Friday, March 24, 2023

Our Wolves by Luanne Castle

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

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

Our Wolves looks at the identity of wolves in our everyday lives and the varied ways of viewing the wolf. For example, this character cannot be seen as merely bad or even redeemed or misunderstood, as in some interpretations of the fairy tale. Similarly, “Little Red” is not simply a victim or a representation of innocence. Instead, this collection reveals the tale as a conduit for many voices and interpretations of gender, identity, and feminism.

my thoughts:

Love, love, love! Luanne Castle's new poetry book, Our Wolves, is creative and unique. Inspired by the classic fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood, she writes poems that reimagine the characters and reinterpret their story - talk about a clever way of exploring gender and identity. These poems were heartfelt and engaging. I enjoyed slipping in and out of the book, so that I could devour each piece slowly. These poems depict "Little Red" coming of age and sometimes her journey is not an easy one to take in. 

Castle has created a fantastic collection of poetry that her readers will enjoy reading again and again. I would happily recommend Our Wolves to anyone and everyone looking for their next poetry fix - you are going to fall in deep with these poems.  So, make sure to check out this book ASAP!

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

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

The Last Russian Doll: A Novel by Kristen Loesch

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

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

A haunting, epic novel about betrayal, revenge, and redemption that follows three generations of Russian women, from the 1917 revolution to the last days of the Soviet Union, and the enduring love story at the center.

In a faraway kingdom, in a long-ago land...

...a young girl lived happily in Moscow with her family: a sister, a father, and an eccentric mother who liked to tell fairy tales and collect porcelain dolls. 

One summer night, everything changed, and all that remained of that family were the girl and her mother.

Now, a decade later and studying at Oxford University, Rosie has an English name, a loving fiancĂ©, and a promising future, but all she wants is to understand--and bury--the past. After her mother dies, Rosie returns to Russia, armed with little more than her mother’s strange folklore--and a single key.

What she uncovers is a devastating family history that spans the 1917 Revolution, the siege of Leningrad, Stalin’s purges, and beyond.

At the heart of this saga stands a young noblewoman, Tonya, as pretty as a porcelain doll, whose actions—and love for an idealistic man—will set off a sweeping story that reverberates across the century....

my thoughts:

Wow. What a story! The Last Russian Doll: A Novel by Kristen Loesch is historical fiction at its very best! I LOVED this book to bits! It was mesmerizing, engaging, and so well written. I enjoyed every second I spent with it. Such a great read!

A family saga filled with betrayal, loss, mystery, murder, and Russian fairytales. This is the story of three women that spans over a revolution, a war, and so much more. We get to travel back and forth in time as we learn about these women and their stories - gotta love dual timelines. We find out memories and the people in them. We revisit old landmarks and towns. We learn about Russia and its history. And, we find out about a family and their history. It's fascinating, heartbreaking, and amazing. 

I would happily recommend The Last Russian Doll to anyone and everyone looking for their next great read - you are going to LOVE this book! Make sure to check it out ASAP!

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

Friday, March 10, 2023

Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult: A Memoir by Michelle Dowd

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

about book: (summary from Goodreads)

A moving, heartbreaking, and inspiring true story of the author’s escape from an apocalyptic cult—and the deep understanding of the natural world that helped her find freedom. 
My family prepared me for the end of the world, but I know how to survive on what the earth yields. 
Michelle Dowd grew up on a mountain in the Angeles National Forest, born into an ultra-religious cult—the Field, as members called it—run by her grandfather, who believed that his chosen followers must prepare themselves to survive doomsday. Bound by the group’s patriarchal rules and literal interpretation of the Bible, Michelle and her siblings lived a life of deprivation, isolated from Outsiders and starved for both love and food. She was forced to learn the skills necessary to battle hunger, thirst, and cold; she learned to trust animals more than humans; and most important, she learned how to survive by foraging for what she needed. And as Michelle got older, she realized she had the strength to break free. Focus on what will sustain, not satiate you, she would tell herself. Use everything. Waste nothing. Get to know the intricacies of the land like the intricacies of your body. And so she did.

With haunting and stark language, and illustrations of edible plants and their uses opening each chapter, Forager is a fierce and empowering coming-of-age story and a timely meditation on the ways in which harnessing nature’s gifts can lead to our freedom.

my thoughts:

Wow! What a fascinating read. Michelle Dowd's memoir about growing up in The Field doomsday cult is personal, eye-opening, and thoughtful. She starts each chapter with an edible plant and how to use it, which related to the education she received from The Field. Nature was integral to her survival within the cult and as a means for her to find the courage to leave it. Forager: Field Notes for Surviving a Family Cult is a slow-burn chock full of memories about Michelle's relationship with her mother, the lack of love she was shown, the lessons she received on how to be a survivalist, and the various abuses she endured. It is an emotional and introspective book. 

I found myself caught up in Michelle's recollections and thinking about her life and how young she was at the time.  Her life was so cut off from the rest of the world and the loneliness she must have felt, especially when she began questioning it all. And, the way nature impacted her life - learning to live off the land, the dangers and beauties of nature, and the vastness of it all. She's a strong woman who experienced so much so young and was able to find a way out of a living nightmare. Talk about the epitome of brave. 

I would definitely recommend, Forager, to anyone and everyone - you are going to fall in deep with this book. Make sure to get your hands on a copy ASAP!

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

Monday, March 6, 2023

The Sister Effect by Susan Mallery


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

about book:

Susan Mallery’s newest hardcover is an emotional, witty, and heartfelt story of Finley who is raising her niece because her long-addicted sister, Sloane, abandoned her. When Sloane reappears, eager to build a relationship with her daughter, Finley will struggle with forgiveness, the ties that bind a family together, and the fragility of trust.

Finley McGowan is determined that the niece she’s raising will always feel loved and wanted. Unlike she felt after her mom left to pursue a dream of stardom and her grandfather abandoned her and her sister Sloane when they needed him most. Finley reacted to her chaotic childhood by walking the straight and narrow—nose down, work hard, follow the rules.

Sloane went the other way.

Now Sloane is back, as beautiful and damaged as ever, and wants a relationship with her daughter. She says she’s changed, but Finley’s heart has been bruised once too often for her to trust easily. With the help of a man who knows all too well how messy families can be, Finley will learn there’s joy in surrendering and peace in letting go.

Mallery, with wisdom, compassion and her trademark humor, explores the nuances of a broken family’s complex emotions as they strive to become whole, in this uplifting story of human frailty and resilience.

my thoughts:

A family drama at its very best! The Sister Effect by Susan Mallery is a must-read for fans of her terrific stories and for anyone looking for their next great read - you are going to fall in deep with this one! I loved it to bits!

Finley is raising her eight-year old niece, Aubrey, and determined to provide her with a stable and loving home - two things she and her sister never had. She's also becoming romantically involved with Jericho - a local builder with a lot of baggage. Oh, and her sister, Sloane, is almost a year sober and wants back in her daughter's life. Except, Finley isn't sure that's a good idea - she doesn't want Aubrey to get hurt. Or...could it be that Finley is just not ready to deal with her sister yet? Hmm...so much family history, drama, and pain for one family to handle. Of course, there is also a lot of love in the family, so maybe forgiveness is possible. And that is all I will share about this awesome story - you have to read it for yourself to find out what happens!

Mallery has written an emotional story that will have you feeling all the feels. You'll smile, laugh, cry, and 'ugh' in frustration. And, you'll enjoy every minute of it. What a fantastic book! I would happily recommend The Sister Effect - make sure to grab a copy ASAP!

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

Friday, February 24, 2023

Burner: A Gray Man Novel by Mark Greaney

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

about book:

Court Gentry is caught between the Russian mafia and the CIA in this latest electrifying thriller in the #1 New York Times bestselling Gray Man series.

When you kick over a rock, you never know what's going to crawl out.

Alex Velesky is about to discover that the hard way. He's stolen records from the Swiss bank that employs him, thinking that he'll uncover a criminal conspiracy. But he soon finds that he's tapped into the mother lode of corruption. Before he knows it, he's being hunted by everyone from the Russian mafia to the CIA.

Court Gentry and his erstwhile lover, Zoya Zakharova, find themselves on opposites poles when it comes to Velesky. They both want him but for different reasons.

That's a problem for tomorrow. Today they need to keep him and themselves alive. Right now, it's not looking good.

my thoughts:

An action-packed spy thriller that will keep you up til the wee hours reading, because you have to find out what is going to happen to Court and Zoya - will they succeed, will they fail, and at what cost? Burner by Mark Greaney is the twelfth novel in his popular series, A Gray Man... and it is ACE! I loved it! I've never read the series, so I had no clue what to expect and let me just say, that was the best way to read this book (for me, at least). Why? Because, I was able to fall in deep with these characters and their mission, which happened to be on opposing teams: CIA or Russian Mafia. Yep, talk about a political nightmare. 

Greaney has written a terrific story that captures your attention right from the start. Alex is convinced the Swiss bank he works at is involved in something sketchy, so he digs for information to prove he's right. Except, he finds corruption so massive, that he soon finds himself on the run from everyone. So, it's up to Court and Zoya to find Alex and the records he took ASAP, or else.  Turns out that Alex's life may not be the only one on the line. And, that is all I will write, because this book is so damn good - you have to read it for yourself!

I would definitely recommend Burner to fans of Greaney's A Gray Man series and to anyone looking for their next great read - you are going to LOVE this book! I know I can't wait to read more of the series. Make sure to check it out!

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