Sunday, November 18, 2018

Sunday Skim


In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Week of  11/12/2018:


Finished:




At the heart of this novel lies a story about family, love and hope but then she throws in a murder and the mystery behind that murder that will have you guessing until the end. (3/5)


No one does David and Goliath legal stories like John Grisham and Gray Mountain hit all the high notes for me. It also made me cringe at time with how big coal treated their employees. (4/5)


Ms. Picoult always takes a controversial topic and adds humanity to it. She makes you think by not being preachy and she's not trying to change your mind. My favorite character was Dr. Ward and when you read the book I think you'll understand why. (4.5/5)


This is Ms. Oakley's first book and it's been on my shelf for a least 2 years. Daisy is dying of cancer at the young age of 29 and instead of letting her husband Jack into her life, she wastes her time trying to find a substitute for her for when she dies. I am actually surprised I didn't cry at this one but perhaps it is because all along you know she's not going to survive. (3.75/5) 

Currently Reading: 
 

Looking Forward To:



This was a solid week of reading for me; I finished 2 books and 2 audiobooks which is probably some kind of record for me. One of the audio books, Before I Go, I finished in 3 days. I have the week off of work (HORRAY) but it won't be restful with 2 kids. I'm hosting 3 sleepovers this week. I'm either a super nice mom or I've lost my mind. I do look forward to some downtime and some time with my family.

 I hope you had a great reading week as well. Happy Thanksgiving!





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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Julie's Review: You Were Always Mine

Author: Nicole Baart
Series: None
Publication Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Atria Books
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Women's Fiction
Rating: 3/5

Bottom Line: I figured out a big piece of the puzzle early on. This one fell a bit short for me.

Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary:  Jessica Chamberlain, newly separated and living with her two sons in a small Iowa town, can’t believe that a tragedy in another state could have anything to do with her. But when her phone rings one quiet morning, her world is shattered. As she tries to pick up the pieces and make sense of what went wrong, Jess begins to realize that a tragic death is just the beginning. Soon she is caught in a web of lies and half-truths—and she’s horrified to learn that everything leads back to her seven-year-old adopted son, Gabriel. Years ago, Gabe’s birth mother requested a closed adoption and Jessica was more than happy to comply. But when her house is broken into and she discovers a clue that suggests her estranged husband was in close contact with Gabe’s biological mother, she vows to uncover the truth at any cost. A harrowing story of tenacious love and heartbreaking betrayal, You Were Always Mine is about the wars we wage to keep the ones we love close, perfect for fans of Liane Moriarty and Jodi Picoult. ~amazon.com


Review: You Were Always Mine is a story about what makes a family with a mystery woven into it. Jessica and her husband, Evan, have been separated for a few months when he doesn't pick up the boys on a Friday after school. No matter what is going on between them, he's always there for the boys. Then she gets the devastating call that Evan has been found dead in Minnesota. None of this makes sense to her but she's too distraught to make sense of it until things start seeming out of place.

Add that her eldest son Max has gotten himself into some trouble at school that he has to do community service for and he's also a very surly 13 year old. It was very evident to me that Jessica favored Gabe over Max. Now don't get me wrong, she loves Max but it's Gabe she showers with affection and pays special attention to as well.  I also kept in mind that Gabe was 6 which can make a difference as well. I also thought her burying her head in the sand when it came to Gabe's birth mom was selfish and ill advised. Just because you have contact doesn't make you less his mom.






I thought the premise of the novel was intriguing but it fell short for me for a couple reasons. First, I didn't really care for Jessica and she drove me a bit nuts with her pity me attitude. Second, I figured out an essential piece of the puzzle early on even if I didn't know how it fit in overall.

I loved Little Broken Things by Ms. Baart so while this one didn't resonate with me, I will continue to pick up her books.



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Sunday, November 11, 2018

Sunday Skim

 

In the vain of trying something new here on the blog, I thought I might start with some Sunday posts summarizing what I've read, what I plan to start and upcoming books I'm looking forward to.

Weeks of  10/29/2018 and 11/5/2018:

Finished:

This is a fantastic novel that involves time travel but more than that is is a story family, love, hope and trust. This story and characters have stayed with me now for over a week. If you haven't read Ms. Chamberlain before, this is a good one to start with. I highly recommend. (5/5)







What does lack of sleep do to your psyche? Top that with the loss of a love one and the fact that your identity might not be yours; you are headed for a ride. (3/5)

For me the best part of this novel wasn't the love story between Gelhorn and Hemingway but her war reporting. She was a pioneer and one I did a bit more digging on via Google as I read and then after. (4/5)


Currently Reading: 

 


Looking Forward to:


























I missed last Sunday's update because we had a Bears party for our baseball family so I was prepping for that and didn't have time to post it. I'm on a great reading roll and hoping it continues. I'm off the week of Thanksgiving so I'm hoping to make a dent in my TBR pile.

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Friday, November 9, 2018

Julie's Review: When the Lights Go Out

Author: Mary Kubica
Series: None
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Publisher: Park Row
Pages: 336
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Psychological Thriller
Rating: 3/5
Bottom Line: This one fell short for me
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Library
Summary: Jessie Sloane is on the path to rebuilding her life after years of caring for her ailing mother. She rents a new apartment and applies for college. But when the college informs her that her social security number has raised a red flag, Jessie discovers a shocking detail that causes her to doubt everything she’s ever known. Finding herself suddenly at the center of a bizarre mystery, Jessie tumbles down a rabbit hole, which is only exacerbated by grief and a relentless lack of sleep. As days pass and the insomnia worsens, it plays with Jessie’s mind. Her judgment is blurred, her thoughts are hampered by fatigue. Jessie begins to see things until she can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what she’s only imagined. Meanwhile, twenty years earlier and two hundred and fifty miles away, another woman’s split-second decision may hold the key to Jessie’s secret past. Has Jessie’s whole life been a lie or have her delusions gotten the best of her? ~amazon.com

Review: When the Lights Go Out is a psychological thriller that will keep you feeling frantic and wondering if you are losing your mind right along with Jessie. Jessie is reeling after the death of her mother and trying to get her life back on track. The biggest issue is that she's not sleeping which is causing her life to be chaotic. Not only that but her application to school has her as dead through the social security system.

This really sends Jessie into a tailspin and causes her mind to race and her to behave erratically. While we are tripping with her, we also learn the story of her mother's past.  Eden's past is just as intriguing as the present hell her daughter is going through.

What Ms. Kubica does extremely well is make you feel for Eden and her path to getting pregnant. I could feel the emotions from both her and her husband. I can only imagine the struggle of going through all the poking and prodding just to see if you can get pregnant. Then add in the IVF treatments and the expense and it's no wonder Eden got lost.

I felt for Jessie and the questions about who she was and how she was going to figure it all out. My only qualm was that I don't think she did enough to try to get some sleep.

If you haven't read Ms. Kubica then I recommend picking something from her backlist first.


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Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Julie's Review: The Dream Daughter


by Diane Chamberlain
Powells.com
Author: Diane Chamberlain
Series: None
Publication Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pages: 384
Obtained: publisher via Netgalley
Genre:  Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction
Rating:5/5
Bottom Line: Time Travel is hard to do well but Ms. Chamberlain excelled at it
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary: When Carly Sears, a young woman widowed by the Vietnam war, receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970, and she is told that nothing can be done to help her child. But her brother-in-law, a physicist with a mysterious past, tells her that perhaps there is a way to save her baby. What he suggests is something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Carly has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage she never knew existed. Something that will mean an unimaginable leap of faith on Carly's part. And all for the love of her unborn child. The Dream Daughter is a rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother's quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget. ~amazon.com

Review: I haven't read all of Ms. Chamberlain's novels but the one's I have read I have enjoyed. The Dream Daughter catapults her into the can't miss author category because it shines! Time travel can be extremely hard to write and usually I would shy away from it but given all the fantastic buzz, I decided to give it a go.

Carly is an interesting character who definitely grows a lot during the course of the story. She's pregnant with a child that has a heart issue and just lost her husband in the Vietnam War. Her brother in law, Hunter has a way to save her unborn child; travel to the year 2001 when they have the technology to save her baby. She thinks he's lost his mind but decides to risk it to save the only thing left of Joe.  

Ms. Chamberlain definitely tugs at your heart strings and you keep going NO! These characters are complex and multi-layered and you feel for the struggles they go through. Even over a week later I keep thinking about these characters and I'm pretty sure they won't leave my thoughts any time soon. 

I would highly recommend this novel to those of you who love stories about family, love and hope. 


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