Rated 5 stars ***** ARC. Ebook. To be published June 5, 2016. Random House. (Includes a Preface, Chronology, Notes, an extensive Bibliography, as well as Photos and an Author’s Note.)
From his first days as campaign manager in 1952 and in 1960 for his brother John’s senatorial and presidential bids, Robert F. Kennedy was a behind-the-scenes, get it done anyway you can kind of guy. This hard nose approach made him a good candidate to work with the much-despised Senator Joe McCarthy, and played an important role in his crusades against organized crime as Attorney General when John became President.
Using an incredibly diverse set of primary and secondary sources Tye explores Bobby’s relationship with his father and brother, as well as with his own demons after Jack was assassinated. Over the years, as Bobby observed and learned from those around him, he grew both mentally and emotionally which caused alienation from former colleagues. His bid for the presidency in 1968 was a chance to try and right his own wrongs, as well as those of the tumultuous 60’s, and to set America on a better path. That he never got the chance to do so is an irrevocable sadness.
Though it made me cry at times I loved, loved, LOVED this book, and willingly took the time to read every single one of the titles in Tye’s extensive Bibliography, which covered everything from films to magazines to books to interviews and more. It took me almost 3 weeks to read because I kept stopping to go online and read more details about a section. I even spent time on YouTube watching Bobby give several amazingly heartfelt speeches described by the author in various chapters.
Bobby was always my favorite Kennedy, and reading about his losses and hurts, as well as successes, fleshed him out even more for me. The more I learned about Bobby, the more I mourned his loss to our country and those he was trying to help.
The picture painted in “Bobby Kennedy: The making of a liberal icon” is that of a man who managed to rise above his early shortcomings to one who ended up caring deeply for the poor and disenfranchised. Bobby wanted to make a difference, and his story will leave readers wishing we had someone of his caliber running for office in the upcoming November presidential elections.
Highly recommended for Adults.
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rated 4 stars **** ARC. Ebook. To be published June 28, 2016. Simon & Schuster.
Ten years ago Nicolette Farrell left her friends, boyfriend and family behind in her sleepy hometown of Cooley Ridge, North Carolina. Over the years she worked hard to bring herself up by her own bootstraps, and is engaged to a rich lawyer in Philadelphia with her own career. When a mysterious letter arrives from home, followed by a call from her brother, she realizes she has to return to face the demons she’s been running from ever since her best friend Corinne vanished.
It doesn’t take long for Annaleise Carter, another young woman, to disappear soon after Nic arrives in town. The police are sniffing around her ex-boyfriend Tyler, Corinne’s old boyfriend Jackson, Nic’s brother Daniel, and even her senile father. Nic doesn’t know who to believe and, as the truth is gradually revealed, her world will never be the same.
I loved the suspense in this book, and suspected everyone as I eagerly devoured it. I was sure I knew who was guilty, and was SHOCKED when Miranda played her last card and revealed her hand. I did NOT see THAT coming!
I didn’t like that the story was told backwards, which is why I gave it 4 instead of 5 stars. It’s a unique way to write, but I kept getting confused. I would read about events in one chapter that weren’t explained until the next chapter, but there was an earlier chapter after that which really came before it. HUH?! I found myself going back and forth several times to get the gist of the action, which took away from the storyline, and was especially hard to do with an ebook. Though I was not a fan of this, the suspense and whodunit atmosphere makes “All the missing girls” worth a read.
Recommended for Adults.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Rated 3 stars *** ARC. Ebook. To be published June 7, 2016. Disney-Hyperion.
Castley Cresswell and her 5 brothers and sisters live with their father and invalid mother in a rundown shack in the middle of the woods. Their father is convinced he is a prophet of God, and that his children need to marry each other because they are the only ones who will make it to heaven. Everyone has spent their lives praying, reading Father’s religious writings, shunning everything from “the outside,” and allowing him to punish them in ways that redeem their souls.
Now a junior, Castley is looking forward to taking Advanced Drama with her sister which is a release from her life. When their schedules clash her teacher partners her with George, a local boy. Knowing Father has expressly forbidden her to be with boys, Castley decides to overlook the rule so she can enjoy class.
Over time Castley begins to enjoy normalcy, as George helps her see she could be more than a Cresswell. She begins to question her life, but her brothers and sisters believe she is the devil. They don’t want to leave their Father’s grip, even when he announces they have to go to Heaven. With time running out Castley will have to put on the biggest performance of her life to save her family from the man she once loved.
“The Cresswell Plot” is an interesting read, but started out very slowly. It took me a little while to get “into it” but, when I did, it sucked me in.
Recommended for ages 14 and older.
I received a digital copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rated 5 stars ***** Ebook. 2016. Blink.
Seventeen-year-old Levi has not spoken a word for months. Ever since Delia, his girlfriend of almost a year tragically died in a car accident he has frequent panic attacks, has fallen into a deep depression, and is heavily medicated. Levi feels he doesn’t deserve help, and believes life without Delia is meaningless.
Desperate to save her son’s sanity, Levi’s mother arranges for him to move from Australia to Maine. She is sure a change of scenery will help him cope, but Levi is furious. He is sure that having to live with a father who abandoned him 3 years ago, and starting his life all over again in a completely new setting will not help.
From the moment he lands in Maine, Levi does everything he can to get his father and everyone else he meets to hate him especially Delilah and Aidan, his neighbors. It takes some time, but eventually he finds that love can break your heart but can also help it to heal.
Royer takes readers through Levi’s roller coaster of emotions in a very realistic way as she tells his story and Delilah’s. From the moment I began to read I couldn’t put the book down, finishing it in one sitting. Her true-to-life characters, filled with their own hopes, dreams and fears, are a perfect complement to Levi. I especially loved Aidan, as his antics made me laugh out loud. I was surprised to read the author is just 17 years old, which explains her understanding of the teen experience. This is her first book, and I look forward to reading more of them.
Highly recommended for ages 15 and older.
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
Rated 2 stars ** 2014. Beacon Press. 208 pp.
Amy Jo grew up in the sleepy town of Mercury, Pennsylvania, which flourished when steel was king but was now a shadow of itself. With mills shuttered, the close-knit town’s many traditions kept it going while its young people secretly dreamed of ways to get out of town. This is the story of a small town that survived the mill closures, yet allowed its own soul to die by not supporting a group of young girls who were sexually abused by one of its own.
Through flashbacks, Amy Jo tells her story of sexual abuse along with the history of Mercury and its people. I wasn’t a fan of her wandering narrative, and found myself wanting to put the book down instead of reading it because it wasn’t holding my interest. I managed to finish, but only did so because I had to write a review for it.
Perhaps other readers will be interested in reading Amy Jo’s story, which is why I will leave it up to you to decide if you want to read it or not.
Rated 3 stars *** 2014. Back Bay Books (Little, Brown & Company). 345 pp. Includes “Bibliography,” and a “Reading Group Guide.”
“The Visionist,” set in New England in the 1840’s, introduces readers to Shaker life. Abandoned as a baby, the strict life of a Shaker is the only life Sister Charity has ever known. Trying to please her spiritual leader “Mother Ann,” her benefactress Elder Sister Agnes, and the other members of the society leave Sister Charity feeling doomed to perdition because of her unworthiness.
Polly Kimball, her brother Ben, and mother May suffered for years under the brutal hands of her father Silas. When a fire Polly accidentally set helped them flee, May leaves them at a nearby Shaker community and disappears. In her sadness Polly has a vision, which the community believes comes from their beloved Mother Ann. Elder Sister Agnes is suspicious of Polly’s “vision” and wonders about her past, while Simon Pryor, fire inspector, has questions of his own.
As the girls’ friendship grows, the fear that Charity will find out everything about her is built on lies weighs heavily on Polly’s mind. Soon the struggle between right and wrong will consume both girls, as each attempt to figure out their role in the community.
Urquhart’s well researched portrayal of Shaker life in the 1840’s, as well as descriptions of clothing and customs of the time, does much to make “The Visionist” realistic. I would have preferred May telling her own story of how she got tangled up with Silas, and then explaining what she did to survive after dropping off Ben and Polly at the Shaker community. Since I only got dribs and drabs of her story, I gave it 3 stars instead of 4.
Recommended for Adults.
Rated 3 stars *** 2015. Thomas Nelson. 406 pp. (Includes “Discussion Questions.”)
Something strange is going on in Crow Hollow. People say a witch on the mountain cursed the town many years ago, so have stayed away from her mountain out of fear. The day Cordelia and her friends decided to trespass on the witch’s mountain was the day something caused the girls in town to be stricken with a mysterious illness. As town residents try to find out why the witch has stricken them and how to rid themselves of her reach, they end up turning against each other in ways no one had ever thought could be possible.
A mysterious narrator takes readers through chaos of their own making in a supposedly religious town. Once actually face-to-face with the “evil” they heard about every Sunday morning from their Reverend, they forget what they’ve been taught. Casting suspicious eyes outward rather than inward serves only to fuel the fires of distrust. While echoing some events from the Salem Witch Trials, “The Curse of Crow Hollow” works to show readers what can happen when religion combines with hysteria rather than common sense.
Recommended for Adult readers.