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Book Review: Leave Me

LEAVE ME: A NOVEL, BY GAYLE FORMAN

PUBLISHER: ALGONQUIN BOOKS; SEPTEMBER 6, 2016

Leave meSynopsis: Every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, and every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: she packs a bag and leaves. But, as is often the case, once we get where we’re going we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from herself and those she loves.

With big-hearted characters–husbands, wives, friends, and lovers–who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing the fears we’re all running from. Gayle Forman is a dazzling observer of human nature. She has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head on and asks, what happens when a grown woman runs away from home?

Review: “Leave Me” is the upcoming release from author Gayle Forman, about a busy, stressed mother of twins, not exactly thrilled with her marriage, that suffers a heart attack. Maribeth was feeling bad for a day or so before finally ending up in the ER, learning that she’s had a heart attack, and then ends up in emergency bypass surgery. After a week, her husband Jason brings her home to their twins and Maribeth’s mother who has flown there to “help out.” Over the next few weeks and follow-up cardiologist appointments, Maribeth is supposed to be getting better. But between Jason working until all hours, no one doing the dishes or willing to go to the store, and her young twins getting lice Maribeth gets no time to rest and really heal. What does she do?  She leaves Jason a note, packs a bag, empties half of her savings, and hops on a train to Pittsburg. Having been born in Pittsburg and then given up for adoption, Maribeth decides to get the help of a woman named Janice to find her birth mother. She finds a cardiologist, Stephen, that is quiet and sad, and moves into an apartment building where she meets Sunny and Todd, two students that live upstairs. Maribeth builds new friendships with the people in her life and waits 5 weeks to finally email her husband. She starts healing and feeling better, eating better, learns to swim, and searches for her mother. Once Maribeth and Jason begin emailing one another, lines of communication are opened that have been closed for many years, and they slowly learn to open up to one another.

I understand the premise of this book and the need for Maribeth to get away from life in order to physically heal and become healthy again. If I came home a week after bypass surgery and no one in the house was willing to do the dishes, I would be pissed. Her mother and her husband should have stepped up, taken care of the house, gone grocery shopping, and so on. However, being all too familiar with the pain of being separated from your children, I struggled to sympathize, empathize or whatever with Maribeth. Yes, her young daughter screamed at her, hit her in the chest a week after surgery, and was an overall brat. But take all of that savings and hire a nanny and a housekeeper until you’re well, don’t leave your children. Besides my personal feelings about leaving her children, I struggle trying to find what was achieved by her absence. She located her birth records and learned about her family medical history, she learned how to swim, and she got well. But unless I missed it, I never saw some life-changing moment or epiphany that made her running away a successful journey. Sure, Jason learned to step up and do his part, but what did Maribeth discover about herself during this time? She demonstrated the ability to cook a mean paella and cure a hangover, oh and kissed her doctor a few times.

With that being said, I respect and admire the author’s writing style and actually like the premise of the plot and characters. I think that Forman sort of “missed the boat” with her own idea without further developing the characters and plot. This could have been a great story to tell if Maribeth would have learned something from the experience. Otherwise, it just appears to be a selfish mom and wife that decided to run away for a few months. I have read other novels by Gayle Forman before and loved them so it doesn’t change my opinion of her amazing writing ability. But this one just missed the mark with me.

Learn more about Gayle Forman by visiting her web page.

Purchase “Leave Me” on Amazon on and after September 6, 2016.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

 

Reviews, Uncategorized

Book Review: “Heartborn”

“HEARTBORN,” BY TERRY MAGGERT

PUBLICATION DATE: SEPTEMBER 1, 2016

heartborn

Synopsis: Her guardian angel was pushed.
Keiron was never meant to be anything other than a hero. Born high above in a place of war and deception, he is Heartborn, a being of purity and goodness in a place where there is violence and deceit are just around every corner.
His disappearance will spark a war he cannot see, for Keiron has pierced the light of days to save a girl he has never met, for reasons he cannot understand. Livvy Foster is seventeen, brave, and broken. With half a heart, she bears the scars of a lifetime of pain and little hope of survival. Until Keiron arrives.
In the middle of a brewing war and Livvy’s failing heart, Keiron will risk everything for Livvy, because a Heartborn’s life can only end in one way: Sacrifice. Fall with Livvy and Keiron as they seek the truth about her heart, and his power, and what it means to love someone who will give their very life to save you.

“Heartborn” is the newest, upcoming release from Terry Maggert, and this was my first time reading anything by this author. Keiron is a Heartborn, from a different world above where most are cruel and ruthless, except that Keiron is good, and wants to save a girl on Earth named Livvy. Before falling to Earth, Keiron’s brother Garrick cuts off his wings and pushes him. In Keiron’s world, there are all sorts of people with different skills and jobs, but Keiron has always been special being that he is a Heartborn. Livvy has just begun working at a library with a mean boss, mean girls hanging around, and gets out of breath just walking to the break room because of heart problems. Livvy makes an instant best friend, Dozer, but it isn’t until Keiron walks in the library that her world changes.  Keiron and Livvy are quickly drawn to each other while he researches and tells her about the empire and world he is researching, and she tells him about her life and her heart. While they are becoming closer, his family is on the brink of war back where he is from. His parents and sister are fighting battles with the Council, waiting for Keiron and Livvy to return to help them win their war.

First, I must hand it to the author for his level of creativity in developing this story and the characters within it. This is definitely unlike anything I have read previously and I think it will really appeal to the YA audience that likes paranormal/fantasy novels. I was really able to get involved in the parts of the novel with Livvy but struggled following the chapters involving Keiron’s family, all of the different characters, and the war that was brewing. I struggled with keeping up with who was good or who was bad and especially started getting lost between extremely lengthy conversations between Keiron’s parents and Cressa. Without giving spoilers, there is a climactic part with Livvy in the library towards the end which also completely lost me. I can’t elaborate without giving spoilers, but I was just confused. With that being said, I still feel that a reader within this novel’s intended age and interest group would get into this novel, and more than likely follow along much better than I did. I’ve become a bigger fan of science fiction and paranormal writing over the past year, however, my heart still lies with stories that are more concrete so that I can easily recognize and understand what is going on.

“Heartborn” is definitely an interesting read and this is absolutely one of those times where my recommendation is if you like this genre then absolutely read this once it’s released next week. Maggert has created unique and different characters along with an imaginative and exciting plot.

Learn more about Terry Maggert by visiting his web page.

*I received a copy of the ARC from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Book Review: Caught Between Worlds

CBW Blog Tour Button (1)Caught Between Worlds

By G.P. Gadbois

Publisher: Roane Publishing

Release Date: August 15, 2016

 

Synopsis: Gabrielle and three college friends must deal with a temporary setback when they are stranded in St. Clair, USA. Her holiday unravels in a series of exhilarating events. Her salvation, the handsome deputy Brady, succeeds in keeping her safe and captures her heart.

Deputy Richard Brady’s peaceful life ceases when Gabrielle shows up at his door. It is his duty to keep the charming Canadian safe from the life-threatening supernatural activities, but his personal motives frighten him more than the danger itself.

Will love conquer and bring them together after Gabrielle returns home?

caught between

 

“Caught Between Worlds,” by G.P. Gadbois is a different kind of contemporary romance with a little paranormal and suspense mixed in.  After their car breaks down on the way to the beach, Gabby goes looking for help and end’s up at Rick Brady’s front door, a deputy for the local Sheriff’s department. Rick calls his equally gorgeous mechanic friend, Bill, to tow the car, but now the girls must stay in St. Clair for a few days waiting for the part to arrive. Gabby, Suzanne, Wendy, and Julie end up at a local bed & breakfast owned by Carla and Jack and so far everything is working out almost too well considering they had car trouble in a strange town. Everyone is very welcoming and the four young women are making the best of things, but Gabby soon experiences odd things around her. Gabby and Suzanne tell Rick and Bill about their experiences, which leads Rick to investigate a local myth in the area while trying to keep Gabby and Suzanne safe.

I liked Gabby from the beginning, although I was surprised by her innocence at 20 years old. Gabby is kind of quirky, funny, sweet, and basically just goes along with whatever. Suzanne was also a likeable character but Wendy and Julie didn’t really stick out in any way. Rick is the quiet, sexy, protective type and I liked him, but there were times his character fell flat. Honestly, there were times I wondered if he was the “bad guy” they were searching for because Rick was so often short-tempered and all business.

Overall, I really enjoyed the story because I love romances that have something different like “Caught Between Worlds.” It took me quite awhile to start figuring out the mystery in the novel and I loved the suspense. My only issues were times I wished the writing flowed more easily and I wish the characters would have been more developed and complex. If you are looking for a contemporary romance that includes paranormal activity, crime, and suspense, you should check out this new novel by G.P. Gadbois.

*Disclaimer: I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About the Author:G.P. is Canadian. A wife and mother of three who works in school bus transportation. In her last year of high school, she enjoyed writing a weekly column published in the French newspaper in her home town. Writing took a back seat for years and now that her children are grown, it’s become her favorite hobby.

Entertaining others is like breathing – it is part of who she is.

Author Links:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/GPGadbois/?fref=ts

 

 

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Review: Wish List

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Wish List

by Belinda Williams

Momentum Books

Moonlight

Romance; Women’s Fiction

Pub: May 26, 2016

 

Can I just start by saying wow??  Belinda Williams’ new novel, Wish List, is one of my favorite novels I’ve read in quite some time.  I was not familiar with the City Love series prior to reading this, but I will now most certainly go back to read the first three in the series.

Wish List is not only full of romance and a dreamy man, but has a fabulous story line and plot as well.  Cate is the last single girl in her group of friends and has always had certain expectations of her dream man.  Thanks to some water issues in her apartment one night, Dave enters her life, and it’s impossible not to fall in love with him.  However, right after they meet – this is what makes this novel so different – he isn’t coming onto her, flirting, etc.  He’s just a quiet, cool, laid back guy. The development of Cate and Dave’s relationship unfolds so naturally, not at all like some sappy, romantic fantasy, but like what most of us go through.  Sometimes it’s the one unlike what we imagined or dreamed of, that comes along and sweeps us off of our feet.  Nothing appears forced or rushed in the writing, and I must say, Belinda Williams did an amazing job with a romance novel, without being too sexual or too graphic.

Even if you are not a huge fan of the romance genre, this book is wonderful.  Yes, this novel has the pretty girl and the handsome guy, and yes this novel fills you with suspense about whether the couple will make it or not, but this novel is different.  Belinda Williams has woven a wonderful mix of romance, desire, work ethics, family issues, and most importantly, the power of communication. If you have followed the City Love series, this most certainly will not disappoint, but even if you haven’t read any of the series before, this is a must-read! Bravo to Belinda Williams and of course, to Cate and Dave 🙂

FTC Disclaimer:  I received this book in exchange for an honest review.

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Review: Scarecrow’s Dream

Scarecrow’s Dream, by Flo Fitzpatrick

Samhain Publishing; Romance, Sci-Fi, and Fantasy

Pub date June 21, 2016

Where to being with this one?  First of all, bravo to Flo Fitzpatrick for a great novel that literally had me hooked from the first page!  Scarecrow’s Dream is a funky mix of romance, fantasy, politics, theater, and societal norms. The novel centers around Holly Malone, and her journey of supernatural self-discovery after being in a motorcycle accident and returning to her apartment 43 years later. Holly has a fabulous old aunt who’s eccentric but open-minded personality is both comforting and funny at the same time.  Holly’s aunt begins trying to fill in the gaps for Holly regarding the past 43 years, as Holly experiences flashbacks and memories events leading up to the night of the accident.  Not far into the novel, the reader meets Holly’s former love and handsome actor, Shane Halloran.  Together, Holly and Shane (with help from crazy Aunt Adelaide) reconnect with people from their past to try to make sense of what happened, and to determine who was responsible.

I was really loving Holly throughout the entire novel! She’s strong-willed, an activist, a romantic, and longs for equality and acceptance of her interracial romance.  Shane, well, I liked Shane.  However, I did find myself having some issues with Mr. Shane Halloran and they all can be linked to my desire for chivalry and romance!  There are a few times during the novel where I find myself wanting him to step up and be “the man” or “the protector,”  but overall, his good looks, intelligence, and charm still won me over 🙂

If you are searching for romance with a mix of substance and fantasy, then check out this novel by Flo Fitzpatrick, it is a page turner that leaves you wondering what happened next for these characters.

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

 

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Review: A Thousand Salt Kisses

A Thousand Salt Kisses, by Josie Demuth

Wise Ink Creative Publishing; Romance, Teens, & Young Adult

Pub date: April 29, 2016

 

Attention lovers of young adult romance, this is one you’re going to want to read!  Josie Demuth’s, A Thousand Salt Kisses, is a wonderful combination of fantasy, romance, and the good and bad of being a teenager.  This story is about Crystal and her family that recently moved to Starfish Island.  Crystal is trying to make friends and feel comfortable, but everything  changes for her one night in the ocean, when she first meets Llyr.  Thus begins an unexpected summer romance, along with a plot that addresses several current issues for teenage girls everywhere!  This novel covers first love, sexuality, friendship triangles, parents separating, and even  relevant environmental issues.

There were times while reading this novel that things almost seemed too unrealistic to me, however, I think this book is perfect for the age group for which it is intended.  There’s not a young girl anywhere, or grown woman for that matter, that hasn’t experienced some of the emotions that Crystal experiences.  Moreover, I think that we’ve all wished for our own Llyr to appear at some point in our lives 🙂

After reading this book, I felt myself wanting more from the story’s main characters, Crystal and Llyr. Although vampire and werewolf young adult romances have been dominant for years (which I love, let me clarify!), this book grabbed my attention because it is a fresh and unique tale of star-crossed lovers.  After digging around, I realized there is a sequel to this novel, and I most definitely have added it to my reading wish list!

FTC Disclaimer:  I received a copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.

 

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Review: Take a Chance on Me

Take a Chance on Me (Something New, #1)

Paperback, 352 pages
Published February 4th 2014 by Zebra (first published January 1st 2014)
Original Title
Take a Chance on Me
ISBN1420134256 (ISBN 13: 9781420134254)
Edition Language
English

So anyway, Maddie is a runaway bride that ends up walking into Mitch’s bar late one night, still in her wedding gown. Mitch is the owner/bartender and becomes instantly intrigued with Maddie.  Thus begins a roller-coaster of sexual tension, steamy love scenes, and stressing out about whether or not this couple will make it!  Not only do we meet Mitch and Maddie, but also are introduced to Gracie, Shane, James, and so on – whom I love! Both Mitch and Maddie have baggage from their life, yet they are still drawn to each other and can’t seem to fight the longing they have to be together.

One thing I really love about Maddie is her desire for something more.  She doesn’t settle for her quiet, content future with her fiance and runs for her life!  I was undecided about Mitch in the beginning because of his history with married women, and an almost controlling way about him, but I quickly fell in love with him, and was truly sad when I finished this book!

This book does not disappoint if you are looking for a gripping plot and cast of characters, delicious love scenes, and absolute romance! I absolutely recommend Jennifer Dawson’s novels if you have not yet had the pleasure to read her work!

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A must-read classic for women!

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I first read Kate Chopin’s The Awakening about 20 years ago, and have always referred to it as “my favorite book ever!” A few months ago I was sorting through old boxes and tubs and came across my copy of the novel I read so long ago, and decided I would read it again.  I cannot express how glad I am that I read it again, now 20 years older, somewhat wiser, etc.  The character of Edna Pontellier is so incredible and complex, and although this novel was written in 1899, I can still relate to so many things related to Edna.  This novel describes and illustrates so many levels of discontent, frustration, and moments of clarity.  The subject matter of this novel was considered very controversial, portraying a wife and mother left wanting more out of life, and not satisfied with society’s expectations of what she should or should not do.  Throughout the plot of the novel, Edna slowly experiences several awakenings including falling in love, and exploring her sexuality.  While slowly stepping further out of her proverbial box, her husband and her doctor decide that she has developed mental illness, never understanding that she just wanted new and different experiences and feelings.  I do not want to include any spoilers, but the end of the novel and Edna’s choice is beautifully written and stirs a variety of emotions in the reader.

I have learned over time that if you ask 10 women their opinions on this novel, you will most certainly receive 10 different answers.  Some women (and men) hate this book due its protagonist being unhappy with her role of wife and mother.  Others love this book because they feel it’s a truthful look at wives and mothers, refusing to say that one must be happy and satisfied just because they have a husband and children.

Read it for yourself if you haven’t already and let me know what you think,  or if you’ve already read it, let me know.  I would love to hear your thoughts!  Happy reading 🙂