My Never Ending List

I am an outside person who loves to read and cook. Venturing into most genres my favorites are YA and fiction.

Speechless

The Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women - Kate Moore

I have read 25%  of this novel and I am speechless.   To think this actually occurred.   I am horrified to think that these girls actually went through this.  At 25%, I can't wait to see what the else this novel holds for me.   Definitely a page-turner!!

The Pearl Thief

The Pearl Thief - Elizabeth Wein

It’s Julia’s last summer on the Scottish estate that once belonged to her Granddad. His body has been laid to rest a few months ago, the Murray collection, these treasures and valuables that once belonged to her Granddad are being catalogued at the area library, and the Strathfearn castle and manor are now under construction. Julia has her memories as she makes her way through the estate and onto grounds, but days later when she wakes up in the hospital, she is confused, what has happened to her? Mary, the librarian is waiting for Julian when she awakes and tries to help her solve this mystery. When the two small tinker children arrive later, Julian realizes they were the ones who actually saved her. The tinkers, the travelers who have been coming for years to Inchfort Field, it was the McEwens, they were the ones who came upon Julia and assisted her. The question is what caused Julia to be unconscious?

 

I enjoyed all the adventures that were inside this novel. While Julia was trying to solve what actually happened to her, we had the construction occurring on the estate, then there was some drama with the characters, we had individuals working on the inventory at the library, we also had to consider the history of the property they were dealing with, and there were other smaller incidents that cropped up throughout the novel. I loved how some of these events crossed over into each other as I read, as it made the story exciting and entertaining. I really enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Disney-Hyperion in exchange for an honest review.

The Shimmering Road

The Shimmering Road - Hester Young

I didn’t read the first novel but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this sequel at all. I think what I enjoyed the most about this novel was how Charlie’s powers do not dominate the novel. Charlie has dreams which are paranormal. She needs to make sense of her dreams and how they affect her world. Currently pregnant, Charlie is having a dream about a child. Charlie believes this has to do with her own child but as this story is told, there are many other children in this story that could be the individual in Charlie’s dream.


Charlie’s boyfriend would like to find a home before their baby is born but Charlie is having a hard time planting her roots in a town where Noah lived before. Charlie then discovers that she has a niece who lives in another state that needs her and that has Noah and Charlie hitting the road and finding a relative that Charlie didn’t know she had. What did her niece see the night that her mom and grandmother died? Was it really drugs? Charlie untangles the knots to get the heart of the matter as her niece is young and she is not saying much. It was messy, sometimes it was better if individuals didn’t know the truth and yet in the end, I didn’t think this individual had it in them but…. they did. I would like to now go back and read the first novel and see what I missed and I hope that there are other novels that follow.

Thank you Read It Forward and G.P. Putnam’s Sons for sending me this novel in the Silent Book Club Sweepstakes. This review is my own opinion.

Setting Free the Kites

Setting Free the Kites - Alex George

This is one of those novels that I felt that I drifted through. This was an excellent story and although I don’t think I was deeply connected to the characters, I was. I didn’t think I knew them, I didn’t think I knew what made them tick yet as their lives became larger and richer, I cared deeply for them and was rooting for them. This novel moved quickly, I didn’t put it down, I couldn’t put it down for I had to know what the final chapters had in store. And then, the author wrote in a few sentences that threw me for a loop, why he did that I will never know but he could have left them out and I would have loved the novel much more. For these sentences stopped me, they made me analyze this novel in a whole different light. What purpose did these sentences bring and why here and now did he include them? Are these characters different now? Why, oh why did he do this?

 

Robert is ready for 8th grade, he’s ready for the bullying to begin, just like last year. Hollis is ready for Robert as he leads him into the bathroom, flushing his head into the toilet as Robert fights back. Nathan, a new student walks in and sticks up for Robert. It is now Robert, Hollis and Nathan in the principal’s office as the story is replayed. I have to say that this part of the story has a happy ending but as the novel continues there are ups and downs as Robert and Nathan’s friendship strengthens. Both of these families have heartache and love within them and the boys experience each other’s pain and happiness like brothers, they begin to bond. Each day, their friendship become stronger and in the end, I don’t want the novel to end. When I fly a kite in the future, I will be thinking of Robert and Nathan, their fathers were such an influence on both of them. I highly recommend this novel and I want to thank Read It Forward and G. P Putnam's Sons for putting this novel on my radar and sending me this copy, it was fantastic.

I received a copy of this novel from Read It Forward and G.P. Putnam's Sons and the Silent Book Club Sweepstakes in exchange for an honest review.

The Women in the Castle

The Women in the Castle - Jessica Shattuck

She was aggressive, a doer, a responsible person who felt committed to the task that she accepted years ago, her name was Marianne. I felt that she would have done more but the year was 1938 and as the party was in full swing, the husbands plotting secretly against the government behind closed doors, Marianne finds them and she anxiously wants to do her part. She waits, finally a part is given to her, Marianne has a responsibility, someplace where she can help.

 

It’s now time for Marianne to fulfill her promise, she must find the women and children of these men, the resistors, who were plotting against the government and care for them. It is not an easy task and I was surprised that Marianne doesn’t find very many of these individuals. Locating Benita and Anita, she brings them back to the castle. These women bring with them such diverse and captivating stories that by the time the novel is finished, I am glad that Marianne only found these two women as I enjoyed what relationship these three shared.

 

I had to laugh at Anita many times as I thought that she had her head in the clouds or perhaps she just didn’t want to face reality. Then there was Benita, this girl had my emotions all over the place. I loved her one minute and then I was screaming at her a couple chapters later. Sometimes she was fun and loving and other times, she got so serious. Marianne took her responsibilities seriously and she was a strong character. I thought of her like a shepherd keeping everyone and everything together. I loved the setting of this novel, the uninhabitable castle. The large cold rooms giving way to the large kitchen, where finally some heat was felt. As the heat made its way to the room above, the women all gathered upstairs in that one room to rest. From outside, you could see how isolated this landmark was, but again, it also was a special place to be in. I enjoyed reading about these women and their lives, it wasn’t just about the war, it was much more.

I received a copy of this novel from a Goodreads First Reads Giveaway. Thank you Goodreads and William Morrow.

The Best We Could Do

The Best We Could Do - Thi Bui

The novel begins with a detail account of Thi Bui giving birth to her son. Her mother arrives to help her through this process yet, she stands outside the door, unable to do anything to help her. This mother who had high expectations when she arrived and had given birth to children herself, stands outside the door, her face distorted. I enjoyed the way Thi Bui describes her labor and the events that followed. I knew by reading these opening pages that her memoir would be filled with detailed events that shaped her life and the emotions would run high.

 

The novel shifted around in different time periods but the chapter headings kept me focused. As Thi Bui thinks about her own family she reflects back to what her own parent’s experienced when they were younger. I learned about Thi Bui family and quite an extensive amount of historical information about Vietnam while reading this novel. I also learned how Thi Bui family managed during the war activities during this time period. It was quite the story, and I am sure my face reflected those in the novel as they faced more hardships than joy as endurance seemed to be the key during many of their struggles. I liked the fact that she sees her families struggles as a part of who she is. As she now struggles as a new parent, it is just the beginning and a part of life. I also enjoyed how smoothly the illustrations took me through her life. For a memoir, I thought this was a terrific way of making a tribute to her own life and to the others in it. I enjoyed looking at the illustrations, they were wonderful and I liked that there was not a lot of color used. It’s a great graphic novel and one you should check out.

 

Thanks Bookish Thoughts for bringing this book to my attention.

 

All The Best People

All the Best People - Sonja Yoerg

This is an amazing novel dealing with mental illness and its effect on family. The last part of this novel, I was literally shaking my head, not wanting to turn the pages, as I was afraid of what would transpire next. The novel is split into three sections based on time, 1972 and back in 1926. The novels centers upon a family who lived in Vermont and three women who were a part of this family. As I look back, I cannot say that I enjoyed one of the main character more than the other. With their own set of blueprints, Solange, her daughter Carole and Carole’s daughter, Alison each entered into mental illness with different conditions.

 

Solange marries Osborn, who later becomes involved in a high profiled case when he lands his first job. As an attorney, Osborn is paid to represent his client yet Solange is devastated about social injustice. Solange argues and clashes with others including Osborn and authorities about this topic causing quite a scene. These strong feelings are carried over into the household, making things there uncomfortable. Add this to the other difficulties occurring in the house and you have a stressful marriage. Osborn notices that Solange is not well and he has her admitted to Underhill, a state hospital. I am livid, I am shaking my head and ready to throw my Kindle across the floor. It’s 1926, I realize the time period, I realize what high statue he stands on, I realize she is a woman, but I also see the children and I hold onto my Kindle because I know, it just might slip from my grips. Carole, she is another one of the women we are introduced to. She is the daughter of Solange and Osborn and she was ten when her mother went to live in the hospital. She saw and hear what went on in the house when her parents were discussing arguing, fighting about equality and life in general and I found out now just what that did to her. As I read, I also discovered what happened to Carole and her family after they locked away her mother. Carole poured her story out for me in these pages, she let it all out and yet, I felt there was more that she not telling me. She was so innocent, she had the most to lose and she was scared and who could help her? Married with children of her own, she tried to remain strong, she fought but somehow, they were stronger. Alison, is one of Carole’s children and the other woman we get to know in this novel. Alison was always waiting for a sign before she would proceed any further. Sinister Alison, she seemed to me like she always had something up her sleeve. As I child I felt sorry for her and as she grew, she had the shine in her eye, like she was thinking of something. As an adult, she was thinking, always thinking and it didn’t always work out the best for her.

This is the first novel I have read of Sonja Yoerg and now I am curious about her other novels. This sure did pack a punch for me as it provided some intense moments, interesting characters, a great storyline and something to think about. I highly recommend this novel if this topic is one you read.

Thank you NetGalley and Berkley Books for sending me an e-copy of this novel for my review.

The Idea Of You

The Idea of You - Amanda Prowse

This was an emotional and empowering novel.  Lucy has climbed the corporate ladder yet she feels she is missing something every important in her life.   While others envy her, Lucy yearns for the lives of her peers, she longs to be sleep deprived because her child kept her up all night or to come to work late because her child was having a bad morning.   As she sneaks again into the bathroom with a pregnancy test, I hoped that the results this time would bring the couple the baby they so desperately wanted.

 

When Camille arrives for the summer, Lucy has mixed emotions how she will fit into the mix.  Jonah hasn’t seen his daughter for quite some time and now that she’s a teen, she’s become a different person.  The apartment explodes as the three of them try to find their footing.  Lucy wants to be a friend to Camille yet she is her stepmother and what exactly does that mean and then we have Camille behavior, which she can change in an instant.  I liked listening to them and reading about them, these two women seemed to be fighting for space but what was really going on between them?    The father, Camille adores him and he enjoys the attention that he gets from her.   He doesn’t feel he is picking sides when things get heated between the three of them but the others in the household feel differently.  The couple desperately wanted to have a child yet this goal seems to fall into the hands of Lucy when Camille arrives.  I could feel how lonely and isolated she felt as she battled this alone while her husband was on stage being a hero for Camille.   Camille finds a summer job where she meets Dex.  He seems like a nice guy who has his life planned out, a guy who will go far and Camille falls hard for him.  Dex is a game changer for this household, as he stretches this family to great lengths and the truth finally is revealed.   What a terrific ending, I didn’t see that coming and loved how it all played out.  There were such a variety of emotions for all the characters in this novel, I loved how they shifted around.  I enjoyed this novel as it dealt with family, relationships, secrets, and first love.

 

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for an honest opinion.

Intricate ink: Animals in Detail

Intricate Ink: Animals in Detail Coloring Book - Tim Jeffs
This is supposed to be an adult coloring book but to be honest with you, I am afraid to take any type of coloring tool to them. These drawings are just amazing! Tim went into great detail to draw them and I am just happy to have this book on my coffee table to thumb through. It states on one of the opening pages that Tim did extensive research before he began his drawings and that he pays particular attention to the animal's eyes as he draws, which I can attest to as the eyes on these pictures look as if they are looking right at me and these drawings look lifelike.

This is a hardcopy coloring book which surprised me when I opened up my package and inside the book, there are 50 different animals/creatures on the pages to color. Each animals has it's own page with nothing printed behind it. The animals are alphabetized starting with alligator and ending with zebra. There is a buffalo, lionfish, sloth, nautilus, lemur, hippo, cheetah, spiny lobster and a komodo dragon just to name a few. The paper is thick and has a slick feeling. On some of the pages, I don't believe it would take much coloring to finish the drawing as it is mainly draw is black and gray with a little bits of white showing through. I know the temptation to color just one of these drawing will have me picking up a colored pencil and filling it in and I feel that it will bring this animal to life but at the same time, just looking at these amazing drawings are well worth the price of this book. This is definitely a keeper.

Girl Out of Water

Girl out of Water - Laura Silverman

I thought this novel was fantastic! It’s a coming of age story of Anise who is juggling the love of her family and the love for her friends. She’s also confused about her own mother and the influence she’s made in their lives. I liked the novel as it is not overly heavy in the romance or the drama department and the novel made me laugh and smile repeatedly.

 

Anise is a surfer and a darn good one at that. Living at a beach house with her father, many of her friends will be leaving after this summer to pursue life after high school. Anise and her childhood friends are looking forward to spending every minute this summer together including the end of the summer, Surf Break Party. As she enters the house one evening, her dad crushes her plans. An accident has left her aunt immobile and she needs assistant. With no one to care for her three children, her dad has volunteered for them to spend the summer with them in Nebraska. No surfing, no friends and definitely no Eric, just when they had their first kiss. Anise is torn between her love of family and her friends, the ones that she feels she so desperately needs. Every day her friends will be together without her, doing the things that she loves, making memories without her, it just will not be fair. I could feel the pain and the heartache that Anise was feeling, some of her friends would be gone before she returns back home and others would be relishing in the stories that occurred while she was in Nebraska. Stories without her in them. Landing in Nebraska, she is torn between loving her family that is awaiting her and hating the situation that she is now placed in. It’s Nebraska, its hot and humid and the scenery is nothing like what she is used to. The children are antsy, they’re nervous about their mother and its summer and they want to do something. Anise is in charge of the children now, her father is working a temp job, and her aunt in the hospital still. Anise is worried about her mother, her mother the-revolving-door, will this summer be the time when the door opens and she shows up or will door continue to be shut? It’s all so confusing and being in this house is even more confusing. Taking the children to the park to get them out of the house, the story becomes richer and extensive as more characters walk into their lives and numerous events transpire.

 

I liked that Anise is not just thinking of herself but she is thinking of others in this novel. She is committed to her family and knows that they need her but she is also worried about missing out with her friends over the summer. She is torn but she cannot be in both places. She also is concerned about her mother, the impact that she has made on them and how she has affected Anise as a person. I liked the relationships within this novel. The relationships with family, with friends and with the males in her life. I really enjoyed this novel and I highly recommend it.

I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley and Sourcebooks Fire in exchange for an honest review.

 

A Study in Scarlett Women: First in the Lady Sherlock Series

A Study In Scarlet Women: The Lady Sherlock Series - Sherry Thomas

What a unique take on Sherlock Holmes. As a young child, you never would have thought that quiet Charlotte would grow up to be the woman behind this determined and cunning novel. Charlotte studied individuals without them noticing her, she perceived things that others might not notice, carefully connecting the pieces until it all made sense to her. It was if she knew other individuals better than these individuals knew themselves. Charlotte didn’t limit herself to just people, she was conscious of her world, as others ran amok with the voice, Charlotte watched with her eyes. If was later that she realizes that she had to use her voice and I found it funny that at this age, she found it was difficult to find things to say and what she did finally say was awkward. Charlotte didn’t want to be the traditional wife and mother, Charlotte wanted more from life and she had a plan. She was determined to get there even if others got in the way. When she met up with Mrs. Watson, I thought she wouldn’t accept the job offered to her, as she would consider it to be tedious and boring but she took it. These two women turned out to be quite the talented duo.

 

The Inspector and Lord Ingram were investigating these two murders. They are not getting very far when suddenly another death is added to the investigation. Were these murders related and if so, how? They decide to ask Sherlock Holmes for assistance but at the last minute they are denial assess to him. An in-between person relays the information for them and soon they have information from Sherlock to proceed on their case. It’s a strange setup but the case moves forward. The Inspector wonders if the information he received is really from Sherlock Holmes.

 

I really enjoyed the character of Charlotte. She was an internal person who observed her world and connected all the dots, she was a thinker. She was honest and bold and you knew where you stood with her. During the scandal, I was thinking wow, this girl is so cold but as I took in the whole picture and saw her intentions, I was thinking otherwise. I found myself lost at times during this novel, the changing of the stories occurring without warning and there were times in the beginning of this novel it was slow. Now that I understand what is happening and who the characters are, I would like to read the second novel of this series.

I received a copy of this novel from Read It Forward and Berkley in the Silent Book Club Sweepstakes.

After

After - Amy Efaw

I can’t believe I listened to this novel to the very end because the longer that I listened to it, the more irritating this novel became. It was very frustrating to listen to Devon as she denied any wrongdoing when clearly everything pointed directly at her. Clearly her body had just given birth, and clearly, she doesn’t have the baby with her and clearly, a newborn baby had just been found in a trash bag in the dumpster at her apartment building. Whether she remembers having sex and giving birth to this baby is another issue and one that Devon will have to address.

 

As Devon is questioned by authorities about this pregnancy and newborn baby, I found it frustrating how Devon denied she was involved. Even as her body was preparing for motherhood, she stood her ground and denied that his newborn baby could be hers. There was not even a slight bit of possibility in her mind, even after she notices that her breasts are sore and leaking, did Devon even think that perhaps the child that they found in the garbage bag could be hers. Really, seriously, not even a slight bit of a possibility?

 

Devon was a soccer player, an excellent one at that. Her future was riding on it and to Devon that is all that mattered. I felt sorry for her because that is all that she had. I thought her mother was a flake and Devon’s friends were the individuals from her team. When she gets cast into the juvenile detention center, Devon doesn’t change but her attorney helps Devon clear the fog so she can see what transpired and get to the real reason why Devon can’t face the facts. The true hero in the novel is the attorney, as she never backs down as she hammers away at Devon. The ending of this novel was just another frustrating piece for me.

The Secret of a Heart Note

The Secret of a Heart Note - Stacey Covington-Lee

Mim lives a sheltered life with her mom at home. She longs to be a kid and experience school but being a aromateur like her mother, takes up most of her day. Being the only two aromateurs, Mim and her mother are quite busy making elixirs for individuals looking for a love potion. When her mother finally allows Mim to attend school, she finds herself overwhelmed with too much responsibility and not enough time. Mim plows ahead as she finally has got what she has always wanted but now Mim has created a problem, a huge problem for a aromateur and one that Mim doesn’t want to tell her mother about.

I liked that Mim tried to handle her own problems and boy, did this girl have the problems. It seems that every time she turned around, something else would crop up and she was trying to fix it. Others tried to help her but Mim still had a part in it, for it was her problem to begin with. I liked the magical aspects of this novel, how the different plants and flowers mixed together would do or fix something. It seemed natural, in its own way. I really enjoyed Mim’s aunt. This lady was a fun and uplifting character, that came when Mim needed her, although they did not have much of a past together. She wasn’t there to intrude or to be domineering, she was there for Mim, to help her. In the end, what Mim’s aunt did for her was huge. I found this novel entertaining and fun to read.

American Street

American Street - Ibi Zoboi

I have mixed feeling about this novel. I wasn’t expecting what I got when I read this novel. I felt it could have delivered a stronger message but I thought sections of this novels were excellent and I enjoyed Fabiola’s relationships with her cousins. Each of these relationships were unique and they showed something about the character of Fabiola. The novel focuses on Fabiola who arrives in Detroit from Haiti without her mother, Manman. Planning and saving, the two of them were going to stay with Manman’s sister and her daughters who they hadn’t seen in such a long time. Detained in customs, Manman whereabouts are unknown but Fabiola believes in the spirits that she calls upon and in her prayers, that soon they will be safely reunited.

 

I thought that the culture changes for Fabiola as a whole, would materialize through this novel but they were only referred to, in beginning pages of this novel. The noises, the colors, the food, the major culture difference that Fabiola notices that are missing or added to her life now, the author makes a point to mention each one as she experiences them in the beginning pages of this novel but then suddenly she must get used to them because these differences are hardly mentioned throughout the rest of the novel. It isn’t long before Fabiola gets swallowed up into being an American teen. Her cousins wrap her up in their drama, she is casts into high school where peers and fitting in matter, and it isn’t long before boys and romance come into the picture. I wasn’t expecting things to happen so quickly for her and for her feeling to become so intense. The novel is more about Fabiola becoming a teen, the ups and downs, the drama and the dangers when she gets too close to the edge. I wasn’t expecting it to go that far. I expected Fabiola to behave differently but she had gone too far, too fast. I thought the novel would also look at Fabiola and Manman issue(s) and address them, spend time on them but it didn’t happen how I expected. This novel was eventful, I loved many of the characters and I wanted to tie a rope around Fabiola to keep her close to me for I cared for her.

History of Wolves

History of Wolves - Emily Fridlund

If you were to tell me that you got lost in this novel, I would have to agree with you. If you were to tell me that, there were many good stories in this novel, I would agree with you. If you were to tell me that, you didn’t find this novel a bit strange or unusual, I would have to question you about this.

 

I think that this is one of those novels that what I acquire out of it, could be different than another individual reading it. It would all depend on the individual who read it. My premise of this whole novel, why I read so many interesting stories, each story cutting across each other, their beginnings coming and going without any notice, was that Linda was trying to fit into each one of them, somewhere. Throughout each story, the time period not a concern, she was trying to put herself in the picture. I found myself frustrated many times as I read. Deeply involved in the storyline, it suddenly would change and I would find myself adjusting to a new situation as Linda carried on in another time period in her life. I also was confused as I didn’t understand why the author chose to elaborate more on some stories and others I thought needed more attention. I felt cheated, I wanted more information and details on the stories which the author cut short. There were always talk about a trial scattered about in the novel and I wondered what happened that made her go to court and what was her position in the courtroom? Her life was far from boring and I think that was because she was adventurous, she was a seeker, always wanting to see what was outside her door.

 

This book was nothing like I expected or wanted it to be. I did enjoy the author’s stories and her writing definitely captivated me. It was an interesting and challenging read for me. I would like to read more by this author.

The Last Harvest

Last Harvest, The - Kim Liggett

Are we sure this is a YA novel? Wow, this one was good! I loved everything about it. It reminded me of the good horror films from my teen years where not everything was spelled out but you went with the flow of it because you were high on adrenaline and anticipation. It’s like those slasher films where you’re telling the main character don’t do this and don’t that because good heavens don’t they ever watch TV and know that hideous things happen when they do that. I felt like that when I was reading this novel. I found myself asking the main character what the heck he was doing plenty of times, but Clay had lots on his mind and some of the time, I think Clay had no idea what awaited him. Clay was born into this organization, this lot of individuals, this mess that his father tried to escape but now it was up to Clay to take matters into his own hands.

 

One year ago, Clay found his father in their neighbor’s barn, dying. Holding a crucifix, he was mumbling words about blood and ever since then, his family has been overlooked. This morning while harvesting this year’s wheat, Clay hit a dead calf and the memories of his father’s death come charging back. The nearest cattle ranch is miles away so how the calf got in the wheat field concerns Clay. Clay feels it has something to do with the Preservation Society, the group that his father belonged to. This society is a group of the founding fathers of their community and today is the anniversary of his father’s death, Clay feels that someone placed the calf in their field. Clay never took his father’s place in the Preservation Society when he died but many of his peers whose fathers are also on the committee have joined and created their own small group and Clay intends to confront someone about this calf. What Clay discovers firsthand when he tries to confront this group shocks and confuses him. What are these individuals doing, what is wrong with them? Clay doesn’t mess around, he has a lot at stake so he gets more individuals involved to get to the bottom of things and as he does, the confusion builds, the stories become more convincing and the drama intensifies. I was on the edge of my seat, these characters moving with intent, where? That was what concerned me. There was talk about an exorcism as the Devil was among them, the invitations were out but had everyone received one? Who was the telling the truth and who was lying to save themselves, such convincing stories. Each of them giving compelling evidence, who was Clay supposed to believe. I enjoyed so many different parts of this novel, it was entertaining and as the story began to close, I had to smile for it was nothing like I expected. I think it happened too fast for one and it just was too much and that is why I am taking .5 off my review. But what can I expect, no one is perfect.

Professional ReaderReviews Published80%2015 Challenge Participant2016 NetGalley Challenge