“Grist Mill Road”–Review

619Paq6gYqL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_It’s the year 1982, set in an Edenic hamlet 90 miles north of New York City. In the nearby woods, three teenage friends—Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah—are bound together by a terrible crime. One is guilty, the other is a victim, and one is a witness, yet claims to not have been a witness. So what really did happen?

Fast forward to 2008, in New York City.  The three friends unexpectedly meet again. Although the crime occurred 26 years ago, the three are still haunted by the past, and it gets worse as more secrets are revealed.

Each chapter alternates from the past to the present, from the point of view of Patrick, Matthew, and Hannah. While some of the stories were interesting, I’m not quite sure how I feel about the entire book. Although I understand why the crime occurred, I just don’t think the whole conflict was really resolved, in the end, especially when it came to Matthew’s story. But I won’t spoil a thing. Either way, I’ll give it three stars because of the suspense. As always, though, I don’t discourage anyone from reading a book I didn’t really enjoy, so check it out and feel free to post your comments.

Happy reading!

Grist Mill Road will be on sale on January 9, 2018.

*I received this copy from Picador, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Christopher J. Yates was born and raised in Kent and studied law at Oxford University before working as a puzzle editor in London. His first novel, Black Chalk, was named a Must-Read by The Boston Globe and New York Post and named a Best Book of the Year by National Public Radio. Grist Mill Road is his second novel. He lives in New York with his wife and dog.

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“Convicted”–Review

51KKYkaafTL._SX327_BO1,204,203,200_A crooked cop, an innocent man, and an unlikely journey of forgiveness and friendship.

Taking place in Benton Harbor, a small city on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, this story is narrated by Andrew Collins—a white narcotics officer—and Jameel McGee. When Andrew Collins became a police officer, he knew he always wanted to make a difference in his community. Things got better for him when he moved up to being a narcotics officer. However, the more drug busts he went out on, the bigger his ego. He got a bit too greedy. That’s when everything changed for Jameel McGee—a black man who was in the wrong place, at the wrong time—who Collins had framed for possession of drugs.

After his being falsely convicted, McGee had spent four years in federal prison. During his time behind bars, McGee vowed to get back at the cop who’d ruined his life.

A few years later, after investigations of his falsifying police reports, Collins is thrown in prison. During his time in prison, Collins starts to face his reality, that he’d become everything he’d hated, that he’d ruined too many lives, all because of his greed and his ego. It is during an unexpected reunion, however, that makes the two men face their own realities and how they wound up where they were. No matter how much anger and mistrust they have in their hearts, they both must learn, that in order to truly live again, that they need to forgive.

I enjoyed reading this book. For a while, I really was wondering how things were going to go down between Collins and McGee. As difficult as it was for the two of them, it definitely took a lot of strength to make peace with everything that went wrong in their lives, to let go of all the remaining anger, and to maintain a strong friendship. If you’re interested in this story, I recommend it.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

Convicted will be available on September 19, 2017.

*I received this copy from Waterbrook Multnomah, in exchange for an honest review.

About the authors: Jameel McGee works for Emergency Shelter Services, a program to help the homeless find sustainable housing. Andrew Collins works with youth, as part of Young Life. Mark Tabb is the New York Times best-selling author and collaborator of Mistaken Identity and other books.

“The Little French Bistro”–Review

51fN2ZGIF4L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_After 41 years, Marianne is fed up with her loveless marriage. For years, she’s felt so unworthy, so unloved because of her husband’s controlling ways. Finally realizing her life has passed her by, Marianne decides life is no longer worth living—until she is saved. Finding herself in Brittany, the northwestern part of France, she is swept up by a new life at Ar Mor (the Sea) restaurant, where she meets Yann, the handsome painter; Genevieve, the restaurant owner; Jean-Remy, the heartbroken chef; and many others.

While she takes in her new surroundings, along with getting to know the locals, Marianne starts to find a forgotten version of herself.  Even though she’s often afraid, she learns what it means to truly live again. However, her past still beckons her, and that’s when she needs to decide if she’s meant to return to her old life or to push it aside for a better future.

Although I liked the storyline, the book was leaving me in a bit of a slump. I felt I couldn’t really connect with the characters. I’m less than halfway through with the book, so I just might finish it to see if it may change my perspective. No matter, I don’t discourage anyone from reading a book I didn’t really enjoy. Perhaps you’ll feel differently. Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

About the author: Nina George is the author of the bestselling international phenomenon, The Little Paris Bookshop, as well as numerous other books that have been published around the world. She also works as a journalist, a writer, an advocate for author rights, and a storytelling teacher. She lives with her husband in Berlin, Germany, and Brittany, France.

FTC Disclosure: I received this copy from Blogging for Books, in exchange for an honest review.

“Come Sundown”–Review

51FVfObxphL._SX329_BO1,204,203,200_Come Sundown takes place in the successful ranch and resort in western Montana, where the Bodine family business is thriving and filled with vacationers.  The 30,000-acre ranch has been a home to four generations and is now managed by Bodine Longbow, along with a large staff and a new hire, Callen Skinner.

While everything is going well at the ranch, every now and then the topic of Bodine’s estranged aunt, Alice Bodine, comes up.  Unfortunately, the other family members don’t want to speak of her, all the more arousing Bodine’s curiosity.  Is Alice dead or still alive? And what drove Alice away? But, then, it isn’t long before they all are informed of an unexpected death of a young woman.  And then another death.  No one is quite sure why these deaths occurred.

After 25 years, however, the family is in a state of shock when they learn that Alice has been found.  It was 25 years ago that Alice had rebelled and left the ranch to pursue an acting career in Hollywood.  Once her days in Hollywood were done, though, she was ready to come back home.  But she never did make it back.

Now that Alice is back, everyone has questions.  Alice, however, is no longer the same.  Half of her life has been taken, yet she won’t give anyone the entire story.  Only within time will it all test the bonds of the Bodine family and thrust Bodine into a darkness she never could have imagined.

This is my first read by Nora Roberts. Although I didn’t really love the story—especially because I feel some scenes were unnecessary—I still think the plot and story line were good.  The scenes from Alice’s past were so awful, they angered me, but I won’t spoil any of it.  I did like the closeness of the Bodine family and the description of the ranch and resort, including the food.  Montana sounds like a beautiful place, in my opinion.  Perhaps you’ll enjoy this book.  Along with suspense, there is some romance involved.

Feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

Come Sundown will be available on June 6, 2017.

*I received this copy from St. Martin’s Press, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Nora Roberts is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of more than 200 novels, including The Obsession, The Liar, The Collector, Whiskey Beach, and many more.  She is also the author of the bestselling In Death series, written under the pen name J.D. Robb.  There are more than 500 million copies of her books in print.  For more info on the author, click here.

“Definitions of Indefinable Things”–Review

51GZ8uMd5rL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_“My name’s Reggie. I’m seventeen. My worldview is that we’re all spiraling toward a vast and gaping obscurity we can’t escape, and if we’re lucky, we’re doing so alone. Also, I despise you. And by you, I mean the general human population.”

Reggie Mason believes that, as long as she doesn’t let anyone in, she can’t get hurt. It’s become her defense mechanism. During a quick trip to CVS to pick up her Zoloft prescription, she meets Snake, who happens to be waiting at the pharmacy for his Prozac refills. When Reggie actually lets Snake into her life, she seems to have mixed feelings for him. After all, Snake is smug, arrogant, and he can be a bit too forward. Needy, perhaps. He has an addiction to Twizzlers. And he’s an aspiring film-maker who wants to include Reggie in his work-in-progress. That’s just about everything that makes him attractive.

As the two get to know each other more, it isn’t long before Reggie finds out that Snake has an ex-girlfriend, Carla Banks—a popular queen bee and ex-childhood friend of Reggie’s—who is seven months pregnant. Now that the three of them are in each other’s lives, they endure an awkward journey of mental breakdowns, lame shopping trips, disappointed parents, boring proms, and one embarrassing birthing class. Throughout that journey, Reggie has to get to the bottom of everything that has led to her depression, and that even though—to her—people can be scary, they’re worth having in her life.

This story was worth the read, in my opinion. Oftentimes, I’d get annoyed with Reggie because of her constant mixed feelings toward Snake. She hated him, yet she loved him. He’d summon her and she’d go running to him, even though she swore they weren’t anything to each other. But I think that’s what made the story interesting. They both were struggling with their own problems and were in search of happiness, as well as trying to figure out what happiness was. If you love YA, check out this book.

Feel free to post your comments. Happy reading!

*Definitions of Indefinable Things will be available on April 4, 2017.

*I received this copy from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, in exchange for an honest review.

About the author: Whitney Taylor is an English and psychology major from Virginia, who likes to pretend she is a supermodel from New York City. This is her first novel. You can follow her on Twitter. For more info on the author, click here.

“The Two-Family House”–Review

51p7ayjdy3l-_sx327_bo1204203200_Good afternoon, bloggers! I just finished my required reading—The Two-Family House—for an upcoming book club, and I’m happy to share this with you.

In 1940s Brooklyn, a blizzard is approaching.  In a two-family brownstone are two mothers who are sisters by marriage.  Rose is dutiful and quiet, who just wants to please her distant and difficult husband, Mort.  Helen, although exhausted from raising four rambunctious boys, is caring, warm, and patient.  During the blizzard, Rose and Helen go into labor at the same time, with both babies born minutes apart.  Throughout the years, both women have raised their families side by side, supporting each other, and bonding like sisters.

After the storm has passed, both families go about their normal lives.  As the years pass, however, the once-deep friendship between Rose and Helen starts to unravel.  Rose hasn’t been the same since the the blizzard and Helen can’t figure out the reason, nor can both families.  It all eventually leads back to one misguided choice, a secret between Rose and Helen that can affect both families, should it ever be revealed.

I was immediately interested in this story when it first came out and I’m happy for having the opportunity to read it.  It wasn’t what I expected.  Some of the characters had me a bit frustrated—like the relationship between Mort and his brother Abe, Helen’s husband—yet made me want to know their story.  At times, it had me asking, “Why are you all this way?” And some scenes had me near tears, but I was enjoying the whole book.

As always, feel free to post your comments.  Happy reading!

About the author: Lynda Cohen Loigman grew up in Longmeadow, Massachusetts.  She earned a B.A. in English and American literature from Harvard College and J.D. from Columbia Law School.  She is now a student at the Writing Institute at Sarah Lawrence College and lives with her husband and two children in Chappaqua, New York.  Follow her on Twitter.

“Drag Teen”–Review

51uPedQ0VaL._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_When life gets ugly, don’t wig out.  Drag it up.

This is the story of JT, an high school student who’s lived with a lifetime of insecurities and fears he’s doomed to live in Florida forever, working at his family’s gas station.  High school is coming to an end, yet he can’t afford to go to college.  His anti-supportive parents, including his part-time job, can’t pay for a tuition.  What adds to his insecurities is that his boyfriend, Seth, seems to have it all together and has a bright future ahead of him.

Just when he thinks he’s run out of options, JT learns of an opportunity from the Miss Drag Teen USA pageant in New York City, which will offer a full scholarship to the winner. Although JT wants to do it, he has a fear of failure, especially because he was booed off the stage during a school talent show.  But it is Seth who gives JT that push he needs.  After being convinced, JT, Seth, and their best friend, Heather, embark on a road trip to the Big Apple.  No matter how complicated it all becomes, JT is determined to become the next Miss Drag Teen and win his ticket to freedom.

This was a great story.  I enjoyed the whole idea of a road trip and the excitement of entering New York.  I’ve never been to New York, but I hope to see it, one day.  What I also liked about the story was Seth’s positive attitude.  He believes that, no matter, anything is possible.  Well, I won’t spoil anything for you, so I’ll just encourage you to get a copy of this book.  Feel free to post your comments.

Drag Teen, by Jeffery Self, will be available on April 26, 2016.

Happy reading!

*I received this advance copy from Scholastic, Inc., in a giveaway, for an honest review.

About the author: Jeffery Self is a writer, actor, and vlogger.  He’s appeared in numerous movies and TV shows, including 30 Rock, Desperate Housewives, and 90210.  Drag Teen is his first YA novel.  You can check him out on Twitter.