Monday, March 19, 2018

Not That I Could Tell by Jessica Strawser

This book's description really had me intrigued. It was supposed to be about friends who had a night around a fire to have a break from the kids and just chat and be social. Then, the next day, one of them is gone and nobody understands or knows where she might have gone. She has taken the kids, too. Or, is something else going on? Sounds exciting, right?

Well, it started off that way. I was really excited to see what was going on. However, in my opinion, it started to drag and get really predictable. The bad part for me was this was supposed to be a "thriller" and it just did not deliver on that front. 

There were other aspects of the story regarding the other women on the street. One has been through a traumatic experience herself, but you don't find out what until later. One of the others is running away from unrequited love and the other is dealing with a very precocious daughter who stirs up a little trouble on the street. Then, there are Rhoda and Randi, the couple who has a new baby and runs a shop in the small town. 

There was ONE small surprising thing and I won't spoil it here. The book kept me interested enough to finish it, but it was no big shocker and it certainly shouldn't be called a thriller. This is more like Women's Domestic Fiction, but not Chick Lit. 

Friday, January 5, 2018

Paper Ghosts by Julia Heaberlin

Imagine your sister was kidnapped years ago and was never found. Now imagine you are consumed with finding out what happened to her and that you will stop at nothing to know. That is basically the premise to Paper Ghosts. 

Throughout the book, written in first person, you don't know the character's name. She is an adult now, but never got over her sister's disappearance. Who would? But, this woman takes everything to the extreme. She thinks she knows who may have taken her sister, but after year and years of research and planning, she thinks she's ready to prove it.  

She has her eyes set on an aging, semi dementia suffering photographer, Carl, who was acquitted of one major crime already. He is now in an assisted living home where she actually plots to get him out and travel around the country to different locations in hopes of jogging his memory of, not only her sister, but other missing girls she feels he may have had something to do with their disappearances as well. 

They travel to the locations where the other girls went missing and along the way, she can't figure out whether Carl is faking the dementia or if he truly is struggling. 

So the question here is, will she ever find out what happened to her sister and the other missing girls? Is she safe with Carl? Could she be his next victim? What else will she find out along her journey? 

My two cents: I thought the premise was a tad far fetched. You're going to scheme and be able to pull of taking a possible dementia patient out on the road in hopes of finding out what happened decades ago? Also, this took me way too long too finish. I love to read and this was one of those books on my Kindle where I would look down at the percentage finished, I was a little surprised wondering how much more could really happen.

Now, you might think I didn't enjoy this book. I actually did like it. I think it got better after I got over the halfway point. I did want to know what happened, but just thought the whole thing was just a little too unrealistic.  However, I think it will do well upon its release. 

I was so happy to get an advance copy from the publisher through NetGalley. Thank you to Netgalley and Random House. No review was required. 

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

A Plain Leaving

Disclaimer: I am a big fan of Amish fiction and don't find a lot that I don't enjoy. However, I absolutely loved this book and cannot wait for the next one in the series. 

This is a "time-slip" book alternating between present day with Jessica and back when Ruby, a descendant of Jessica's, is living during the Revolutionary War. 

Jessica left her Amish roots and became "Englisch" when issues were raised regarding the way things were being handled regarding her family farm and how she wanted to live her life.  She left behind her whole family and the love of her life, Silas, and headed from her Lancaster home to Harrisburg where she got her own apartment and job in the modern world. She started dating Tom and was content with her life.

However, a tragedy brings Jessica back home and she feels out of sorts. Dealing with the tragedy and her family who has shunned her, Jessica cannot wait to return to her life in Harrisburg. But, is that the life for her?

In Ruby's setting, she is also confronted with trials and tribulations and leaving her home for Canada and a better life with her betrothed, Paul. The neighbor's nephew, Duncan, moves in next door to help his uncle but ends up helping Ruby with the endless work to keep her farm running while her brother is in Canada starting their new settlement. Along with his sister, Isabelle, Duncan starts helping Ruby's start to see to new possibilities. 

Both Ruby and Jessica, generations apart are faced with life changing decisions. Can Jessica learn from Ruby's story? 

I just was in love with the settings and the characters in this book. It was one of those rare books that I didn't want to end.  Thank you so much to Bethany House for the copy. No review was required.  

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The Gift of Christmas Past by Cindy Woodsmall and Erin Woodsmall

I was so happy to get an advance copy of this book.   When I first found out it was a Cindy Woodsmall book, I immediately thought it would be an Amish book. So, in complete honesty, I was a little leery of it because I am not what you would call a "romance" reader. However, I was so pleasantly surprised. The story grabbed me right away. I was excited to also see that it was co-authored by Erin Woodsmall.

Hadley and Monroe are high school sweethearts but Hadley has a lot of issues and can't seem to keep her anger in check. When a crime happens, and Hadley is blamed, Monroe is forced, for reasons I won't post here, to walk away. 

Fast forward years later, Hadley and Monroe meet again. What will happen? You have to read to find out. 

I really enjoyed this story and read it very quickly. I was just saying to someone the other day that in this day of violence, and almost how things are so accepted in regards to explicit language and situations, it's so refreshing to read a good, wholesome story. I was glad I had the opportunity to read this. 

No review was required. 

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Gathering the Threads by Cindy Woodsmall

Well! What a fun journey this was! I have finally finished The Amish of Summer Grove Series. This is the third and final book in the series and will release in August 2017. I was so lucky and grateful to receive an advance copy from WaterBook Multnomah and help with the launch! 

For my review on Book One (The Ties that Bind) click here: Ties That Bind
For my review on Book One (Fraying at the Edge) click here: Fraying At The Edge

You can read what the first two books are about in my other blogs, but this is the wrap up of the Brenneman family saga about Ariana and her place in the world. Finding out she was switched at birth, she had to carve out a new life for herself and come to grips with the fact that who she thought were her birth parents were not. On top of that, she had to deal with the fact that her real birth parents are "worldly". This goes against everything Ariana stood for and believed in. 

It is also the story of her lifelong friendship with Quill and how they had to learn to forgive each other in order to move on in life. 

Also, we get to see through the series how Skylar, who is the girl really born to Amish parents, Lovina and Isaac, come to terms with addiction and if she will find peace in the upheaval in her life as well. 

I don't like to give too much away in my reviews, because I want you to read them yourselves and enjoy them as much as I did. However, there were a few things I wanted to touch on. 

I couldn't stand Nicholas. Even towards the end, I found it hard to come to terms with how much turmoil he actually caused in Ariana's life. Again, no spoilers here, but for those who read the book, I would love your thoughts. 

Also, and I know I am going to get major darts thrown at me, but I didn't like, nor did I ever come to like Skylar. Even after things have started to settle, she still seemed entitled to me. 

However, I loved this series. I usually like Amish fiction but this series had a real depth to it. I think it's going to do very well in wrapping up the series for those who have read the first two and are looking forward to seeing how it all plays out. I was so lucky to get to read it in advance and I want to thank WaterBook Multnomah again for allowing me to help promote the last book as well as sending me the first two so that I could get caught up. No review was required. 

I hope you all enjoy this book as much as I did! Summer isn't over yet and I have plenty left on my summer reading list! What are you reading this summer? Comment below! 

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Behind Closed Doors by B.A. Paris

Well, talk about a surprise. I kept hearing about Ms. Paris' new book out this year called The Breakdown and then saw this was her first book. I read it on my iPad and it went so fast! 

The premise is this: Grace and Jack appear to have the perfect marriage, but they don't. What we always see is not always the truth. But, I don't want to give too much away. This description is from Goodreads: 

Picture this: a dinner party at their perfect home, the conversation and wine flowing. They appear to be in their element while entertaining. And Grace's friends are eager to reciprocate with lunch the following week. Grace wants to go, but knows she never will. Her friends call—so why doesn't Grace ever answer the phone? And how can she cook such elaborate meals but remain so slim?

So, that being said, enjoy this book. I know some reviews were saying what was going on in the book wasn't totally feasible, and while at first, I thought, "Well, I would know what to do", I started thinking, "Maybe not." I think what happened IS possible due to the way the author wrote and explained it. 

Anyway, what I really wanted to rave about was the ending. I absolutely loved the way the author ended this. I thought it was one of the most creative endings I have ever read. Like I said, I was reading on my iPad and when ending a chapter, I thought I had a few more pages left, only to find I hit the end. I was sitting there, not in shock, but just totally satisfied with the book and that hasn't happened in A LONG TIME. 

I cannot wait to read Ms. Paris' new book. Let me know what you think about this one though and let me know what you think about how the author ended the story. 

Monday, July 17, 2017

Fraying at the Edge by Cindy Woodsmall

Greetings, all! 

The time is getting closer to the release of the third book in this series, Gathering the Threads, but today I want to talk about the second book, Fraying at the Edge. For the review on the FIRST book click here: Ties That Bind

The second book picks up from where the first one left off, launching Ariana into her strange new modern world.  She is so committed to her Amish lifestyle and faith she feels like she's falling apart or "Fraying at the Edge" (ha! You like how I did that?) when her biological father places certain demands on her. 

Meanwhile, Skylar (the biological daughter of the Amish Brenneman family) is also struggling acclimating to her new environment as well. She tries everything in her power, while struggling with addiction, to alienate the Brennemans the best she can. 

Neither girl wants to be in the situation they are in. Can they find some kind of peace or at least tolerance for their surroundings while waiting for the end of the time period that was forced on them? 

My two cents; This series has been great so far. I cannot wait to read the third book. I will be starting it today.  I kind of felt like a bad person while reading this one, because I absolutely felt no sympathy for Nicholas, Ariana's biological father. Without giving too much away, I thought he was horribly rude, unrelenting and quite frankly, totally disrespectful of Ariana's lifestyle and faith. I don't like to rant too much on blogs, for fear of spoiling something, so I will not give any more away, except to say, I haven't been this engrossed in characters in a long time. 

Isn't it great when you actually care what happens in a book and get vested in the characters? I find lately that it doesn't happen a lot, but with this series, I really can't wait to find out what happens. The only downside will be when I am finished the last book and they will be gone. 

A big thanks goes to Waterbook Multnomah for allowing me to be on the launch team for Gathering the Threads and also for sending me the first two books in the series. No review was required. 

SPECIAL:  Right now when you pre-order Gathering the Threads, you will get The Ties that Bind FREE!!! Go to today to get this awesome BOGO deal! 

And, as always, please let me know what you think! Thanks for reading!