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.

REVIEW: THE HEART’S INVISIBLE FURIES By John Boyne

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Published Aug 22, 2017 by Hogarth Press

Cyril Avery is not a real Avery — or at least, that’s what his adoptive parents tell him. And he never will be. But if he isn’t a real Avery, then who is he?

Born out of wedlock to a teenage girl cast out from her rural Irish community and adopted by a well-to-do if eccentric Dublin couple via the intervention of a hunchbacked Redemptorist nun, Cyril is adrift in the world, anchored only tenuously by his heartfelt friendship with the infinitely more glamourous and dangerous Julian Woodbead. At the mercy of fortune and coincidence, he will spend a lifetime coming to know himself and where he came from and over his many years will struggle to discover an identity, a home, a country, and much more.

In this, Boyne’s most transcendent work to date, we are shown the story of Ireland from the 1940s to today through the eyes of one ordinary man. The Heart’s Invisible Furies is a novel to make you laugh and cry while reminding us all of the redemptive power of the human spirit.

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ALL. THE. LOVE. I finished this book almost a week ago and I’m still at a loss for words on how best to review it. The blurb is actually one of the best I’ve read because it captures the idea of the story without giving away any of the magic of what you’ll truly encounter when you open the pages and become an accomplice in the journey of Cyril Avery’s life. I say accomplice when what I really mean is friend. Every once in awhile a book comes along and allows me to connect with a character on such a deep level, being privy to their thoughts, heartbreak and happiness, that when I turn the last page it’s like saying goodbye to a dear friend. THIS is that kind of book and Cyril is that kind of character.

When I started reading this gem all I knew was that it was a heartfelt saga…that’s it…and I’m so glad I went in not knowing anything and having read no reviews because everything was a surprise and believe me, there are twists and surprises throughout the seven decades that this book takes place. What I will tell you is that we first get to meet Cyril when he’s about age 7 and he’s living with his adoptive parents Maude and Charles. Now, believe me when I say these are some of the most eccentric characters I’ve come across in quite a long time! As a parent myself, I was shocked at some of the things they said to little Cyril…how many times can a kid hear “you’re not a real Avery” before it seeps into their whole being? Cyril, however, took everything in stride and while he grew up wondering who he was if he wasn’t a real Avery, he also knew that he was luckier than some as he had a warm house, clothes and an education. Here’s the weird thing about the family dynamics of Maude, Charles, and Cyril…oftentimes it was quite funny and I laughed out loud on several occasions at the wittiness of Cyril and the cluelessness of Maude.

The story is narrated by Cyril throughout and it’s broken up into seven year intervals spanning 70 years so we have a long time to get to know Cyril as well as his friends, loves, coworkers and acquaintances, and what I especially loved about this was that people we may have known in passing, often return again to Cyril’s life, whether attributed to fate or coincidence…who knows. Cyril’s journey also takes us not only to Ireland, but also Amsterdam and New York City which I for one love when I get to travel to various locations in my stories!

I’m going to finish by saying, how John Boyne handled the ending was just brilliant. I  loved everything about it as I cried my eyes out. In fact, I loved every single thing about this story and I can’t remember the last time I finished a book and felt the need to start over again right away. This book has EVERYTHING…drama, happiness, sadness, hope, and humor. It is epic and unforgettable. I’ve already ordered a hardcover copy for my favorites bookshelf where it will sit (until its first re-read) so I can pass by it daily and smile. Oh and if you’re a regular reader of my blog you may remember me saying that I thought The Force would be my favorite read of 2017 unless something else came along to blow me away…well, The Heart’s Invisible Furies has come along…consider me blown away!

Many thanks to Hogarth Press 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 Jan 2016 By Minotaur Books

The Nowhere Man is a legendary figure spoken about only in whispers. It’s said that when he’s reached by the truly desperate and deserving, the Nowhere Man can and will do anything to protect and save them.

But he’s no legend.

Evan Smoak is a man with skills, resources, and a personal mission to help those with nowhere else to turn. He’s also a man with a dangerous past. Chosen as a child, he was raised and trained as part of the off-the-books black box Orphan program, designed to create the perfect deniable intelligence assets—i.e. assassins. He was Orphan X. Evan broke with the program, using everything he learned to disappear.

Now, however, someone is on his tail. Someone with similar skills and training. Someone who knows Orphan X. Someone who is getting closer and closer. And will exploit Evan’s weakness—his work as The Nowhere Man—to find him and eliminate him.

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When I picked up the sequel to this book (The Nowhere Man) at the library the other day, I realized I haven’t featured this high impact fun action thriller on my Throwback Thursday. I’m not sure how this one slipped by me but now’s the time to spotlight it for sure. What’s unique about this thriller is the author took an idea…orphans recruited and trained to be assassins…and really put his own spin on it. Of course, right from the start I felt a connection to young Evan, the poor kid had no choice in the matter, and to say his childhood was like none other would be an understatement. When he breaks with the program and uses his assassin skills to help others in need, I just couldn’t turn the pages fast enough. Not only did I really want to know more about Evan and find out if the new personal connections that were causing him great distress would materialize into something more, but when it becomes clear that someone is after him, the suspense was almost too much!  I highly recommend this one if you’re in the mood for an action packed thriller with substance that also features some pretty fun and creative uses of gadgets. I hope to share my thoughts on the sequel in the coming weeks as well!

HAPPY READING!

Everyone, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that SO many people are jumping on TBT every week! It’s so fun to read everyone’s picks and share all of these old favorites….your TBR may very well explode each week (mine sure does) but as we readers always say…what’s one more book…or 10!! Enjoy! 

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

Noriko at Book Fiend

Amy at NovelGossip

Holly at Dressed to Read

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

Amy at Book Snail Reviews

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Abby at Crime By The Book

Mischenko at Read Rant Rock and Roll

 

 

IT’S MONDAY WHAT ARE YOU READING?

cheers!

Hosted by Kathryn at Bookdate

I have to say, I think last week was a great reading week overall. I finished 2 books which may not seem like a lot but since one was almost 600 pages, I’m happy! I started several others last week searching for something that would draw me in within the first several pages…this is curse of being a picky mood reader….and I would say the book that most drew me in was Tennison by Lyndia Laplante. I was fully prepared to keep reading this tome (about 600 pages) but then my approval for a much anticipated new release (see below) came through on Edelweiss so I dropped everything to read that one. I will absolutely return to Tennison though, I was really liking Jane. Also, the third book in this series releases in the US in Sept. so I need to get reading to be caught up with the series.

RECENTLY READ…

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The Good Daughter by Karin Slaughter was the book that I dropped everything else for last week! This standalone mystery/thriller was fantastic and if you missed my review you can read it here.

Blind Side by Jennie Ensor is touted as a psychological thriller which at first made me hesitant due to my not having the best luck with that genre lately but I found this to be more a combination romantic/political suspense which I was very pleasantly surprised by…my review will be coming soon.

CURRENTLY LISTENING TO….

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According to a Source by Abby Stern is proving to be one of the best audiobooks I’ve listened to since YOU by Caroline Kepnes, narrated by Santino Fontana. For me, the narrator makes ALL the difference and Therese Plummer is amazing. Plus, I’m a People Magazine & Entertainment Weekly junkie so this book is just plain fun! I have to thank Susie at Novel Visits for sharing this audiobook with me via Audible…I owe you one Susie:)

CURRENTLY READING….

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I just started this last night so it’s early but so far the story has really drew me in…it’s creepy yet action filled in the first few pages and this book is getting lots of great reviews so I’m excited to see how it progresses. (Published Aug.1)

UPCOMING POSSIBILITES….

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I’ve read the preview excerpt of Gone To Dust (Netgalley) and it’s SO good…witty and atmospheric! I’m dying to get my hands on this one when it releases tomorrow...it’s by a writer of the tv show Seinfeld AND as my good friend Joe from  BookReporter.com said..”It’s an ACTUAL mystery!” All of us die hard mystery lovers can appreciate this excitement! I’m also super excited to read John Boyne as well(another new to me author)…plus I want to get back to Tennison…is it possible I can completely shut out everything else and read ALL of these this week?? I’d sure like to try! I hope you all have a wonderful reading week and be sure to let me know what’s on your must-read lists this week…

HAPPY READING!

 

REVIEW: THE GOOD DAUGHTER By Karin Slaughter

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Published Aug.8th, 2017 by William Morrow

Two girls are forced into the woods at gunpoint. One runs for her life. One is left behind…

Twenty-eight years ago, Charlotte and Samantha Quinn’s happy small-town family life was torn apart by a terrifying attack on their family home.  And it left the family fractured beyond repair, consumed by secrets from that terrible night.

Twenty-eight years later, and Charlie has followed in her father’s footsteps to become a lawyer herself — the ideal good daughter. But when violence comes to Pikeville again — and a shocking tragedy leaves the whole town traumatized — Charlie is plunged into a nightmare. Not only is she the first witness on the scene, but it’s a case that unleashes the terrible memories she’s spent so long trying to suppress. Because the shocking truth about the crime that destroyed her family nearly thirty years ago won’t stay buried forever…

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This book should really come with a warning…BEWARE…once you start reading this small town secret filled thriller, you will likely avoid your friends, family, exercise and oh yeah, sleep! I should know because I pretty much ignored everyone and stayed up until after 1:00am because I couldn’t possibly sleep without knowing how this puzzle turned out. I do have to say I was a little hesitant to start this because my last Slaughter book was Pretty Girls which I found just too violently graphic and all who know Karin’s wonderful writing know that she writes so realistically that it’s often hard to get those images out of your head. That’s not to say there isn’t violence in this story, there is, and quite a lot, so if you’re a reader that struggles with that you should take note.

If you haven’t read Karin Slaughter before I think this would be the absolute perfect book to pick up to experience a level of writing that is really so far above so many others in terms of characterization and making readers FEEL that they know these characters. In the beginning of this story we meet Samantha, her sister Charlotte and their parents, Gamma and Rusty Quinn, and within the first few pages I felt like they were real people and I was witnessing their conversations and their heartache over having to move because their home had been firebombed due to Rusty’s job as a defense lawyer in town. I mean, this is where I think Karin Slaughter is light years above other writers…how did she manage to make me feel SO invested in these people so quickly?? Sorry, I digress from my actual review….

The story is structured in such a way that we get to know the characters starting in 1989 in their small Pikeville, Ga town. Before this section closes Slaughter will have managed to toss in a twist that caused me to virtual buckle up for what I predicted was going to be a wild ride. The narration then shifts as we fast forward 28 years and Charlotte is now a defense attorney in the same building as Rusty (who’s still practicing) and trying to navigate the rocky waters of her marriage. I found Rusty to be an absolutely fascinating character. On the one hand, I felt like shaking him for being abrupt and emotionally unavailable for his daughter and on the other, I found him funny and witty. That’s top notch writing for you…characters who are FLAWED are characters we can relate to, root for, and mourn when we close the book and realize their story is over.

I haven’t even touched on the the crimes in the past and present and that’s because the less you know starting out as far as the plot, the more surprises you’ll get to experience!  To put it simply, there’s a devastating crime (home invasion) committed in 1989 and there’s an equally devastating one (school shooting) committed 28 years later; both occurring in Pikeville and both involving the Quinns. BUT, here’s what you need to remember…no matter how things appear on the surface, nothing is as it seems dear reader.  I felt my anxiety rising in so many places trying to figure out what happened, who might be involved, how does it all fit together…that I finally took the advice of my  friend Annie (The Misstery) who said…”don’t even try to figure it out!” So I’ll pass this good advice on to you…just sit back and enjoy being enthralled by some of the most gripping writing you’re likely to read all year. If you’re in the mood for a character driven story that includes plenty of mystery and quite a few thrills, I think you’ve found your next read!

Many thanks to William Morrow via Edelweiss for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review  

 

 

 

 

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 June 2004 by St. Martin’s Press

My Rating: 5/5 Stars

Something Borrowed tells the story of Rachel, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan.

Rachel has always been the consummate good girl—until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend, Darcy, throws her a party. That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy’s fiancé. Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from. As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she has to make a choice. In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren’t always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness.

Something Borrowed is a phenomenal debut novel that will have you laughing, crying, and calling your best friend.

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I’m shocked to realize I haven’t featured one of my all time favorite summer reading authors, Emily Giffin, and one of my very favorite books by her!! Seriously, I remember picking this up on a whim and thinking I’m going to HATE that Rachel girl, I mean how can the author have a main character betray her very best friend in this way and think we readers will like her and/or the storyline?? Then I started reading…and reading…and reading and I couldn’t put this book down. And not only did I not hate Rachel…I liked her…alot! In fact, I rooted for her to get what she wanted. Crazy considering my pre-judgements of the book before I picked it up. There’s just something so utterly readable about Emily Giffin’s writing and the moral predicaments she put these characters in that makes you really want to keep reading to find out how it all turns out. There’s even interesting secondary characters in this story!  This book holds the title of being one of the only books I’ve actually re-read twice AND I watch the movie every summer, so needless to say I remember the story pretty well and it’s just the perfect book to read with your favorite summer cocktail…and really, what more could a reader ask for?:) If you’re in the mood for a fun read with substance I highly recommend giving this one a try.

HAPPY READING! 

Everyone, I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that SO many people are jumping on TBT every week! It’s so fun to read everyone’s picks and share all of these old favorites….your TBR may very well explode each week (mine sure does) but as we readers always say…what’s one more book…or 10!! Enjoy! 

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

Noriko at Book Fiend

Amy at NovelGossip

Holly at Dressed to Read

Sam at Clues and Reviews

Claire at I’m a Coffeeholic Bookworm

Lynne at Fictionophile

Nicki atThe Secret Library Site

REVIEW: ALL THE WICKED GIRLS By Chris Whitaker

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Publication date Aug 24, 2017 by Bonnier Zaffre

“Raine sometimes complains that nothing exciting is ever gonna happen in Grace again. Daddy told her careful what you wish for.”
Everyone loves Summer Ryan. A model student and musical prodigy, she’s a ray of light in the struggling small town of Grace, Alabama – especially compared to her troubled sister, Raine.
Then Summer goes missing. Grace is already simmering, and with this new tragedy the police have their hands full keeping the peace. Only Raine throws herself into the search, supported by a most unlikely ally.
But perhaps there was always more to Summer than met the eye . . .

******

First things first, if you love crime fiction and well-plotted mysteries and you haven’t read Chris Whitaker yet…what are you waiting for?? I first discovered his wonderful writing when my friend Annie at The Misstery introduced me to his debut novel Tall Oaks last year. Months later, I still think about Manny, one of my favorite fictional characters ever! Needless to say, I was so excited to get a copy of All the Wicked Girls…could Chris Whitaker create more memorable characters and another mystery that would fool me? Often we readers go into highly anticipated second novels with high expectations to love it as much as we loved the first…sometimes it works out and sometimes not so much. So, read on to find out if All the Wicked Girls lived up to my high expectations.

In Grace, Alabama , a small southern town brimming with secrets, poverty, domestic violence, substance abuse and grief, five of their own”Briar” girls have gone missing over the recent years. All are church going girls who seemed to have vanished without a trace and except for a possible suspect they call the “Bird” there’s been no leads. The latest girl to go missing is Summer Ryan, the question is… did she run or was she taken? It seems Summer left a note and packed a bag and well, we soon learn Summer had some BIG secrets she was keeping from her parents and her closest friend and twin sister Raine. Raine enlists the help of two teenage boys in town, Noah and Purv, and the three of them conduct their own investigation into what happened to Summer. Now, I’ll admit, that sounds like a fairy simple and straightforward plot but I’m here to say it’s anything but and if you’re like me, you’ll quickly fall under the spell of these tragic, yet endearing, quick-witted characters. I loved Noah and Purv, both had stories that will break your heart and along with Raine I was fully invested in the lives and outcomes of these characters.

At the heart of this story is an intricate mystery that put every single detective skill I think I have to the test and guess what?…I failed miserably. Chris Whitaker completely fooled me (again) and I couldn’t be happier. In the end, this is a story filled with tragedy, heartbreak, redemption, and yes hope and I highly recommend it to everyone who’s a fan of mysteries and memorable characters! So, yes it definitely lived up to my high expectations.

P.S..Fun Flashback….As a former Blockbuster Video employee in my college days (remember Blockbuster & VHS?) I loved the part when Purv is talking about getting he and Noah’s (VHS) movies from “that bastard Goodwill lady…Ain’t never at the start neither. She never heard of be kind, please rewind?” Too funny! This totally took me back to spending hours putting those little stickers on the VHS movies and then having to rewind most of the movies anyway when lazy rewinders returned them:) 

Many thanks to Bonnier Zaffre via Netgalley for my copy. I’m happy to provide an honest review

**If you don’t want to wait for Amazon to have available you can order from Book Depository. I’m not affiliated, just providing the link**

 

 

REVIEW: HUM IF YOU DON’T KNOW THE WORDS By Bianca Marais

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Published July 11, 2017 G.P. Putnam’s Sons

Perfect for readers of The Secret Life of Bees and The Help, a perceptive and searing look at Apartheid-era South Africa, told through one unique family brought together by tragedy.

Life under Apartheid has created a secure future for Robin Conrad, a nine-year-old white girl living with her parents in 1970s Johannesburg. In the same nation but worlds apart, Beauty Mbali, a Xhosa woman in a rural village in the Bantu homeland of the Transkei, struggles to raise her children alone after her husband’s death. Both lives have been built upon the division of race, and their meeting should never have occurred . . . until the Soweto Uprising, in which a protest by black students ignites racial conflict, alters the fault lines on which their society is built, and shatters their worlds….

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There are three things that really drew me to this novel….the cover, especially the colors, the title, and the first sentence of the blurb mentioning The Help. You see, I absolutely loved The Help, so I hit the request button as fast as possible on Netgalley and hoped for the best. I was thrilled to get this the day before it published and I immediately dropped all my other reads and started this one. I have to say, I’ve fallen victim to this marketing ploy before…the “perfect for readers of” one…and I’ve been severely disappointed in the past. I’m happy to say this book completely lived up to the comparison of The Help, although not in a similar plot way, rather in the way it evoked similar feelings in me.

The story is set in 1975-1976 South Africa with the Soweto Uprising as the catalyst that connects the main characters, Robin and Beauty. We’re first introduced to Robin, a precocious 9 year old girl and her parents, all of whom I immediately connected with as their voices were so well developed. I loved how the author set up their family life and really allowed us to get to know them. The dialogue was fantastic and I felt like I was there feeling the heat and the dust near the mines. When tragedy strikes the family and Robin is forced into a completely different life, it broke my heart! I had just gotten to know all of them. What occurs for Robin after this tragedy is the basis for the rest of the story. Especially when she makes a spur of the moment decision later in the story that changes the course of the most important relationship she has left.

Beauty is a mother of two young sons who leaves her rural South African village when her daughter goes missing in Johanessburg during the Soweto Uprising.  Her life eventually intersects with Robin’s and how this changes both their lives and whether Beauty ever finds her daughter…well you’ll just have to read to find out but believe me when I say, I was so invested in these characters, especially Beauty, that I couldn’t put this book down until I found out! What I found surprising was the fact that, for me, Beauty’s character stole the novel and she really reminded me of Abileen from The Help. There’s wit, humor, happiness and sadness all wrapped up in a well paced plot. As I said, the author manages to write in such a way that the characters all came to life, even Elvis the parrot, although at times he was over the top.

If it sounds like this was a 5 star read for me, it really would’ve been except for some minor issues I had with Robin’s character and the last couple chapters. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked Robin but there were times her character, who’s 9, behaved and spoke like a 5 year old and then other times she seemed to be 16 or older. It seemed a little inconsistent. Now, I can’t really say why the last few chapters gave me pause without spoiling things but I will say that they really tested my ability to suspend disbelief which is ok (it’s fiction I get it) but the level was pretty high. Then, the ending…I’m all kinds of conflicted about it and really need to discuss it! That being said, this would make a great book club pick as there’s lots to discuss as far as character’s actions and the plot. I do highly recommend this and if you do decide to read it feel free to DM me so we can chat about the ending! In the meantime, I’m very much looking forward to Bianca Marais’s next novel.

Many thanks to G. P Putnam’s Sons via Netgalley for my copy, I’m happy to provide an honest review. 

 

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 just link back to me I’d so appreciate it.

My PICK this week is:

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Published May 2013 by Putnam

My Rating: 5/5 Stars 

Memorial Day, 1938: New York socialite Lily Dane has just returned with her family to the idyllic oceanfront community of Seaview, Rhode Island, expecting another placid summer season among the familiar traditions and friendships that sustained her after heartbreak.

That is, until the Greenwalds decide to take up residence in Seaview.

Nick and Budgie Greenwald are an unwelcome specter from Lily’s past: her former best friend and her former fiancé, now recently married—an event that set off a wildfire of gossip among the elite of Seaview, who have summered together for generations. Budgie’s arrival to restore her family’s old house puts her once more in the center of the community’s social scene, and she insinuates herself back into Lily’s friendship with an overpowering talent for seduction…and an alluring acquaintance from their college days, Yankees pitcher Graham Pendleton. But the ties that bind Lily to Nick are too strong and intricate to ignore, and the two are drawn back into long-buried dreams, despite their uneasy secrets and many emotional obligations.

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If you’re looking for an absolute perfect summer read, look no further than A Hundred Summers! Not only is the cover and title fantastic, the story makes for a page turning read that encompasses just enough drama and suspense, not to mention a love triangle filled with betrayal. What more could you ask for summertime reading? I actually read this last summer after it had been sitting on my kindle for over a year and I loved it so much it made my top 10 reads of 2016 last year. The funny thing was I had started the story a couple other times and it didn’t grab me initially. I’m SO glad the last time I picked it up I decided to keep going because once I really connected with Lily, Nick and Budgie I couldn’t put this down. This is a novel that does a little character set up to start so don’t despair and give up, it will quickly pick up.

The story is told in alternating timelines of Lily and Nick’s past and the present which is 1938, in an oceanfront community along the coast of Rhode Island with a country club setting, cocktails, the beach…what did I tell you…summertime perfection! Along the way there is much angst, betrayal and intrigue that occurs between Lily, Nick (Lily’s great love), and his new wife Budgie…who just so happens to be Lily’s former best friend. You just know there’s going to be a LOT of drama, right? It all plays out in a spellbinding story, filled with multi-dimensional characters and an action packed ending that I absolutely loved. I don’t read much historical fiction but Beatriz Williams has made me rethink this stance and I’m definitely going to be reading more of her books in the future.

HAPPY READING!

More Throwback Thursday Picks Around the Blogosphere 

Jill at Jill’s Book Cafe

Deanna at DeesRadReads and Reviews

Amanda at Literary Weaponry

Stephanie at Stephanie’s Novel Fiction

Cathy at Between the Lines

P Turners at The PTurnersbookblog

Julie at Novel Thrills and Chills

Susan at Susan Loves Books

Cathy at What Cathy Read Next

Noriko at Book Fiend

Rebecca at BoofsBooks

Lynne at Fictionophile

REVIEW: THE FORCE By Don Winslow

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Published June 20th by William Morrow

Our ends know our beginnings, but the reverse isn’t true …All Denny Malone wants is to be a good cop. He is the “King of Manhattan North,” a highly decorated NYPD detective sergeant and the real leader of “Da Force.” Malone and his crew are the smartest, the toughest, the quickest, the bravest, and the baddest–an elite special unit given carte blanche to fight gangs, drugs, and guns. Every day and every night for the eighteen years he’s spent on the “Job,” Malone has served on the front lines, witnessing the hurt, the dead, the victims, the perps. He’s done whatever it takes to serve and protect in a city built by ambition and corruption, where no one is clean.What only a few know is that Denny Malone himself is dirty. 

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Is it possible that July has brought me my top read of 2017? It’s very likely unless something else truly phenomenal comes along between now and Dec 31 to knock this blockbuster off it’s perch on the tippy top of my top reads shelf. There’s definitely a reason this was published in June because this is the perfect summer read to take to the beach, pool or patio. A crime thriller is the perfect summer read you may be asking? Oh yes, just ask Time, Amazon, The New York Times, Entertainment Weekly, Newsday, Miami-Herald and more since they all named The Force a must read this summer. Just don’t forget to slather on your sunscreen because once you start reading this addicting saga of a police thriller you’ll forget everything else!

The blurb above tells you all you need to know about Sgt. Denny Malone, “King” of The Manhattan North Special Task Force. He’ll be the first to also tell you (repeatedly so) that he’s a hero cop.  You see, Denny narrates the story, first in the prologue where he tells us he’s in a federal jail cell and then throughout the rest of the novel (he details what led to him being in federal jail) as we get an inside, front row, in your face perspective of Denny’s often harsh, racist observations and illegal actions along with his searing rationalizations of why he’s turned dirty. There are no narrative tricks or multiple points of view in the telling of this story. Winslow grabs you immediately with acute observations, single line sentences, short paragraphs and dialogue that snaps, crackles and pops so fast your head will spin and your eyes will barely be able to keep up. THIS is how you tell a story and that’s what makes this book so utterly fantastic! Let me pause here and say the writing is by no means always perfect. There were times I was caught off guard by weird grammatical sentence structures but guess what…I didn’t care…not at all because the storytelling that Winslow weaves is can’t-put-it-down-brilliant. 

I feel like I may have moved into gushing territory so let me try to sum up the gist of the story with one word….corruption. EVERYONE in this book is corrupt in one way or another and let me tell you…the police, the ADA’s, the mayor, the defense lawyers, the criminals, the junkies, the wives, the church, even Internal Affairs…all dirty.  Boy does this make for some fascinating, suspense filled reading as you’re never quite sure who’s going to turn on who at any given point. You know from the prologue that things go wrong for Denny at some point but there’s a whole lot of double crossing, killing, lying and cheating to get him there.  I should add a side note here: if you’re offended by  graphic violence and language this isn’t the book for you. I wanted to share some of the writing style with you and it took me awhile to find sections without the “f” word. Here’s a great example of Denny and his thinking as he’s meeting with a prosecutor to prep for his testimony in the trial of a violent drug dealer….

     ‘Just tell the truth and get the conviction” Hinman said.

     “Which?” Malone asked.

     “What do you mean?”

     “I mean”, Malone said, “I can tell the truth or I can get the conviction. Which do you want?” 

   “Both,” Hitman said. 

   “You can’t have both.”

    Because if he told the truth, they’d lose the case because Malone had no warrant and no probable cause to enter the apartment …the dealer would walk. Because the real truth that they both know is that without cops “testilying,” the DA’s office would hardly get any convictions at all. This doesn’t bother Malone.

Truth, justice and the American way. 

The American way is, truth and justice maybe say hello in the hallway, send each other a Christmas card, but that’s about the extent of their relationship.

Accurate? We’ll never know but Don Winslow spent years researching this book, interviewing hundreds of cops, rookies and veterans alike, so this kind of makes you say hmmm doesn’t it? There’s so much that’s relevant and timely in this sprawling novel that you’ll find yourself often shaking your head but there’s one thing you won’t be able to do and that’s stop reading. Winslow expertly managed to keep me in the dark about how this cinematic thriller would turn out and right up until the final few paragraphs I thought it might end the way I hoped. Surprise was on me. As I said Monday, if you like movies like The Town, The Firm, and The Untouchables and the tv show The Sopranos you’ll LOVE this book. Now I’m off to continue casting the movie (March 1, 2019!) in my head… Henry Cavill sure looks like a good Denny Malone.

Many thanks to William Morrow for my copy via a Goodreads Giveaway

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