Review: The Forgiving Kind by Donna Everhart

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For twelve-year-old Martha “Sonny” Creech, there is no place more beautiful than her family’s cotton farm. She, her two brothers, and her parents work hard on their land—hoeing, planting, picking—but only Sonny loves the rich, dark earth the way her father does. When a tragic accident claims his life, her stricken family struggles to fend off ruin—until their rich, reclusive neighbor offers to help finance that year’s cotton crop. Sonny is dismayed when her mama accepts Frank Fowler’s offer; even more so when Sonny’s best friend, Daniel, points out that the man has ulterior motives. Sonny has a talent for divining water—an ability she shared with her father and earns her the hated nickname “water witch” in school. But uncanny as that skill may be, it won’t be enough to offset Mr. Fowler’s disturbing influence in her world. Even her bond with Daniel begins to collapse under the weight of Mr. Fowler’s bigoted taunts. Though she tries to bury her misgivings for the sake of her mama’s happiness, Sonny doesn’t need a willow branch to divine that a reckoning is coming, bringing with it heartache, violence—and perhaps, a fitting and surprising measure of justice.

My review:

As I said in my My Most Anticipated Books post, Donna Everhart books are always a priority. I requested this one as soon as I saw it on Netgalley, because her other two books had been favorites of mine. And while THE FORGIVING KIND was a different experience for me, I still believe Donna Everhart is a wonderful writer and this is a great and important book.

While I loved reading the first chapter and getting to know Sonny and her father, I admit I lost some interest when he died and the family had to continue with the business. I found the first half of the book rather slow, but I kept on going because I knew it wouldn’t disappoint me. And I’m so glad I did! This is a touching story about a family, about grief, love, racism, and friendship. And the importance of loyalty and never losng hope.

From one particular event on, I found this book unputdownable, and I couldn’t stop turning the pages. This is not a thriller or a fast-paced aventure, but I was so consumed by the story that I needed to know what would happen next. My favorite storyline was the one involving Sonny’s friend, Daniel. There were some scenes that broke my heart and the ending almost made me cry… it’s not a happy story, but it remains hopeful.

This is a book that talks about many important themes and even though it’s set in the 50s, it’s still relevant today. Also, I have never heard of divining water (I’m sorry!), and I found it fascinating. I believe that, like all three books by Everhart, this novel would translate beautifully to the big screen (picture something like The Secret Life of Bees).

Have you read any of Donna Everhart books? 💙

Mini Reviews: Verses For The Dead & Beartown

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Hello and welcome to the new mini-review post! Today I’m writing, again, about two books that have nothing in common. I guess this is the theme now. Read them both and enjoyed them, although Beartown was a better story hands down. Verses For The Dead was quite entertaining, though.

Verses For The Dead by Preston & Child

40697525.jpgI had never read a book by Douglas Preston & Lincoln Child before, but a friend asked me to join him, so I started this book not knowing who Pendergast really was. It was also the 18th book in the series, so I was quite worried I wouldn’t get anything. Turns out, VERSES FOR THE DEAD can easily be read as a standalone. Except for a couple scenes involving some recurring characters I didn’t know about, the book features Pendergast with a new colleague, so their dynamic as detectives was new for everyone. I found this novel to be a decent mystery that kept my attention and I was never bored. However, it wasn’t super unforgettable or fascinating in any way.

Beartown by Fredrik Backman

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I’ve been trying to catch up with books that have been in my TBR forever and BEARTOWN was one of them. Everyone I’ve come across here loved it, so I figured I had to read it as soon as possible. I admit the novel captivated me from the very beginning because Fredrik Backman writes in such a particular way. I really loved his meaningful prose and the way he introduced all the characters and thoughts. The story told here is important (no spoilers), but there were some moments when I just wanted them to stop talking about hockey. Beartown is a small town where the only thing that matters is hockey, they don’t really talk about anything else. And even though this reminded me of Friday Night Lights in the best possible way, I didn’t fall in love with it as much as my favorite bloggers. However, I still think this is a sad yet compelling book.

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? 💙

 

 

 

Review: Outside by Sarah Ann Juckes @sarahannjuckes

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The Proof of the Outside follows the story of Ele, who is held captive in a small room by a man known as ‘Him’. Ele is determined to prove there is a world Outside. And when she finds a hole in the wall, the proof starts leaking in. In this dark and compelling debut novel, Ele’s strong and heartbreakingly optimistic voice shines through, revealing an important lesson about the power of stories to save lives.

My review:

To be honest, I didn’t even remember requesting OUTSIDE on Netgalley. When I saw it had been released a month ago, I wasn’t really excited because I hadn’t seen many reviews around the blogosphere. And that was a big mistake on my part. This book should be getting way more attention.

Let me tell you guys: OUTSIDE completely amazing and of the best books I’ve read lately. I think one of my favorite feelings is when I don’t expect anything from a book and the novel ends up becoming a huge success for me. And this is exactly what happened here. I devoured this short, compelling gem in a sitting, and I was completely captivated all the way through. I can’t recommend it enough.

The book reminded me a bit of another recent favorite (Resin), although they are quite different in many aspects. For example, in OUTSIDE, our main character, Ele, doesn’t really have a family that cares for her. We meet her when she’s been locked up for ages and she’s never seen the outside world. She has a few friends with her, but they are not really like her. I won’t say much about the plot, because I believe it’s best if you discover what happens as you read it, but it was nothing like I expected.

There was a small reveal that I didn’t think was at all surprising, maybe because I thought we were supposed to have known that from the beginning. However, there was another detail at the end that made me super emotional and I loved the conclusion to this dark, sad, and ultimately uplifting story.

My favorite aspect of OUTSIDE was Ele’s voice. It was so completely captivating, just like in RESIN. You know how much I love child narrators, and even if Ele was actually a teenager, her vocabulary and behavior weren’t exactly what you would consider “normal” for her age. I loved reading about her learning process and she became an instant favorite character. The same goes for the other two characters that appear in the story later on.

I would highly recommend OUTSIDE to everyone who loved RESIN, and for those who are looking for a short and stunning book. Let me clarify that I haven’t read THE ROOM, so I don’t really know if they are similar or not. But I’m sure this will be a great choice anyway.

Have you heard of OUTSIDE? Are you excited to read it? 💙

Review: The Blinds by Adam Sternbergh @sternbergh

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Imagine a place populated by criminals – people plucked from their lives, with their memories altered, who’ve been granted new identities and a second chance. Welcome to The Blinds, a dusty town in rural Texas populated by misfits who don’t know if they’ve perpetrated a crime or just witnessed one. All they do know is that they opted into the programme and that if they try to leave, they will end up dead. For eight years, Sheriff Calvin Cooper has kept an uneasy peace – but after a suicide and a murder in quick succession, the town’s residents revolt. Cooper has his own secrets to protect, so when his new deputy starts digging, he needs to keep one step ahead of her – and the mysterious outsiders who threaten to tear the whole place down. The more he learns, the more the hard truth is revealed: The Blinds is no sleepy hideaway, it’s simmering with violence and deception, heartbreak and betrayal, and it’s fit to burst.

My review:

I bought THE BLINDS months ago and I never seemed to find the time to read it, even though it looked amazing. So when I decided to buddy read a book with a friend, this was the first book I suggested. And it was a winner!

THE BLINDS has quite an interesting premise: a place in Texas whose residents do not remember parts of who they are. They are all criminals or witnesses, and this experiment is kind of a weird Witness Protection Program that erases the bad memories of the subjects. But what happens when the subjects begin to get killed?

What I loved the most about THE BLINDS was that all the information was revealed slowly, and there were new details about the experiment in every chapter. This is what I consider good writing: when an author manages to keep your interest and craft a special world without the need to dump all the details in the first page.

What’s more, this is a book full of twists. From the very first shock in the first part (MONDAY), there’s a new twist every few pages, one that makes you reflect on everything you think you know. I know I had no idea of what was exactly going on until THURSDAY came. Because THURSDAY was an explosive day, that’s for sure.

Overall, this is a smart and provocative story about memory, redemption, forgiveness and what makes us good and evil. It held my interest all the way through and I was quite satisfied when it ended. It might not have become a favorite, but it’s a great story and I will surely watch its adaptation when it comes out.

Have you read The Blinds? Don’t you think that it would be a great tv series? 💙

Mini Reviews: November Road & Two Can Keep A Secret

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It’s been ages since I’ve published a mini reviews post, so I guess it’s high time. I finally decided on reviewing two novels that have literally nothing in common, but I don’t think you will mind… (?) The two books featured on this post are a YA mystery and a historical fiction “romance”. But not quite. One I found entertaining yet predictable, the other was a quiet and delightful story.

Two Can Keep A Secret by Karen M. McManus

38225791.jpgI decided to read this book because it was the first book in the ScaredSuspenseBookClub and I kinda wanted to read something light yet  suspenseful. I thought this would perfect for that and I wasn’t wrong. Reading this book was like watching an episode of Pretty Little Liars or Riverdale and while I’m not always in the mood for those kind of shows, YA mysteries are consistently entertaining. However, from what I’ve seen, they’re not really shocking or surprising or maybe I’m just not reading the right ones. I admit I haven’t still read ONE OF US IS LYING, but I might in the future. TWO CAN KEEP A SECRET was super entertaining and I devoured it in practically a day, but it was nothing more than a fun and entertaining mystery that doesn’t really stand out among other similar books. While the twists were predictable if you’ve read other thrillers, I loved Ellery and Malcolm and the double point of view. I wish Ezra hadn’t been such a secondary character, though. I liked him. PS: I hate this cover.

November Road by Lou Berney

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I read THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE about five years ago and I really liked it. Two of my favorite bloggers (Renee & Steph) raved about his new novel, so of course I decided to read NOVEMBER ROAD, a book about the improbable relationship between a mobster and a bored housewife. First of all, I want to say that the cover is strikingly beautiful and I wish I had bought the physical edition instead. This is a weird book, in the sense that I don’t really know how to define it. It’s historical fiction, yes, because it’s set in the 60s, and I guess it’s also a romance, but not the cheesy and melodramatic kind. I guess NOVEMBER ROAD falls also in the literary fiction category, which is one that I admit I don’t usually read. Nevertheless, this was a quiet and beautiful novel whose characters were complex and interesting to read about. In addition, I found this book even more enjoyable because this next April I’m planning a road trip across the south and Frank and Charlotte visit some of the places that I’m dying to see. So much fun!

Have you read any of these books? What do you think of them? 💙