THE BOOKWOMAN OF TROUBLESOME CREEK by Kim Michele Richardson
RATING: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: This book follows the story of 19 year old Cussy Mary in 1936, the last living blue female of Troublesome Creek, KY. She becomes a librarian with the Pack Horse Library Project. She delivers books and reading materials to impoverished patrons throughout the week, riding on her mule. However, Cussy Mary is not accepted because of the color. Nicknamed Bluet, the people of KY group her in with Colored people and blame her and her family for anything that has gone wrong around them. Can Cussy Mary overcome the prejudice? This book is a book of historical fiction and is inspired by the true blue skinned people.
REVIEW: The most interesting thing about this book is the historical part of it. The book made me research into the true blue skinned people, how that happened, and whether they still exist today. But that is where my interest stopped. This book was so boring. I felt that there was really no story line at all, and I was just reading a diary that had no true beginning and ending. The characters were one dimensional, I was not even really rooting for Cussy Mary because I was too busy falling asleep while reading. I forced myself to finish this book for a book club discussion. I do not know why this book is so popular.
THE PATIENT by Jasper DeWitt
RATING: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: Told through a blog, young psychiatrist, Parker, begins working a mental health in patient facility. One of the patients at this facility is Joe, whom was admitted when he was six years old, and now a man older than Parker. Many psychiatrists have tried to be Joe’s doctors, but some died after or needed leaves of absence. Ultimately, Joe was deemed incurable and the only people allowed in his room were the orderlies who changed his bed sheet and the nurse who administered his medication.
Parker decided he wanted to become Joe’s doctor. He thought he could cure Joe. After getting permission from his supervisors, Parker became Joe’s doctor. After spending some time with him, Parker thought Joe was sane and was going to help him escape. The plan never worked, and Parker learned more about Joe. After that, Parker was determined to prove his theory. What exactly is Joe’s diagnosis? Can Parker help Joe?
REVIEW: I read this book without reading any reviews. I normally read psychological thrillers. This was psychological thriller meets supernatural. When it go to the point of being supernatural, the book totally lost me. It is not a genre I enjoy, and therefore, it ruined the entire book for me. The beginning was good, but it was a little slow. The middle to the back end of the book was getting fantastic, but then the supernatural aspect hit and I didn’t even want to continue reading. I did though, and I finished the book. I put the book down and said to my husband, “this was the weirdest book I’ve ever read.” I stick to that statement.
Unless you like supernatural, skip this book.
SAVING NOAH by Lucinda Berry
RATING: 5 Stars!!!!!
SYNOPSIS: Noah is the son that every mom dreams of – straight A student, kind, caring, an award-winning swimmer, coached pee-wee swimming, and someone that everyone in the town absolutely loved. That is, until one day, Noah told his mother that he touched two little girls he was coaching. Everyone’s worlds turned upside down with this confession. Noah was arrested and had to go away for 18 months to a treatment facility, Noah’s sister missed him terribly, Noah’s dad wanted nothing to do with him, and Noah’s mom was trying to get everything and everyone back together.
Now, Noah is getting out of his treatment facility. His father does not want him in the house, but his mother, Adrienne, is trying everything she can do to protect her child. After some shocking revelations, Adrienne has a decision to make about how best to protect her son. Just how far can a mother go to protect her son?
REVIEW: Holy Moly this book was amazing. As a mother, I felt for Adrienne and her conflicted feelings. But I also understood her unwavering love for Noah. Adrienne’s desperate attempts to get her family back together were powerful. She tried so hard.
I read a lot of other reviews just to see what others have said about this book. There are a lot of negative reviews about character development. Here’s my take on it: when something big is happening to a family, your whole world revolves around that thing. I am an educated woman (I have my JD), married, with two boys. When one of my boys was in the hospital for a procedure before he even turned one, all my intelligence went out the window. All I could do is worry about my little boy. I was no longer a smart woman, I was taken over by my fears and anxiety. I think that was the point the author was making. Adrienne may have been a nurse in the past, but her thinking goes out the window when its HER son; it’s the same reason that surgeons are not supposed to operate on their own family members. It’s the same reason when the EMTs arrive that they tell her they have it.
Noah is a teenage sexual offender. He knows it, which is why he confesses and goes to treatment, where he is promised to get better. This book will make you re-think how you think about teenage sex offenders. There were moments in this book I cried my eyes out. My heart broke for this entire family.
This is definitely a must read.
WHEN SHE RETURNED by Lucinda Berry
RATING: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: Kate Bennett disappeared from a parking lot, leaving behind her husband and her small daughter. After many, many years, her husband reluctantly moved on and got remarried. His daughter only remembers what she is told by her father. One day, eleven years later, she shows up at a gas station in Montana, screaming for help, and clutching an infant. There ensued an investigation into what happened to Kate.
Quiet and fearful at first, Kate eventually begins to open up as to what happened eleven years ago. So, what happened to Kate? Who took her? What secrets is she hiding? Why does Kate seem to be becoming more open and then becoming secretive again?
REVIEW: I have thoroughly enjoyed the last two Lucinda Berry books that I have read. This was I found to be boring until the very end – maybe the last 10-20% of the book. The story goes back and forth between Abbie (her daughter), Meredith (the husband’s new wife), and Kate herself. Abbie and Meredith tell the story in the now, and Kate begins her story with before she went missing, and then what occurred during her eleven years away.
The premise of the book was very intriguing, this is why I decided to read it. The execution of this book was not so good. It’s surprising to me since The Perfect Child and Phantom Limb were excellent. The plot moved so slowly, and Meredith was so selfish she was unlikeable. Abbie wanted to know who her mom was so she did not question a thing, and to keep things from her is preposterous at 16 years old.
The ending was rushed, and a little convoluted. I had to re-read the last two pages twice. It ended so abruptly, and it left me wanting to know what actually was going to happen. Maybe Berry should have focused more time on that than 200 pages of boringness.
THE WIFE UPSTAIRS by Frieda McFadden
Rating: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: Victoria Barnett had it all, a wonderful husband, a nice house in the suburbs, and a plan to have children to fill the house. It all seemed so… perfect. It was, until it wasn’t. Victoria had an accident one day, which left her with brain damage. She was unable to care for herself. She could not feed herself she could not dress herself, and she could not speak.
Sylvia Robinson’s life was falling apart. She needed a job and a place to live. Victoria’s husband hires Sylvia to care or Victoria. Victoria lives in their house, she feeds Victoria and spends time with Victoria. But Victoria has something to say. And while she cannot speak her mind in the moment, she already has in a diary. A diary which she leads Sylvia to. A diary which Sylvia reads and learns all about Victoria and her husband. It seems everyone has a secret, even the other people who work at the house. What are those secrets? Will anything be as it seems?
REVIEW: My initial thought after reading this book is that it is too much like Verity by Colleen Hoover, and it really bothered me. However, I recently read a post where the author reacts to this sentiment. She said that while there are some plot points that are the same, this focuses around a brain injury and what the injury is like, and that Verity is a romantic thriller.
However, if this was the case, I did not feel like there was enough focus on the brain injury. Additionally, if this was the case, then I also feel like we should have had some chapters that was from Victoria’s point of view, afterall, she is the one with the brain injury. Yes, there is a diary that Sylvia read from, but it was clear that Victoria was trying to communicate with Sylvia. A chapter about being stuck in your own mind without a way to communicate, or with difficulty communicating, would have really separated this book from Verity.
That being said, I was absolutely surprised with the ending. While this was not a page turning thriller, it was an easy enough read to get through it.
THE FINAL GIRL SUPPORT GROUP by Grady Hendrix
RATING: 3 Stars
SYNOPSIS: Lynette is a real life final group who survived a massacre. She has been having a group therapy meeting with other final girls. What is a final girl? It is the lone girl that survives a massacre or multiple killings. One day, one of the final girls was missing from the support group meeting. Now, they fear the worst and their lives start unraveling. Who is going after the final girls? Is it one of their past monsters? Is it a new monster?
REVIEW: I may have enjoyed this book more if it did not take so long to get better. The beginning was very boring. Told from Lynette’s point of view, this is a classic whodunit. The author inserts news articles, interviews etc.. between the chapters. I was reading on my Kindle Fire and it was hard to read because it was so small. I have an issue with how the women are portrayed. As a man wrote this book, even though he wanted us to realized how strong these final women are, he really made them seem weak. The chapters and backstories are intertwined in a way that it makes you forget what happened.
The reason for the three stars and not less, is that I actually did not know who was behind going after the final girls. It was truly a surprise and a twist.
SUICIDE MED by Frieda McFadden
RATING: 5 Stars!!!!!
Synopsis: This is a story about first year medical students in a medical school nicknamed Suicide Med. Why does the school have this for a nickname? It’s because for the last six years, one of the students has committed suicide. Will this year be any different?
Heather McKinley has always dreamed of going to medical school and this was the only one she could get into, even if it was far away from her boyfriend. But then her boyfriend dumps her and she is failing anatomy. Her world, as she knows it, is falling apart. Her anatomy professor, Dr. Conlon loves teaching and really cares about how well the students do. But is it a coincidence that the suicides started occurring right when he joined the faculty? Are they really suicides or is it something else? Will one student die this year? Who will it be? Heather, her roommate Rachel, or her lab partners Mason, Abe or Ginny?
REVIEW: I saw some of the other reviews, and I know there are a number of people that did not like this book, but I loved it! When I started reading it and saw that it was over 500 pages, I though “Oh no, it’s going to take forever and why does a book need to be this long.” However, I finished this book is just over 24 hours and didn’t even realize how fast I was reading. That goes right to the writing style of the author. This book is dialogue driven and flows so easily that it is easy to read and you just keep turning pages.
This book is written such that you get each characters prospective, but not by alternating between characters. McFadden takes the first chunk of the book and writes it from Heather’s prospective, then she writes from another characters prospective and so on. Each character revealing a little more about what is actually happening at Suicide Med this year, and providing some needed background information as well. This is another reason that the book flowed so easily. Once I was on a character, I knew which character’s prospective I was reading from; I didn’t have to remember which chapter was which character like so many other books.
Overall, I would highly recommend this book!
LOCAL WOMAN MISSING by Mary Kubica
RATING: 3 Stars.
SYNOPSIS: Shelby Tebow goes missing. Then Meredith Dickey and her daughter Delilah go missing. Are these all connected? What his happening in this small community? 11 years later, Delilah comes back. This event brings about more questions than answers. What really happened to Shelby, Meredith and Delilah?
Review: SPOILERS***** (I can’t discuss this book without some spoilers, if you haven’t read the book and are planning to, you may want to skip this section)
I would probably rate this book 2.5 stars, but I rounded up to 3. This book just did not do it for me. First of all, there is a LOT of prose and less dialogue. In my opinion, if this book was more dialogue driven, it would have been that much better. Instead of having a character speak, the chapter of the character tells us what is happening. For example, “Josh tells me that ……” instead of “(Whatever Josh says),” Josh said. I know I have said this other reviews, and in book club discussions, I want to experience what they characters are experiencing – feel there emotions. With this book, I was just told. It keeps a reader at arms length.
The author also repetitively uses some phrases. If a character put their hand over their heart or had their smile reach their ears, I was going to scream. For an author as popular as this, I guess she can get away with it and people will still love her books.
Meredith is dead. In the book, Meredith killed herself by stabbing herself in the stomach. This is an odd way for someone to commit suicide, especially a woman. More women commit suicide by overdosing or even slitting wrists. However, if we put this aside, there is another glaring issue. Supposedly, there is an autopsy completed on Meredith. How did the coroner miss the head trauma?
The book opens with Delilah trapped in a dark, dingy, cold, basement with her captures upstairs. She escapes and gets help. From there, the book goes back and forth from the present to the day Meredith and Delilah go missing. What started out as a really good plot, turned ridiculous.
Overall, I did not really enjoy this book and probably would not recommend it.
PHANTOM LIMB by Lucinda Berry
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
Synopsis: TRIGGER WARNING: RAPE, CHILD ABUSE, CUTTING, EATING DISORDERS
Emily and Elizabeth are twins and had a rough childhood, they are constantly locked in a room and rarely allowed out. Their mother drinks too much and disappears for days on end. They are eventually adopted by a family who wanted to do nothing more than love them.
Elizabeth wakes one day in a hospital, strapped to the bed. The only thing she remembers is finding her twin sister Emily dead in the bathroom. Now she is in a psychiatric ward being forced to to dive deeper into the mystery of Emily’s death and the mystery of her past. During her therapy sessions, she discovers secrets and pieces to holes in her memory that she has been trying to forget, the beatings, the blood, and mother’s special friends.
During her sessions, she discovers the truth about her past and the truth about herself. What is that truth? What happened in the past? Will Elizabeth be okay?
REVIEW: This book is riveting. It is dark and twisted in a way that I did not expect. A true page turner. I wanted to know what was going to be revealed. I will admit that I figured out one of the twists before it was revealed, but I did not figure out the second.
This is a character driven book and Lucinda Berry has done a wonderful job bringing Elizabeth and Emily to life. The love these sisters have for each other is felt throughout the book, but the dependency Emily has on Elizabeth is disconcerting and suffocating.
Berry is a clinical psychologist and she really pulls the reader in with her knowledge and understanding of mental illness as it is explained during Elizabeth’s therapy sessions. The details and pictures that Berry paints of the hospital and the goings on at the hospital, really make the reader see everything that is happening and Elizabeth’s surroundings clearly.
I would highly recommend this book.
LUCY’S COMING FOR YOU by Ashley Beegan
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: Summer Thomas is an advocate at a mental health clinic. Some of the patients are easy to deal with and some are not. After having a good rapport with Lucy Clark, Lucy thinks that Summer was against her an stopped talking to her. Then one day she was gone. Summer decided to ask some of the employees about where she went, but was told that Lucy Clark did not exist. Was Summer imagining Lucy? Is Lucy a ghost like one of the employees tells her?
Summer needs to be careful, Lucy’s coming for her….
REVIEW: Holy debut novel! I could not put this book down and cannot wait until this author comes out with another book. I was kept on the edge of my seat the entire time trying to figure out what was going on. I did not figure it out until very close to the end. My initial guess at the beginning of the book was WAY off!
Ashley has done a wonderful job of writing a compelling book, providing the reader nuggets of information to keep the reader guessing and reading! The characters are fully developed for the need of the story, which I prefer for a book, no useless back story.
I realize mental health is a touchy subject, but I think the author does a good job to make the reader realize what it is actually like for those patients, and how they are more likely to be victims.
Overall, a must read!!!!!
FOR YOUR OWN GOOD by Samantha Downing
RATING: 4 Stars!!!!
SYNOPSIS: In the private school, Belmont Academy, an elite school where parents can buy their children expensive cars and good grades, Teddy Crutcher was named teacher of the year. This was an award for which he was very proud. However, Teddy never had the same opportunities as the children he taught. He felt it was his personal responsibility to teach his students real life lessons – grades cannot be bought, students need someone to be tough on them and later on in life, they will thank him.
During a celebration for fellow faculty member Sonia, one of the parents passes out and passes away. Some feel guilty, some are suspicious, arrests are made and then, there’s another death, and another. Are these unfortunate circumstances? Or are those associate with Belmont Academy being murdered? What is happening at Belmont Academy?
REVIEW: Told in the third person point of view, you are “in” on all the goings on at Belmont Academy. In this gripping, page-turning novel, you will follow along with all the characters to become closer to the answers as they try to figure things out themselves.
This is easily my favorite of Samantha Downing’s books. I absolutely loved the plot of the book, something completely different from what I have read. Samantha Downing does this well – comes up with different types of plots. With every death or occurrence at Belmont Academy, a different character peeled back another layer of the onion to reveal more information as to the relationships between the characters and the goings on at Belmont Academy.
The pacing of the book is spot on. There is a lot of action that keeps you wanting more and keeps you reading. This is definitely a MUST read. School is in session, can you survive Belmont Academy?