Monday, June 17, 2024

The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. C. Schwab

 

My thoughts

This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read. It's a bit different but oh so good. A magical experience for the mind. A love story for the soul. I don't say soul lightly either. I story of hope. A story of "Not forgetting." A story about a girl. Then a boy. And the deals they made. 

Addie made a deal with the devil before she even realized it. She had only meant to beg the gods to help her. To help her not have to marry a man with children. She was not ready for marriage and wanted more. But in the early 1700s that is not what was expected. She had no choice. Until she did!

This story takes you through 300+ years in the life of Addie LaRue. The many things she had to learn to survive. The awful loneliness. The love she craved. And more than that she wanted to be remembered. For someone to not forget her when they looked away or when she left the room for a moment. It was the curse of the deal she made on that long ago night. When she felt so helpless. 

Addie will take you across so many continents. Through so much history. She's seen a lot and experienced more than any twenty three year old should. And the deal that the dark man gave her at a time when she truly should not have been held accountable. But that is how it went and now Addie LaRue is stuck forever in a life that she truly can't escape. 

This author has written a beautiful story here. One that will have you turning the pages to find out what comes next. It's divided into seven parts and lots of chapters. It's a long book but a quick read. It is a heartfelt story. Sad and happy. Lots of great characters. One not so great. Many time periods. And that ending. WOW! What an ending it was. 

This was a BOTM add on for me and I'm so glad I chose it. 

FIVE big stars and the highest recommendation.
About

France, 1714: in a moment of desperation, a young woman makes a Faustian bargain to live forever and is cursed to be forgotten by everyone she meets.

Thus begins the extraordinary life of Addie LaRue, and a dazzling adventure that will play out across centuries and continents, across history and art, as a young woman learns how far she will go to leave her mark on the world.

But everything changes when, after nearly 300 years, Addie stumbles across a young man in a hidden bookstore and he remembers her name.



Saturday, June 15, 2024

Happiness Falls by Angie Kim

 

My thoughts

This is a somewhat hard book for me to review. The reason being that I found it infuriatingly aggravating and intensely frustrating in places. That being said it's a great story. Just getting from point A to point B seemed to take forever...


This is one of those stories that I was looking forward to reading. I had read a few reviews that talked about how beautiful the story was. How heartwarming and heartbreaking it was. All true but with other feelings also. While I did think the story was so good I found the main narrator, Mia, grating. She was so self-centered. So hardheaded. Maybe that is the right words. She would say things then contradict herself or do something then say never again only to turn around and do exactly that. It was very hard for me to like her or engage with her. She was super smart but in a way that just makes you not like her. While I do think she loved her family in this story, I'm afraid she didn't much like them. Most of them. At least that is how it came across for me.

Mia's younger brother Eugene, who is autistic and can't talk, comes home from an outing with their father. Alone. With blood stains on his clothes and under his nails. What happened. Did he get angry and accidentally hurt their dad. Or is it something deeper. Something that they may never know. 

I won't go into all that this book is about because you can read that in the synopsis for yourself. I will say that the story that is told from Mia's POV is about what this family goes through. What the detective puts Eugene through. Or tries too. The accusations and the fears. This boy can't talk but he can communicate. He knows what happened. But did it really happen the way he says. Is their father really gone or is he performing another experiment? This book is full of things that will make you wonder and make you cringe. Make you gasp. Make you question what may have happened. 

While I didn't love this book I did like it. I found parts of it annoying and uninteresting. The footnotes... I just didn't like that part and felt it took away more than it helped. I also would have loved to hear John's or their mother's POV. I would have loved hearing their father's POV also. But that is not how it's written. Yes it's good. It will hold your interest. It will keep you wanting to know what happened on that day. I adored Eugene and I liked John. Mia just got on my nerves. John and Mia are twins. This family is biracial. White and Korean. While it does not have any racial slurs or impacts going on it does have some teens making fun of Eugene and calling him names. Shame on them.

Read the Author's Notes at the ending. There is some great info there.

Thank you #NetGalley, #AngieKim, #BOTM, #RandomHousePublishing, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

4 stars up from 3.5

About

When a father goes missing, his family's desperate search leads them to question everything they know about him and one another--both a riveting page-turner and a deeply moving portrait of a family in crisis from the award-winning author of Miracle Creek.

"We didn't call the police right away." Those are the first words of this extraordinary novel about a biracial Korean-American family in Virginia whose lives are upended when their beloved father and husband goes missing.

Mia, the irreverent, hyperanalytical twenty-year-old daughter, has an explanation for everything--which is why she isn't initially concerned when her father and younger brother Eugene don't return from a walk in a nearby park. They must have lost their phone. Or stopped for an errand somewhere. But by the time Mia's brother runs through the front door bloody and alone, it becomes clear that the father in this tight-knit family is missing and the only witness is Eugene, who has the rare genetic condition Angelman syndrome and cannot speak.

What follows is both a ticking-clock investigation into the whereabouts of a father and an emotionally rich portrait of a family whose most personal secrets just may be at the heart of his disappearance. Full of shocking twists and fascinating questions of love, language, race, and human connection, Happiness Falls is a mystery, a family drama, and a novel of profound philosophical inquiry. With all the powerful storytelling she brought to her award-winning debut Miracle Creek, Angie Kim turns the missing person story into something wholly original, creating an indelible tale of a family who must go to remarkable lengths to truly understand one another.



Thursday, June 13, 2024

The Paris Widow by Kimberly Belle

 

My thoughts

Another wonderful thriller/mystery from Kimberly Belle. She is one of my favorite authors. I always want to read her new books. I know I won't be disappointed. This just might be the best one yet.

Set in mainly Paris, with a few look backs at places Stella and Adam have gone, you get a good look at this couple's lives. The love they share and the things going on that each does not know about. Yes they adore each other. They are deeply in love. But they also have secrets. 

Stella and Adam just finished eating at a restaurant that Stella assured Adam he would love. And he did. They are headed back to their hotel to grab their luggage as it's almost time for them to catch their flight home. Adam realizes that he forgot his sunglasses at the restaurant and wants to go retrieve them. Stella says she will buy him another pair. An even better pair, but Adam wants those. They are special to him. As Stella makes her way to their hotel an explosion occurs. It happened at or close to where Adam was going.... 

After the explosion Stella can't find Adam. He's not answering his phone. She starts to panic. 
What happened? Where is Adam? Did he get blown up? Is he a victim? Or is her the culprit? Stella doesn't trust anyone. She is determined to find Adam. Even if it's his body.

What happens next is lots of thrills for Stella. Not being able to trust anyone and not knowing what is actually going on, she starts looking into things. Into Adam's work. His business associates. Anything that will give her a clue. She's heard too much from the detective and someone from the American Embassy. She is not sure what exactly is going on but she refuses to leave Paris without Adam.

This book takes you to a few other places and shows you things that Adam did in the past and also things that Stella has done. You meet several people who may or may not be telling the truth. Stella does not know what to believe. Until she gets a phone call. Her life is going to change in ways she never saw coming.

This is a must read. Well written and based on actual events as to the theft of historical artifacts. The ways in which they were stolen and what was stolen. This author makes you feel like you are actually in Paris. Running down the streets. Entering into areas that are less than safe. The descriptions are stunning. A true Kimberly Belle thriller.

Thank you #NetGalley, #KimberlyBelle, #HarlequinPublishing, #ParkRow, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book. 

FIVE big stars. It's excellent. Grab it. Devour it.

About

A dream vacation turns deadly when secrets from the past catch up to a married couple in Paris in this new edge-of-your-seat thriller from USA Today bestselling author, Kimberly Belle.

When Stella met Adam, she thought she had finally found a nice, normal guy—a welcome change from her previous boyfriend and her precarious jetsetter lifestyle with him. But her secure world comes crashing down when Adam goes missing after an explosion in the city square. Unable to reach him, she panics.

As the French police investigate, it’s revealed that Adam was on their radar as a dealer of rare and stolen antiquities with a long roster of criminal clients. Reeling from this news, Stella is determined not to leave Paris until she has the full story. Was Adam a random victim or the target of the explosion? And why is someone following her through the streets of Paris?

An irresistible, fast-paced read set in some of Europe’s most inviting locales, The Paris Widow explores how sinister secrets of the past stay with us—no matter how far we travel.



Tuesday, June 11, 2024

The Assassin's Blade by Sarah J. Maas

 

My thoughts

I read this book after the first three. I had googled the order and from what I read you get a better look and feel for Celaena and what all she endured if you read them in the order that I did. I believe it now. This book was excellent and that ending.. Oh my what an ending. 

This is a compilations of all the prequels that the author wrote. Each about something that Celaena was to do. Some person she was suppose to take out. Also a good look at Sam and Arobynn. I adored Sam but hate, hate, hate Arobynn. He's just awful. 

These books give some info into what happened before Celaena was the King's Assassin. Before she was brought to the Glass Palace. Before her life changes. Before...

I really enjoyed reading all of these prequels and each gave me a deeper look into what Celaena went through. The things she did. The pain she endured. The heartache and betrayal. The last book will hurt to read. The ending just may bring a few tears to your eyes. 

About

Celaena Sardothien is her kingdom’s most feared assassin. Though she works for the powerful and ruthless Assassin’s Guild, Celaena yields to no one and trusts only her fellow killer for hire, Sam.

When Celaena's scheming master, Arobynn Hamel, dispatches her on missions that take her from remote islands to hostile deserts, she finds herself acting independently of his wishes—and questioning her own allegiance. Along the way, she makes friends and enemies alike, and discovers that she feels far more for Sam than just friendship. But by defying Arobynn’s orders, Celaena risks unimaginable punishment, and with Sam by her side, he is in danger, too. They will have to risk it all if they hope to escape Arobynn’s clutches—and if they fail, they’ll lose not just a chance at freedom, but their lives . . .

A prequel to Throne of Glass, this collection of five novellas offers readers a deeper look into the history of this cunning assassin and her enthralling—and deadly—world.

Included in this volume:
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord
The Assassin and the Healer
The Assassin and the Desert
The Assassin and the Underworld
The Assassin and the Empire



Saturday, June 8, 2024

In The Hour of Crows by Dana Elmendorf

 

My thoughts

I read this book fairly fast. It was interesting but didn't WOW me like I had hoped it would. I enjoyed it but also got aggravated with the characters. I also gagged in places. When it talked about the thing that Weatherly did after she brought or attempted to bring a person back from the brink of death.

This book is about a family who lives in Georgia. In a small town in Appalachia. Weatherly Opal Wilder is a death talker. She talks death out of people. Or tries too. That is the aggravating part of this story. Seem to me that every time she attempted to do this the person did die and she was blamed for their death. So what kind of gift does she really have? It's more like a curse if you ask me. I liked Weatherly for the most part. She wanted nothing more than to find out who killed her cousin. She had a hard life. Her mother left her and she didn't know who her father was. Her grandmother was mean. Not a likable woman at all.

Many truths are exposed in this story and a few deaths. A few secrets are revealed also. I found this book to be pretty good but not jaw dropping great. It held my interest enough to keep reading. Except the parts that made me literally gag. I couldn't help it. It was pretty gross to me. But it is what it is. How can you be called a Death Talker if you don't talk out death. If you can't make it leave. Or is that what it's suppose to do. Whatever. I think this book would have been better if Weatherly's mother would have come back when there was a death in the family. Or at least if she would have been in some way a part of Weatherly's life. She was suppose to love her so much. I didn't buy that.

I loved Rook. I wish there would have been more about him. I think he may have been the most interesting character in this story in many ways. I did love how the author wrapped things up in the epilogue though. I was hoping things would make a turn for them...

Overall I think this book was good but not wowing. It was gross in places but I understand that it was a big part of the story. It was about family drama and not a lot of love there. Oh and I liked Bone Layer a lot.

This book has a bit of a magical presence. A lot of a mystery and a lot of drama. It shows what life is like for someone who is poor as opposed to the rich family. There was a few things I wish would have been closed but for the most part I was satisfied with the ending.

Thank you #NetGalley, #DanaElmendorf, #HarlequingTradePublishing, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

3.5 stars.

About

In a small town in Appalachia, people paint their doorways blue to keep spirits away.
Black ferns grow where death will follow.
And Weatherly Opal Wilder is a Death Talker.

When called upon, she can talk the death out of the dying and save their lives; only once, never twice. But this truly unique gift comes at a price, rooting Weatherly to people who only want her around when they need her and resent her backwater ways when they don’t.

Weatherly’s cousin Adaire also has a gift, she’s a Scryer and can see the future reflected back in dark surfaces. Right before she is killed in an accident, Adaire saw something unnerving, and that’s why Weatherly believes she was murdered—never thinking for a moment that it was an accident. But when Weatherly, for the first time, is unable to talk the death out of the mayor’s son, the whole town suspects she is out for revenge, that she wouldn’t save him.

With the help of clues Adaire left behind and her family’s Granny Witch recipe box, Weatherly sets out to find the truth behind her cousin’s death, whatever it takes.

Imbued with magic, witchery, and suspense, Dana Elmendorf’s In the Hour of Crows is a thrilling tale of friendship, identity, and love.



Thursday, June 6, 2024

An Impossible Choice by Alison Ragsdale

 

My thoughts

This is your typical Alison Ragsdale book. Take your heart and stomp on it then mend it back together all the while laughing and knowing that she is still going to make you pay. Make your heart lurch. Make you weep. Right when I thought it was going to be ok I had a moment that made me literally gasp. And cry so hard. It was in the Epilogue of all places. I did not see it coming. I was floored. 

This story is about a family. One that you think is almost perfect. Almost but not quite. I loved them all and felt their pain when Kenny fell overboard. When Honour could not hold on any longer. Then after going through that, the worse pain ever, she finds out her daughter has cancer. A fairly rare cancer and needs a bone marrow transplant. What more can happen to this family. 

I loved Honour until I didn't anymore. I finally forgave her but it took a lot. If it was anyone else I would have been ok. But not in this case. And then when I kept hoping that Kenny wasn't dead. I wanted him to come back so bad. I wanted Tara to be ok. For Callum to be ok. For this family to heal and move forward. This story made my heart hurt. Made my eyes hurt. But it was also so good. I know that is crazy but it's true. This author makes you crazy with emotions. Then she reaches in and twists the knife one last time...

Read this one with a few boxes of kleenex. You'll need them.

Thank you #NetGalley, #AlisonRagsdale, #Bookouture, for this ARC. This is my own true thoughts about this book.

Five big stars. 

About

Mothers talk about impossible choices. But, as I look at my daughter in a hospital bed, her red hair fanning out around her, my heart feels literally torn in two. Should I risk my son’s life to save my daughter, or keep my little boy safe and watch my precious girl slip away?

My darling daughter 
Tara has a rare form of cancer and there’s nothing I can do. At eleven years old, she’s already been so brave, but my sweet girl is hanging on by her fingernails. She has one last chance: a bone marrow transplant from her little brother. But nine-year-old Callum has an autoimmune disease, and there’s a chance it will put him at risk.

It’s life or death for one of my children and I have to make this decision alone.

I wish there was someone by my side to help me and my family through this terrible time. But life has hit us so hard recently. A few months ago, 
my beloved husband died in a tragic accident and now I might lose Tara too. All I want to do is to protect my children: so much has been taken from us already. I hope for a miracle, but my daughter is running out of days, and I have to choose.

If I make the wrong choice, will I lose one of my precious children forever?

Totally heartbreaking and gripping fiction about parenting, loss and finding light in the darkest of times. If you love Jodi Picoult, Kate Hewitt and Jojo Moyes, this novel will stay in your heart forever.


Monday, June 3, 2024

Talmadge Farm by Leo Daughtry

 

My thoughts

I'm sorry to say that I did not really enjoy this book. It appears that I am the only one that feels that way but I have to be honest. It has great potential and I understand it's the author's debut novel. I always hate when I have to give a not so glowing review and it's a first time author. I can't lie though. I found this one just was not that good.

While reading about different events that happened it would just stop. Not go on. Like when Gordon Jr's wrecked his vehicle. A girl was hurt. What happened? Did they get sued? Did she die? what happened. I admit I only read 50% of this book before I finally said that is enough but still.... End things. Don't start something then leave us hanging. As a reader that is just unacceptable for me. 

Also there should be trigger warnings on this book. In the first 25% there was an attempted rape and then a full on rape that happened years previous. There is a lot going on and this book does have great potential but right now I just can't take time to finish it. I'm so disappointed in it. 

Great setting. Great timelines. None of the characters were likable in my opinion. They didn't grow. They were basically dull. It could be descriptive in places and you hate Gordon right off the bat. He's an insufferable pig. His oldest son is just like him. His youngest seemed nice but isn't really talked about much.

I'm sorry but this book is not what I hoped it would be.

Thank you #NetGalley, #LeoDaughtry, #StoryMerchantBooks, for this ARC. This is my true feelings about this book.

Three stars and that is being very generous.

About

It's 1957, and tobacco is king. Wealthy landowner Gordon Talmadge enjoys the lavish lifestyle he inherited but doesn't like getting his hands dirty; he leaves that to the two sharecroppers - one white, one Black - who farm his tobacco but have bigger dreams for their own children. While Gordon takes no interest in the lives of his tenant farmers, a brutal attack between his son and the sharecropper children sets off a chain of events that leaves no one unscathed. Over the span of a decade, Gordon struggles to hold on to his family's legacy as the old order makes way for a New South.

TALMADGE FARM is a sweeping drama that follows three unforgettable families navigating the changing culture of North Carolina at a pivotal moment in history. A love letter to the American South, the novel is a story of resilience, hope, and family - both lost and found.



The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V. C. Schwab

  My thoughts This is hands down one of the best books I have ever read. It's a bit different but oh so good. A magical experience for t...