Review: The Dream Daughter by Diane Chamberlain @D_Chamberlain

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When Caroline Sears receives the news that her unborn baby girl has a heart defect, she is devastated. It is 1970 and there seems to be little that can be done. But her brother-in-law, a physicist, tells her that perhaps there is. Hunter appeared in their lives just a few years before—and his appearance was as mysterious as his past. With no family, no friends, and a background shrouded in secrets, Hunter embraced the Sears family and never looked back. Now, Hunter is telling her that something can be done about her baby’s heart. Something that will shatter every preconceived notion that Caroline has. Something that will require a kind of strength and courage that Caroline never knew existed. Something that will mean a mind-bending leap of faith on Caroline’s part. And all for the love of her unborn child. A rich, genre-spanning, breathtaking novel about one mother’s quest to save her child, unite her family, and believe in the unbelievable. Diane Chamberlain pushes the boundaries of faith and science to deliver a novel that you will never forget.

My review:

There’s something about Diane Chamberlain’s writing and the worlds she creates, something that grabs me from the very beginning. Maybe it’s the southern setting, the historical side of the story, or the way she makes you care about the characters after only a few pages. I’ve read some of her books and although I haven’t loved all of them, a couple are among my personal favorites. And The Dream Daughter is probably my favorite of hers yet. It’s a WONDERFUL book.

I admit that, at first, I didn’t consider reading it because her last one had left me a bit indifferent. But after reading wonderful reviews from some of my favorite bloggers, I realized I wanted to give it a chance. The blurb doesn’t really say anything about the plot, but I guess I must’ve seen what it really was about in a review, because I knew the “real plot” before I started reading it. Without saying much, I can promise you that the book is SO MUCH MORE than what the blurb says. In fact, I can assure you that the blurb doesn’t make me want to read it at all. Remember A Mother’s Confession? Don’t get me wrong, these two books are not similar at all, but they are both wonderful novels that I wouldn’t have read at first because of their title, cover, or blurb, and yet they ended up being favorites of mine.

This is going to be a top 5 of the year for me, and I have no doubt about that. As soon as I finished it, I wanted to tell everyone about this book, I literally explained the whole story to my boyfriend and I couldn’t stop thinking of what I would’ve done had I been in Carly’s situation. This book made me cry more than once, as it was emotional, sad and yet comforting at the same time.

The storyline is super hard to predict and there was a particularly shocking twist that I never saw coming and left me speechless. I read the book in less than two days because once I picked it up, I couldn’t let it go. I was consumed by it. And I’ll never forget it.

 

Review: Sadie by Courtney Summers ‏

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Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water. But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him. When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.

My review:

A few months ago I wanted to read something different and so I came across Sadie, which looked like a young adult novel but with a mystery touch. I don’t usually read YA (although I enjoy some) and everyone was raving about it, so I thought it would be a great idea to give it a chance.

Sadie was a sad story and quite different from the other two books I read by Courtney Summers (like 10 years ago), but I can’t say I loved it the same way. It was a good novel, it didn’t take me long to read it, and I certainly loved the podcast format, but it wasn’t a memorable read for me.

This is the story of a young girl who flees her hometown in search for someone she believes killed her little sister. At the same time, there’s a podcast about them called “The Girls” which follows Sadie’s disappearance. I found this section of the book rather interesting, the format made it a quick read and the chapters where Sadie was the narrator were also compelling and intriguing.

In the end, the main reason why I think I didn’t love this book as much as I wanted is that it was pretty predictable in my opinion. The reason behind the disappearance and the secrets that Sadie was hiding weren’t shocking. We’ve read this same story many times before and this wasn’t a favorite of mine.

Would I recommend this? Yes. If you enjoy Courtney Summer’s writing -nothing to complain here, she writes beautifully-, and edgy YA stories, this could be a winner for you.

Thanks to the publishers and Netgalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Review: Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit by @Amy_Stewart @HMHCo ‏

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After a year on the job, New Jersey’s first female deputy sheriff has collared criminals, demanded justice for wronged women, and gained notoriety nationwide for her exploits. But on one stormy night, everything falls apart. While transporting a woman to an insane asylum, Deputy Kopp discovers something deeply troubling about her story. Before she can investigate, another inmate bound for the asylum breaks free and tries to escape. In both cases, Constance runs instinctively toward justice. But the fall of 1916 is a high-stakes election year, and any move she makes could jeopardize Sheriff Heath’s future–and her own…

My review:

I’ve been reading this series for a while now and I seriously recommend it to everyone. They’re not really mystery novels, but they narrate the life and adventures of the Kopp Sisters, especially Constance, who is one of the US first deputy sheriffs (based on a real-life character). And it’s definitely a great piece of historical fiction!

Like the other books in the series, Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit moves at a fast pace during its 300 pages and never gets boring thanks to the witty dialogue and its great characters. I loved the way Amy Stewart describes Constance relationship with the female inmates and I really enjoyed learning more about their background.

In Miss Kopp Just Won’t Quit, Constance is trying to help a woman who’s been committed to an asylum. But something doesn’t feel right and Deputy Kopp knows that the woman isn’t crazy at all… so why is the husband trying to get rid of her? This is not the first book that I’ve read about a similar topic (The Ballroom), and it never ceases to shock me how women were so easily sent to asylums only a hundred years ago. I still can’t believe this would happen.

Besides that plot, there was also a political storyline that showed how some men treated Constance just because she was a female deputy sheriff. But what does the ending mean? I honestly don’t know how they’re going to continue the series after that. It’s definitely a game changer…

One thing I know for sure is that I always read the books in this series super quickly, and they never take me more than a couple days to finish. In the end, The Kopp Sisters series is an enjoyable, feminist, and fun series that I hope to continue reading for many more years.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Review: The Clockmaker’s Daughter by Kate Morton @panmacmillan

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In the summer of 1862, a group of young artists led by the passionate and talented Edward Radcliffe descends upon Birchwood Manor on the banks of the Upper Thames. Their plan: to spend a secluded summer month in a haze of inspiration and creativity. But by the time their stay is over, one woman has been shot dead while another has disappeared; a priceless heirloom is missing; and Edward Radcliffe’s life is in ruins. Over one hundred and fifty years later, Elodie Winslow, a young archivist in London, uncovers a leather satchel containing two seemingly unrelated items: a sepia photograph of an arresting-looking woman in Victorian clothing, and an artist’s sketchbook containing the drawing of a twin-gabled house on the bend of a river. Why does Birchwood Manor feel so familiar to Elodie? And who is the beautiful woman in the photograph? Will she ever give up her secrets?

My review:

“My real name, no one remembers. The truth about that summer, no one else knows…”

I’ve been a big fan of Kate Morton ever since I read The House at Riverton back in 2008. It was the beginning of a love affair that has lasted over a decade and, after reading The Clockmaker’s Daughter, I can firmly say that the relationship is still going strong. My favorite book of hers will always be The Secret Keeper because of that wonderful twist I will never be able to forget, but I’ve loved all her novels and I truly believe they all have something special. Her last one was my least favorite, perhaps because I thought the ending felt too coincidental, but it was a good story nevertheless.

I had read mixed reviews of The Clockmaker’s Daughter, and I can definitely see why people didn’t love this one as much as her other books, but this is one of those times when I have to disagree with them. Even though I’m perfectly aware that this novel was a bit slow at times, I was instantly captivated, the way I’m always are when I start reading a Kate Morton’s book. And I never lost interest, in fact, I found myself increasingly more intrigued as pages flew by.

The main difference between The Clockmaker’s Daughter and most of her other books is that this novel spans many decades but it doesn’t only focus on two timelines, but instead, it narrates several moments in history. This is the tale of Birchwood Manor and its guests during more than a hundred and fifty years. We, as readers, are witnesses of the effect the house has on every inhabitant, but the main mystery revolves around Edward Radcliffe and his muse, the clockmaker’s daughter. But who exactly is Lily Millington? And what happened on that fateful summer of 1862?

The story is narrated by various points of view, but the title character was my favorite because of her unlikely situation. She takes her time telling us her story, and she also “interacts” with the two present-time characters, Elodie and Jack. Elodie has come across an old photograph of a mysterious woman and the sketch of a beautiful house she finds incredibly familiar, so she decides to investigate why her mother once told her a bedtime story set in that very same house…

Like all Kate Morton’s books, The Clockmaker’s Daughter is full of tragedy, fate encounters, and surprising revelations. This is a complex and multi-layered story that requires you to pay attention to every small detail; otherwise, you might get lost in the way. The author’s prose is delicate and beautiful as usual, and if you happen to love her evocative writing, I truly believe you will enjoy this magical puzzle as much as I did.

Thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

Review: A Stone’s Throw by James W. Ziskin

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Release: 2018
Publisher: Seventh Street Books, Prometheus
Genre: Mystery & Thriller

First of all, although I want to read the first books in a series, it is not necessary that you’ve read the previous books in order to enjoy A Stone’s Throw. It was my first time following Ellie Stone’s adventures and I must admit that I’m already a fan!

Although I could never enjoy living in the 60s because of how women were treated, I really liked reading about Ellie’s investigations and the battles she had to fight because of the time she was born. She has a great sense of humor and although not everyone appreciates it, I sure did!

The mystery was well-done and one thing I found exciting is that Ellie wasn’t a detective, like Tennison or The Craftsman’s Florence, but a journalist. I’ve loved all journalist-focused stories that I’ve read in recent years and this was no exception. It reads like a traditional procedural but the perspective is quite different at the same time.

If you enjoy mysteries set in the past and fierce heroines, you will surely enjoy this new installment in the Ellie Stone series: A Stone’s Throw.

Many thanks to the publishers for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review

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