Categories
Fiction General Fiction Suspense

What We Did by Christobel Kent

Title: What We Did

Author: Christobel Kent

Release date: Feb 5th, 2019

(Note: a prior edition is currently available on Amazon)

Rating: 3 stars

First off, a big thank you to NetGalley and the publisher, Farrar, Straus and Giroux, for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

The summary appears as follows:

Bridget has a secret—one she keeps from everyone, even her husband. One that threatens to explode when her childhood music teacher, Carmichael, walks into her dress shop. With him is a young girl on the cusp of adulthood, fresh-faced and pretty. She reminds Bridget of herself at that age, naïve and vulnerable.

Bridget wants him away—away from her, away from that girl. But Carmichael won’t leave her alone, won’t stop stalking her. And Bridget’s not a little girl anymore. When he pushes her too far, she snaps. But what she thought was a decisive act only unravels more insidious threats—more than she could have ever imagined—and from which no one is safe, not even her family.

The bestselling British author Christobel Kent has written yet another thrilling page-turner with a twisted, riveting conclusion. What We Did is a nightmarish, impossible-to-put-down tale of the secrets we keep from our families, of chilling childhood abuse, and of long-awaited retribution.

Let’s start with the plot! A team of pedophiles is back in Bridget’s life from her childhood, threatening her family and at least one other young girl in the community. Her husband works at the local college with one of the men and becomes unwittingly involved as a journalist nudges him into her search for proof. The book started off predictably with the main pedophile accidentally murdered, but turned into a tangle as the plot wound and unwound with repercussions and events throughout the novel. It kept me interested but also disappointed at times as I felt like more could have happened.

A good example is outside of Carmichael’s house when a man was behind Bridget all of a sudden. It ended up being a benign event but the author makes us wait through another point of view chapter before revealing what had happened, and here I was thinking that she was going to get either abducted or rescued from another pedophile! This happened more than once. The transitions between past and present were confusing at times too, I understand that was how Bridget’s mind flashed back and forth but sometimes I didn’t know what was happening and had to read the page again. Overall though it kept me engaged through the novel.

That covers the writing style as well. As far as the characters: I ended up liking Gill a lot more than I thought I would, although I found myself skimming her point of view chapters. Her life didn’t interest me at all and she just seemed to add length to the book. Finn and Laura are the innocent characters that drive home the point that abuse can appear in all forms, to anyone. The characters were pretty neutral to me but I ended up feeling bad for most of them. Matt was my favorite, just a guy trying to do the right thing.

Overall I am sticking with 3 stars. I ended up loving how she tied everything together at the end, even if it took a while to get there. It looked like the characters were going to be able to move on and rebuild their lives in a healthier manner. The book was a decent suspense/thriller, and I would recommend to anyone who likes that kind of suspenseful fiction.

Categories
Fiction General Fiction

Turning Point by Danielle Steel

Title: Turning Point

Author: Danielle Steel

Length: 288 pages

Release date: 1/8/19

Rating: 4/5 stars

First off, a huge thank you to NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group – Ballantine, for the eARC of Turning Point in exchange for an honest review! I normally love Danielle Steel and was not let down by her current effort!

The Amazon description reads:

In Danielle Steel’s powerful new novel, four trauma doctors—the best and brightest in their field—confront exciting new challenges, both personally and professionally, when given an unusual opportunity.

Bill Browning heads the trauma unit at San Francisco’s busiest emergency room, SF General. With his ex-wife and daughters in London, he immerses himself in his work and lives for rare visits with his children. A rising star at her teaching hospital, UCSF at Mission Bay, Stephanie Lawrence has two young sons, a frustrated stay-at-home husband, and not enough time for any of them. Harvard-educated Wendy Jones is a dedicated trauma doctor at Stanford, trapped in a dead-end relationship with a married cardiac surgeon. And Tom Wylie’s popularity with women rivals the superb medical skills he employs at his Oakland medical center, but he refuses to let anyone get too close, determined to remain unattached forever.

These exceptional doctors are chosen for an honor and a unique project: to work with their counterparts in Paris in a mass-casualty training program. As professionals, they will gain invaluable knowledge from the program. As ordinary men and women, they will find that the City of Light opens up incredible new possibilities, exhilarating, enticing, and frightening.

When an unspeakable act of mass violence galvanizes them into action, their temporary life in Paris becomes a stark turning point: a time to face harder choices than they have ever made before—with consequences that will last a lifetime.

At first I thought that keeping track of eight characters would be confusing, but it really was not. Each character got equal time in the novel and although it hopped around a lot, the style kept the pace moving right along. The doctors are eight very different people that end up bonding and becoming friends over common interests and the terrible tragedy in Paris. Those relationships and blooming romances are the primary focus of the novel, although thankfully for my tastes the romance is a small portion and not overdone.

Dealing with work-life balance is difficult, I am a nurse and know how hard it can be. The characters face realistic and relate-able issues while juggling family, kids and career goals. The plot just kept moving along, using these struggles, relationships and tragic events as hooks that kept me engaged for the entire read. I found it to be a fairly quick book but thoroughly enjoyed it.

Overall I give this a solid 4/5 stars and would not hesitate to recommend to anyone who likes Danielle Steel, women’s fiction, anyone who can relate to the work vs. life struggle, and anyone looking for a good book in general.

Categories
Fantasy General Fiction

Snow White Learns Witchcraft by Theodora Goss

Thank you to NetGalley and Mythic Delirium Books for the eARC in exchange for an honest review!

This fairy tale filled collection of eight stories and 23 poems doesn’t release until Feb 5th 2019, but it is available for pre-order.

Theodora Goss definitely takes a unique approach to fairy tale tellings! This collection of poems and short stories takes on many well known tales like Snow White, Thumbellina, Sleeping Beauty, and others that I can’t place. Goss completely recreates or adds to the tales, imagines new endings, and makes them her own.

I personally liked Blanchefleur because even though I didn’t know the original tale, it was a good story! Rose Child was a wonderfully written shorter poem. I giggled when Sleeping Beauty’s “prince” fell into a fairy hole instead, and the author gave that old hound a happy ending!

Not what I was expecting but pretty unique and I liked these tales a lot. 4/5 stars!

Categories
Fantasy Fiction Literary Fiction

In the Night Wood by Dale Bailey

Title: In the Night Wood

Author: Dale Bailey

Length: 224 pages

Release Date: 10/8/18 (get a copy)!!!

Rating: 4/5 ****

Thank you to NetGalley and John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt publishing for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!

My little summary: “Once upon a time…” a man living near an enchanted wood starts having delusions and writes a book. Many years later, an English scholar bumps into that book and his fate appears to be linked to the Story from that point on. It is a Story (capital Story) within a story… Something I wish the author had pursued more!

The book is more about grief than folklore, but there is a healthy mix of both. Charles and Erin are still reeling from the death of their child and his infidelity. Their marriage is disintegrating and they move to Hollow House trying to start over. When the visions and nightmares and story parallels start…!

In the middle of the book the grief exposition got a bit repetative, but I had no urge to skim pages. My biggest issue was that neither main character showed a tad of growth. Can their relationship change despite ?

I enjoyed learning a lot of new words but some parts seemed unnecessarily complex. It fit with the atmosphere but the writing took a bit of work and a dictionary at times.

Long story short: awesome story! Would recommend to anyone that likes a good fairy tale, atmospheric fiction, folk lore, or a good story in general!

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Categories
Fantasy Science Fiction

The Queen’s Wing by Jessica Thorne

Title: The Queen’s Wing

Author: Jessica Thorne

Publisher: Bookouture

Length: 353

Release Date: 11/21/18

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for the free eARC in exchange for an honest review!

In The Queen’s Wing, a young noble named Belengaria is thrown into royalty and then a political marriage after an attack on her home world. Her dream was to become a fighter pilot? And now she must adapt to life on a new planet with the leader of said planet as her future . When war and destruction ensue from the same attackers of her home world, Bel must assume a leadership role and become a true queen…

Ok, enough summary. I did enjoy the story quite a bit, but was also confused mostly in the beginning of the book. The author took evident inspiration from Star Wars and the book had more of a sci-fi feel than fantasy or romance. There are elements of all three, including mythical old creatures left to defend(?) their home planet, and a sort of love triangle that didn’t add much to the story.

I did appreciate the relationship building between Bel and Conleith, and feel like the characters are the strong point of the novel. Bel had a lot of personal development and Petra was another strong female character. I never got into the Shae character or some of the others. There was a great LGBQ reference with Jondar and… No spoilers but it was a cool addition.

Overall I am going to go with 3 stars. Some parts were just not believable and others didn’t make a lot of sense, but I still enjoyed it as a well-edited read with strong character building. It is definitely appropriate for YA, and I would recommend to anyone who likes a sci fi read and strong female leads!