Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Book Review: That Night by Chevy Stevens

Title: That Night
Author: Chevy Stevens
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

As a teenager, Toni Murphy had a life full of typical adolescent
complications: a boyfriend she adored, a younger sister she couldn't relate to, a strained relationship with her parents, and classmates who seemed hell-bent on making her life miserable. Things weren't easy, but Toni could never have predicted how horrific they would become until her younger sister was brutally murdered one summer night.

Toni and her boyfriend, Ryan, were convicted of the murder and sent to prison.

Now thirty-four, Toni is out on parole and back in her hometown, struggling to adjust to a new life on the outside. Prison changed her, hardened her, and she’s doing everything in her power to avoid violating her parole and going back. This means having absolutely no contact with Ryan, avoiding fellow parolees looking to pick fights, and steering clear of trouble in all its forms. But nothing is making that easy—not Ryan, who is convinced he can figure out the truth; not her mother, who doubts Toni's innocence; and certainly not the group of women who made Toni's life hell in high school and may have darker secrets than anyone realizes. No matter how hard she tries, ignoring her old life to start a new one is impossible. Before Toni can truly move on, she must risk everything to find out what really happened that night.

But the truth might be the most terrifying thing of all

My Thoughts:

Ok, so this wasn't fabulous but it wasn't terrible. Not my favorite Stevens book by far, but it wasn't the worst either. That distinction I reserve for Always Watching, which I couldn't even get through.

As a teen, Toni was your typical rebellious wayward daughter. Tough bad boy boyfriend from a crap home, smoking, drinking, drugs, sex - these were all just another fact of Toni's life back then. But unlike most other kids, Toni had the worst luck in the world.

Toni's sister Nicole is her total opposite, the good girl, the one who does what she should and is the apple of her mother's eye, where Toni is just a pain in her ass. Toni is also being bullied by the mean girls at her school, whose main goal in life is to mess up Toni's existence and set her up disasters. Unfortunately for Toni, no one ever believes her. 

This is a pattern that dogs her steps the entire book. When tragedy strikes, and Nicole is found murdered by Toni and her boyfriend Ryan, it goes badly for the duo. Tried and convicted, they are sent to prison for 17 years. When they are finally released, where do they go? Straight back to the town that hated them then, and hates them even more now.  I am not sure why - that would be the last place I went!

So of course things are terrible for Toni. To make things worse, Ryan is back in town, the great love of her life, and if they even talk to each other, it is violation of their parole and they will be sent straight back to prison. Pretty soon, the old bullying starts again, setting Toni up for falls for situations that she was not a part of - just like when she was a kid. This time she is bound and determined to get to the bottom of it.

This all culminates in a surprise ending, that is riveting and I didn't want to stop reading until I found out what happened.

Overall, this book was not bad. All of Toni's bad luck situations started to annoy me - like, just how much can she take and it eventually became annoying! And why would she go back to the place where she was convicted, by public opinion first, for her sister's death? I was able to get past these points and enjoy the book, although it got a little out of hand. Read this book when you are in the mood for a mysterious thriller, all snuggled down.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list. 

Read Last Week:

I am in a bit of a slump. I think its the kind of slump that occurs when you read a book that strikes you hard, whether it is good or bad; it doesn't matter, it just made you feel something. I had that experience with Shotgun Lovesongs, and I was having a hard time finding a book that could follow it up. 

I did find a list on Flavorwire, Dark and Twisty Books for Gone Girl Fans, and I found one of the books at the library, checked it out, and promptly devoured it. 

Dare Me by Megan Abbott: Wow, this book sucked me in! I am definitely going to read more by the author. Review soon.

Reading This Week:


Paper Towns by John Green: Just 'cause I love his words.

The End of Everything by Megan Abbott: I hope it's as good as Dare Me!

Posted Last Week:

Friday, May 16, 2014

Book Review Quickies: Wild Iris Ridge and The Widow's Walk

Title: Wild Iris Ridge
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Source: NetGalley

The perfect stress reliever! I read this book during a very stressful week, and I found it the perfect book to turn to.  A beautiful old home in Hope's Crossing is the setting for this love story of a widower who falls in love with the one woman he never counted on loving, his late wife's wayward cousin. They shared a kiss as teenagers, and that was the end of that relationship, until now. This book is about two lonely people, who finally get together at the right point in their lives. It was a fun, easy read, and I enjoyed it!

Title: The Widow's Walk
Author: Robert Barclay
Source: LibraryThing

I really wanted to enjoy this book. Unfortunately, I just couldn't, no matter how hard I tried. The cover is gorgeous, the summary enticing - but the writing was just too dramatic and over the top. I found the characters to be too unbelievable, and the dialogue...insane. No man would speak like Garrett, who sometimes sounded like an old Victorian lady or something. On top of it all, the two main characters were boring and stilted. All the problems seemed to be neatly sewn up in a sentence or two, here and there.

On the surface, I thought this would be a good book. Once I started reading it, it just wasn't. 

Sunday, May 4, 2014

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey, that is guaranteed to add to your reading list. 

It was book fair week! I worked my tail off, but it was well worth it! It was a great success for both the library and for the students. I also went to a Christopher Moore book signing and had a blast!! He is hilarious! He was signing copies of his new book The Serpent of Venice, which of course I had signed as well. I will be posting about that night very soon!

Read Last Week:


Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler: I loved this book! Well, until the ending. Then it kind of went crazy. But until that point, I was loving it. 

The Cursed by Heather Graham: I really enjoy the Krewe of Hunters series. This one took place in Key West, which I enjoyed reading about.

Wild Iris Ridge by RaeAnne Thayne: Fun little book, that helped me unwind from my long days and nights. 

Reading This Week:


That Night by Chevy Stevens: From NetGalley. I am excited to read this one.

The Widow's Walk by Robert Barclay: A win from LibraryThing, I love the cover!

Dreams of Gods and Monsters by Laini Taylor: Still reading this awkward fat book. It's good but physically difficult to read! Lol.

Reviews Posted:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Book Review: Shotgun Lovesongs by Nickolas Butler

Title: Shotgun Lovesongs
Author: Nickolas Butler
Source: Library

Goodreads Summary:

Hank, Leland, Kip and Ronny were all born and raised in the same Wisconsin town — Little Wing — and are now coming into their own (or not) as husbands and fathers. One of them never left, still farming the family's land that's been tilled for generations. Others did leave, went farther afield to make good, with varying degrees of success; as a rock star, commodities trader, rodeo stud. And seamlessly woven into their patchwork is Beth, whose presence among them—both then and now—fuels the kind of passion one comes to expect of love songs and rivalries.

Now all four are home, in hopes of finding what could be real purchase in the world. The result is a shared memory only half-recreated, riddled with culture clashes between people who desperately wish to see themselves as the unified tribe they remember, but are confronted with how things have, in fact, changed.

There is conflict here between longtime buddies, between husbands and wives — told with writing that is, frankly, gut-wrenching, and even heartbreaking. But there is also hope, healing, and at times, even heroism. It is strong, American stuff, not at all afraid of showing that we can be good, too — not just fallible and compromising. Shotgun Lovesongs is a remarkable and uncompromising saga that explores the age-old question of whether or not you can ever truly come home again — and the kind of steely faith and love returning requires.

My Thoughts:

This book was like a mix of Edwin Arlington Robinson and Larry McMurty in my opinion; like Richard Cory meets The Last Picture Show. I have no idea why I was reminded of Richard Cory, but I was; maybe it was the writing style?

This book is about four men, Henry, Lee, Kip, and Ronny, who have been friends with each other and devoted to their friendships. since they were boys. It is written from the multiple viewpoints from each of the men and Henry's wife Beth.

This book is filled with weddings - but I think the real committment is between the four friends. They are friends for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, for better or worse. Some of them are better friends than others, but these men have an unshakable bond that is tested between the pages of this story. All four men are vastly different, from solid and dependable salt of the earth Henry, yuppie business man big city dreams Kip, damaged pure of heart rodeo cowboy Ronny, and fey dreamer musician fringe dweller Lee, yet maybe this is their strength.

I loved the midwest setting. While I am not from Wisconsin, I am just over the lake in Michigan, and the descriptions of their lives and locations were so familiar. I have sat around bonfires drinking beer with these people, visited these landscapes, walked down similar streets. Butler's descriptions were dreamy and evocative, if  sometimes just a little too much.

I really really enjoyed this book. The only thing keeping it from straight up love is the end. I hated the end. It was bad, and disappointing. It wasn't enough to keep me from hating the book though- I still really liked it, and I told my husband he should read it too. Overall, this book is definitely worth reading. You just might hate the end.