Wednesday, April 1, 2020

Wall of Silence

Wall of Silence opens with the point of view of a child who stabbed a family member ... their father, Patrick. 

All three siblings stick together and refuse to tell who did it. The family seemed perfect, and everyone in the community is stunned at this awful event. Melissa, the mother of the children is the one who came upon her husband surrounded by the children. Her devotion to Patrick and her children brings her to the brink of despair when the police deem it an attempted murder.

This book kept me wondering just who stabbed Patrick. Surprisingly, her children are not evil, and all of them are tortured by the event. Yet all three keep a tight hold on what really happened. Melissa, the mother, is the main character. I admired the way she protected her children while searching for answers. 

The child at fault chimes in from time to time with more insight into the awful event, (though I still wasn’t sure who this child is.) At times I wondered if it was one of the children after all. Was it an adult the kids are covering for? Was it someone else in the family, or someone else in the tight-knit  community? 

Even with the father finally waking from a coma, and telling who plunged the knife into him, the answers remain unclear.

I was grabbed by the throat, heart, and mind upon the the first few sentences, and never released until the last page of this book. 

First sentences of Wall of Silence:

I thought Dad’s blood would smell of him, that soft citrus scent I’ve known all my life. But all I can smell on my hands are bitter pennies.
I look down on his face. He’s so white, so quiet.
Is this really happening?

5 stars

Friday, March 27, 2020

The Happy Camper

The Happy Camper is predictable yet enjoyable, and inspirational without preaching. It kind of has the vibe of a Hallmark movie. (Who knows, maybe Hallmark will grab this fun story and film it.) In my opinion, romance, faith mixed with a lovable, albeit a bit of a grouchy character is the perfect recipe for any story. This does not disappoint. The Happy Camper is all about starting over, self-growth and love. Dillon is not looking for love ... which is the perfect time to fall hopelessly in it.

Delve into this book. The time you spend in Dillon's story is worth the smile and warm heart you'll end up with. I read it in a day, not because it's short, but because I couldn't put it down. So cute! You'll love it. 

I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway. What a prize! I wasn't asked to do a review in return, and all opinions are my own.

4 stars

Friday, March 20, 2020

You Were There Too

I'm so glad I won You Were There Too in a giveaway featured on Cover Lover Book Review. This is the first book I've read from this author. Colleen Oakley is now on my don't miss list.

You Were There Too involves a love triangle, but this one is skewed. It's not the run-of-the-mill love triangle I've read about in the past. The author created Mia, and forced her to make some heart-wrenching decisions. Oh Colleen Oakley, you made me feel for this character. This story was riveting, believable, and as a whole, very well thought out. Kudos to the author!

This is not the last I'll read from this author. I love her writer's voice, and imagination.

5 stars

Friday, February 14, 2020

In an Instant

I have never started a book review talking about the author notes at the end of the book. To be honest, I don’t usually read author notes, but I didn’t want In an Instant to end. I clung to each chapter like a blanket in a snowstorm. So yeah, I read past the last chapter. I’m glad I did. 

Only upon reading these notes did I realize why the storytelling was tangible, and sincere. The author, Suzanne Redfearn, wrote from experience.  She survived a disaster as a child. Though this isn’t autobiographical, she drew from the helplessness as a child, as well as witnessing the choices adults made to save their own children while leaving others in their care to their own devices.

In an Instant delves into the human psyche, and the difficult choices one must make in life-threatening situations. Finn, the main character is able to narrate the story in first person. She dips into each survivor’s view … because she is dead. This isn’t a spoiler, because it’s basically the main premise of this story. It’s not really paranormal, though that might seem a contradiction, but when you read the book, you’ll understand.  The story is beautifully told. It yanked me out of my reality and into Finn’s point of view.

Rarely can an author make me actually FEEL the story … and feel I did. I laughed and wept. I wanted to slap people upside the head, and embrace others in a comfort. I trudged through the frozen wilderness, thirsted for rescue, and huddled along with the survivors in the wrecked bus. I experienced Finn’s helplessness, anger, and despair. I whooped at her glee, laughed at her sweet memories, and wanted to hold her hand through the myriad of experiences in her journey.

But there is more to this story than survival and loss. There’s self-discovery, self-loathing, selfishness, and generosity. There’s courage, and finding strength despite depleted hope. There’s family dynamics before and after the accident. There’s survivor’s guilt, pseudo heroes, and true heroes. There’s love, betrayal, physical and mental healing. There's. So. Much.

This story both knocked the breath out of me and made me hold my breath in anticipation. I could go on and on about this story, but I will leave you to it. Read it. Experience it.

I give this book infinite stars. 

Monday, February 10, 2020

The Gray Chamber

The Gray Chamber by Grace Hitchcock initially drew my interest due to the true historical aspects, but the characters the author created made the story real to me. Blackwell Island Asylum was the first lunatic asylum in New York in the late 1800s, and plays a huge role in this story. Nelly Bly, the famed journalist who exposed the deplorable conditions at the asylum even plays a part in the book. Without a doubt, Grace Hitchcock blended research and storytelling. I loved every page she penned. 

Though The Gray Chamber is fictional, the author incorporated many true historical facts. I enjoyed the characters she created, especially Edyth Foster.  She’s quirky, and doesn’t care to follow social norms for a young woman of the times. Her passion is fencing, and her heart is hopelessly in love with her long-time instructor, Bane. He’s clueless to her admiration, but I still adored Bane. He’s kind, and a true friend to Edyth. I wanted to shake the man and force him to see the beauty in Edyth, despite her unconventional persona. 

I found Edyth simply charming! She’s kind to everyone, generous to a fault, and has a buried brokenness that pulls at ones heartstrings. Naivety is her downfall, and she isn't aware of her guardian’s betrayal until she’s locked away in the lunatic asylum on Blackwell Island ... and no one will believe she’s sane. 

The events throughout this book are vivid, brutal, heartfelt, and touching. Yes, a true rollercoaster of emotions. This story held me in an atmosphere of dampened spirit, and darkness throughout Edyth’s plight once she was committed. Her belief in redemption, faith, friendship with other sane women in the asylum helps her to hold on to sanity. That, and her undying love for Bane. 

The emotional journey I experienced while reading this book will stay with me for a long time. Read The Gray Chamber, and delve into the world that really existed. It’s the best book I’ve read in a long time.

5 glorious stars

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Net Galley. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, January 5, 2020

Once Upon a Sunset

I've been looking forward to yet another book from Tif Marcelo. I first discovered this author when I read The Key to Happily Ever After. 

Once Upon a Sunset is a story revolving around a mother, Margo, and her grown daughter, Diana. Though their relationship is close, yet it becomes strained when they accidentally discover family secrets. Both deal with the aftermath of this newfound in their own way,  and the differing views create a fallout between them. 

As in Tif Marcelo's first book, this one brilliantly portrays the Filipino culture. Though the story revolves around self-understanding and growth, there's a romantic vein to the book. I enjoyed both storylines. 

I connected with the mother, Margo, and her free-spirited was of handling what life threw at her. However, I still empathized with the daughter, Diana. Both characters delve deep into the pas, in in that process discover a lot about themselves. Their relationship gradually repairs, and deepens their understanding about each other's views. Their self-growth is gradual, believable, and touching.

I received an ARC from Net Galley. All opinions are my own.
4 stars