• Book Reviews,  Uncategorized

    Hadley & Grace: book review

    Title: Hadley & Grace

    Author:Suzanne Redfearn

    Publisher:Lake Union Publishing

    Date: February 1st, 2021

    Pages: 347

    Genre: Women’s Fiction

    Synopsis

    Needing to escape her abusive marriage, Hadley flees with her two kids, knowing it might be her only chance. A woman who can’t even kill a spider, Hadley soon finds herself pushed to the limits as she fights to protect her family.

    Grace, new mother of baby Miles, desperately wants to put her rough past behind her for good, but she finds it impossible when her path crosses with Hadley’s, and her quest for a new start quickly spirals out of control and turns into a terrifying flight for survival.

    Stronger together than apart, the two find their fates inextricably entwined, and as the danger closes in, each must decide how much she is willing to risk for the other.

    A powerful story of self-discovery, Hadley and Grace is the heart-racing tale of two women facing insurmountable odds, racing to stay one step ahead of the trouble that is chasing them, and discovering new kinds of love and family along the way.

    Review

    What a wild ride! If you enjoy multiple POV, character-driven books then this one is for you.

    Hadley and Grace were flawed characters that you just couldn’t  help but love. They were both flawed but their love for their kids and their quest for better lives made the book for me.

    The writing was sharp and at times witty, even in tense situations. This felt like a dramatic comedy which isn’t something I read enough of.

    Billed as another Thelma & Louise, it didn’t quite get there for me but I was still on the edge of my seat the entire time.

    My only criticism would be a few implausible details that were important to the story. This wasn’t a deal breaker for me but it was a small annoyance.

    All in all, Hadley & Grace is a page-turning escape with two strong female character you will grow to love.

    Content warning: This book does contain domestic violence but there is no graphic violence. The bulk of the story is focused on the escape rather than the past.

    Thanks to TLC Book Tours and Lake Union Publishing for the gifted copy in exchange for my honest review.

    Purchase Links

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble

     

    Connect with Suzanne

    Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

     
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  • Uncategorized

    Children of The Stars: review & blog tour

    Hardcover: 368 Page

    Publisher: Thomas Nelson (February 25, 2020)

    From international bestselling author Mario Escobar comes a story of escape, sacrifice, and hope amid the perils of the second World War.

    Synopsis

    August 1942. Jacob and Moses Stein, two young Jewish brothers, are staying with their aunt in Paris amid the Nazi occupation. The boys’ parents, well-known German playwrights, have left the brothers in their aunt’s care until they can find safe harbor for their family. But before the Steins can reunite, a great and terrifying roundup occurs. The French gendarmes, under Nazi order, arrest the boys and take them to the Vélodrome d’Hiver—a massive, bleak structure in Paris where thousands of France’s Jews are being forcibly detained.

    Jacob and Moses know they must flee in order to survive, but they only have a set of letters sent from the south of France to guide them to their parents. Danger lurks around every corner as the boys, with nothing but each other, trek across the occupied country. Along their remarkable journey, they meet strangers and brave souls who put themselves at risk to protect the children—some of whom pay the ultimate price for helping these young refugees of war.

    This inspiring novel, now available for the first time in English, demonstrates the power of family and the endurance of the human spirit—even through the darkest moments of human history.

    Review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Each time I pick up a historical fiction novel I wonder if WWII fiction, in particular, has run out of plot lines. But once again I was surprised, this time by Children of The Stars. The telling from the perspective of the boys was fresh and took on an innocent quality that kept this book from becoming too heavy – a slight concern of mine prior to starting the book.

    I read this book in an evening. Historical fiction isn’t typically a page-turner for me but this book was different.

    The writing was beautiful and the translation was excellent. I didn’t feel like I was missing anything which can sometimes be the case in translated fiction. With this book, the author’s voice was clear and captivating.

    I loved nearly all of the characters and the book took on a tone of hopefulness. If you’re looking for a different perspective in a historical fiction book, you will most likely love this book. It’s available today from your favorite bookseller!

    Purchase Links

    Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble | Thomas Nelson

    About Mario Escobar

    Mario Escobar Golderos (Madrid, Spain) has a degree in History, with an advanced studies diploma in Modern History. He has written numerous books and articles about the Inquisition, the Protestant Reformation, and religious sects. He is the directs the magazine Nueva historia para el debate, in addition to being a contributing columnist in various publications. Passionate about history and its mysteries, Escobar has delved into the depths of church history, the different sectarian groups that have struggled therein, and the discovery and colonization of the Americas. He specializes in the lives of unorthodox Spaniards and Americans.

    Connect with Mario

    Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Thank you to TLC Book Tours and the publisher, Thomas Nelson for a copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

     

  • Lists,  Recommendations,  Top Ten Tuesday,  Uncategorized,  Writing

    Top Ten Tuesday: Books About Writing

    Happy Tuesday! Today’s Top Ten Tuesday topic is a freebie so I’m going list my top ten books about writing, both fiction and nonfiction.

    In fictional books, I find that they make the plot and characters strong because the author is writing about a subject they know well. Many writers love to write about writing, and I enjoy those storylines.

    With nonfiction books, my favorites feel like I’m talking with a friend – or even better, being let in on someone’s best secrets.

    In no particular order here’s my top ten:

    1. Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott – I have written here before about this book. Anne is a writer that reads like a friend – both in style and honesty about writing.
    2. A Ladder to The Sky by John Boyne – I finished reading this book earlier this month, and it quickly became one of my favorites of 2019. Thank goodness it’s fiction because it is a writer’s worse nightmare.
    3. The World According to Garp by John Irving – This novel is an old college favorite of mine that also happens to be one of the few books by John Irving that I liked – an unpopular opinion, probably so.
    4. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath – Yes, this book is depressing that was written by and tragic author in a semi-autobiographical manner. It’s also worth reading at least once; when you are not yourself depressed.
    5. Misery by Stephen King – The book was better than the movie. If you haven’t read this book or much by Stephen King, this is one I would put towards the top of the list of his books to read.
    6. Wired for Story by Lisa Cron – Based on brain science, this book brings out the science geek in me. It’s fascinating and worth a look if you want to approach your writing from a scientific point of view.
    7. Reading Like A Writer by Francine Prose – This is another book written by a phenomenal writer that reads like a conversation with a friend. I recently reread this book and will return to it over and over.
    8. Telling Stories: An Anthology for Writers by Joyce Carol Oates – This book is massive. It is a collection of short stories from a multitude of genres. It is well worth owning if short stories are your focus.
    9. The Writing Life by Annie Dillard – This book is newer to me and another one that is brutally honest about the craft of writing.
    10. To Show and To Tell by Phillip Lopate – Literary nonfiction was a tough genre for me to get a pulse on. I’m still not quite there, but this book was a fantastic starting point for me.

    Do you have any favorite books about writing? Thanks for stopping by!

  • Uncategorized

    A Ladder to The Sky – a book review

    ✂️✂️✂️✂️✂️/5

    Welcome to a writer’s worst nightmare.

    Maurice Swift is handsome, charismatic, ambitious and lacks the talent needed to become a successful writer on his own merits.

    As a young man, Maurice becomes the obsession of author Erich Ackermann. Maurice needs Erich to help his career along and Erich has other intentions. As they develop some semblance of a relationship Erich confesses to Maurice a terrible act he committed in concert with the Nazis resulting in the deaths of four people.

    Maurice in turn takes this story and packages it as the novel, Two Germans, and his career takes off while simultaneously destroying Ackermann’s career and essentially his life.

    After the success of his first novel, his sophomore book has less than stellar results and Maurice marries an up and coming author who narrates the second part of the book addressing Maurice as “you” – an interesting twist in narration.

    One calculating move after another leads the reader to realize that Maurice may not be who he appears to be. My jaw dropped multiple times as I went back to make sure I understood what had just happened.

    John Boyne is an incredibly talented writer – The Heart’s Invisible Furies is in my own top five books. I downloaded this audiobook expecting a good book but this was another phenomenal book – different from Furies but with some shared similarities.

    In both books references to real authors are made. In Furies the main character is always reading James Joyce or another Irish literature giant. Boyne takes it a step further in Ladder with Gore Vidal appearing as a guest star in the book.

    An exchange between the two men served as the shift from young aspiring author to a more sinister Maurice.

    There is also a nod to Maude Avery – a reference Furies readers will appreciate.

    These literary details gave this book a solid footing when at times you felt as if you were reading the impossible.

    I personally love books about writers writing, the publishing process, and literary criticism and this book was simply phenomenal, even for someone who doesn’t find that process to be all that interesting.

    At the heart, it is a character study and one can only imagine how Boyne went about developing such dark yet interesting characters that will keep a reader engaged despite how despicable a character is behaving.

    Mark this one down as one of my top books of 2019 – even if it’s only July.

  • Himalayas of Literature,  Uncategorized

    The Psychology of Time Travel: A Read Along​​

    Four women will invent time travel.

    Three will make their mark on history.

    Two will do anything to be remembered.

    One will not survive.

    Sound intriguing? I love a good female character-driven novel and time travel is one of my very favorite sub-genres. Combine those things with beautiful cover art and I am in!

    I am excited to announce that I am co-hosting a read-along of The Psychology of Time Travel by Kate Mascarenhas with Jessica from Book Oblivion.

    If you are unfamiliar with Book Oblivion, simply put, they are some of the smartest and nicest people in the online book community. I am a member of The Himalayas of Literature group as well as the Critical Theory & Philosophy group. Jessica is also the mastermind behind the super-nerdy reading schedule.

    So here are the fun details:

    • I am currently giving away one copy of The Psychology of Time Travel. You can enter to win here on Instagram.
    • Jessica will also be giving away a copy later this week.
    • We have a private Facebook group you will want to join for extra insights along the way.
    • On August 17th we will meet to do a live online video call to discuss the book. You can sign up for that here.

    Please feel free to comment or email me with any questions.

    I hope you will join us and finish up the summer with this fascinating book!

     

     

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