Saturday, December 16, 2017

What Remains True by Janis Thomas

In this mesmerizing drama, one life-altering event catapults a family into turmoil, revealing secrets that may leave them fractured forever . . . or bind them together tighter than ever before.
From the outside, the Davenports look like any other family living a completely ordinary life—until that devastating day when five-year-old Jonah is killed, and the family is torn apart. As the fury of guilt engulfs them, the Davenports slowly start to unravel, one by one.
Losing her son forces Rachel to withdraw into a frayed, fuzzy reality. Her husband, Sam, tries to remain stoic, but he’s consumed by regret with the choices he’s made. Eden mourns her brother, while desperately fighting to regain a sense of normalcy. And Aunt Ruth, Rachel’s sister, works too hard to care for the family, even as her own personal issues haunt her.
Told from multiple points of view—including Jonah’s—the family struggles to cope with unthinkable loss. But as they face their own dark secrets about that terrible day, they have a choice: to be swallowed up in sadness forever, or begin the raw, arduous ascent back to living.

What Remains True is a novel that drops you into the middle of a family in crisis. It is told from multiple points of view, even including the family dog, and the poor little boy who lost his life far too soon. Normally I would say too many cooks spoil the pot but in this case I think it was a brilliant way to express what every family member went through after Jonah's death. The only thing I really didn't care for was the therapist's point of view. It felt like a break in the real story, which I didn't want to be distracted from. It was hard to care about her personal life since I was so wrapped up in what was happening with the grieving family that I didn't want to be interrupted.

4 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The Unkillable Kitty O'Kane by Colin Falconer

When fiery and idealistic Kitty O’Kane escapes the crushing poverty of Dublin’s tenements, she’s determined that no one should ever suffer like she did. As she sets out to save the world, she finds herself at the forefront of events that shaped the early twentieth century. While working as a maid, she survives the sinking of the Titanic. As a suffragette in New York’s Greenwich Village, she’s jailed for breaking storefront windows. And traveling war-torn Europe as a journalist, she’s at the Winter Palace when it’s stormed by the Bolsheviks. Ultimately she returns to her homeland to serve as a nurse in the Irish Civil War.

During Kitty’s remarkable journey, she reunites with her childhood sweetheart, Tom Doyle, but Tom doesn’t know everything about her past—a past that continues to haunt her. Will Kitty accept that before she can save everyone else, she needs to find a way to save herself? Or will the sins of her past stop her from pursuing her own happiness?

"Kitty O'Kane dreamed of a kind husband and a just life; what she had was haddock water for supper and a dribble of her own blood, seen at close quarters, on the toe of her father's scuffed boot"

Heartbreaking stuff am I right? It pulled me in and  had such high hopes for Kitty, but somewhere around the halfway point it all fell apart for me. From a bright, poverty stricken  Irish girl with a simple dream that she could have easily achieved Kitty changed into someone I just didn't like very much. After surviving the sinking of the Titanic it seemed as if Kitty more let herself be manipulated into wanting to become a journalist than actually following her own dreams. Somehow even though she was the girl who wanted to fight for women's rights she let herself be dependent upon and manipulated by men.
I did enjoy the historical references but I had different expectations of this book.

3 out of 5 stars

I received a complimentary copy for review

Friday, December 8, 2017

Brain Damage by J.A. St. Thomas

"I open my eyes and I’m close enough to kiss a dead girl."

Three years ago, sixteen year old Desmond Linc almost died in the car accident that killed his brother. Now he's all but forgotten the damage, a dead space in his brain physicians swore would never awaken.

But it has.

Terrified he's losing his mind, Des comes face to face with the tortured ghosts of his hometown. The black hole in his head is a doorway to the afterlife and the dead come telling secrets and lies and wielding accusations like scythes.

They tell the truth about one thing though, a killer has come to Northwood.

Des is still grieving the loss of his older brother, and has blamed himself for that death. Des feels he is the reason they were on the road that day and sometimes wishes he had been the one who had died.. except maybe for a few minutes he did, and being so close to death has gifted (or cursed) him with the ability to see and hear spirits. When a teen is murdered in town somehow Des knows it even before his police officer dad hears it on the scanner. At first He thinks he's losing his mind, but as these visions become more frequent He enlists his best friend Merit and a wannabe ghost buster to help him get to the truth. Part coming of age tale, part mystery ghost adventure, this haunting YA novel had me captivated from start to finish.
5 out of 5 stars.
I received a complimentary copy for review.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Watch Me by Jody Gehrman

"Riveting, chilling, and page-turning. Be prepared to stay up all night." -- New York Times bestselling author Lisa Scottoline

For fans of dark and twisty psychological thrillers, Watch Me is a riveting novel of suspense about how far obsession can go.
Kate Youngblood is disappearing. Muddling through her late 30s as a creative writing professor at Blackwood college, she’s dangerously close to never being noticed again. The follow-up novel to her successful debut tanked. Her husband left her for a woman ten years younger. She’s always been bright, beautiful, independent and a little wild, but now her glow is starting to vanish. She’s heading into an age where her eyes are less blue, her charm worn out, and soon no one will ever truly look at her, want to know her, again.

Except one.

Sam Grist is Kate’s most promising student. An unflinching writer with razor-sharp clarity who gravitates towards dark themes and twisted plots, his raw talent is something Kate wants to nurture into literary success. But he’s not there solely to be the best writer. He’s been watching her. Wanting her. Working his way to her for years.

As Sam slowly makes his way into Kate’s life, they enter a deadly web of dangerous lies and forbidden desire. But how far will his fixation go? And how far will she allow it?

A gripping novel exploring intense obsession and illicit attraction, Jody Gehrman introduces a world where what you desire most may be the most dangerous thing of all.
This was just an ok read for me. The storyline was promising but much of the "action" was going on in Sam's head, and that was just not a place I wanted to be.
I don't mind novels that are written from multiple points of view, but I found Sam's narration in secondary present first person to be a distraction. Maybe it's just me, and others will enjoy this story more than I did. There really wasn't much of anything "dark and twisty" as promised in the description. I mean yes a psycho stalker is dark, but as far as twisty goes you could pretty much see the path the story was taking, which was slow and straight ahead. 
I received an advance copy for review.