Sunday, November 22, 2015

We Are Called To Rise

We Are Called to Rise

We Are Called To Rise
By: Laura McBride
Published: June 3,

Summary via

An immigrant boy whose family is struggling to assimilate. A middle-aged housewife coping with an imploding marriage and a troubled son. A social worker at home in the darker corners of Las Vegas. A wounded soldier recovering from an injury he can't remember getting. By the time we realize how these voices will connect, the impossible and perhaps the unbearable has already happened. We Are Called to Rise is a boomtown tale, in which the lives of people from different backgrounds and experiences collide in a stunning coincidence. When presented the opportunity to sink into despair, these characters rise. Through acts of remarkable charity and bravery, they rescue themselves. Emotionally powerful yet tender and intimate, We Are Called to Rise is a novel of redemption and unexpected love.

My thoughts 

This was a GREAT book. I think I experienced every emotion possible while reading this book. To my surprise, it's the author's first book. It was written as though she's been an author for many years. I really liked her style of writing. She gave me a clear picture of exactly what was happening in this story.

My heart was hit the hardest by the little immigrant boy. His family has migrated here from Albania. He is with his Father, Mother and little Sister. The family runs an ice cream truck. He is the center of this story, and what ties the other 3 families together.  We also meet a soldier recovering from a gun shot wound at a hospital in D.C. and a woman in her early 50s who's been socked with the realization that her husband is leaving her for another woman.

These chapters segwayed well from 1 to the next, however it would have been nice if there was a little more order to that. We'd go from one to the next to the next and then maybe focus on someone for a couple of chapters, so when you got back to 1 of them, it was hard to remember where you left off.

This story was building and building for me. I was on pins and needles wondering what was happening next. And then. it was done. I have so many unanswered questions about this story and really hope the author will write a sequel to answer them. 

I give this story 4 stars, with the high hopes of a next book, so that I can change it to 5 stars when I have my answers :)

November 9

November 9

November 9
By: Colleen Hoover
Published November 10, 2015

Summary via
Fallon meets Ben, an aspiring novelist, the day before her scheduled cross-country move. Their untimely attraction leads them to spend Fallon’s last day in L.A. together, and her eventful life becomes the creative inspiration Ben has always sought for his novel. Over time and amidst the various relationships and tribulations of their own separate lives, they continue to meet on the same date every year. Until one day Fallon becomes unsure if Ben has been telling her the truth or fabricating a perfect reality for the sake of the ultimate plot twist.

My thoughts: (Spoilers included)

I love, love, LOVE anything written by Colleen Hoover. Every time I open a book she's written, I become excited to see what's she's come up with next. I've read all of her books, in order. Every one of them has had something I didn't see coming. A twist so unexpected, and generally gut wrenching, that even though I know to expect this I never see it coming. No matter how prepared I am.....

This book started out like a conversation with an old friend. I felt comfort reading Colleen's words. However, this old friend was dark and had a past. A sad past. Fallon is an 18 year old who has survived a trauma that completely changed the course of her life. Once an actress with the world at her fingertips, now surviving the ghosts of her past. The day that we meet her, she's ready to pick up the pieces and move on, start something new. A new chapter in her life that will begin on the other side of the country.

Ben and Fallon meet by chance in a diner in California. Ben steps in to help Fallon out and from there their friendship, or relationship takes off. It starts out as an experiment: Lets have no contact with each other until next year on this date (Nov. 9) and do this for 5 years. By then we'll know.... and during this time, each pushes the other to pursue their dreams/goals/relationships. This goes on pretty well the first year, and then the next Ben is faced with tragedy. More tragedy than he should have experienced in his young life. This is a key turning point in the story. As time goes on, they start to learn more about each other, as they only spend 1 day a year with each other. 

Before this experiment can reach the 5 year mark though, Fallon is faced with the reality of who Ben is. And here is where it gets sticky for me. Colleen Hoover gets 5 stars for this book, because her twist in this one hit me like a punch to the gut when I read it. Immediately. And the whole build up to that moment... I was so captured by this story, I couldn't stop! I sacrificed a lot of sleep to plow through this book in just a few days :) But once I got done, and had some time to ponder the book, I wasn't sure how I felt. It wasn't as intense as her usual twists, which scares me because I don't want her to become a formulated, predictable writer. Her stories are stories that I look forward to and put the release date on my calendar so that I can run out and buy them.

I have some questions, that maybe someone who has already read the story can answer for me... (Hence, spoilers included): I do not understand how Ben's mom and Fallon's dad were involved. So, he saw his name in her cell phone? But I don't get why that had anything to do with Ben's next actions. I felt like that was a very unanswered part of the story. 

All in all, this was a great book. It was very well planned out, and it certainly gained my attention. I have high hopes that Colleen's next book will blow me away! she has so much talent and I can't wait for what is in store for her.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Pretending to Dance

When I saw that Diane Chamberlain had a new book out, I was so excited. Her book, The Secret Life of CeCe Wilks was the book that introduced me to her and had me at my library reading every one of her books!

Summary from

Molly Arnette is very good at keeping secrets. She lives in San Diego with a husband she adores, and they are trying to adopt a baby because they can't have a child on their own. But the process of adoption brings to light many questions about Molly's past and her family—the family she left behind in North Carolina twenty years before. The mother she says is dead but who is very much alive. The father she adored and whose death sent her running from the small community of Morrison's Ridge. Her own birth mother whose mysterious presence in her family raised so many issues that came to a head. The summer of twenty years ago changed everything for Molly and as the past weaves together with the present story, Molly discovers that she learned to lie in the very family that taught her about pretending. If she learns the truth about her beloved father's death, can she find peace in the present to claim the life she really wants?

My thoughts: (and they contain a lot of spoilers)

I teeter on 3.5-4 stars with this one. The summary made this book sound like a murder mystery. It sounded so dark and suspenseful. It wasn't. It was a story of a teenage girl and her father. Her father has a debilitating disease and is wheelchair bound. The oddity to her situation is that both her biological and adoptive mother live in the same family community. Her dad was in a relationship with her mother, and the mother took off when she found out she was pregnant. Her did didn't know of her existence until she was little. By then, he was married to the woman who would come to adopt Molly.

That was the real twist of the story. As far as her mother murdering her father, it was really her mother acting out her father's wishes. Nothing more than that. Unfortunately for Molly, she cut everyone of importance out of her life and by the time she was ready to face reality, some of the people were no longer living.

She also kept her childhood a big secret from her husband. When she starts to tell him, his reaction was basically like, that's it? I felt exactly the same way. 

The story, however, was very well written. In true Diane fashion, you are sucked right into the pages and can experience the heart ache and sorrow that Molly felt as a confused teenager. 

I really do love Diane's books, and I hope that the next one holds up to my expectations a little bit more.


Saturday, October 24, 2015

The Paper Swan

Wow! It has been ages since I've felt the urge to blog. There has been so much that has happened this year, and lately I really feel the want to get back into my book reviews. I'd like to do something a little in depth than my normal short reviews on I am starting with the most recent book that I read and hoping to work back a little bit. And forward. Here, there and everywhere....

My good book friend, Brandie over at suggested this book to me. She has never failed me when recommending a book. After all, she did introduce me to the great Colleen Hoover! I ordered this book right away after reading her review, but it sat on my counter for a good month. You see, I started a new job a few months ago, and the stress from it has greatly taken away my reading time. Which is why I have decided to get back into blogging. It will force me to read!

Moving on, I read this book pretty quickly as I couldn't put it down! 

They say it takes 21 days to form a habit.
They lie.
For 21 days she held on.
But on Day 22, she would have given anything for the sweet slumber of death.
Because on Day 22, she realizes that her only way out means certain death for one of the two men she loves.

This book was beautifully written. It tells a story full of emotion. Lots of love, lots of anger, lots of bad things, and also a lot of good. This is Skye and Esteban's story. We meet Skye in the beginning, as she is a victim of a kidnapping and is forced to spend time on a boat in the middle of the waters with her kidnapper. Just the 2 of them. She has no idea why he's taken her or what his plan for her is. She is, however, filled with anger and disgust. 

Her kidnapper is a very dark man. He does the minimum to keep her alive: feeding her, clothing her, providing her with a bed to sleep in, a shower to clean in, and freedom to move about the boat. He is also filled with anger and disgust. 

This story weaves through time, taking us back to Skye's childhood, which was one of privileged and excess. She lives in her father's mansion and has everything her heart could ever desire. MamaLu takes care of her, and she looks to her as her mother. Esteban, Mamlu's son is Skye's protector and very best friend. He and Mamalu live a life that is the total opposite of Skye's. Though Mamalu takes care of Skye, she and Esteban live in the servant's quarters; hardly a life of privilege and excess. 

Circumstances come about and Esteban and Mamalu are taken from Skye's life, as she and her father are whisked to another location. Skye is left to wonder what has become of her mother figure and her best friend, and Esteban wonders why Skye left him. 

As the story moves on, we begin to see the beautiful friendship that these 2 had as kids, and how it has blossomed as they've grown up. 

When I started reading this book, I went into it thinking that the outcome would be completely different. From the first page to the last, there were so many twists that I didn't see coming. There were times that I felt utter disgust with both Skye and Esteban. There were moments I wanted to cheer them on. There was a lot of sadness. There was so much sadness at a couple points, that I could feel my heart break for almost every character in this book. I love the way the author painted this story. It was full of description, I could have been in the story because it was written so well.

I don't want to say too much more than this, because I don't want to give it away. This is a story that you must read. I am completely unfamiliar with this author and have to say, for my first read by her, it was really a great one!

This book is easily a 5 star read for me.