Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts
Showing posts with label book review. Show all posts

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Review of No Less Days by Amanda Stevens

Imagine spending your entire life—centuries—thinking you’re the only one. David Galloway did. He couldn’t die. He was sentenced to a life of eternity on earth, passing his time by avoiding any relationships that would end up leaving him alone. Again.

One day, a story on the news grabs his attention. This man should be dead! Could it be he isn’t the only one?

This storyline was quite thought-provoking as it explored the downside of living forever on this side of Heaven. All the goodbyes. The loneliness. So many memories—many painful. The strong bond between the characters was wonderfully heartfelt. But once the characters were established, the story began to lag. In many places the author chose colorful wordiness over pace and depth. There was also a lot of telling vs. showing.

Perhaps the author plans a sequel. That would be the only good reason to leave so many dangling plot lines. There is an intriguing twist near the end that leads to many questions but goes nowhere. If this is a setup for the next in a series, it should have been developed more to make the reader want to find out.

Overall, the pace was much too slow for my liking. The characters weren’t fully developed. It had potential to be a truly great story, however, it just didn’t come together.

I received a complimentary copy of this book via NetGalley. My review is voluntary and contains my own thoughts and opinions.

Friday, March 30, 2018

All We Ever Wanted by Emily Giffin - A Review

Nina, a middle-class woman, married rich and became richer. Their son has been accepted to Princeton. Tom, a single dad, lives on the other side of town. Lyla, Tom’s daughter, tries hard to fit in at the expensive private school she attends on a scholarship.

Windsor is shaken when a scandalous photo circulates among the students—and parents—of the prestigious community. When her son is accused of taking the photo of Lyla, Nina’s life becomes intertwined with Tom’s as they try to protect Lyla from a situation that doesn’t seem to bother her. In fact, she is drawn to Nina’s son.

In one vivid scene, I felt like I was reading child porn. I’m uncomfortable with details of teenage sex meant to titillate. There is some language that might be offensive to some.

As I got farther into the story, I kept waiting for something else to happen. Eventually, something did. I would have liked the story keep building. Still, it kept me turning the pages.

The story is broken up by chapters into POVs of Nina, Tom, and Lyla. I really liked the main characters. Had it not been for the “child porn” scene, and had there been a couple more plot twists, I would have given it five stars.

Release date: June 26, 2018
I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Shadows of Hope by Georgiana Daniels

A story of hope in the aftermath of inconceivable betrayal and broken dreams

 What if. . .
. . .you struggled with infertility but unknowingly befriended your husband’s pregnant mistress?

What if. . .
. . .the woman you were seeing behind your wife’s back gets pregnant, threatening your job and marriage?

What if. . .
. . .your boyfriend never told you he was married and you discover you’re pregnant?
Crisis pregnancy worker Marissa Moreau suspects her husband is cheating, but little does she know how close to home her husband’s infidelity hits. College student Kaitlyn Farrows is floundering after a relationship with her professor leaves her pregnant. Soon she lands a job and a support system at the local pregnancy resource center and things seem to be turning around. But when Marissa and Kaitlyn become friends, neither one knows they share a connection—Colin, Marissa’s husband and Kaitlyn’s former professor. When their private lives collide, the two women must face the ultimate test of their faith and choose how to move forward as they live in the shadows of hope.

This story had me clinging to my tablet—a real page turner. The emotion packed into each character oozed right off the page. Amid such turmoil, there remains hope throughout. The author gives food for thought, allowing us to see room for forgiveness in this heartbreaking dilemma. The MC, Marissa, holds tightly to her faith as she looks for answers to how—or if—her marriage can be saved.

Shadows of Hope is ideal for a book club. as there are questions following the story to guide your discussion.

The story is told from the POV of each of the three main characters: the infertile wife, the cheating husband, and the pregnant girlfriend. This book is well edited. The pace is wonderful. I will gladly read more from this author.

I thought about giving it four stars because I would have liked a few more twists and turns, and I felt the tiniest bit unsatisfied with the ending. But I went with five since I really loved the story so much I couldn’t put it down!

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Review of With You Always by Jody Hedlund

With You Always is book #1
in the new Orphan Train series
by Jody Hedlund,
kicked off with the e-novella
An Awakened Heart.

 New York 1850s: A financial crisis has left widows and children begging in the streets. Some women have even turned to prostitution as a last resort to feed their starving children. Luckily, for the Neumann sisters, a mission has provided the eldest with a seamstress job to provide for her famil.

In the throes of a gang war on the streets, Elise depends on the wealthy Thornton Quincy to help her rescue a blind beggar. The young Quincy abandons his urgent business to assist in securing the safety of the women sheltering at the mission. He is given a quick view of life on the other side of the tracks, vowing financial support for the mission. Unfortunately, he goes on with life and forgets about his vow.

Eventually, the financial crisis hits home again for Elise—the sewing work that had provided an income for so many at the mission came to an end. She is forced to look for another means to support her family.

Elise Neumann only sees one way to save her family—leave the others in the care of the mission’s founder and board an “orphan train” to the Midwest, hoping to land a good job as a seamstress and send money home for her sisters. Her goal is to someday reunite her family.

Thornton Quincy, son to one of New York’s wealthiest businessmen, crosses paths with Elise a second time when he finds her aboard a train taking him to a new town he is developing in Illinois.
Elise and Thornton are from two very different worlds. Can they work together to make things better for the workers in Quincy, Illinois? Will Elise find a way to reunite her family before it’s too late?


Introduced in the free novella An Awakened Heart, Elise Neumann is a strong young woman of high character who faces life’s hardest challenges with courage and determination. Although, her faith in a God who cares is waning, and she’s running quite short on hope.

Set in the 1850s, With You Always highlights women involved with the effort to resettle orphaned children from the harsh conditions in the city—where many learn to turn to crime as a means of survival—to a Christian home in the Midwest. Unfortunately, the reality wasn’t always as it was supposed to be.

This storyline follows a few young women escaping the hardships of New York for a better life in Illinois. The New York Children’s Aid Society has offered jobs to some of the young women with marketable skills, in the growing towns along the railways of the Midwest, particularly one being developed by Thornton Quincy.

Jody Hedlund never disappoints, and this series promises to be as intriguing as any of her others. Hedlund breathes life into her characters, painting a clear picture of their day to day struggles. You will fall in love with Elise and cheer for Thornton in this wonderfully written novel.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

Review of For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund

Prequel to the Series

We first met Sir Bennet in The Vow: Prequel to An Uncertain Choice, but this book can be read as a stand-alone story. Though, having read the entire series, I highly recommend reading them all. Three knights in shining armor—what’s not to love!

Sir Bennet returns home to find that his brother has driven the family into debt, and time has run out for repayment to the neighboring lords. Without repayment, there is imminent danger of an attack. Sir Bennet’s mother convinces him—much against his honorable heart—that the only way to save his family’s land and collection of valuable artifacts is to marry a wealthy noblewoman.
Lady Sabine was born with a skin blemish—one that she keeps hidden for fear of being labeled a witch! She is convinced that no man would ever love her with such a disfigurement. Her grandmother, learning of the financial woes of Sir Bennet, has plans for an arranged marriage. Can Sir Bennet set aside his honorable values and marry for money? What will he do when he discovers his only recourse to war might be marriage to a woman branded as a witch?

This latest installment in the Uncertain Choice series, like the others in this series, is filled with knights in battle, chivalry, and virtue. While Hedlund’s lead characters are quite likeable, her villains are as loathsome as they come. 

I particularly love the way this author paints women as capable rather than powerless. Even though this leading lady is on more than one occasion a damsel in distress, needing rescue from a knight in shining armor, Hedlund still portrays her as a woman of strong character—courageous in the face of danger.

This story has a very good lesson about self-acceptance. As Lady Sabine comes to the realization that God had created her with this blemish purposefully—that she was unique, and should embrace her qualities rather than live in shame. In this world that places so much emphasis on physical looks, it is refreshing to have a heroine who is not painted as exquisitely beautiful.

This story moves at a very good pace. It’s a definite page turner—I read it in two sittings. As always, the descriptive writing and settings are lusciously wonderful and the technical aspects impeccable—just as I’ve come to expect from this author.

Even though this series is listed under the genre Young Adult,
it is quite appealing to old ladies like me.

You can learn more about this series at Jody Hedlund's website.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review of Never Forget by Jody Hedlund

I had the pleasure of previewing Jody Hedlund's latest release--Never Forget. The setting for this final installment in the Beacons of Hope series is set at Rose Island Lighthouse, Rhode Island, in the late 1800s.

Abbie Watson’s grandfather is the acting keeper of Rose Island Lighthouse. The only problem is Gramps is senile. Flipping from present day to somewhere in his long-ago past, Gramps is unable to carry out his duties as acting keeper. Luckily, Abbie is more than capable of tending the light and caring for her grandfather. If only she could make the superintendent realize it. If only Abbie’s husband hadn’t been a drunkard. Now that he is deceased, how will she ever convince anyone that she and Gramps should remain at Rose Island? Abbie will do anything to help Gramps remain at the only place he knows and loves.

Following at severe storm, Abbie discovers a man washed ashore. He has no memory of how he got there, or even who he is! Before she can figure out what to tell Gramps, he assumes the stranger is his former assistant one moment, and Abbie’s late husband the next.

Unintentionally, the strange man is led to believe that he is in fact Abbie’s husband. Guilt plagues her, but she allows the charade to continue, hoping it allows a little time for her to figure out how to keep Gramps on Rose Island.

I love the characters in this story. Abbie is proud, strong and loyal—the perfect heroine, even though she is tripped up by many imperfections—one being her ability to avoid the truth. She is easy to like. Nathaniel is giving, kind, tender, but has a tortured soul. He desperately wants to make up for the sins of his past life.

The added detail of dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia adds a bittersweet tone to this story. It's easy to understand how those rare moments of clarity are priceless to Abbie and her sister. What wouldn't we do to have those treasured moments?

The pace is very good from start to finish. I was immediate hooked into the story. The twist and turns were surprising. Just when you think things are coming together, Hedlund throws a curveball. This might just be my favorite in the Beacons of Hope series. 

As usual for Hedlund, the writing, editing, all the details are impeccable. A really good read.

Read in order, this series follows the journey of a wooden cross as it is passed along from one person to another. The individual stories are unique, so the books work quite well as stand-alones.

Never Forget is available for pre-order at Amazon for $4.99.  I highly recommend this one!

Friday, September 30, 2016

Short Reviews of September Reads

From a psychological thriller to Jody Hedlund's Historical Newton & Polly (which I reviewed here) to a bedtime novel followed by a crime drama, I read a wide variety of books in September.

Huntress Moon (The Huntress/FBI Thrillers Book 1)
 by Alexandra Sokoloff

FBI Special Agent Matthew Roarke watches from across the street as a mysterious out-of-place woman catches his eye. Moments later, than same woman appears to be eyeing Roarke’s undercover agent as the agent steps out into the street and is killed. Soon Roarke discovers it might have been no accident.

His investigation leads him to find the mysterious woman fits the description of a woman present at other mysterious accidents, and a murder. Roarke’s hunt takes him from San Fransisco across three states and back. He is searching for the connection between the seemingly unrelated crimes. He is soon convinced that he is on the trail of a female serial killer—the rarest of all killers.

This tale was gripping! I enjoyed the pace and the writing. The story was believable and the MC likeable. This book has all the elements of a great thriller. I want to know more about what’s inside this woman, so I will likely read another from this four book series—perhaps all of them.

Take Me With You 
by Catherine Ryan Hyde

After reading a couple of heavy suspense novels back-to-back, I needed something lighter. I chose Take Me With You by Catherine Ryan Hyde. It is a very sweet bedtime story.

A science teacher spends his summers traveling the western states. On this journey, his RV breaks down, and it looks like it will cost him an important destination, until the mechanic makes him an unlikely deal.

In many places, the writing style reminded me of a children’s book, and a few places were redundant. Still, this book was a delight to read.

We’re planning on traveling those same places next year, so that made the locations of keen interest. It seemed the author had first-hand knowledge of some nice hiking trails. I’m planning to research the spots mentioned in the book.

The characters were more than likeable—they were lovable and hateable. This story of the developing relationship between a divorced man grieving the loss of a son and two neglected sons of an alcoholic, is a great bedtime read. It will likely not win an award for writing, but it is nonetheless a good story.

If you're looking for a great literary work, skip this one. But if you want simply sweet, this is it.

The Drop
From the Harry Bosch crime series
by Michael Connelly

Working old unsolved cases, Harry is given a ‘hit’—DNA from a 1989 rape/murder case matches a convicted rapist. The only problem is the 29-year-old convict would have been eight years old at the time of the murder.

Before Harry can make any real headway into the case, he is baffled to be assigned to a current case, and told it takes priority over everything. Why did his long-time enemy request his involvement in the investigation of his son’s death—an apparent suicide?

I had previously read The Black Echo, so was familiar with the Harry Bosch series. I had particularly liked the true-to-life feel of Connelly’s writing. This book was just as realistic.

The characters have well-developed strengths and flaws, giving them great depth. Connelly’s story flows easily, making the pace enjoyable to read. He includes just enough technical jargon to give the story an insider’s feel. Descriptions are detailed, but not flowery. There are plenty of twists and turns in the plot to keep you on the edge of your seat.

I plan to read more books in this series.

Do you tend to read mostly the same genre, or do you also like to switch it up?