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#The Ash Family by Molly Dektar–Review 4-Stars-#NetGalley

The Ash Family::.jpg 850.jpgNew Release-The Ash Family-by Molly Dektar—4/9/19

 

Nineteen-year-old Berie was on her way to college when a charismatic man, she met, changed her mind. Bay represented everything that Berie was looking for, freedom, saving the environment, and belonging to a family. Even though Beri’s mother worked, scraped, and sacrificed to send her daughter to college, Berie followed her new friend Bay, instead. 

Beri was told she could stay at the Ash farm for three days or for the rest of her life. When Beri decided to stay on, she was accepted into the Ash family and given a new name. It was a culture shock, at first, for Beri, when she was required to relinquish her possessions, work long hours on the farm, and bathe only once a week. But, once Beri, aka Harmony, had the new routine down, she felt good. And, the longer Harmony stayed, the more comfortable she became with the leader’s strange thinking, and the Ash family’s backward way of doing things. It was all wonderful until Harmony realized that when people left the farm, they usually didn’t survive. 

I enjoyed this book and found the storyline fascinating. I am always amazed at how easy it is for some people to accept a cult’s teaching and then become trapped in that lifestyle. A friend tried to help Harmony escape, but it was the Ash family’s leader who had Harmony’s loyalty. 

Thank you,  Simon & Schuster and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~4 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Molly Dektar is from North Carolina and lives in Brooklyn. She received her MFA from Brooklyn College, where she was awarded the Himan Brown Award and the Brooklyn College Scholarship for Fiction. She is a graduate of Harvard College and was the recipient of the Louis Begley Fiction Prize, the David McCord Prize for the Arts, and the Charles Edmund Horman Prize for Creative Writing. The Ash Family is her first novel.

 

 

#In The Blink Of An Eye by Jesse Blackadder-Review 5-Stars #NetGalley

In the blink of an eye::.jpg 850.jpgFive-Star Novel by Jesse Blackadder–Coming 3/19/19

 

In The Blink Of An Eye is a beautifully written poignant story about the Brennan family and how each member survived after being crushed by a catastrophic loss. 

After being betrayed, Bridget decided that a move to, far away subtropical Murwillumbah, NSW was necessary. Fifteen-year-old Jarred and two-year-old Toby had no say, in the matter. And, Finn, didn’t dare voice his opinion.  

The Brennan’s were just finding their rhythm and enjoying their new start in life, when a tragedy, so great, struck, forever changing each one of their lives.  

To protect his wife, from crumbling under the heavy weight of guilt, Finn took the blame for the horrific accident. Bridget could hardly look at Finn, and banned him, from their marital bed. Jarred coped by withdrawing into his lonely adolescent existence. That was, until a friend, comforted Jarred; opening his eyes, shattering his world, but setting him onto the road to acceptance. 

In The Blink Of An Eye is a gripping, heartwrenching story, crafted with larger-than-life characters, raw emotion, and hope. Although this story is poignant, it is also heartfelt and enlightening. Bridget bathes in the healing love of Finn’s selfless sacrifice, Finn rejoices in Bridget’s forgiveness, and Jarred discovers freedom in acceptance. And I, closed this bittersweet book, with a smile on my face. This is the first book that I have read by this talented author, but it won’t be my last. Highly recommended.

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it.

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Yes, Jesse Blackadder really was born with that surname. An award-winning novelist, freelance writer and budding screenwriter, she is fascinated by landscapes, adventurous women and really cold places.

Jesse’s forthcoming novel ‘In the Blink of an Eye’ is being published by St Martins Press in March 2019. (It was published in Australia as ‘Sixty Seconds’ by HarperCollins in 2017). The novel was inspired by her childhood experience of her sister’s death in a swimming pool. 

Jesse has recently been jointly awarded the 2018 Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship to write a television series and a junior novel series set in Antarctica, in partnership with screenwriter Jane Allen. The pair will live at Mawson Station over the 2018/19 summer.

‘Chasing the Light’ (2013), is historical fiction based on the true but forgotten story of the first women to reach Antarctica. Jesse won her first Australian Antarctic Arts Fellowship in 2011 and travelled to Antarctica to research the novel. 

Jesse’s novel, The Raven’s Heart, came about when she’d finally had enough of people asking if she was related to Rowan Atkinson. She travelled to Scotland to find the origins of the Blackadder surname and discovered the ruins of Blackadder House on the banks of the Blackadder River. 

Her first novel, After the Party (Hardie Grant Books 2005), made the Australian Book Review list of all time favourite Australian novels in 2010.

Jesse has been a writer in residence in Sitka Alaska, in the Australian outback and at Byron Bay, and has been a fellow three times at Varuna The Writers’ House, Australia’s leading residential program for writers. She has a Doctor of Creative Arts from the University of Western Sydney. Born in Sydney, she now lives near Byron Bay on Australia’s east coast. For more about Jesse please see her website at www.jesseblackadder.com

 

 

 

#The Things We Cannot Say by Kelly Rimmer–Review 5 Stars–#NetGalley

Things We Can Not Say 850.jpgOutstanding Historical Fiction Novel by Kelly Rimmer–Coming 3/19/19

 

The Things We Cannot Say is a bittersweet, unforgettable, and superbly-written novel. It takes place during the 1930s in Nazi-occupied Poland, and also in modern-day, America. This powerful novel is about loyalty, love, sacrifice, and perseverance. I quickly fell in love with the main characters and became engrossed in their lives. I was transported into the story with ease and found the book impossible to put down. I have never been disappointed by this talented and amazing author, and I don’t think that you will either.

In occupied Poland, the author develops for the reader, three main characters, Alina Dziak, her fiance`, Tomasz, and Saul, Tomasz’s friend. The author pens her larger-than-life scenes with enough authentic details that I felt as if I was living in occupied Poland. My anguished heart broke as I experienced life under the Nazis, as a Jew, a Catholic, and a rebellious outlaw.

The author transitions the reader into modern-day American life, seamlessly, with the same emotional pull and realism as she had with occupied Poland. With this portion of the book, however, the story revolves around Alina’s granddaughter, Alice, and her struggles with, Eddie, her beautiful but challenging autistic son, an absent but loving husband, and an entitled genius daughter. I loved many characters in this book, but my absolute favorite was Eddie. And in the end, it was Eddie’s words that brought me to tears.

 This book is a quality read, thought-provoking, and heartwrenching. I highly recommend it. —Five shining stars— from this reader.

Thank you, Graydon House Publishing and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I absolutely loved it!

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Kelly Rimmer is the USA Today best selling author of contemporary fiction novels including Me Without You, The Secret Daughter, When I Lost You, A Mother’s Confession and her most recent release, Before I Let You Go. She lives in rural Australia with her family.

For further information about Kelly’s books, and to subscribe to her mailing list, visit http://www.kellyrimmer.com.

 

 

#I Owe You One by Sophie Kinsella–Review–5 Stars #NetGalley

I owe you one:.jpg 850.jpgDon’t Miss Sophie Kinsella’s Latest Humorous Novel–I Owe You One–Coming 2/19/19!

 

I absolutely love Sophie Kinsella’s books. She always makes me laugh and transports me into her world with ease. 

I Owe You One is an engaging, humorous, and well-written tale. Fixie was the youngest in the family, but by far, the smartest and kindest sibling.

Fixie loved working in the Farr family store, and like her mom, was invested in the business. Her older brother and sister weren’t, though. They were too interested in their own lives and how they appeared to the world, to bother with the mundane workings of a general store. But when their mother took off on a much needed, extended trip, the true colors of all three siblings came out.  

Fixie experienced hard and painful lessons in this book. She learned to open her eyes and see how people were taking advantage of her. Some people, unfortunately, Fixie discovered, won’t change, no matter how much their actions hurt people. But, for others, when shown the error of their ways, can and do change. Sometimes, the most loving thing to do is tough love. And, although, letting go is never easy, and often painful, it is many times the best thing to do. 

As in all books, there are loveable and not so loveable characters. I adored Fixie and Sebastian. The two of them are caring, funny, and very likable, as well as the employee’s in the store. Fixie’s siblings, Uncle, and first boyfriend, Ryan, not so much. 

I Owe You One is a funny, entertaining, and captivating tale.

Thank you, Random House-Dial Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I loved it!

~5 out of 5 stars~

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Sophie Kinsella is a writer and former financial journalist. She is the number one bestselling author of Can You Keep a Secret?, The Undomestic Goddess, Remember Me?, Twenties Girl, I’ve Got Your Number and Wedding Night, the hugely popular Shopaholic novels and the Young Adult novel Finding Audrey. She lives in London with her husband and family. She is also the author of several bestselling novels under the name of Madeleine Wickham. Visit her website at http://www.sophiekinsella.co.uk

 

#The Girls at 17 Swann Street by Yara Zgheib–Review–5 Stars–#NetGalley

girls at 17 swann st:.jpg 850.jpgA Fascinating Story of Courage, Friendship, and Survival

 

The Girls at 17 Swann St. is an enlightening, haunting novel about women who suffer from Anorexia. Anna is a twenty-six-year-old ballerina who used to love roller coasters, ice cream, and fries. She loved her family, her husband, and life itself.  When a leg injury caused her to lose her dancing position, Anna was devastated. But when her husband received an offer to work in America, Anna’s spirits lifted. She was hoping to find a ballet opportunity in the States. She was wrong. Instead of dancing, Anna worked as a cashier in St. Louis, while her husband worked long hours as a physicist. Anna’s increasing depression and loneliness led her to lengthen her running times, eat less food, and lose weight. By the time Anna was admitted to 17 Swann St. treatment center, her food choices had narrowed down to only strawberries, and her body weight to 88 pounds. 

It is difficult for anyone who does not suffer from Anorexia to understand it. This book illuminates for the reader the symptoms, treatment, and complications of this devastating disorder. It also provides insight into the Anorexic mind and emphasizes the seriousness of this chronic condition. The Girls At 17 Swann St gives the reader a realistic view of what Anorexia looks and feels like. 

Although this book is heartwrenching and often, painful to read, it has its touching and heartwarming moments as well.

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy.

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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#Unmarriageable by Soniah Kamal–Review-4 stars-#NetGalley

Unmarriageable::.jpg 850.jpgPride and Prejudice in Pakistan

 

 

Unmarriageable is a well-written and enlightening, retelling of the classic novel, Pride & Prejudice. This book is set in modern-day Pakistan and is crafted with rich cultural details, natural dialogue, and humor.  

Barkat Binat was cheated out of his inheritance, by his brother. Financially, Barkat had no choice but to move his wife and five daughters, from their affluent neighborhood to a small town, Dilipibad. Barkat’s two oldest daughters, Alys and Jena, worked as teachers, and contributed to the household expenses, keeping the family afloat. 

The story follows the Binat daughters, their heartaches, humiliations, and joys, as well as the men who captured their hearts. Valentine Darsee was my favorite character. He’s a loyal, generous, and wealthy man. He did his best to win Alys Binat’s heart. She, however, much to Valentine’s dismay, was infatuated with, Wickaam, his good-for-nothing cousin. Wickaam was a devilishly handsome scoundrel and a shameless flirt. He left painful imprints on every heart he snagged.   

I found the story captivating, and the author’s descriptions of Pakistan’s culture fascinating, and educational. I did not like Mrs. Binat, at all. I found her to be controlling, conniving, and more than willing to marry her daughters off to the highest bidder. The many different personalities in this book are well depicted and add depth to the story. 

If you enjoyed Pride and Prejudice, and wouldn’t mind reading, a retelling of the classic, in a modern-day Pakistan setting, then this book is for you. A fascinating read.

Thank you, Ballantine Books and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy!

~4 out of 5 stars~ 

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Soniah Kamal is an award winning essayist and fiction writer. Her novel ‘Unmarriageable’ is a retelling of Jane Austen’s ‘Pride & Prejudice’ and set in Pakistan. Her debut novel, An Isolated Incident, was a finalist for the Townsend Prize for Fiction and the KLF French Fiction Prize. Her TEDx talk, “Redreaming Your Dream,” is about regrets and second chances. Her work has appeared in numerous publications including The New York Times, The Guardian, Catapult, The Normal School, The Chicago Quarterly Review, The Missing Slate, BuzzFeed, The James Dickey Review, Scroll.in and Literary Hub. soniahkamal.com

 

 

 

#The Wartime Sisters by Lynda Cohen Loigman–Review-5 Stars–#NetGalley

War time sisters..850.jpgDon’t Miss This Outstanding 5-Star Novel–Coming 1/22/19

 

 

The Wartime Sisters is a heartfelt, poignant story, rich in character development, historical details, and family drama. I enjoyed every page of this emotionally charged novel.

Ruth and Millie Kaplan have never been close, and their mother was the chief reason. Ever since childhood, Ruth lived under Millie’s shadow. In their mother’s eyes, Millie was perfect; Ruth was not. Ruth was considered the smart, responsible daughter and Millie, the beautiful, fragile one. The sister’s strained relationship worsened in their teen years; when every man whom Ruth brought home, eventually, turned their eyes toward Millie, except for one; Arthur. And, Ruth married him.

 Ruth was ecstatic when Arthur informed her that they needed to move away from Brooklyn, to the Armory, in Springfield, Ma. Ruth couldn’t be happier. Not only would she have the man she loved to herself, Ruth, was finally, going to have a life out from underneath Millie’s shadow. Years later, however, when Millie was alone with a two-year-old son, Ruth felt obligated to invite Millie to live with them. Reluctantly.

I wanted to shake some common sense into the mother, and tell the father, to grow a backbone. The favoritism was a bit over-the-top in this book. But the emotional pull and turmoil crafted into each page was nothing short of exceptional. Once I started reading this book, I couldn’t put it down.  

Thank you, St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley, for my advanced review copy. I thoroughly enjoyed it!

~5 out of 5 stars~

 

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Bio (from author’s page on Amazon)

Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts. She received a B.A. in English and American Literature from Harvard College and a law degree from Columbia Law School. Lynda practiced trusts and estates law in New York City for eight years before moving out of the city to raise her two children with her husband. She wrote The Two-Family House while she was a student of the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College. The Two-Family House was chosen by Goodreads as a best book of the month for March, 2016, and was a nominee for the Goodreads 2016 Choice Awards in Historical Fiction. Her second novel, The Wartime Sisters, will be published on January 22, 2019.