Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Doubly Dark and Gritty Book Reviews: Those Girls and Made in the U.S.A.

Title: Those Girls 
Author: Chevy Stevens
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

Chevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge. 

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. 

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past. 

This time there’s nowhere left to run. 

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

My thoughts:

So the last book I read by Chevy Stevens, That Night, annoyed me. I didn't like it; I thought the main character was a moron. However, this book was Stevens' redemption. It is about three sisters who survive some pretty dark and horrendous stuff - I was horrified, sad, and scared while reading. I couldn't put it down. I have a baby at home, and sleep is currently a valuable commodity to me - but I gave up some of that precious, precious slumber to read this book until the wee hours. I thought this book was well written, riveting, and although the end felt a little hurried, I really really enjoyed it. I was worn out emotionally from reading it! 

Title: Made in the U.S.A.
Author: Billie Letts
Source: my stepmom

Goodreads Summary:

The bestselling author of WHERE THE HEART IS returns with a heartrending tale of two children in search of a place to call home. Lutie McFee's history has taught her to avoid attachments...to people, to places, and to almost everything. With her mother long dead and her father long gone to find his fortune in Las Vegas, 15-year-old Lutie lives in the god-forsaken town of Spearfish, South Dakota with her twelve-year-old brother, Fate, and Floy Satterfield, the 300-pound ex-girlfriend of her father. While Lutie shoplifts for kicks, Fate spends most of his time reading, watching weird TV shows and worrying about global warming and the endangerment of pandas. As if their life is not dismal enough, one day, while shopping in their local Wal-Mart, Floy keels over and the two motherless kids are suddenly faced with the choice of becoming wards of the state or hightailing it out of town in Floy's old Pontiac. Choosing the latter, they head off to Las Vegas in search of a father who has no known address, no phone number and, clearly, no interest in the kids he left behind. 
MADE IN THE U.S.A. is the alternately heartbreaking and life-affirming story of two gutsy children who must discover how cruel, unfair and frightening the world is before they come to a place they can finally call home.

My Thoughts:

Another book that exhausted me just reading it. I loved it; I couldn't put it down. But dang if it wasn't just as sad and heartbreaking as Those Girls, just in a different way. This one got me on another level too - I am an older sister, with a little brother. I felt for poor, broken Lutie. She did what she felt she had to do, to keep them away from foster homes and separation. What she had to do at times is what kills the reader. However, despite being put through the ringer, the end of this book is a good one, making the turmoil worth it. 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

Summer is sure flying by this year!! We had our first real, officially hot summer weather this weekend. I am not a super fan of hot weather, but it was nice to have something other than rain! I have been dreaming about going up north for weeks now ~ it is not going to happen this year, but I already have a trip planned for next year! 

Read Last Week:

Unfortunately, my homework schedule was killer last week so I didn't get much time to pleasure read. This 7 week class is kind of kicking my butt with its workload! I guess the good thing is that it is almost over! I am actually really enjoying my Astronomy class; it is for non-math majors which makes it pretty fun, no crazy math equations for me!

Reading This Week:

A mixture of these two. 


Beach Town by Mary Kay Andrews: I love this author ~ her books are definitely feel-good books for me. The last two books I read were kind of dark and gritty, so it is nice to have something lighthearted. 

The Library at Mount Char: One of these days, I promise I will read all of it. I am just reading it slowly. Lol. 

Posted Last Week:


Astronauts Wives Club and Wayward Pines are still at the top of our list. We also watched Secrets and Lies, Broadchurch and The Island on Hulu ~ loved them all! We ended up cutting our cable cord a few weeks ago, and after some adjustment, we don't seem to miss it!

In Other News:

One of my best friends wrote a book!It is called Screw Up and is an erotic novel. I say novel because it is not your run of the mill smut book. It actually has a deeper plot, and the main character is a take no prisoners independent woman. The writing is very well done and the book itself is clever, witty and laugh out loud funny at times! I am super proud of her - I know how much blood, sweat, and tears she put into the writing of this book. 

How about you? What have you been up to?

Saturday, July 18, 2015

A few quick book reviews on a hot day

So, when I read the first book in this series, I wasn't sold on it. I had felt like I had burned by this author with the Southern Vampire Series, which I loved at first then watched it wither and die on the vine, at least in my opinion. This series sounded intriguing though, so I gave it a whirl. The first book wasn't great, but it was good enough that I wanted to give it a second chance with Day Shift. And I am so glad that I did. I really enjoyed this book! The characters that felt incomplete last time were more focused, as was the story line. It was also riveting enough that I didn't really want to set it down, I just wanted to read and read it, always a good sign! I loved the characters this time around, and actually can't wait for the next book in the series, Night Shift.

I chose this book because I love this cover. I have spent many summer vacations in northern Michigan, and the scene and setting is much like this one, bringing back good memories. The story itself was easy and fun, although the main character and her son were dealing with some serious pain. The characters are interesting, and I cared about their future. It is a light read, one to breeze through while frittering away some time in the summer sunshine, on a deck or a porch or a beach by the lake or an ocean, with a cool drink nearby.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

The Sunday Post/It's Monday! What Are You Reading?


Check out the The Caffeinated Book Review for the Sunday Post
It's Monday What Are You Reading is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey - while she is on break you can share your post by tweeting with the hashtag #IMWAYR

I hope everyone in the U.S. had a wonderful 4th of July holiday! We had a great time with family. If you want, you can read about our weekend here

Wyatt's bruiser look - headed to the street fair. 

I have also added returning to college to my schedule for the summer. I am enjoying my classes, particularly astronomy, but wow school is much harder with a baby! Lol. 

Finished Reading:


Those Girls by Chevy Stevens: A few of Stevens' more recent books have fallen flat for me, but this one was back to her old standards. I couldn't put it down!

Reading This Week:


Made in the U.S.A. by Billie Letts: So far, I love it!

The Library at Mount Char by Scott Hawkins: I meant to read this last week, but then Those Girls fell into my lap and I was obsessed. 


We just watched The Island on Hulu - it was so good!  We also just watched Secrets and Lies- also very good. 

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Book Review and Giveaway! Redemption Bay by RaeAnne Thayne

Title: Redemption Bay
Author: RaeAnne Thayne
Source: NetGalley

Goodreads Summary:

McKenzie Shaw would do anything for her beloved hometown of Haven Point. It may be small and struggling, but it's never let her down…unlike gorgeous, infuriating Ben Kilpatrick. He was her childhood hero until he closed his family's factory, leaving the town's economy in shambles. Now he's back—his tech firm is considering opening a local facility. For Haven Point's sake, McKenzie has to grit her teeth and play nice. 

What could a town filled with painful memories ever offer Ben? He left Haven Point behind years ago, for good reason. Yet seeing the town through the eyes of McKenzie—its fiery young mayor—he suddenly has his answer. If only he can resolve the animosity crackling between them, Ben may have found the place where he can build ties and find healing…a place where love arrives when it's least expected.

My Thoughts:

I loved this book! It is the perfect summer read, one to daydream by as you sit on a beach, a plane, or even just your couch while holding your new baby. (like me) I enjoyed Snow Angel Cove, but I liked this one even more! 

McKenzie Shaw and Ben Kilpatrick are interesting characters with a lot of backstory~ I can tell that Ms. Thayne enjoyed writing them, and imagining their world and their history, it was so detailed. McKenzie's father was married when he met her mother, and a weekend tryst resulted in McKenzie's existence. Her mother then died when she was a girl, and she was sent to live with the father she had never met, his wife, and her half-sister. She was accepted whole-heartedly by her father and sister, but there was tension between McKenzie and her stepmother. McKenzie even had to change her name, from Xochilt to McKenzie! I think that would be very traumatic for a child, who had already lost her home and her mother ~ it would be like losing the rest of your identity. But McKenzie flourished and adapted, and became a beloved member of the community, opening her own gift and flower shop in the small town of Haven Point, and later even becoming the Mayor!  

Ben is from an old family of Haven Point, almost like nobility ~ that is, until he shut down the boat works, and putting most of the town out of jobs, and according to most townspeople, letting Haven's Point go downhill. His childhood wasn't great either; an emotionally abusive father, a sister who died from cystic fibrosis. It seems he put Haven Point in his rear view and never looked back - until now. Employed by Aidan Caine from Snow Angel Cove, Ben is in charge of scouting a new location for their company, Caine Tech. Haven Point is on the list of possibilities, but Ben doesn't feel it is the right choice. When McKenzie hears about this possibility, she pulls out all the stops in trying to get Ben to choose Haven Point and revitalize the town. 

The setting is gorgeous, a lake mountain town around the fourth of July, it just sounds so small town idyllic! I am infatuated with the small town setting, and this book definitely feeds that infatuation. The romance is adorable, and the story even has dogs! Overall, I really enjoyed this book. I thought it was fun, perfectly seasonal, and took me away on a great trip, far from my living room in Michigan. 

The Giveaway! 

Thanks to Little Bird Publicity, I am able to offer readers in the US a chance to win this fun summer read! To enter:

a Rafflecopter giveaway