Sunday, April 18, 2021

THE RESTARTING POINT by Marci Bolden

 

SYNOPSIS:

Marketing executive and mother of two, Jade Kelly can now add cancer survivor to her list of successes. But while her life looks good on paper, four months out of treatment, Jade realizes she hardly knows her college-age children and she and her husband Nick are little more than housemates.

Determined to start over, Jade schedules a family vacation to a lakefront cabin. When her kids bail and Nick stays home to handle a last minute work crisis, Jade heads to Chammont Point alone, determined to dust herself off and figure out what to do with the rest of her life.

While she’s away, the life she thought she had unravels. Secrets, lies, and old wounds drive Jade into new adventures and new relationships. With the help of family and new found friends, Jade learns starting over sometimes means finding a brand new restarting point.

MY THOUGHTS: 

I absolutely adore Marci Bolden's books. Her writing style always makes me smile. Or weep. This book was another great and I look forward to the next one. 

This book has a cast of characters that you will love. With one exception. One I detested immensely. Even though he stayed and helped Jade get through the toughest time in her life I just did not like Nick at all. He was basically a very big coward in my book. He was untrustworthy and a jerk. But he did stay and help Jade when she needed him most.

Jade, Darby, and Taylor all become friends on Chammont Point. A quiet lake hideaway that Jade escapes to after getting over cancer treatments. You will love these characters no doubt about it. They are all a messed up group of women who are there for each other after only knowing each other a mere week. Friends can be made fast at times. You don't always have to know people for years. You don't have to always grow up with someone for them to be a best friend. 

Then there is Liam. I totally love Liam. To me he was sincere, funny, serious and just an all around good guy. No ones lover or serious relationship partner, just a friend who was there if you needed him. I'm still hoping that him and Jade start seeing each other romantically. I think they would be great together. 

Darby was my favorite character in this book. She reminds me of the blonde, big bosom, woman that played on Two Broke Girls. Her name escaped me now but if you ever watched the show you would know who I am talking about. Darby is so full of life. She doesn't care at all what people think about her. She lives life. She absorbs life. She's just great. The best thing that happens to Jade. 

Taylor is also very likable but in a different more serious way. She's a great friend but at times comes across as harsh. Together though these three women make a great friendship. Like they just belong. 

This book has all the feels. Laughter abundant. Tears of course. Friendships forever. Anger at some. Love in many. A huge secret that sets this one in motion. It's an all around breath of fresh air. It was just what I needed. 

Thank you to #NetGalley, #MarciBolden, #PinkSandPress for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book. 

5/5 stars and I highly recommend it. It's great!
This book releases 4/27


My week in reading!

 

READ & REVIEWED:
HER LAST CHANCE by Alison Ragsdale
Blog tour and review 4/15
THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hepworth
Reviewed 4/12
THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD by Melanie Benjamin
Reviewed 4/16
CURRENTLY READING: 
THE RESTARTING POINT by Marci Bolden
Review will be 4/26

WILL READ THIS WEEK:
WHEN THE STARS GO DARK by Paula McLain
Review will be 4/22
THE WITNESS by Terry Lynn Thomas
Review will be 4/25




Friday, April 16, 2021

THE CHILDREN'S BLIZZARD by Melanie Benjamin

 

SYNOPSIS:

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Aviator’s Wife comes a story of courage on the prairie, inspired by the devastating storm that struck the Great Plains in 1888, threatening the lives of hundreds of immigrant homesteaders, especially schoolchildren.

“Melanie Benjamin never fails to create compelling, unforgettable characters and place them against the backdrop of startling history.”—Lisa Wingate, author of The Book of Lost Friends

The morning of January 12, 1888, was unusually mild, following a punishing cold spell. It was warm enough for the homesteaders of the Dakota Territory to venture out again, and for their children to return to school without their heavy coats—leaving them unprepared when disaster struck. At the hour when most prairie schools were letting out for the day, a terrifying, fast-moving blizzard blew in without warning. Schoolteachers as young as sixteen were suddenly faced with life and death decisions: Keep the children inside, to risk freezing to death when fuel ran out, or send them home, praying they wouldn’t get lost in the storm?

Based on actual oral histories of survivors, this gripping novel follows the stories of Raina and Gerda Olsen, two sisters, both schoolteachers—one becomes a hero of the storm and the other finds herself ostracized in the aftermath. It’s also the story of Anette Pedersen, a servant girl whose miraculous survival serves as a turning point in her life and touches the heart of Gavin Woodson, a newspaperman seeking redemption. It was Woodson and others like him who wrote the embellished news stories that lured northern European immigrants across the sea to settle a pitiless land. Boosters needed them to settle territories into states, and they didn’t care what lies they told these families to get them there—or whose land it originally was.

At its heart, this is a story of courage, of children forced to grow up too soon, tied to the land because of their parents’ choices. It is a story of love taking root in the hard prairie ground, and of families being torn asunder by a ferocious storm that is little remembered today—because so many of its victims were immigrants to this country.

MY THOUGHTS: 

I'm afraid "historical fiction" is going to be the death of me. It's one of the saddest genres there is. All the things that have happened in our history. All the horrible things that people endured. Even in the earliest of times there was so much prejudice and hate. This story is set in 1888 and is about a blizzard that hits so unexpected and so sudden that many did not survive. So many children were lost. But so many were saved also. This is a story of one such blizzard that hits while some young teachers were present with their students. Teachers of only 16-18 years of age. Just children theirselves.

Minna, Ingrid, Johnny, Johannes, Karl, Walter, Sebastian, Lydia. These names will come to mean something to you when you read this book. They will wiggle into your heart and stay there for a long while. They did for the rest of Gerda's life. Gerda was these young children's teacher. They depended on her. 
How do you grow old on the prairie? This question will also hit you. And hit you hard. So much happens on the prairie. So many hardships. So much loss. People aged way to quickly back then. From the hard work and the many losses.

This is the story of two sisters. Both school teachers. Both very young for such a serious job. When the storm hits one makes a wrong decision. One makes the right one. But both live with the consequences of their actions. Guilt hits them both. For very different reasons. 

Gerda and Raina are sisters. They grow up on the prairie. Or as grown as you can get living this hard life. Both are teachers. In different areas but not so far away from each other. Not so far that the blizzard does not hit both. These sisters are so close and love each other so much. You will get to know each and form an opinion of each. I found it hard to like one at first but she did finally melt my heart. She finally made me understand her decision. And yes she was just a young teen who made a wrong choice. 

This is a very heartbreaking story and one that I had no idea about until now. I never knew about the awful blizzard that happened. That took so much life. I never knew it could be so horrible and deadly. That cows and horses actually could freeze to death in the fields. That humans would actually die. Frozen to death. What a horrible way to die. This book describes things in such a way that you feel the pain. The horrible pain of children huddled together. You wonder what went on in their little minds during such a horrific time. Not being able to do anything to stop the certain death that they faced. Or even the grownups that went through this. Or were left behind to face the loss of many children in one family. Who do you blame? Blame didn't change a thing yet I fully understand that a parent would have to blame someone.

This story is so realistic that you feel the bone chilling cold. The freezing ice pelting against your skin. The agony of waking up and realizing that you lost a part of you. Or that you lost a child. Or a spouse. This author did a fantastic job of making the reader feel. Honestly deep down feel these things. 

There is prejudice in this story also. Treating people as less than human. The way the indians were treated. The way the black people were treated. Even way back in the 1800's there was so much prejudice against black people. They dreamed of a better life. Indians were treated as less than human. Being so abused. The children in the Indian schools were abused, molested, treated so unfairly. This is so awful to think about, but also it was real. It happened. I hope someday that prejudice will be history. That we as humans can stop. Stop the hate and violence.

This book is so full of emotions. I cried so many deep heart wrenching tears. It is one that you won't be able to read without many tears. It's that realistically written. You feel the pain!

Thank you #NetGalley, #melaniebenjamin, #randomhousepublishing, for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

5/5 stars from me. It seemed like it was starting out slow but after reading it I fully understand what the first few chapters were about and why they were there. This is truly a magnificent historical fiction book. I highly recommend this book. And you have to read more than 20% to be able to say it's no good. Just food for thought here.


Book Beginnings Friday and Friday's 56%

 

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader

The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice

Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

MY BOOK BEGINNING:
They came on boats, on trains, great unceasing waves of them-the poor, the disenfranchised, the seekers, the dreamers. Second and third generations of farmers eking out an existence on scraps of farms divided up among too many sons. Political agitators no longer welcome in their homeland. Young men fleeing conscription in a king's army. Married couples starting out>. Bachelors from towns with few women. The poor from tenements with air so stifling and foul there was no room to breathe, let along dream.


56%
The horse picked its way slowly across the prairie, struggling through drifts up to its knees, but sometimes finding its footing easier where the snow had been swept by wind. It plodded toward  the homestead south of the school, the house growing bigger and bigger, but Raina was concentrating on the land they were gliding over, searching for anything-a mitten, a shawl, a slate. She didn't see any footprints in the snow, but that wasn't unusual, given the sweeping winds of the night before. But then, as they grew closer to the homestead, she did see something-she saw a pail, a lunch pain, sticking out of the snow, beckoning them.


Thursday, April 15, 2021

HER LAST CHANCE by Allison Ragsdale, Blog Tour

 

My darling girl, I watch you playing outside in the grass. Your long blonde hair sweeps back and your blue eyes are bright with joy. You are utterly perfect, I never imagined something could be so wrong and I’d be powerless to protect you…

Ava’s daughter Carly is everything a ten-year-old should be: energetic, creative and the light of her parents’ lives. But when she starts stumbling down stairs and walking into doors, Ava wants to rush to the doctor. Her husband Rick is sure she’s fretting over nothing – kids can be a little clumsy sometimes. But Ava’s instinct is telling her something is seriously wrong.

Against Rick’s advice, Ava takes Carly to see a specialist and is given a devastating diagnosis: a rare genetic condition that will change her future forever. When Rick realises the truth, he is determined to do all he can to help Carly enjoy what light she has left. The close-knit family take it one day at a time, walking to the beach and watching the sunrise.

Just as Ava begins to imagine a new future for them all, a tragic accident throws their lives into chaos once more. To give her daughter a chance at a full life, Ava faces a devastating choice. How can she possibly choose between the two people she loves most?

An emotional, heartbreaking page-turner about a mother’s love and an utterly devastating decision. Readers of Kate Hewitt, My Sister’s Keeper and Diane Chamberlain will keep this story in their hearts forever. 


Author Bio:

 A former marketing executive, originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives near Washington D.C. with her husband and dog. She was educated in England and holds an MBA from Leicester University.


For more information on upcoming books go to www.alisonragsdale.com.

 

Author Social Media Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authoralisonragsdale

Twitter:  https://twitter.com/AlisonRagsdale


MY THOUGHTS: 

This is the saddest book I have read this year. The saddest I have read in a while. It's such a heartfelt story of love, loss, and family. A lot of what ifs. What would you do if you  was faced with an impossible choice? What would you do to save your child's eyesight? Or possibly the love of your life's, life? Could you ever let go of either? Your child or your soulmate? 


Ava, Carly and Rick are a family. A family who love each other do deeply and completely that when things do go wrong it's devastating and unreal. More than they can face at times. When Ava and Rick have to face that their daughter's life is changing there is nothing they can do to stop it they pull together and try to make things better. Try to make memories that will last her a lifetime. But in doing so the unimaginable happens. Things take a turn that they were never expecting. 

This book is told with such pure love and feeling. So powerful and honest. I do not see how this author wrote this without weeping her heart out. It has been one of the hardest books I have ever read yet one of the best also. What happens to this family is so unfair yet so realistic and heartfelt that you will not be able to stop reading. Even through all the tears that have flown down my face I kept on reading. I did have to take a break a few times so I could see the words. I felt Ava's pain and fears. It was so real. So honest. Like you are living it. Seeing it each day. Each page. This book is just so good and so sad. So emotional and so honestly heartbreaking. So full of true love. A family that has to go through the worse time ever. 

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

5/5 stars and a million more. I recommend this one and please have lots of tissues handy when you read it. I promise if you are human you will need them. 

Publication day: April 13th 2021

 

BUY LINKS:

 

Amazon: https://geni.us/B08TPDNBQCsocial

Apple: http://ow.ly/2dbD50Dh621

Kobo: http://ow.ly/kjWQ50Dh61f

Google: http://ow.ly/qokT50Dh62Q






Tuesday, April 13, 2021

HAPPY PUBLISHING DAY!

 

HAPPY RELEASE DAY!
I've read two:
THE GOOD SISTER by
Sally Hepworth
HER LAST CHANCE by
Alison Ragsdale
On my list:
WHEN THE STARS GO DARK by Paula McClain
ALL THE CHILDREN ARE HOME by
Patry Francis
Congratulations to you all.


Monday, April 12, 2021

THE GOOD SISTER by Sally Hepworth

 

SYNOPSIS: 

Sally Hepworth, the author of The Mother-In-Law delivers a knock-out of a novel about the lies that bind two sisters in The Good Sister.

There's only been one time that Rose couldn't stop me from doing the wrong thing and that was a mistake that will haunt me for the rest of my life.

Fern Castle works in her local library. She has dinner with her twin sister Rose three nights a week. And she avoids crowds, bright lights and loud noises as much as possible. Fern has a carefully structured life and disrupting her routine can be...dangerous.

When Rose discovers that she cannot get pregnant, Fern sees her chance to pay her sister back for everything Rose has done for her. Fern can have a baby for Rose. She just needs to find a father. Simple.

Fern's mission will shake the foundations of the life she has carefully built for herself and stir up dark secrets from the past, in this quirky, rich and shocking story of what families keep hidden.

MY THOUGHTS: 

WOW!! This was one heck of a story. From start to finish it will hold you. There was not one thing about it that did not keep me wanting more. Sally Hepworth definitely knows how to write a story that will keep us on the edge and keep us wondering just who is the one in control.

Two sisters, Rose and Fern, are inseparable. Twins who know each other better than anyone else could ever know them. Rose is always in charge. She tends to take care of Fern. Protecting her from anything and anyone who may hurt her. Even their mother. If anything goes wrong it's Rose who takes the blame. She is a take charge young lady from early on. Fern is more timid and has problems that makes her see mainly just the good in everything. Though she is a fighter if she needs to be. Fern decides to help Rose have a baby. She meets Wally, who is really Rocco. She calls him Wally for a reason.

This book takes you on many twists and turns. You will learn the inside outs of these two girls lives. What happened to them growing up. Who cared about whom and how their mother treated them differently. You'll learn how each deals with things and what lengths they will go to to protect each other. But you will find out there is a whole other story going on also. Who can be trusted. Who is lying. Who is really in charge of it all. Fern loves their mother. Rose does not. Why? You will find out exactly what is going on and what happened by the end of this book. Everything is revealed.

Thank you to #NetGalley, #sallyhepworth, #stmartinspress for this ARC. This is my own true feelings about this book.

4/5 stars and only lost one because I figured out who was doing what. I figured out a few things. But it is a great story. If you love a good Women's Fiction, Thriller/mystery, then this is the book for you. It was truly great. I devoured this one. 



THE RESTARTING POINT by Marci Bolden

  SYNOPSIS: Marketing executive and mother of two, Jade Kelly can now add cancer survivor to her list of successes. But while her life looks...