Wednesday, May 9, 2018

By the Book

35297218An English professor struggling for tenure discovers that her ex-fiancé has just become the president of her college—and her new boss—in this whip-smart modern retelling of Jane Austen’s classic Persuasion.
Anne is determined to score a position on the coveted tenure track at her college. All she’s got to do is get a book deal, snag a promotion, and boom! She’s in. But then Adam Martinez—her first love and ex-fiancé—shows up as the college’s new president.
Anne should be able to keep herself distracted. After all, she’s got a book to write, an aging father to take care of, and a new romance developing with the college’s insanely hot writer-in-residence. But no matter where she turns, there’s Adam, as smart and sexy as ever. As the school year advances and her long-buried feelings begin to resurface, Anne begins to wonder whether she just might get a second chance at love.

I must first confess, that I have never read Jane Austen's Persuasion.  When I realized the novel was based on this well loved novel I was excited to give it a go.  But when I saw some negative reviews for this book I was nervous to pick it up.  However, maybe because I had never read Jane's original novel, I really loved this book!  I thought it was delightful and heartwarming.  The characters felt realistic and I was invested in Anne's story.  I can understand that some may not like this sort of fluffy, quick read, but for me it was pretty perfect.  If you are looking for a light, fun read I would highly recommend this book.  And because I liked it so much, I may just have to pick up Persuasion later this year. 

Friday, May 4, 2018

Just Between Us

34964995Alison, Julie, Sarah, Heather. Four friends living the suburban ideal. Their jobs are steady, their kids are healthy. They’re as beautiful as their houses. But each of them has a dirty little secret, and hidden behind the veneer of their perfect lives is a crime and a mystery that will consume them all.

Everything starts to unravel when Alison spots a nasty bruise on Heather’s wrist. She shares her suspicions with Julie and Sarah, compelling all three to investigate what looks like an increasingly violent marriage. As mysterious injuries and erratic behavior mount, Heather can no longer deny the abuse, but she refuses to leave her husband. Desperate to save her, Alison and the others dread the phone call telling them that she’s been killed. But when that call finally comes, it’s not Heather who’s dead. In a moment they’ll come to regret, the women must decide what lengths they’ll go to in order to help a friend.

Just Between Us is a thrilling glimpse into the underbelly of suburbia, where not all neighbors can be trusted, and even the closest friends keep dangerous secrets. You never really know what goes on in another person’s mind, or in their marriage.

What a ride!  I picked up this book when I was struggling a bit to find anything that kept my interest and this was exactly what I needed.  It kept me up reading at night, which few things do these days, and I would sneak in a couple pages whenever I found the chance.  The four main characters in the story were easy to relate to in many ways.  They seemed like the friends many moms have once they have children.  I have read a couple reviews that found the change in narration confusing, but I didn't have any problems.  If I forgot for a second, the page heading displayed who was narrating and I was right back on track.  I would classify this book as a domestic thriller, which I tend to love because there is character development, along with a fast-paced timeline.  If I had one complaint, it would be that I had to suspend belief for a few of the decisions/actions of the characters.  I didn't always think it was how people would behave, but in some ways that's exactly what this book is about.  I had suspicions early on about what was happening, and while I was correct, there were still enough details in the why that left me shocked.  I will be on the hunt for more novels like this is the future, it's what makes reading books so enjoyable!

          * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Thursday, April 19, 2018

The Other Girl

The Other Girl
Officer Miranda Rader of the Harmony, Louisiana PD is known for her honesty, integrity, and steady hand in a crisis—but that wasn’t always so. Miranda comes from the town of Jasper, a place about the size of a good spit on a hot day, and her side of the tracks was the wrong one. She’s worked hard to earn the respect of her coworkers and the community.

When Miranda and her partner are called to investigate the murder of one of the town’s most beloved college professors, they’re unprepared for the brutality of the scene. This murder is unlike any they’ve ever investigated, and just when Miranda thinks she’s seen the worst of it, she finds a piece of evidence that chills her to the core: a faded newspaper clipping about that terrible night fifteen years ago. The night she’d buried, along with her past and the girl she’d been back then. 

Until now that grave had stayed sealed…except for those times, in the deepest part of the night, when the nightmares came: of a crime no one believed happened and the screams of the girl they believed didn’t exist.  Then another man turns up dead, this one a retired cop. Not just any cop—the one who took her statement that night. Two murders, two very different men, two killings that on the surface had nothing in common—except Miranda.

I read this fast-paced crime novel in under 24 hours and it delivered in most ways.  Even though the novel is short, I did feel invested in the characters.  The author was really able to tell us a lot in a small amount of pages, which I am always grateful for.  I felt terrible for Miranda and just wanted to help her make everything right.  Just be warned, because their are only a few characters introduced, I had ideas throughout the book of what I thought.  I was right and wrong, which was fun to feel like I solved a piece, but was still surprised.  This was a first time read author read for me, but I wouldn't hesitate to pick up more titles by Erica Spindler.      

 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Before We Were Yours

Before We Were YoursMemphis, 1939. Twelve-year-old Rill Foss and her four younger siblings live a magical life aboard their family’s Mississippi River shantyboat. But when their father must rush their mother to the hospital one stormy night, Rill is left in charge—until strangers arrive in force. Wrenched from all that is familiar and thrown into a Tennessee Children’s Home Society orphanage, the Foss children are assured that they will soon be returned to their parents—but they quickly realize that the truth is much darker. At the mercy of the facility’s cruel director, Rill fights to keep her sisters and brother together—in a world of danger and uncertainty.

Aiken, South Carolina, present day. Born into wealth and privilege, Avery Stafford seems to have it all: a successful career as a federal prosecutor, a handsome fiancé, and a lavish wedding on the horizon. But when Avery returns home to help her father weather a health crisis, a chance encounter leaves her with uncomfortable questions—and compels her to take a journey through her family's long-hidden history, on a path that will ultimately lead either to devastation or redemption.

Based on one of America’s most notorious real-life scandals—in which Georgia Tann, director of a Memphis-based adoption organization, kidnapped and sold poor children to wealthy families all over the country—Wingate’s riveting, wrenching, and ultimately uplifting tale reminds us how, even though the paths we take can lead to many places, the heart never forgets where we belong.

Lisa Wingate has done it again!  Even thinking about this book brings up strong emotions.  It's hard to imagine that anything like this could have ever taken place, but it did and it makes me plain angry.  While this was a fictional account, I totally believe these events could have happened.  This book was a reminder that we have to watch out for those in this world that cannot fight for themselves.  We have to protect them and be their voice.  I couldn't get over the fact that people knew this was happening and turned a blind eye.  I understand that money drives people, but to even imagine that someone could do this to children to make a profit is unfathomable.  This story was beautiful and heartbreaking, a recipe for an amazing novel.  It needs more attention and I highly recommend you find a copy soon! 

 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

The Girl from the Sea

The Girl from the Sea 

A chilling suspense story of wounded hearts and dark secrets.

Washed up on the beach, she can’t remember who she is. She can’t even remember her name. Turns out, she has an idyllic life – friends and family eager to fill in the blanks.

But why are they lying to her? What don’t they want her to remember?

When you don't even know who you are, how do you know who to trust?

I feel conflicted about this book so my review may seem all over the place.  I thought the setup was good, maybe a little unbelievable, but that's okay.  From there the story was interesting, but was just missing something for me to really dive in.  My biggest complaint was probably the lack of character development, so I always felt a little detached.  I wanted more dimension.  While I did think the twist was interesting, it sort of made me dislike the characters even more.  However, if you like a good twist that you probably won't guess and don't care about dimensional character, I think this is a great book for you.  I have since read another title by this author and enjoyed it, so I will continue to pick up her books when I see them.

        * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

After the Lie

After the LieOne little lie can make one big difference …

Lydia has the ‘right’ kind of friends, her children are at the ‘right’ kind of school and she’s married to the ‘right’ sort of man – kind, steady, reliable Mark. Her wedding business is flourishing and even though she is at loggerheads with her mother, she couldn’t ask for anything more from life.

But the truth is that Lydia has been lucky. She has been living a lie for years and Mark has no idea who he is really married to. But nothing lasts forever and the past has a funny way of catching up with the present. When the person who knows all of Lydia’s dark little secrets turns up at the school gates, his presence threatens to blow Lydia’s life apart.

What is Lydia’s terrible truth? Once the secret is out, you can’t put it back … 

I must confess, I read this book awhile ago and I'm struggling to remember much about the story, which reminds me why I gave this book only 3 stars.  In the beginning, I thought the story had a lot of potential, but as time went on, I really disliked Lydia.  I just found her character to be annoying.  She just made terrible decisions, over and over.  Then the "lie" was exposed and the book just never recovered for me after that.  Without saying too much, while I understand her hurt and frustration, I didn't think the secret justified the victim part that Lydia chose to play for the rest of her life.  I appreciated the message of the story, but I just thought it could have been so much better if Lydia felt like how I believe an actual person would respond.  

 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *

Monday, January 8, 2018

Awaken: 90 Days with the God who Speaks

Awaken: 90 Days with the God who SpeaksThe choice of a devotional book is more personal than most. This kind of reading is not merely for the purpose of leisure and enjoyment. No, with this kind of resource you’re expecting and praying for something more. You want to hear from God, receive His direction, and be refreshed in the depths of your soul. Only God’s Word can do that.

So you need to choose wisely.

With her first devotional book, Priscilla Shirer makes your choice easy. For even though she’s written multiple best-selling books and Bible studies, including the 2016 ECPA “Christian Book of the Year” (Fervent), even though she regularly speaks to thousands at conference venues and churches around the world, even though she was the lead actress in a #1 box-office feature film (War Room) . . . It all starts for Priscilla where it all starts for you.

Alone with God. Alone with His Word. Eager to hear His voice. Prepared to humbly and obediently respond. She hopes, more than anything else, that the daily insights you receive in these pages will challenge, encourage, and strengthen you in every way.

These ninety devotions from the heart of a mom, wife, encourager, and friend will Awaken you each day with fresh insights gleaned from the Spirit of God. Ready to help you mine the treasures of Scripture and fortify you for the day ahead.

Priscilla Shirer is amazing so I knew this devotional would be the exact same.  I had just finished her Armor of God Bible study at church so I was really excited to pick this up.  I loved it, I really did.  However, the Armor of God study blew me away so I was hoping for just a bit more.  That is probably unfair because these are not meant to be meatly, long studies each day.  Even so, I would highly recommend this as a daily devotional, along with anything else Priscilla puts out there!

 * I received this book from the author/publisher in exchange for an honest review *