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Book Reviews

Pretty Baby by Mary Kubica – Review

PrettyBabyA chance encounter sparks an unrelenting web of lies in this stunning new psychological thriller from national bestselling author Mary Kubica (taken from book description)

How is it possible to like and dislike a book at the same time? That is really how I feel about this one. I will do my best to describe this one to you, but it won’t be easy to describe without giving it all away. I will try my best!

Setting

Chicago.  Picture cold, and rainy.

Characters 

Heidi. Wife to Chris. Mom to Zoe. Bleeding heart kind of soul who works for an adult-literacy charity.

Chris. Husband to Heidi. Dad to Zoe. Investment banker. Pretty boy. I admired this guy.

Zoe. Typical pre-teen. Hates everything. Vegetarian.

Willow. Says she is 18. Homeless with a baby. Loves Anne of Green Gables and the library. After her parents passed, she was placed in a foster home. Has lots of secrets that are revealed up until the very end of the book.

Like I said before, it would be very difficult to describe this one without spoilers.

It is told from multi-character point of view – Heidi, Willow & Chris.

Heidi keeps seeing the same girl at the train station wearing an army green jacket, carrying a worn leather suitcase, and a baby, named Ruby. One day she approaches her, and asks if she can buy her dinner. Willow says no. But Heidi doesn’t give up. This becomes a theme in the book. She tells Willow how to calm the colicky baby, and that she will be diner if she changes her mind. And she does! Willow and her baby show up. Heidi has given Willow her raincoat to wrap the baby in, and her business card.

Obviously, Willow calls her because Heidi ends up bringing Willow and Ruby home to a horrified husband and daughter. She tells her husband that it is only for one night, but one night turned to two, and two to three, and so on.

This act of kindness on Heidi’s part became something more twisted.

You will learn:

Where Willow and Ruby came from.

What happens next!

 

Why this title is in the mystery-thriller genre.

But, you will have to learn all of this for yourself, because if I continue telling you about it there will be lots of spoilers. And I’m not spilling the beans.

For me, this book was most definitely a page-turner. I read devoured it in 2.75 days. Are you wondering how I could like and dislike it at the same time if I devoured it like that?  Well, I didn’t like the way it ended. Let me clarify. It isn’t a bad ending, but it really wasn’t a good ending. It was abrupt. Make sense? In my opinion, I felt like the author could have taken a little more time on the ending.

Would I recommend this book? I don’t know. I did recommend this book to one friend before I finished it. Then I finished it, and kind of changed my mind. Here is what I am going to say to anyone that asks about this book.  There are lots of mixed reviews, and maybe you should check those out before you commit to reading this one.

There is so much more I want to say about this one. If you read it, or have already read it and still want to chat about it – email me! I’d say comment below, but then it would spoil it for everyone else.

anotherchanceranch at gmail dot com

Special thanks to Harlequin and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

Book Reviews

Hello From the Gillespies by Monica McInerney – Review

Hellofromgillespies-smallBook Description:

THE PERFECT READ FOR THE HOLIDAY SEASON
It's time for the annual holiday letter from the Gillespie family…. 

New from the author of The House of Memories
For the past thirty-three years, Angela Gillespie has sent to friends and family around the world an end-of-the-year letter titled “Hello from the Gillespies.” It’s always been cheery and full of good news. This year, Angela surprises herself—she tells the truth….
The Gillespies are far from the perfect family that Angela has made them out to be. Her husband is coping badly with retirement. Her thirty-two-year-old twins are having career meltdowns. Her third daughter, badly in debt, can’t stop crying. And her ten-year-old son spends more time talking to his imaginary friend than to real ones.
Without Angela, the family would fall apart. But when Angela is taken away from them in a most unexpected manner, the Gillespies pull together—and pull themselves together—in wonderfully surprising ways…

Review:

First of all, I have to admit that I am one that gets drawn to a book by just looking at the cover. It's probably not the best way to pick books, but it is one of the ways I do.  Just so you know, I have read books with kind of boring book covers too, but I am more likely to pick up a book if it has a nice cover. With all of that being said, I really liked this cover because it seemed so inviting.

Let's get to the review.

Besides the cover, the blurb about this book was very intriguing. We all have that one friend that does a letter every year to update us on their goings on, and I for one enjoy them. I've even written one or two of them over the years. So, when I read that Angela Gillespie wrote everything that was on her mind instead of the regular sugar-coated news, my curiosity got the best of me.

The story is a quick and enjoyable read. It goes in several different directions, which kept me on the fence about several characters. By the end, I had laughed out loud, cringed, and sympathized with each character. I will say that there was a bit of repetitiveness in one area, but by the end of the book I understood why. It did play a part in everything, but it did seem to drag on. All in all, I was very pleased.

This is the first book I've read by Monica McInerney, and I must say that I do plan on reading more of her work. I enjoyed this book so much that I recommended that our book club read it, which we did.

I hope you read it, and let me hear your thoughts!

 

Book Reviews, Reviews

Rooms by James L. Rubart – Review

RoomsBook Description:

On a rainy spring day in
Seattle, young software tycoon Micah Taylor receives a cryptic,
twenty-five-year-old letter from a great uncle he never knew. It claims a
home awaits him on the Oregon coast that will turn his world inside
out. Suspecting a prank, Micah arrives at Cannon Beach to discover a
stunning brand new nine-thousand square foot house. And after meeting
Sarah Sabin at a nearby ice cream shop, he has two reasons to visit the
beach every weekend.

When bizarre things start happening in the rooms of
the home, Micah suspects they have some connection to his enigmatic new
friend, Rick, the town mechanic. But Rick will only say the house is
spiritual. This unnerves Micah because his faith slipped away like the
tide years ago, and he wants to keep it that way. But as he slowly
discovers, the home isn’t just spiritual, it’s a physical manifestation
of his soul, which God uses to heal Micah’s darkest wounds and lead him
into an astonishing new destiny.

Review:

When writing book reviews on any website, such as goodreads or amazon, you are given five stars to rate a book, and I need at least ten stars for this one!! The cover itself is worthy of a full five stars!!

I loved this book! Loved. It.

One problem with reviewing a book that I loved is that I want to just ramble on and on, and by the end of the review you would probably not even need to read the book. So I am trying to rein myself in on this one.

Micah, the main character, wasn't a religious person/believer and honestly, if you are not a believer than this book might not be for you. If you are on the edge, or a sure-enough believer, then you will love this book. You may just devour it like I did.

Chaos might not be a strong enough description of Micah's life after he received the twenty-five-year-old letter from his great-uncle. He planned on going to Cannon Beach to see the house that his great-uncle had built just for him, and then put it on the market. He wanted nothing to do with Cannon Beach;  there were nothing but bad memories there. He had the perfect life, until he realized it was changing.

There was certainly a Team Julie vs. Team Sarah vibe going on as I read through this book. I was on Team Sarah, I'm just sayin'.

James L. Rubart has written a great story of good versus evil, one that you just can't get out of your head. There are twists, turns, and lessons to be learned. 

I have become a James L. Rubart fan, and will warn you now, I will be reviewing the rest of his works.

I was given the opportunity to read this title for free via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review.

 

Book Reviews

Women’s Guide to Reading the Bible in a Year – A Review

WGBible1yr
Another one of my resolutions goals is to read the Bible, the whole Bible, in a year. So, I jumped at the chance to review this book. It fit right into my plan.

A woman's guide to reading the Bible in a year: a life-changing journey into the heart of God

by Diane Stortz

Book Description:

A Unique, Relational Way for Women to Read the Bible in a Year

Many women feel overwhelmed at the thought of reading the Bible in a year. Diane Stortz found that it is not only possible but life-changing. Her journey from initial reluctance to excitement about reading the Bible will inspire readers to try it for themselves.

Part of a women's group that read through the Bible each year for ten years, the author discovered the value of reading the Bible to get to know God better rather than viewing it only as a book to study. This guide will give women tools to read and discuss the Bible together, drawing them closer to God and each other.

Includes a week-by-week reading plan, discussion guide, lists of what to look for, and motivational quotes.

Review:

Maybe I am behind the times, but when I read this book my eyes were opened to a new way of reading through the Bible in a year. Have you ever been involved in a women's group reading the Bible in a year as a group? Wait, it gets better! Then they meet once a week to discuss what they read. Sounds like a great way to read through the Bible, doesn't it?

There is a chapter about how to use this book, which at first I thought would be kind of hokey because who really needs directions on how to read through the Bible. You just read, right? But, as usual, I was wrong. I was glad the author added that chapter. It answered several questions I had before I was going to start reading. Like, how much do you read in one day? Will it take fifteen minutes or an hour? What do I do if I fall behind? I typically do. And more.

Remember how I really liked the idea of the group reading? Think of it as a Bible book club! We have all kinds of other book clubs, why not one focused on only the most important book ever! Well, there is a chapter on guidelines for groups. Didn't she just think of everything?

But wait, it gets even better! 

You can start any time!

There are checklists for each weeks reading, as well as a whole checklist for the entire year in the back of the book. When you turn to page 30 for week one, you will first read the intro for the week. Turn the page, and you will see the checklist for the week and only that week. There are checkpoints for each day's reading, a quote, and then a place for you to write about something you learned, a verse or passage that you would like to remember, and a place for questions that arise while you are reading. 

After I read this book, something dawned on me. What a wonderful way to record how you have grown along your walk with Jesus. Get a cute box, and start placing your books in there every year. It would be fun to look back on, I am sure.

I received a copy of this book through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

Reviews

Slither Slide, What’s Outside? by Nora Hilb & Sheryl and Simon Shapiro – A Review

SlitherSlither Slide, What's Outside? by Nora Hilb & Simon and Sheryl Shapiro

I found this book to be great for little ones to learn from in many ways.

Nora Hilb did a great job illustrating the short poetic phrases, and the photographs add a spectacular touch.  What a wonderful way for the children to associate the phrases to things they can see and hear in real life. 

This was a great pairing of illustration and writing.  I believe little ones will be able to learn about our seasons, counting (count the frogs on the page), sounds, animals, etc. 

I can think of several little ones I could give this to, and I bet you could too.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.