Tag Archives: hurt

Review: Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies

Synopsis:

Cooking a wonderful meal is an art. An act of love. An act of grace. A gift that affirms and gives life—not only does it nurture those who partake of the meal; it also feeds the soul of the creator. These are lessons Gina learns from her mother, daughter of an unfortunate French chef.

Gina is a young woman born to poor parents, a nobody keen to taste life outside the world she was born into. A world that exposes her to fascinating people gripped by dark motives. Her passion for cooking is all she has to help her navigate it.

She gets lucky when she’s chosen to cook at a Michelin-starred restaurant in the San Francisco Bay Area where customers belong to a privileged class with money to spare for a dinner of inventive dishes costing hundreds of dollars. In this heady, scintillating atmosphere, she meets new friends and new challenges—pastry chef Marcia, filthy rich client Leon, and Brent, a brooding homicide detective. This new world, it turns out, is also one of unexpected danger.

Can the lessons Gina learned from her mother about cooking and life help her survive and thrive in this other world of privilege, pleasure, and menace?

Rating: 4-stars

Review:

Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies by Evy Journey is a contemporary readers like myself won’t forget. The plot itself is this dark edgy vibe to it with a hint of romance. It’s more dangerous than anything. Friendships are tested, broken, and destroyed. Romances begin so fast and end just as quick as they started. From a sexy filthy rich man to a regular average joe, the main protagonist has her hands full. Being seduced by a rich man can be nice…but with comes unwanted danger. Unexpected events occur and kept me intrigued. I felt both sympathy for the bad ones at first but I felt even more sorry for the protagonist. Her pain is both a physical and emotional one. What a rollercoaster…

Evy Journey has created three-dimensional characters. I could see, hear, and feel everything they did. It was crazy. One moment Gina’s work life goes from being busy good to a nightmare. Her past friendship comes out and it gets worse with each page. I felt connected to Gina. She’s a hard worker and a good person.

Gina comes from a poor family. Inherited her skills of cooking from her family, Gina works her butt off in the food industry. She has finally landed herself at a top star restaurant and her personal life unwinds completely. All it takes is for one rich customer and a former best friend to bring the unexpected and disasters to Gina. What Gina thought she knew will change as the course of events escalate out of control. Life threatening, deadly, and stunning…scenes kept me turning the pages.

Leon is the filthy rich customer who wants nothing but Gina. However, he’s dating her best friend. Talk about issues and complications. Here, this was the first warning bell for Gina,,yet she didn’t think things would turn out for the worse…

Imagine trusting a best friend one moment and then fighting for your life…

That’s what happened to Gina…not once but twice.

Pastry chef, Marcia, is the other best friend that Gina has. I really liked Gina until I noticed her crazy moment over the “brooding” cop, Brent. She was obsessed with him as hers until she learned he doesn’t like sweets. Luckily, Brent had that going for him…because Gina has a past that one doesn’t know until the unexpected happens…

Brent is the homicide detective that meets with Gina when the accident with her first best friend happens. From there, Brent and Gina have been in contact since. Brent soon becomes a little jealous because Gina is gorgeous and Leon is trying to take her. Brent knows something about Leon and try’s to tell Gina, but she still goes with Leon. Thinking Leon really loves her…

Romance, work, and friendships are deeply explored in this exciting piece. Evy Journey has captivated me from the beginning with this tale. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but it was worth reading every single last page. Sugar and Spice and All Those Lies is exactly what’s in this novel. There’s a little of all that inside…overall, I recommend this contemporary to readers everywhere.

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Review: Blue Ridge Sunrise 

Synopsis:
Former free spirit Zoe Collins swore she’d never again set foot in Copper Creek or speak to the man who broke her heart. But return she must when her beloved Granny dies, leaving the family legacy to Zoe—a peach orchard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
When Zoe returns home with her daughter and boyfriend Kyle, she finds that she’s the only person in town who doesn’t expect her to give up the life she’s established far away from Copper Creek. Everyone believes she was born to run the orchard, but how can she make it her home after so many years?
Cruz Huntley never quite got over his first love, Zoe Collins, the little sister of his best friend Brady. Not when she cheated on him during their “break,” not when she took off to parts unknown with good-for-nothing Kyle Jenkins, and not even now—five years later.
As life-changing decisions and a history with Cruz hang over Zoe’s head, tensions rise between her and Kyle. Even as she comes to terms with the shifting relationships in her life, Zoe still isn’t sure if she can remain in Copper Creek with her new responsibilities . . . and her first love.
Rating: 3-stars

Review

Blue Ridge Sunrise by Denise Hunter is a good story. It has the markings of a book that would suck you right into the tale. But it feels slow, flat, missing the writer’s normal elements. Their was pain, conflict, and loss on both sides. The protagonists both have a shared past. One that involves broken hearts, cheating, and anger. Once more, the two meet up after years have gone by…their chemistry is still there buried deep within their hearts. Learning to let go of the past and move forward will be their toughest challenges. Zoe is a female character that was hard to feel connected to on an emotional level. I still don’t know what I feel towards her. Cruz is okay. I felt sorry for him a little bit. Other than that, it took awhile to get through this read. 

Review: The Best Kind of People






Synopsis

Shortlisted for the Giller Prize • A local schoolteacher is arrested for a heinous crime, leaving his family to wrestle with the possibility of his guilt in this exquisite novel about loyalty, truth, and happiness.

The Woodburys cherish life in the affluent, bucolic suburb of Avalon Hills, Connecticut. George is a beloved science teacher at the local prep school, a hero who once thwarted a gunman, and his wife, Joan, is a hardworking ER nurse. They have brought up their children in this thriving town of wooded yards and sprawling lakes.

Then one night a police car pulls up to the Woodbury home and George is charged with sexual misconduct—with students from his daughter’s school. As he sits in prison awaiting trial and claiming innocence—is it possible?—Joan vaults between denial and rage as friends and neighbors turn cold. Their daughter, seventeen-year-old Sadie, is a popular high school senior who becomes a social outcast—and finds refuge in an unexpected place. Her brother, Andrew, a lawyer in New York, returns home to support the family, only to confront unhappy memories from his past. A writer tries to exploit their story, while an unlikely men’s rights activist group attempts to recruit Sadie for their cause.

Provocative and unforgettable, The Best Kind of People reveals the cracks along the seams of even the most perfect lives and the unraveling of an American family.
Praise from Canada for The Best Kind of People.

“[Zoe] Whittall’s intuitive understanding of human nature makes The Best Kind of People a gripping novel, one that shines a light on family dynamics under extreme pressure.”—The Vancouver Sun

“Whittall’s undisputed talent as a writer shines, as does her understanding into the complexity of our sympathies, our morality, and our humanity. With incredible empathy and undeniable skill this book is sure to spark much-needed dialogue, vital debate, and richly deserved acclaim.”—Stacey May Fowles, author of Infidelity

“The Best Kind of People examines the effects of rape culture on an entire community with rare nuance and insight. Every character is fully rounded, flawed, and achingly human. It puts me in mind of a twenty-first-century Ordinary People.”—Kate Harding, author of Asking for It

“This may just be Whittall’s breakout novel, and deservedly so.”—The Winnipeg Review

“Taut, compassionate and clever.”—Toronto Star



Rating: 4.5-stars

Review:

The Best Kind of People by Zoe Whittall is a stunning piece of fiction. It had the same intensity as the To Kill a Mockingbird and as The Crucible. All three novels were based on false accusations that built up into a nightmare. Destroying many lives. While it wasn’t as bad as The Crucible it certainly held the same kind of trouble. 

Watching how a man went from town hero to a victim of lies. Lies that were set up by young girls. Their lies brought a once closely held family to the ruins. A father sent off to jail, a wife feeling wary about her husband, and a daughter trying to deal with the torments at school. Zoe Whittall shows us, readers, that even the best kind of people can fall victim to cruelty and lies. George Woodbury a fellow teacher, husband, and father is wrongly accused of raping innocent girls. Yet these girls were far from innocent…they were the tormentors. Bullying, drugs, coming out, and marriage are just some of the strong themes present inside this captivating novel. It all felt so real. The pressure built to a point that I felt like all were drowning along with the victim. The whole Woodbury family were victims to slander. Sad, heartbreaking, and believable. This is a must read for all. I recommend this page-turning tale to readers everywhere. 

Review: The Secrets She Kept

 

Synopsis:

The rich and powerful Josephine Lazarow, matriarch of Fairham Island, is dead. The police say it’s suicide, but Keith, her estranged son, doesn’t believe it.

Keith bears scars—both physical and emotional—from his childhood, but he’s worked hard to overcome the past. After walking away from his mother and her controlling ways five years ago, he’s built a new life in LA. He’s also accumulated a fortune of his own. But as soon as he learns of his mother’s death, he returns to Fairham. He feels he owes it to his grandfather to put the family empire together again—and he’s determined to find his mother’s killer.

Problem is…coming home to Fairham puts him back in contact with Nancy Dellinger, the woman he hurt so badly when he left before. And digging that deep into his mother’s final days and hours entails a very real risk.

Because the person who killed her could be someone he loves…

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

The Secrets She Kept is the sequel to The Secret Sister by Brenda Novak.  This story continues with a twist the characters didn’t see coming and one that will keep readers intrigued until the very last page. Suspenseful, engaging, and emotional. A journey unlike any other. Family can be so many things. Secrets, hurt, and damaged relationships are all woven beautifully, inside the tale.

The Secrets She Kept is about a controlling mother who ruled like a dictator is now found dead. Her housekeeper found her in a tub with light candles. This was definitely something the mother wouldn’t do especially with her schedule. The situation raises more questions than answers for her children. Once more readers will meet the troubled brother, Keith who believes his mother was killed not suicidal. Then there’s Maisey the sister who, like Keith think it’s more than what the police say it is. But if it is not what it looks than who could possibly be the murderer? Then there’s the other sister whom they  found and now they have to live with their mother’s death. Just as things were looking up for all three siblings…life went and took the rug from under their feet. There’s danger, mystery, and romance for all to enjoy. Brenda Novak has once more brought another great masterpiece to her readers. I was thoroughly impressed with her writing style. Tragedy, love, and abuse. This is definitely a novel worthy of every reader’s attention. So many issues at hand were mentioned. They are brilliantly put together to create a compelling story.  Overall, I highly recommend The Secrets She Kept by Brenda Novak. I absolutely love this writer’s tales. Never disappoints her readers.

 

Review: News of the World

 

Synopsis:

It is 1870 and Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd travels through northern Texas, giving live readings to paying audiences hungry for news of the world. An elderly widower who has lived through three wars and fought in two of them, the captain enjoys his rootless, solitary existence.

In Wichita Falls, he is offered a $50 gold piece to deliver a young orphan to her relatives in San Antonio. Four years earlier, a band of Kiowa raiders killed Johanna’s parents and sister; sparing the little girl, they raised her as one of their own. Recently rescued by the U.S. army, the ten-year-old has once again been torn away from the only home she knows.

Their 400-mile journey south through unsettled territory and unforgiving terrain proved difficult and at times dangerous. Johanna has forgotten the English language, tries to escape at every opportunity, throws away her shoes, and refuses to act “civilized.” Yet as the miles pass, the two lonely survivors tentatively begin to trust each other, forging a bond that marks the difference between life and death in this treacherous land.

Arriving in San Antonio, the reunion is neither happy nor welcome. The captain must hand Johanna over to an aunt and uncle she does not remember—strangers who regard her as an unwanted burden. A respectable man, Captain Kidd is faced with a terrible choice: abandon the girl to her fate or become—in the eyes of the law—a kidnapper himself. Exquisitely rendered and morally complex, News of the World is a brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Rating: 5 stars

Review:

News of the World by Paulette Jiles is an absolute must read for all. Here is a realistic historical tale that will tug and pull at readers’ hearts. A journey that is nothing but beautiful and breathtaking…an old war veteran is now jobbed with taking a small girl back to her family that still lives. But it’s not a fun travel. The girl had her parents and sister taken and killed, from her, when she was younger. Then, the Indians that killed her family took her into their culture. Now, at age ten…she only knows the Indian way of life. It’s sad. The young girl grows up thinking the Indians are her only family and doesn’t know any English at all. It tore at me to see her taken from her original family and then she feels she’s taken from the family she remembers, the Indians. As the veteran continues to take the little savage girl to her family…things get harder for them both.

Paulette Jiles brings readers a story unlike any other. It’s deep, meaningful, and an unforgettable tale that will stay with readers for a long time to come. A young girl’s journey to survive and an older man who wants to do right by her. Soon both of their fates are brought together and this is where readers will be awed. Johanna has suffered a lot of pain, neglect, and abuse and now, with the Captian, she can re-enter society. Johanna can experience a family of love and care with the Captian. He ends up loving the blue eyed blonde girl who had it hard in life. All he wants is for her to be happy and safe. Maybe, they can find a peacefulness within each other’s company as they days turn into years. News of the World shows us how cruel and devasting our world can be. An orphaned girl needs a home, security, and love. Most of all patience. Yet no one but the old Captian has given this to her. This was the first novel, I have read by this talented author. I highly recommend News of the World to readers everywhere.

Review: The A to Z of You and Me

 

Synopsis:

A striking literary debut of love and mortality, The A to Z of You and Me is the story of a man who doesn’t have much time, his love for a girl who isn’t there, and the game he plays while waiting that illuminates the devastating and beautiful turns of life. The A-Z game. For Ivo, it’s a way to pass the time, a way to avoid the pain and a way to think about what really got him here. His hospice nurse suggested it – think of a body part for each letter, and think of memories connected to each one. And so begins the revealing of his misspent life: the terrible teenage choices, friendships made and cracked, the love he’ll never get back. He remembers the girl who tried to help him, the friend who wouldn’t let her, and the sickness that chases him even now.

Rating: 4.5 stars

Review:

The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah is a journey that sucks me in whole and keeps me turning the pages. Ivo is just a regular everyday kind of man. He fell into the wrong crowd, did stuff that he wasn’t proud of, and lost a chance at love. Now, as an elderly man, in a hospice, he knows his life is short. A nurse has him go through an exercise using every letter of the alphabet to come up with a story or a life memory attached to each letter. As Ivo goes through the alphabet, I got to travel through snippets of his younger self. Ivo lost his father to cancer, he experienced both bad and good days during his younger life. I enjoyed following the person he was back then and the man he has become. He knows what he did wrong and wants to make things better. He’s a little afraid, but soon…he finds some peace and love in the end. I truly enjoyed this talented writer’s style and the well-written plot. The characters were well-developed and were able to drag me into the scenes as though I were experiencing it all for real. The A to Z of You and Me by James Hannah is definitely a literary novel that I would recommend to all.