THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published March 4th, 2014

The enchanted place is an ancient stone prison, viewed through the eyes of a death row inmate who finds escape in his books and in re-imagining life around him, weaving a fantastical story of the people he observes and the world he inhabits. Fearful and reclusive, he senses what others cannot.

Two outsiders venture here: a fallen priest, and the Lady, an investigator who searches for buried information from prisoners’ pasts that can save those soon-to-be-executed. Digging into the background of a killer named York, she uncovers wrenching truths that challenge familiar notions of victim and criminal, innocence and guilt, honor and corruption-ultimately revealing shocking secrets of her own.

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After reading (and loving) The Child Finder a couple weeks ago, I hightailed it to my library and grabbed The Enchanted, that’s how much I enjoyed Rene Denfeld’s writing! All I knew before starting this was that it involved death row and prison…two buzzwords that will always grab my attention…so I dived right in immediately. If I could only use one word to describe this book it would be haunting.

The story is narrated in the third person omniscient by one of the inmates on death row and this was the PERFECT way to tell this story. We also do get to hear from the lady, the warden and the priest but it’s all from an outside looking in perspective. The lady is there to investigate the case of York, an inmate scheduled for execution, but who may get off The Row if she finds enough evidence to convert his sentence.

Throughout the story we get an up close and personal look at life inside a prison and it’s not pretty people. I have a background in criminology and psychology and this book put both those concepts to the test. The author took so many themes…death row, putting children in adult prisons, compassion, vengeance, retribution, imagination…mixed it up and weaved a story that had me thinking and challenging my own views. This is by no means an easy read, on the contrary, it’s quite dark and difficult and at times I wanted to jump ahead because the images were too painful to read about…the white haired boy will forever haunt me…but this is how our criminal justice system operates and I wanted to challenge myself to really think about parts of this book. I absolutely loved the author’s use of books and their ability to transport an inmate to magical places outside of his physical cell as well as the mental cell he lived in. Now, whether he deserved the escape and temporary peace that reading and books brought him…that’s one of the morally gray questions readers are presented with. That and the ending…I was very much left surprised and wondering…”what would I do?”

Rene Denfeld’s writing is so magical and lyrical that I will be first in line for whatever she writes next!

**Sensitivity warning…there are what I call periphery scenes of rape, violence, and execution…meaning the scenes aren’t in your face overly graphic but you know exactly what’s happening**

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Bill at Especially Books

Ann Marie at Lit Wit Wine Dine

Amy at NovelGossip

Annie at The Misstery

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

 

 

 

 

REVIEW: DON’T LET GO By Harlan Coben

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Publish Date Sept. 26, 2017 By Dutton Books

Suburban New Jersey Detective Napoleon “Nap” Dumas hasn’t been the same since senior year of high school, when his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana were found dead on the railroad tracks—and Maura, the girl Nap considered the love of his life, broke up with him and disappeared without explanation. For fifteen years, Nap has been searching, both for Maura and for the real reason behind his brother’s death. And now, it looks as though he may finally find what he’s been looking for.

When Maura’s fingerprints turn up in the rental car of a suspected murderer, Nap embarks on a quest for answers that only leads to more questions—about the woman he loved, about the childhood friends he thought he knew, about the abandoned military base near where he grew up, and mostly about Leo and Diana—whose deaths are darker and far more sinister than Nap ever dared imagine.

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In many ways, this might be one of the harder reviews I’ve had to write. I don’t know about everyone else but I often have so much to say when I want to completely gush about a book like I’ve done with several of my recent reads. This one, however, will not bring gushing which is really hard for me to say because I’ve loved almost all of Coben’s standalones in the years past. I’ve thought for a few days about why one of my most anticipated Fall reads fell flat for me, while many others are loving this so much.   As my friend Chelsea recently discussed on her blog  The Suspense is Thrilling Me, that’s the wonder of the book world…we can all read the same book and have vastly different opinions.

Moving on with my actual review…Napoleon “Nap” Dumas is a detective on a serious mission. He’s been unable to make peace with the death of his twin brother Leo and Leo’s girlfriend Diana and the subsequent disappearance of his first love Maura. To say he’s been obsessed for 15 years is an understatement as the man has basically put his entire life on hold trying to figure out what happened to his brother and why Maura disappeared. What he slowly starts to discover is a web of tragedies, conspiracies, betrayals and lies that may or may not lead Nap to getting the answers he seeks.

So, that’s a taste of the plot and here’s a breakdown of what worked and didn’t work for me….

What Worked…

  • Lightning fast dialogue. Harlan Coben can seriously write realistic dialogue and there’s a ton of it in this story which I really enjoyed
  • Fast paced plot. With lots of dialogue and a continuously moving plot, this was a super fast read.
  • A fairly difficult mystery to unravel. I wasn’t able to figure out what happened or why which is always a plus for me
  • Nap’s character. I liked that Nap was a flawed character who’s heart was always in the right place even when he was taking justice into his own hands. He was a good guy which made it easy to root for him

What Didn’t Work…

  • An over the top feel to the writing. The writing (example being the first line of the book) often came across as “cheesy” and trying too hard to be funny, witty, sarcastic, etc
  • Most everything about the military base plot line. I found myself uninterested in this plotline which was very central to the story. The author gave quite a bit of background detail about the abandoned military base and I found myself skimming quite a bit when this came up
  • Nap’s 15 year obsession with Maura whom he hadn’t really dated that long…in high school. I just had a hard time buying his complete obsession and inability to move on for so many years as an adult
  • An overall lack of connection. While I liked Nap, I wasn’t overly connected with him or the outcome of the story to consider myself fully invested and have that ‘I can’t stop reading’ feeling

It’s quite possible that I just wasn’t in the mood for this story at this time or maybe my reading tastes for this type of story are changing because five years ago I think I would’ve liked this more. That being said, I encourage you to try this for yourself, especially if you like mysteries with dynamic dialogue. I still highly recommend trying some Coben’s early books as well!

Many thanks to Dutton Books via Netgalley for my copy

MONDAY MUSINGS…BOOK BUZZWORDS I JUST CAN’T RESIST

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I thought it would be fun to incorporate some bookish discussions every once in awhile to break up the reviews…for me and for you! I love talking about books as well as reviewing them and every now and then I plan to toss out a book topic that interests me and I hope you’ll join in for a fun chat!

Like everyone, my tbr is exploding for the Fall and Winter and I’ve started to notice that I’ve been adding some interesting titles based on the fact that some of my favorite buzzwords have been in the blurb or other’s reviews. I’m sure I’m not the only one who has favorite book words…those buzz worthy words that when you see them in a book’s description you think to yourself  “I MUST read that book!”

 

Here are 3 recent additions to my tbr based solely on me seeing several favorite buzzwords in the book’s description.  

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A Dark and Broken Heart (Published Aug 2017)…included buzzwords are anti-hero cop, NYPD, heist, drug lord, corruption, deception and redemption. Based on these it sounds perfect!

Glass Town (Publishing Dec 5, 2017)…Mystery, magic, London, disappearance, gangsters, unsolved case, gritty, secrets, and betrayals. This is possibly out of my comfort zone but I love the sound of it!

The Alienist (Published Oct 2006)…Gilded age NYC setting, murder, criminology, profiling, corrupt cops, gangsters…yes please!! I’ve just come across this one and it sounds amazing.

What do you think, do you, like me, often pick books based on words that call out to you and if so what are YOUR book buzzwords? I’d love to know and if you have time let me know a recent book you’ve added to your TBR because it had your buzzwords!

HAPPY READING!

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Oct 2016 By Riverhead

It is the last season of high school life for Nadia Turner, a rebellious, grief-stricken, seventeen-year-old beauty. Mourning her own mother’s recent suicide, she takes up with the local pastor’s son. Luke Sheppard is twenty-one, a former football star whose injury has reduced him to waiting tables at a diner. They are young; it’s not serious. But the pregnancy that results from this teen romance–and the subsequent cover-up–will have an impact that goes far beyond their youth. As Nadia hides her secret from everyone, including Aubrey, her God-fearing best friend, the years move quickly. Soon, Nadia, Luke, and Aubrey are full-fledged adults and still living in debt to the choices they made that one seaside summer, caught in a love triangle they must carefully maneuver, and dogged by the constant, nagging question: What if they had chosen differently? The possibilities of the road not taken are a relentless haunt.

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This is one of the best blurbs I’ve read, it really highlights the book well without giving away the story. I finished this a couple weeks ago and I was blown away by the exquitsite writing of Brit Bennett. How is this a debut?? This was one of those books that I had seen around but resisted reading…why?…I have no idea. I need to do a post someday on all the books I’ve resisted reading that I end up loving!

The story begins with The Mothers narrating as all knowing voices from a time in the future. We meet Nadia who’s finishing up high school and living with her father in a small seaside community in California. I was immediately taken with the setting as well as Nadia’s character. Her heartbreak over her mother’s suicide pierced the pages and made me empathize with how painful that must’ve been. She had been close with her mom and she would never have answers as to why. Her sorrow leads her to make some impulsive decisions with consequences that will follow her for years to come.

The narrative flows beautifully through the years which I loved. I enjoyed seeing where Nadia’s ambition led her and whether she would achieve peace with herself, her father, the church and her community. We’re also privy to Luke and Aubrey’s life through the years and I really liked both of them, flaws and all. The story, however, belonged to Nadia and I was hoping against hope she was able to be happy in the end. Was she? Well, you’ll have to read to find out! If you’re in the mood for wonderful literary fiction with a roads not taken theme, I highly recommend giving this debut a try. As for me, I’ll be waiting impatiently for Brit Bennett’s next novel.

HAPPY READING! 

 

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Bill at Especially Books

Ann Marie at Lit Wit Wine Dine

 

REVIEW: THE CHILD FINDER By Rene Denfeld

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Published Sept 5th by Harper

Three years ago, Madison Culver disappeared when her family was choosing a Christmas tree in Oregon’s Skookum National Forest. She would be eight years old now—if she has survived. Desperate to find their beloved daughter, certain someone took her, the Culvers turn to Naomi, a private investigator with an uncanny talent for locating the lost and missing. Known to the police and a select group of parents as The Child Finder, Naomi is their last hope.

Naomi’s methodical search takes her deep into the icy, mysterious forest in the Pacific Northwest, and into her own fragmented past. She understands children like Madison because once upon a time, she was a lost girl too.

As Naomi relentlessly pursues and slowly uncovers the truth behind Madison’s disappearance, shards of a dark dream pierce the defenses that have protected her, reminding her of a terrible loss she feels but cannot remember. If she finds Madison, will Naomi ultimately unlock the secrets of her own life?

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Just when I think there’s no possible way to tell a missing child story in an original, creative way…in my opinion, the market is kind of saturated with this concept… along comes this luminously written book by Rene Denfeld and just like that I’m a believer again. I don’t typically toss out words like luminous when talking about a mystery, in fact, I don’t think I’ve used that adjective to describe any book I’ve read this year but that word absolutely describes how I felt about this story and Denfeld’s writing. There’s something magical at work here and I’m hardly likely to do this book justice with this review.

From the opening page I was drawn into the world of Naomi, a dedicated, bordering on obsessed child finder, who’s come back to her home state of Oregon to search for Madison, a little girl who’s been missing for three years. Madison and her parents had drove to the mountains to cut down a Christmas tree and in the blink of an eye a blizzard was upon them and Madison had vanished. Naomi is the last resort for Madison’s parents as she has been for so many others and she combines her skills as an investigator with her own life experience of knowing what it feels like to be found. You see, Naomi has a past very similar to those of the children she tries to find, only her memories of the early years of her life are very limited.

The plot flows and evolves brilliantly with the use of alternating POVs of Naomi and “The Snow Child” as well as thankfully short ones from Mr. B…you’ll have to read to find out who he is! It’s very hard for me to put into concise words everything I loved about this story and the writing. The way Denfeld paints a picture with words… of the forest and snow,  the fascinating use of imagination to survive, the intense feelings of hope and despair, the longing to belong and experience love when pain and fear have been so prominent…it all weaved together to create images that were seared in my mind. She created an almost dreamlike quality with her writing that enabled me to get through what I will say were some tough aspects of this story as far as abuse, neglect, and child trauma goes. At no time, however, was any aspect “in your face” or gratuitous;  rather, it was an element of the story that couldn’t be avoided.

All this being said, this is a wonderful and unique part mystery, part thriller, character driven novel that I couldn’t put down. I loved how the author handled the ending and I have to say, my fingers are tightly crossed that we haven’t seen the last of Naomi! In the meantime, I’ll be grabbing a copy of Denfeld’s first book, Enchanted, as fast as I can.

MINI-REVIEWS: CASTLE OF WATER By Dane Huckelbridge & LIE TO ME By J.T Ellison

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Published April 4, 2017 By Thomas Dunne Books

Two very different people, one very small island. When their small plane is downed in the middle of the South Pacific, the sole survivors of the wreck are left with one common goal: to survive. Stranded hundreds of miles from civilization, on an island the size of a large city block, the two castaways must reconcile their differences and learn to draw on one another’s strengths if they are to have any hope of making it home.

Told in mesmerizing prose, with charm and rhythm entirely its own, Castle of Water is more than just a reimagining of the classic castaway story. It is a stirring reflection on love’s restorative potential, as well as a poignant reminder that home—be it a flat in Paris, a New York apartment, or a desolate atoll a world away—is where the heart is.

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I don’t know what it is about this book but I finished it almost 2 weeks ago and I’m still thinking about it. First, that cover is just gorgeous isn’t it? And I love the title which is so reminiscent of the story. I want to keep this review very simple because I went into this story knowing only that it was a unique castaway story and for me that made for perfect reading. What’s most important to know is this…there’s a plane crash, two survivors, and a tiny island in the middle of nowhere because the pilot flew off course. The survivors are opposites in every sense and yet they must find a way to come together to not only survive physically but emotionally as well.

It’s not often that I re-read sentences because the words seem to have been put together to create a magic spell on the reader but I did many, many times while reading Dane Huckelbridge’s captivating prose. It was storytelling at it’s finest and I literally couldn’t put this book down. There’s a little bit of everything in this story: drama, heartbreak, suspense, action, humor, sadness, and so much love and resilience. Oh…and there’s a twist that left me stunned!  Seriously, I know my jaw dropped. I love it when an author manages to surprise me like that. If you’re looking for a something different I highly recommend giving this a try….just make sure to have tissues handy.

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Published Sept 5th By Mira 

Sutton and Ethan Montclair’s idyllic life is not as it appears. The couple seems made for each other, but the truth is ugly. Consumed by professional and personal betrayals and financial woes, the two both love and hate each other. As tensions mount, Sutton disappears, leaving behind a note saying not to look for her.

Ethan finds himself the target of vicious gossip as friends, family and the media speculate on what really happened to Sutton Montclair. As the police investigate, the lies the couple have been spinning for years quickly unravel. Is Ethan a killer? Is he being set up? Did Sutton hate him enough to kill the child she never wanted and then herself? The path to the answers is full of twists that will leave the reader breathless.

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I love it when I prove myself wrong because when I read the blurb about this book I assumed I wouldn’t like it because my track record with psychological thrillers has been dismal this year. But when a very trusted reading friend emailed me to say I HAD to read this, my ears perked up and just like that I was tempted. I have to say, from the very first page I was hooked! Ellison began the story with just the right level of creepiness by using an obviously disturbed narrator to start the story and of course I was consumed with finding out who it was and how he/she figured into the picture perfect marriage of Sutton and Ethan…or was it actually one of them? The puzzle had begun and I was on board to solve it.

As questions swirled and we are given slivers of information and detail into the marriage of Ethan and Sutton, I found myself completely and totally entertained by the level of intrigue and shadiness the author was creating. We first hear from Ethan and there were times I thought ‘Oh I like him, I trust what he’s saying about his wife ‘ and then on the next page I would think ‘No, he’s lying.’ J. T. Ellison was messing with my head and I was loving it! About halfway through we get to hear from Sutton and then things really get twisted. What I loved was that this isn’t just your typical he said/she said, this is also a puzzle of the best jigsaw kind and I was addicted to sifting through the tiny pieces the author scattered until I could establish my theory surrounding the who, what and why regarding the crimes in this story. An extra treat for me were the scenes set in Paris…the bars, the streets, the people…I could see it all thanks to the vivid prose of the author. So,  thank you  J. T. Ellison for showing me there are still psychological thrillers out there that can leave me so thoroughly entertained!

Many thanks to Mira books via Netgalley for my copy

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Oct 2015 by Atria 

From America’s favorite football player turned morning talk show host—a man who makes just about everything look easy—a mélange of stories and motivational advice to inspire the reader to turn up the heat and go from good to great in pursuit of their personal ambitions.

Michael Strahan spent his childhood on a military base in Europe, where community meant everything, and life, though idyllic, was different. For one, when people referenced football they meant soccer. So when Michael’s father suggested he work toward a college scholarship by playing football in Texas, where tens of thousands of people show up for a weekend game, the odds were long. Yet he did, indeed, land a scholarship and from there a draft into the NFL where he scaled the league’s heights, broke records, and helped his team win the Super Bowl as a result of which he was inducted into the Hall of Fame. How? Inspiring and chock full of advice that will help the reader make significant strides toward pursuing his or her dream, Wake Up Happy is a book no one, young or old, male or female will want to miss.

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I felt like this was the perfect book to highlight this week because who doesn’t need a little happy in their life? I for one have had quite a bit going on lately so I thought why not profile one of my favorite non-fiction pick me up books. This book was surprisingly good and I say that because I initially hesitated as I really don’t have much interest in football but I really do think there’s something about Michael Strahan that makes me feel good whether I’m watching him on Good Morning America (and previously Kelly & Michael) or on the red carpet. I wondered if he’s truly as positive as he comes across. Turns out, he is. I listened to this on Audible and he narrates this book which was perfect as I felt like he was was having a conversation with me. I found myself walking extra when I listened because I was truly interested in hearing about his life. He had an interesting childhood growing up on a military base and his journey to being a top level athlete was not all that easy. I especially enjoyed hearing about his life in Europe and college in the US. Strahan had a fairly easy to follow plan for ways to wake up happy and while there wasn’t any new earth shattering ideas in it, I found myself agreeing with his principles and applying some to my own life. If you’d enjoy a little pick me up, especially if you have access to this on audio, I think you should give this try!

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere…

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Cathy at Between the Lines

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

Annie at The Misstery

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

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Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

I was making pretty good progress on my end of summer reading until the end of last week when life outside of blogging became very hectic. I continue to have quite a bit going on so things on the blog and social media may slow down over the next couple weeks. I’m hoping to at least keep up by doing some mini-reviews of these books as well as Throwback Thursday. I have high hopes I can get my reading back on track this week as well.

RECENTLY READ…

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Camino Island is my book club’s Sept pick and while I really loved the Florida setting and the heist theme with books as a backdrop, I thought there was quite a bit of fluff and filler in the story.

Castle of Water was a book I was seeing REPEATEDLY raved about on #bookstagram so of course I had to try it and what a fabulous story it ended up being. At under 300 pages I flew through this in one sitting. Don’t pass this by…review coming soon!

Lie to Me almost didn’t even make it onto my radar due to it being a psychological thriller which would’ve been a HUGE mistake on my part. This was one fun, twisty puzzle that I half listened to and half read. The audio narrator is fantastic so if you decide to listen to this one I think you’ll be happy. Yes, it’s being compared to Gone Girl and while very similar in tone I enjoyed this one more! Review coming soon

 

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO…

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The Mothers I know this book was very popular last year but I was never inclined to pick it up until the other day when I heard it talked about on the podcast Recommended. I’m about 30% into it and I love the narrator and the story so far.

READING NEXT….

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Lightning Men I’m hoping to start this one today as it releases tomorrow! Early reviews are saying this is amazing so I can’t wait to jump in!

What’s on your reading agendas for this week? I hope everyone has a great reading week!

 

 

THROWBACK THURSDAY PICK OF THE WEEK

throwbackthursday

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

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Published Feb. 2014 By Doubleday

My Rating: 4/5 stars

West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara’s farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea’s diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother’s bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara’s fate, she discovers that she’s not the only person who’s desperately looking for someone that they’ve lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

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I’m so glad I haven’t featured this book on TBT yet because now, with Halloween approaching and everyone putting together their creepy Oct TBR’s, is the PERFECT time to add this atmospheric mystery to your upcoming reads list. My book club read this a couple years ago and it was the first book by Jennifer McMahon I had read and boy was I impressed. Her ability to take you back to 1908 to that spooky farmhouse where murder is in the air and old legends abound was just spot on. From the opening chapter I was hooked! McMahon’s storytelling has a gothic, ghost story like feel to it and the dual timelines were equally eerie in creating and maintaining the thrills and mystery. I’m not always a fan of past and present timelines but I thought in this book they were seamless. Although I read this one a couple years ago, I still remember the feeling I had while reading because I don’t read too many scary books but this one definitely gave me the creeps. I think it would make the perfect hide under your favorite cozy blanket by the fireplace read this Autumn season.

I’ve added Jennifer McMahon to my must read author list after enjoying this one and Burntown  which I read in the spring. If you’ve read and loved any of her other books please leave me a comment and let me know which ones!

I’d love to hear what’s on your Fall TBR’s…anything creepy for the month of Oct? 

HAPPY READING!

I began this Throwback Thursday meme as a way to share some of my old favorites as well as sharing books that I’m FINALLY getting around to reading that were published over a year ago. You know, the ones waiting patiently on my TBR list while I continue to pile more titles on top of them:)! I like that these older books are usually much easier than new releases to get a hold of at libraries and elsewhere.

If you have your own Throwback Thursday recommendation feel free to jump on board, you’re welcome to use my pic as well. If you’d like to link back to me that’d be great as I really try my best to include everyone who’s participating week by week at the bottom of my post so all my readers can enjoy all the awesome Throwback picks!

My Pick This week is….

REVIEW: BEARTOWN By Fredrik Backman

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Published April 25th By Simon & Schuster

People say Beartown is finished. A tiny community nestled deep in the forest, it is slowly losing ground to the ever encroaching trees. It is a town that has lost everything except it’s love of hockey the junior ice hockey team is about to compete in the national semi-finals;  they actually have a chance to win.  All the hopes and dreams of this place now rest on the shoulders of a handful of teenage boys.

Being responsible for the hopes of an entire town is a heavy burden, and the semi-final match is the catalyst for a violent act that will leave a young teenager traumatized and a town in turmoil. Accusations are made and, like ripples on a pond, they travel through all of Beartown, leaving no resident unaffected.

Beartown explores the hopes that bring a small community together, the secrets that tear it apart, and the courage it takes for an individual to go against the grain. 

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When several of my fellow bloggers and one very good non-blogging reading friend, all whose opinions I very much trust, have raved about this book then I just had no choice but to see what all the fuss was about! I say fuss because I have very much resisted reading this book. You see, I’ve tried two of Backman’s other books…A Man Called Ove went into my Did Not Finish pile and My Grandmother Asked Me To Tell You She’s Sorry, which was a book club read, didn’t work on any level for me. Beartown, however, was like reading a book by a completely different author and I mean that as the highest compliment…this book was unputdownable and completely addictive!

What starts out, on the surface, as a book about a small town obsessed with hockey will, I promise you, turn into so much more. I’m going to be honest, the first half of the book is what you might call a character/setting set up and what I mean by that is the author takes you to Beartown…you are there in the frigid outdoors of a small isolated town in the forest as kids exhaust themselves playing hockey in an effort to not only make something of themselves and their future but also to save the town. These kids are aware of what a victory in the semi-finals means for Beartown and they will literally use their blood, sweat and tears to try to make it happen. As a result, we get to know some remarkable characters and their parents…Amat, Benji, Bobo, Maya, Ramona (seriously the love I have for this lady!) and others who infiltrated my heart and mind, and that’s just what Backman wants to happen because by the time the second half of the book rolls around, I was so obsessed with these characters, this town, and this story that…you guessed it…I was up until at least 2:00am reading!

I won’t tell you anything else about the plot except to say that of course there’s a pivotal, life altering, tragic event that happens that not everyone you’ve grown to love will recover from and the way Backman has this play out in the second half of the book is brilliant. I was so captivated by the writing and the story I didn’t care that I lost significant amounts of sleep for 2 nights…it’s just that good! And if you’ve read other reviews and/or blurbs about this book you might know that it’s often compared to Friday Night Lights which, in my humble opinion, is one of the greatest tv shows EVER, and it most definitely reminded me of that small Texas football obsessed town. Now, David (hockey coach) was no Coach Taylor but there were other characters who reminded me of Tim Riggins, Tami, Buddy and Landry no doubt about it and I loved it all the more for these similarities.  “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose…” Ah, miss you Coach Taylor:)

If you’re at all on the fence about this book I say give it a try, you might be like me and end up pulling a couple late nighters and making space for this one on your top reads of 2017 list!