very serious at the same time.  It was a great read and I would have no qualms recommending it to anyone.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

THE SECRET OF PEMBROOKE PARK (JULIE KLASSEN)



MY REVIEW:


Yes, I agree with the author that this is her longest book to date but I'm certainly pleased that it was. For as long as it was, I still didn't want it to end. The intrigue, the suspense, the mystery, the hidden passageways, the secret treasure, a complicated family all made for an extremely compelling read!

Abigail Foster is the practical daughter while her younger sister, Louisa is more inmmature and flamboyant, often ignorning social norms and finding herself in some embarrasing binds. She listens little to the advice of her sister or others. Abigail fears she will end up an old maid, especially since she has little dowry, and the one man she thought might marry her seems to have fallen for, Louisa. Of course, this is difficult on Abigail's heart.

Abigail's father is facing financial ruin and is forced to sell their grand home and is in search for more affordable lodgings when a strange lawyer arrives with an outstanding and unusual offer. "He's offering the use of a distant manor house abandoned for eighteen years. The Fosters journey to imposing Pembrooke Park and are startled to find it entombed as it was abruptly left: tea cups encrusted with dry tea, moth-eathen clothing in wardrobes, and a doll's house left in mid-play.

The handsome local curate welcomes them, but though he and his family seem acquaintd with the manor's past, the only information they offer is a stern warning: Beware trespassers drawn by rumours that Pembrooke Park contains a secret room filled with treasure.

This catches Abigails attention. Hoping to restore her family's finances - and her dowry - Abigail looks for this supposed treasure. But eeries sounds at night and footprints in the dust reveal she isn't the only one secretly searching the house.

Then Abigail begins receiving anonymous letters, containing clues about the hidden room and startling discoveries about the past.

As old friends and new foes come calling at Pembrooke Park, secrets come to light. Will Abigail find the reasure and love she seeks...or very real danger?"

I couldn't put this book down. Sometimes I'd read perhaps 8 chapters then decide to put it down and go and get some housework completed but then would change my mind and pick the book back up and begin reading again. I really couldn't put it down.

I know a lot of people are going to enjoy this one. You've outdone yourself, Julie...congratulations!!!

Thursday, December 4, 2014

LOVE UNEXPECTED (Beacon of Hope) - Book One - Jody Hedlund



MY REVIEW:
If any two people were meant to be together, it's Emma Chambers and Patrick Garraty. But will they ever accomplish this goal?

After surviving a shipwreck with her brother, Ryan, twenty-two-year-old, Emma had no where on this earth to go. No family and no friends and no job. How is she ever going to support herself?

A highly unusual solution presents itself when the lighthouse keeper, Patrick, arrives in town. Patrick had just lost his wife Delia and was left alone to raise their two-year-old son, Josiah. Josiah idolized, Patrick and rarely let him out of his sight. Emma decides to mary, Patrick purely for convenience, to have a place to live. Parick needed someone to care fo Josiah while he worked in the lighthouse and she needed a place to live and sustain herself with food.

Has Emma jumped from the frying pan into the fire by marrying, Patrick so hastily? The stories and rumours she begins to hear about him have her very worried and feeling anxious and unsettled. What has she done? Her lifelong dream of having a family and home may just go down the drain.

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

THE WAY LIFE SHOULD BE (CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE)



HarperCollins|September 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-06-236354-1

''Thirty-three-year-old New Yorker, Angela Russo, dissatisfied with a career that amounts to gliding across a smooth plateau of predictability and fed up with abysmal blind dates, responds to an online personal ad written by Rich, a sailing instructor from Mount Desert Island, Maine. Angela begins to fall in love with the idea of Maine life just as much as she finds herself falling for Rich, and when her career suddenly goes up in flames, she moves to Mount Desert Island. Once she arrives, however, she learns that her vision of perfect New England life - and her perfect New England man - is far removed from reality. Rather than return to New York, Angela rents a rundown cottage and begins teaching an impromptu cooking class (based on recipes from her Italian grandmother). She befriends an eclectic handful of locals and carves out a new identity for herself. Initially, this tale of a lovelorn city girl out of her element feels like another foray into well-covered territory. But Kline (Desire Lines; Sweet Water) has a perfect sense of character and timing, and her vivid digressions on food (recipes are included) add sugar and spice to what could have been a stale premise." (Taken from Publisher's Weekly).

A thoroughly enjoyable read!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

THE STORY HOUR (THRITY UMRIGAR)




HarperCollins|August 11, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN # 978-0-06-225930-1

An experienced psychologist, Maggie carefully maintains emotional distance from her patients. But when she agrees to treat a young Indian woman who tried to kill herself, her professional detachment disintegrates. Cut off from her family in India, and trapped in a loveless marriage to a domineering man who limits her world to their small restaurant and grocery store, Lakshmi is desperately lonely.

Moved by Lakshimi's plight, Maggie offers to see her as an outpatient for free. In the course of their first sessions in Maggie's home office, she quickly realizes that what Lakshmi really needs is not a shrink but a friend, Maggie abandons protocol, and soon doctor and patient become close. Even though they seemingly have nothing in common, both women are haunted by loss and truths that they are afraid to reveal.

However, crossing professional boundaries has its price. As Maggie and Lakshmi's relationship deepens, long-buried secrets come to light that shake their faith in each other and force them to confront painful choices in their own lives.

I don't know how Thrity does it but she tops herself time and time again. I've read every single book she has written thus far and not one of them has been a disappointment. I was so lost and caught up in this story that I literally tuned everything and everyone else right out. This is a a beautiful story of friendship and forgiveness that you won't soon forget. Way to go Ms. Umrigar!

THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS (AMY HATVANY)




Simon & Schuster|September 11, 2013 | Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-1-4516-8813-9


Ten years ago Nicole Hunter left her family home as it was troubled and she was not able to cope with the demands of life with her disabled sister, Jenny. She gave up her therapists practice, moved to a different state, and took a job as a baker. A whole new life.

One day while working in the bakery, she thought she could clearly hear her disabled sister, Jenny say "help!". Nicole thought that odd and wondered if she was really hearing that inside her head or not. A few minutes later the word "help" again came through. Worried that something might be wrong with her sister, who was a resident of a residential care facility she phoned her mother to inquire about Jenny's well-being. When Jenny's mother told, Nicole that her developmentally delayed sister had been raped and was pregnant, the news sent Nicole reeling! Nicole decided she had to go home to help care for Jenny during her pregnancy to make up for the past ten years that she'd almost literally abandoned her. Her guilt meter was off the top.

She and her mother didn't get along all that well and often clashed and they worked around each other in silence. Nicole's mother refused to help care for Jenny at all and left all personal and other care up to Nicole alone.

Eventually, Nicole run's into her old friend, Nova and she finally has someone she can talk too and when she is faced with the most difficult choice of her life, Nicole rediscovers the beauty of sisterhood - and receives a special gift that will change her life forever.

THE LANGUAGE OF SISTERS was a beautifully written story that can be read again and again and again.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS (JOHN GREEN)



Speak|April 8, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-14-242417-9

Sixteen-year-old, Hazel is dying of cancer and is permanently connected to oxygen which she carries on a little wheeled cart behind her. She attends a Cancer Support Group for teenagers where she meets, Agustus, a seventeen-year-old male who is also dying of cancer. At first their friendship is just that, a friendship but over time they begin to fall in love and what a love story it is.

They both end up reading the same book and are quite dismayed when the author leaves the ending to the story blank. It just about drives them crazy not knowing what happens to the characters in the book. Augusts and Hazel write a letter to the author asking him if he'll tell them his thoughts on the proper ending to the book. After much back and forth, the author finally invites them to come to Holland to find out.

Augustus uses his 'One Wish' from the Wish Foundation to get him and Hazel to Holland for a 3-day trip to meet with the author to find out the answers they're both so desperately seeking. Hazel's mother will accompany them on the trip as a chaperone.

Once in Holland their expectations are drastically altered and what they find is devastating to them both. This isn't what they signed up for and are severely disheartened.

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS will make you laugh and make you cry. You'd best keep a box of kleenex next to you while you're reading this one. I read it in one sitting it was THAT good!!! Beautifully written.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

BUTTERNUT SUMMER (MARY MCNEAR)




HarperCollins|August 1, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN # 978-0-06-228316-0

Every summer on Butternut Lake the tourists arrive, the shops open, and the waves lap its tree-lined shores, just as they have for years. But this season everything changes for one mother and daughter who've always called the lake home...

Caroline's life is turned upside down the moment her ex-husband, Jack, strides through the door of her coffee shop. He seems changed - stronger, steadier, and determined to make amends with Caroline and their daughter, Daisy. Is he really different, or is he the same irresistibly charming but irresponsible man he was when he left Butternut Lake eighteen years ago? Caroline, who life is stuck on pause as her fianances are going down the tubes, is tempted to let him back into her life...but would it be wise?

For Caroline's daughter, Daisy, the summer is filled with surprises. Home from college, she's reunited with the father the adores - but hardly knows - and swept away by her first true love. But Will isn't what her mother wants for her - all Caroline can see is that he's the kind of sexy "bad boy" Daisy should stay away from.

As the long days of summer pass, Daisy and Caroline come to realize that even if Butternut Lake doesn't change, life does.

BUTTERNUT LAKE was such an uplifting, pleasant, breezy read. A great book for laying on the beach and soaking up the sun, or sitting in a comfy chair listening to rain pounding on the roof. You'll get lost in the lives of the characters on Butternut Lake and enjoy the banter and relationships that wind their way through from distrust to trust, from uncertainty to love, and from disaster to success. A beautiful story all round.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

HAUNTED (KAY HOOPER)

 
 

Berkley Trade|September 2, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN # 978-0-425-25939-9

How do you make peace with the dead if the dead aren't ready to forgive? The answer lies in the twisting shadows of a small town, and its secrets yet unearthed...

When Deacon Jame's younger sister Melanie calls him, terrified, he goes to her aid in the small Georgia town of Sociable. What he finds is a scared young woman in the grip of what she insists is a paranormal nightmare and murder. Two local men have been killed under mysterious circumstances. And Melanie is the prime suspect.

Trinity NIchols left a high-stress job for quiet, small-town life. But news of the murders has left her and the town on edge, especially when there is nothing remotely ordinary about how the men died. And her investigation is yielding more than she bargained for, including a group of strangers who have descended on Sociable, some with abilities Trinity finds hard to believe, and agendas she refuses to trust. For some reason, they know a lot more than they should about what's happening in town. And what's happening is growing stranger by the minute.

Now Trinity, Deacon, and his odd band of FBI agents must work together to solve a series of disturbances so incredible that Trinity, and the town of Sociable, will be changed forever. She just isn't certain who or what will be left standing when it's all over.

For me, Haunted was a disappointment. It didn't really hold my interest like all Kay's other novels have. I'm usually spellbound by her writings but this story lacked her usual spit and polish and left me feeling hugely unsatisfied. To me it lacked action and was more of a conversation that took place between a group of people taking guesses as to what they thought was going on up on the mountain with the murders and the evil that was responsible for these murders. I just felt a bit ripped off after paying over $30.00 for a book I didn't really enjoy and was disappointed in Kay for the first time, but I suppose we can't always be spot on. Hopefully other people will get more out of this story than I did.

Monday, September 8, 2014

THE RIVER (BEVERELY LEWIS)



Baker Publishing Group | September 2, 2014 | Hardcover | ISBN # 978-0-7542-1245-1





My Review:
 
 
 
Tilly has been gone from her Amish home for eight years now and has been living the life of an Englisher. She uses all the modern conveniences of the English world even driving a red car. Growing up she never had the use of modern conveniences and her family would be so dismayed to see her using them now. But Tilly wasn't treated very well by her Dad all her growing up years, it's like he hated her for some reason and their is a family secret that will be revealed in the story to explain this.

However, even as her English husband has said, Tilly may be English in a lot of ways but she hasn't lost her hard work ethic she learned growing up Amish. "Amish roots are planted deep within her." Tilly is also passing her Amish roots onto their two four-year-old daughters, Jenya and Tavani.

Tilly has received a note in the mail from one of her brothers, Melvin, requesting she return to their Amish home for an anniversary celebration and he wants her to convince her younger sister, Ruthie to come with her. Ruthie is also living the English life but is unmarried and their Dad blames Tilly for as he says convincing Ruth to go English too.

Tilly was unsure as to whether she was brave enough to return home considering the way her Dad has always acted toward her. She and her father just never saw eye-to-eye, and Tilly still felt responsible for the death of another sister at age five and going home would mean perhaps reliving those memories.

Five years after Tilly left for the English world, Ruthie followed in her footsteps. Of course their father blamed Tilly for that. Tilly and Ruth's father, at age 58, isn't doing so very well. His heart is giving up and if he wants to live beyond a few more months, then he would need to have a pacemaker implanted but Melvin and his other brothers feel there is no way their father will go for that. He really needs Tilly and Ruth to come home for this November celebration but hated to use their father's ill health to get them there. What will he do? Even Melvin's wife, Susannah thought Melvin should tell Tilly and Ruth about their Dad's weak heart. Somehow he had to convince the two sisters to come home and who knows, this may be the last opportunity for the entire family to be together at once.

Finally, Tilly and Ruth decide to go home for the celebration with much trepidation. Is it going to be a happy, nice reunion/celebration or one filled will angst and trouble?

THE RIVER is a beautiful read for a nice rainy day. You just hunker down with a hot cup of tea and read away as you'll be captivated from the first page to the last.
 
 

Saturday, September 6, 2014

THE PERFECT STRANGER (WENDY CORSI STAUB)


HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS | July 14, 2014 | Mass Market Paperbound |





Story Description:
 
 
 
In New York Times bestselling author Wendy Corsi Staub's new thriller, one woman finds herself name...

During the darkest period of her life, Landry Wells found solace in a group of bloggers who had been in her shoes and lived to tell the tale. She's shared things with her online friends that even her husband and children didn't know. Things that now, looking back, make her uneasy.

One of the bloggers is dead, victim of a random crime - or was it? Did she trust too easily; reveal too muich? At the funeral a thousand miles from home, Landry is about to come face to face at last with the others. These women are her closest confidantes in the world: they understand her; they know everything about her - and one of them might be a cold-blooded killer...
 
My Review:
 
 
In her usual style, Staub has once again written a sit-at-the-edge of your seat story. I was pulled in from the first page and stayed with it until the very last. You won't be disappointed.

CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE (SAHAR DELIJANI)



Atria Books | June 17, 2014 | Trade Paperback



Story Description:
Neda is born in Iran's Evin Prison, where her mother is allowed to nurse her for a few months before an anonymous guard appears at the cell door one day and simply takes her away. In another part of the city, three-year-old Omid witnesses the arrests of his political activist parents from his perch at their kitchen table, yogurt dripping from his fingertips. More than twenty years after the violent, bloddy purge that took place inside Tehran's prison, Sheida learns that her father was one of those executed, that the silent void firmly planted between her and her mother all these years was not just the sad loss that comes with death but the anguish and the horror of murder.

These are the Children of the Jacaranda Tree. Set in post-revolutionary Iran from 1983 to 2011, this stunning debut novel follows a group of mothers, fathers, children, and lovers, some related by blood, others brought together by the tide of history that washes over their lives. Finally, years later, it is the next generation that is left with the burden of the past and their country's tenuous future as a new wave of protest and political strife begins.
 
My Review:
 
 
A totally spellbinding read for sure! The lives of these people is unbelievable and what they lived through is heartbreaking. I couldn't imagine being born in a prison and then as a mother having my baby literally torn from my arms never to be seen again. THE CHILDREN OF THE JACARANDA TREE is a story that revolves around the children and the suffering they incur due to the political beliefs of their parents. A book that isn't easily put down.

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.
 

Thursday, July 10, 2014

FIVE DAYS LEFT (JULIE LAWSON TIMMER)


Penguin USA | September 9, 2014 | Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-399-16734-8



MY REVIEW:
 
Mara, a lawyer, has been diagnosed with Huntington's Disease. There is no cure and she will eventually lose all control of her body and mind and die. Her husband, Tom, is a dermatologist and they have one daughter, Lakshmi who is five-years-old.

Tom is a patient and kind husband who loves his wife with all his heart but little Lakshmi doesn't understand why her mother falls down and often looks like she's drunk. She is somewhat ashamed of her mother and asks her not to come to her school anymore because the other children tease her and call her mother "a drunk." Mara is devastated and tearful but understands that Lakshmi and other children her age don't know what Huntington's is or how it affects the body. All Lakshmi knows is that her Mom doesn't act like all the other Moms do.

Mara decides that she wants to be in control of her own demise and so begins a list of things she needs to do to prepare to die at her own hand. She is giving herself five days. Mara doesn't want to suffer at the end and doesn't think it's fair to have Tom and other people caring for her very personal needs and decides it would be kinder to herself, her parents and her friends if she was gone before she got to that stage.

Mara gets support from an online community she joined called "Not Your Father's Family Forum" where she has met some nice people but they don't know that she has Huntington's or that she is planning to kill herself. She involves herself in the other people's lives, especially that of Scott.

Scott, a middle school teacher and his wife, Laurie are expecting their own child soon and are currently foster parents to eight-year-old, Curtis. Curtis's Mom is serving a year's jail sentence and will be taking Curtis back upon her release. There are five days left til her sentence ends and Scott has big plans for Curtis over the next five days to celebrate the year that he has lived with himself and Laurie.

Curtis is a troubled boy and gets into lots of problems at school and at home, but Scott and Laurie have been good for, Curtis. Being young they have the patience and understanding to cope with the problems Curtis displays.

Curtis has an older brother who attends university and plays football so he is unable to care for Curtis.

As Scott is excited about his plans for the next five days, Curtis's Mom gets out of jail early and arrives at the school and takes Curtis throwing a complete monkey wrench into all Scott's plans for his last five days.

FIVE DAYS LEFT is a story about what people can and will do under extraordinary circumstances. It's about love, faith, and understanding but also about what it's like to lose control of your life. We all like to be in control and when that control is taken away from us we often find ourselves floundering around not knowing which direction to take.

I couldn't put this book down. I began reading and when I looked back up at the clock I was astonished at how much time had passed by. I expect FIVE DAYS LEFT to be a big hit. I think it would make a great book club pick as there are so many aspects and different issues to be discussed in a novel such as this. I'll be keeping this one as part of my permanent collection as I'll definitely want to read it again.
 

Saturday, July 5, 2014

LITTLE MERCIES (HEATHER GUDENKAUF)


MY REVIEW:
Harlequin|June 24, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-7783-1633-6

Ellen Moore, a seasoned social worker has seen the best and the worst in what one human being can do to another. She has seen things people should never see in their lives but this is her daily reality. Dealing with dysfunctional families, drug addicted parents who beat or neglect their children, alcoholics who leave their children unsupervised and a whole host of other horrible scenarios. The decision to remove a child(ren) from their family home is never an easy one but she takes her job seriously and does what needs to be done. Ellen is lucky as she has the support of her family.

Ellen's husband, Adam is madly in love with his wife and supports her in her work and all her decisions. After a long hard day at work, Ellen looks forward to coming home and holding and hugging her own three children: Lucas, Leah, and Avery.

One particularly busy morning and late for an important meeting, Ellen is rushing around the house trying to get dressed and out the door within five minutes. Being late for this meeting will not be seen in a favourable light as far as her boss is concerned. Finally ready, Ellen dashes out the door and hops into her van and takes off. While on her way, she receives a call about a family in distress and makes a detour to the home to see what assistance she can be and to perform the very job she is hired to do as a social worker. The temperature is stiffling hot and humid and she feels like a washed-out dish rag.

As Ellen is watching the first body bag being carried out of the home, she hears some commotion and breaking glass down the street. When she turns to look down she realizes that people are breaking into her van in broad daylight. Using crowbars and other tools they are smashing the windows out of her van. Ellen takes off on foot and just as she arrives at her vehicle she sees baby Avery, her own child, unconscious, being dragged out of her car and layed on the ground. She'd been locked up in a hot van in the sweltering heat for a goodly amount of time and Ellen wasn't even aware that Avery was in the vehicle with her that morning. She certainly didn't put her in and she didn't notice her in the vehicle as she drove because Avery still sat in a rear-facing car seat.

A neighbour, whom Ellen had had dealings with before through her job began performing CPR while someone called 911. Thus began a nightmare that Ellen wasn't prepared for.

Meanwhile, ten-year-old, Jenny Briard has been living with her father who was well meaning but often irresponsible. Not being able to keep a job nor provide an ongoing home for Jenny to live in but he was good to her. One evening Jenny finds herself totally alone and is forced to live on nothing but a few dollars and her street smarts. The last thing she wants is a social worker, but when Ellen's and Jenny's world's collide, little do they know just how much they can help one another.

While Ellen is charged for leaving Avery in the sweltering car, Jenny is trying to get back to her father. Each of them is living with a great deal of stress and there are some very tense moments in the story.

LITTLE MERCIES is a poignant, powerful, and emotionally charged novel about motherhood and justice. I couldn't put this book down and read it in one sitting, it was just too good to stop for any reason. I even passed up the opportunity to stop for a cup of tea which is something I would never normally do.

Heather Gudenkauf has written a truly spellbinding story that will hold your attention from the first page to the very last.

Thursday, July 3, 2014

A LONG WAY HOME: A MEMOIR (SAROO BRIERLEY)



MY REVIEW:
Penguin Group Canada|June 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-670-06820-3

Five-year-old, Saroo wanted to be with his big brother and decided to tag along to his job working the trains one day foraging for food and selling the toothpaste packs he had. Getting tired, Saroo sat down on a bench to wait for his brother to come back from somewhere but became restless and hopped on a train sitting in front of him on the tracks. Next thing you know he falls alseep and the train is moving! Saroo gets lost and remains lost for the next twenty-five years!

After being placed with a couple of orphanages, Saroo was finally adopted by the Brierley family who lived in Hobart, Australia. He had a wonderful life with the Brierley family and bonded wtih them quickly. They shared many fun times over the years but, Saroo felt he was still missing something and made the decision to try and find his birthmother in India.

Using 'Google Earth' of all things, Saroo spent many, many months searching through Google Earth using the "B" name of the town he could remember living by. Finally recognizing something he thought looked familiar, he got on Facebook where he'd met a guy who was supplying him with information and he was able to confirm the place, Saroo had found what he thought was his hometown.

Soon, Saroo was on a plane flying off to India to reunite with the mother whom he hadn't seen in twenty-five years. This was a beautifully written memoir and I read it one sitting. It's impossible not to read this book in one sitting, you just have to keep turning the pages, the story just flows so well and is so interesting. Well-done, Saroo and congratulations on finding your family, may you enjoy many happy years together.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT (PATTY FRANCIS)



MY REVIEW:
HarperCollins|April 28, 2014|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-0-06-228130-2

Nine-year-old, Hallie Costa is growing up on Cape Cod in Provincetown, Massachusetts when a crime shakes their close knit Portugeuese community. Codfish Silva, the captain of the town's most prolific fishing boat has strangled his wife, leaving behind a solitary witness: their son, Gus. The traumatized boy remains mute until the daughter of the local doctor shows up with her version of a cure: two fish Gus is charged with keeping alive, and a copy of David Copperfield. Hallie returns every day to read aloud until Gus is finally coaxed back to speech. Thus begins a lifelong, almost mystical bond that will evolve from childhood friendship to passion, and finally to a deeper love that will ask more of them than they ever imagined.

Hallie and Gus reconnect and fall in love at age sixteen. By then, Gus is a popular student at the regional school thirty miles away, known for his talent as a quarterback, his high spirits, but most of all for the powerful kindness he exudes. Only Hallie understands that beneath his easy smile, lies his guilt over his failure to save his mother and his fear that he will turn out like his father. An incident on prom night seems to confirm those fears as it shatters the future Hallie and Gus have planned. When Gus catches his best friend making an aggressive pass at Hallie after a long night of drinking on the beach, he reacts with violence that will alter their lives in obvious and unseen ways. The friend is badly beaten, but it is Hallie who suffers a life threatening injury when she tries to intervene.

She survives only to discover that during her long recovery, Gus has made a choice that will shock everyone who thinks they know him and devastate the girl who loves him: He has decided to enter the seminary. Hallie is heartbroken, angry, and confused, but after a few months, she rediscovers the resilience that made Gus fall in love with her. She is not a religious believer, but is determined to live a meaningful life and follows her father into medicine, moves away, and eventually marries.

Gus, meanwhile, finds solace in his work and the few friends who are his new family. However, his hard won truce with the past ends, when Ava Cilento appears at the rectory with injuries that are eerily similar to his mother's. But it is the photograph of her daughter, Mila, that really rattles him. When he looks at the little girl, he feels as if he's staring directly into the pain and vulnerability of his own childhood. In an effort to save them from his family's fate, he becomes more personally involved than he should; and when Ava disappears, leaving a horrifically bloody crime scene, Gus is charged with her murder.

Fate brings Hallie and Gus together again; this time at Gus's trial, and it is clear that nothing - not their mutual resolve, nor the thirteen years they've been apart - has changed their passion for each other. Gus is convicted and sentenced to life in prison, while Hallie suffers a different kind of exile; the loss of her marriage and the life she has worked so hard to build. Bereft, she returns to the austere beauty of Cape Cod to take up her father's practice. She writes to Gus many times, but eventually gives up when she receives no reply. It is only after Gus receives a troubling message from Ava's daughter, Mila, that he breaks his silence and contacts Hallie, asking for help. Little does he, or Hallie, realize that Mila holds the key to the truth and to his freedom.

Told in three voice: Hallie's, Gus's and Mila's, THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT is a novel of suspense, betrayal, and the different ways we find transcendence and meaning in our lives. But most of all, it is a gorgeous and unforgettable love story that spans several decades.

I felt that the above synopsis from the Chapters website could do the review justice much better than I could. This was an unbelievable story and one that I won't soon forget. I couldn't believe how quickly the time was passing as I was reading. I just kept turning page after page after page. I believe THE ORPHANS OF RACE POINT is going to be a big seller.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

THE GLASS KITCHEN (LINDA FRANCIS LEE)



MY REVIEW:
St. Martin's Press|June 17, 2014|Hardcover|ISBN: 978-0-312-38227-8
THE GLASS KITCHEN was a beautifully written, whimsical, and absolutely charming novel.

Portia Cuthcart's grandma owned a restaurant called The Glass Kitchen in Texas where patrons came to dine and get exactly what they needed. Grandma had "the knowing" and had three recipe books with recipes and sage advice written down in them. She would get "feelings", which she referred to as the "know" of certain meals she should prepare. These "knowings" were like an incessant itch that she couldn't scratch and had to rush immediately to cook up the meal or dessert she got "the know" about. Once made, she'd sit back and wait to see which customer or person came in requesting such a meal.

One day, Portia vowed to move to Manhattan, New York and open up The Glass Kitchen with her two sisters, Olivia and Cordelia. When Grandma dies and her Aunt Evie dies in Manhattan and leaves her an apartment there, Portia makes her move.

Portia becomes involved with the man upstairs in her duplex. Gabriel is a widow and has two teenage daughters. Things begin to heat up and soon a promise made to her sisters forces Portia back into a world of magical food and swirling emotions. What seems so simple on the surface is anything but when long held secrets are revealed, rivalries exposed, and the promise of new love stirs life like chocolate mixing with cream.

THE GLASS KITCHEN was absolutely impossible to put down. And, even at 373 pages I read it in one day. I just kept wanting to know: "...and then what happened, and then what happened." I couldn't stop myself. Don't miss out on this delicious and stirring novel. There aren't enough stars to rate this one!!
 

Friday, June 27, 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.
 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY (RICHARD C. MORAIS)



MY REVIEW:
Scribner|August 9, 2011|Trade Paperback|ISBN: 978-1-4391-6565-2

"That skinny Indian teenager has that mysterious something that comes along once a generation. He is one of those rare chefs who is simply born. He is an artist."

And so begins the rise of Hassan Haji, the unlikely gourmand who recounts his life's journey in Richard Morais's charming novel, THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY. Lively and brimming with the colors, flavors, and scents of the kitchen, THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is a succulent treat about family, nationality, and the mysteries of good taste.

Born above his grandfather's modest restaurant in Mumbai, Hassan first experienced life through intoxicating whiffs of spicy fish curry, trips to the local markets, and gourmet outings with his mother. But when tragedy pushes the family out of India, they console themselves by eating their way around the world, eventually settling in Lumiere, a small village in the French Alps.

The boisterous Haji family takes Lumiere by storm. They open an inexpensive Indian restuarant opposite an esteemed French relais-that of the famous chef Madame Mallory-and infuse the sleepy town with the spices of India, transforming the lives of its eccentric villagers and infuriating their celebrated neighbor. Only after Madame Mallory wages culinary war with the immigrant family, does she finally agree to mentor young Hassan, leading him to Paris, the launch of his own restuarant, and slew of new adventures.

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY is about how the hundred-foot distance between a new Indian kitchen and a traditional French one can represent the gulf between different cultures and desires. A testament to the inevitability of destiny, this is a fable for the ages-charming, endearing, and compulsively readable.

I don't have much to add to the Chapters synopsis of the book above other than to say that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel. I think Madame Mallory had a lot more to do with Hassan's success than everyone suspects, she was a very well-known and well respected chef in her time. I'll admit that I had no idea what half the dishes described in the pages of this book were but some of them sure sounded good and ones I'd certainly give a try. That is, if someone else cooked them for me! This is a book that would appeal to a large audience of folks and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.