Wednesday, April 14, 2021

The Last Thing To Burn: A Novel by Will Dean

The Last Thing to Burn
(Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

A woman being held captive is willing to risk everything to save herself, her unborn child, and her captor’s latest victim in this claustrophobic thriller in the tradition of Misery and Room

On an isolated farm in the United Kingdom, a woman is trapped by the monster who kidnapped her seven years ago. When she discovers she is pregnant, she resolves to protect her child no matter the cost, and starts to meticulously plan her escape. But when another woman is brought into the fold on the farm, her plans go awry. Can she save herself, her child, and this innocent woman at the same time? Or is she doomed to spend the remainder of her life captive on this farm?

Intense, dark, and utterly gripping The Last Thing to Burn is a breathtaking thriller from an author to watch.

my thoughts:

Wow. What an intense read. Will Dean's latest book, The Last Thing To Burn, explores human trafficking. It is a raw, horrifying, and, truly emotional story. This book is a definite MUST-READ for everyone.

Jane (not her real name) is being help captive.  It's been seven years since Lenn kidnapped her.  She does everything he orders her to do, because if she doesn't she will be punished.  Punishment can be in the form of him burning her personal items (things from home she cherishes) or him threatening to harm her younger sister.  Jane's life is a living nightmare.  It gets worse when she finds out she is pregnant. She is horrified at first, but then she grows to love the baby.  She decides she must escape to protect her child.  However, a new woman has been brought to the house.  She can hear her crying from the basement.  Jane begins to make new plans to escape.  She wants to save her child and herself, but also the woman in the basement. Will she succeed? Will she finally be free? Talk about a disturbing and riveting story. I could not stop reading once I started. I just had to know what would happen to Jane. I had to find out if she would ever be free. 

Dean has written an important story that is smart, suspenseful, terrifying, graphic, harrowing, and just about everything you can imagine a book about human trafficking to be. He has created a book that will haunt you, lead to discussions, and make you more aware of a topic that needs to be addressed.  His writing is top notch and his storytelling is compelling. The Last Thing To Burn is the book that I will be recommending to anyone and everyone this reading season. 

Thank you to the publisher for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman: A Novel by Julietta Henderson

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

Little Miss Sunshine meets Wonder in this delightfully charming, uplifting book club debut about a twelve-year-old would-be comedian who travels across the country to honor his dead best friend’s dream of performing in the Edinburgh Festival Fringe—the only problem being that his friend was the funny one of their duo.

Twelve-year-old would-be comedian Norman has got a lot going on, including a chronic case of psoriasis, a distinct lack of comic timing and a dead best friend. All his life it’s just been him, his single mum Sadie, and Jax, the ‘funny one’ of their comedy duo. So when Jax dies not only is Norman devastated, it’s also the end of the boys’ Five Year Plan to take their comedy act to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when they turned fifteen.

But Norman decides to honor Jax by performing at the Fringe, on his own. And not when he’s fifteen—but rather in four weeks’ time. But there’s another, far more colossal objective on Norman’s plan that Sadie wasn’t quite ready for: Norman wants to find his father. Eager to do anything that might put a smile on her boy’s face, Sadie resolves to face up to her own messy past and track down the father who doesn’t even know Norman exists, and whose identity Sadie herself isn’t quite sure of.

Thus begins a road trip from Cornwall to Scotland, featuring a mother and son who will live in the reader’s heart for a long time to come.

my thoughts:

What a wonderful story! Sweet, funny, and tender are three words I'd use to describe Julietta Henderson's debut novel, The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman. She's created a terrific story about friendship, family, loss, love, and life. You can't help but get caught up in Norman's grief and his plan to honor his BFF Jax, along with his other plan of seeking out his father. Talk about an emotional rollercoaster. This book will have you sobbing, laughing, and smiling all the way through. 

Norman is twelve years old. His BFF is Jax. They are a comedy duo with dreams of performing at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe when they turn fifteen.  Except, Jax suddenly dies.  And, Norman is left with a Jax-sized hole in his life. He's lost his BFF, his partner in comedy, and the one person who always managed to get him to try new things and enjoy life.  Mired in grief, Norman decides he will honor Jax.  Yep, he's going to perform at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe THIS year.  Oh, and he's decided that it's about time he met his father.  Say what? Norman is determined and he's made a new plan.  Sadie, his mother, is also missing Jax.  She worries about Norman as she watches him coping with his grief. And when she learns about his new plan, she shares her concerns with an older friend named Leonard.  After listening to Sadie, Leonard hatches a plan to help Norman.  He decides they are going to take his car and they are going to get Norman to the Edinburgh Festival Fringe to perform and they are going to find his father.  Sadie was not expecting this at all. She's not really sure who Norman's father is and she worries how Norman will handle a critical audience when he performs. And yet, she goes along with Leonard's plan, because she is willing to try anything to make her boy smile.  Plus, Norman keeps reassuring her that the worst has already happened, so everything to come must be better than what's already happened. So, off they go, packed for an adventure and filled with hope, along with some anxiety and nervousness.  And, that is all I will write about this fantastic story. You MUST read it for yourself - you are going to fall in LOVE with The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman

The writing is top notch. The characters are unforgettable. And the story is unputdownable.  Henderson has written a truly delightful read that will warm your heart.  This is one book you won't forget. So, I would happily recommend The Funny Thing About Norman Foreman to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - check it out! 

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Why I Never Finished My Dissertation by Laura Foley

(Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!)


about book:

Named one of seven Best Indie Poetry Books of 2019 by Kirkus.

Foley’s writing may appear sparse and reserved but it harbors a subtle power. The poet’s greatest strength is her acute sense of observation. She possesses the ability to thread sensuousness into the fabric of everyday life. . .This is a dazzling volume of poetry that delights in crisp imagery and tender recollections.
—Kirkus Reviews

Eric Hoffer/Montaigne Medal Finalist
Eric Hoffer/da Vinci Eye Finalist
Eric Hoffer Book Award Honorable Mention

The quest to discover why this poet does not complete a dissertation, leads to an astonishing read. This collection reveals a wide range of life-changing experiences beginning with a marriage to a hunchback Moroccan, almost twice the writer’s age. Other poems express revelations and observations that arise out of travels, such as a trip to Tehran, where the poet stands on a bullet-riddled balcony watching a hurried crowd “spill Khomeini from his coffin.” The signature poem unveils a suddenly busy domestic life in a second marriage with three young children and puppies. Toward the end readers experience love which results in marriage with a same-sex partner. No matter one’s personal story, what makes a story great is how it is told.
—The US Review of Books

my thoughts:

It's National Poetry Month, so that means I am reading more poetry and LOVING every minute with it. I was thrilled to get my hands on a copy of new-to-me poet Laura Foley's latest work, Why I Never Finished My Dissertation.  The title intrigued me. As someone who had to write two dissertations, I can see why someone would not finish. It is tedious work that drains you.  Plus, I just wanted to find out more about this woman who named her book after a fact about her life. Talk about reeling me in. 

Foley has written a terrific book of poems that share so much about her life. A green-card marriage, being a mom, loving a woman, visiting her sister who resides in a psychiatric home, and the beauty of nature and life. She writes about it all and you can't help but fall in deep with her words. The ways in which she uses words and phrases to reflect her emotions is intoxicating. She tells her stories about these experiences with such honesty, you can't help but imagine these scenes taking place and feel the pain, joy, and love within it.  Why I Never Finished My Dissertation is a must-read for fans of poetry - you will LOVE this book to bits!

I would happily recommend Why I Never Finished My Dissertation to anyone and everyone looking for a new book of poems to delve into - you don't want to miss out!

Thank you to the publisher and TLC Book Tours for providing me with a copy of this book!

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

Summertime Guests: A Novel by Wendy Francis

(Thankyou to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)


about book:

Sip cocktails in the lounge, bask in the summer sun by the pool, and experience the drama of the rich and famous firsthand in Wendy Francis’s newest novel, SUMMERTIME GUESTS (Graydon House; April 6, 2021; $16.99 USD). With its rich history and famous guests, The Seafarer is no stranger to drama. But the bustle at the social hotspot reaches new heights one weekend in mid-June when a woman falls tragically to her death from the tenth floor, unwittingly intertwining her life with the lives of the hotels’ guests and staff.

Claire O’Dell, reeling from the loss of her husband and possibly her job, has gone to The Seafarer for a little vacation…and to reconnect with a long-lost-love.  Jean-Paul, the hotel’s manager, is struggling to keep his marriage and new family afloat. Bride-to-be Riley is at the hotel to plan her wedding with her fiancĂ© ... or, she’s at the hotel with her fiancĂ© while her mother-in-law tells them how to plan their wedding. Jason, whose romantic getaway with his girlfriend has not exactly gone the way he'd hoped and instead has him facing questions about his past that he can't bring himself to answer.

As their truths and secrets come to light, the lives of these four will collide in tragic, beautiful ways none of them could have expected that will teach them about the love they deserve and the strength they possess to change their lives for the better.

my thoughts:

A beautiful hotspot, a tragic death, and four hotel guests whose lives are connected in ways they never saw coming.  Summertime Guests definitely has it all - there's romance, love, friendship, wedding planning, and a bit of mystery. And let me just say, I definitely enjoyed spending a rainy afternoon with this book - it was such a treat!

It's summer and The Seafarer is THE place to be if you want to be seen. Of course, not everyone is there to be seen. Claire has decided to book a room at the hotel for a bit of an escape - she's lost her husband and her job.  Riley is trying to plan her wedding, except her mother-in-law won't let her.  Jason is trying to romance his girlfriend, 'trying' being the operative word.  And, Jean-Paul, is in charge of running the hotel, but can't seem to manage his own life.  Drama, drama, drama abounds.  And somehow, all four guests soon find themselves linked to one another in ways they never would have imagined. I'm not going to write anything else about the story, because you need to experience it for yourself. Suffice it to say, the writing is top notch, the characters are intriguing, and the story itself is unputdownable. Talk about the perfect summer read. 

I would happily recommend Summertime Guests to fans of Wendy Francis and anyone looking for their next great read - you will LOVE this book!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!

Monday, April 5, 2021

The Last Bookshop In London: A Novel of World War II by Madeline Martin

(Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!)

about book:

Inspired by the true World War II history of the only bookshop to survive the Blitz, a sweeping story of wartime loss, romance, and the enduring power of literature, perfect for fans of The Paris Wife and The Lilac Girls

London, autumn 1940: the Blitz has only just begun when Grace Bennett arrives in London to find the city she’s spent a lifetime dreaming about now cast in the clouds of war, and all of her plans unraveling at the seams. After accepting a job at a charming bookshop nestled in the heart of the city, a haven for literary-minded locals, she feels like a fish out of water – she’s never been much of a reader, after all.

As the bombs rain down on the city night after night, a devastating air raid leaves London’s literary center in ruins, and the libraries and shops of Paternoster Row are destroyed in a firestorm. But against all odds, one bookshop miraculously survives. Through blackouts and air raids, Grace continues staffing the shop, discovering a newfound comfort in the power of words and storytelling to unite her community in ways she never imagined, a power that triumphs even the darkest nights of war-torn London.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a story! I absolutely LOVED The Last Bookshop In London - it was fantastic!

First off, a title with the word 'Bookshop' in it - how could I resist? Secondly, the story is set in London - how can I not read a story set in London? And third, combine 'bookshop' and London - how can I not read a book with both of those words in the title? Suffice it to say, I gobbled this book up as soon as I got my hands on it. Oh, and did I mention that I enjoyed every second spent with this story? Because, I did!

The Last Bookshop In London is such a great story. The historical aspects are vividly detailed.  The characters are fascinating and show just how resilient Brits can be.  And the story itself, is captivating. You can't help but be swept away to London during the Blitz and navigating bookshop life with Grace - this story makes for such a treat. I just LOVED getting to know everyone and reading about Grace, a non-reader, discovering the magic of books. It was fun and emotional, getting to see Grace using books to help her community during this terrifying time in history. 

I would happily recommend The Last Bookshop In London to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you won't want to miss out!

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book!