Posted in Book Review

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray @berkleypub #bookreview #paperbackrelease

Happy weekend bibliophiles!

Today I am resharing my review for this impactful and emotional book now available in paperback💕

My Thoughts

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Wow! This book was thick with dysfunction, grief, guilt, and love!

When I finish this book I did not know what to think, I was emotionally exhausted and I needed to let this book simmer for a while. I needed to process the pain and the emotion I had just experienced. Anissa Gray has written one heck of a dark evocative and emotional debut! This book was so real, so raw, so uncomfortable, and yet so exquisite! It was a book I needed to take a few steps away from to truly appreciate, I needed to separate myself from these characters to find the true beauty in these words.

The Butler family truly brings dysfunction to new heights. Every time I turned a page in this book I was drawn further into this family’s misfortune and pain. Not going to lie the darkness was a bit overwhelming for me at times and I think that is why I needed this book to sit with me before I could truly appreciate it. This is the story of sisters Althea, viola, and Lillian. Althea who became the matriarch of the family after the sister’s mother passed is in trouble. Althea and her husband Proctor have been found guilty of embezzlement a crime that the sisters and the entire community are shocked by. Viola and Lillian rally to take care of Altheas twin girls Kim and baby Vi. This was one complicated story with multiple layers and many secrets. A Family broken trying to come together and pick up the pieces.

All these characters were flawed and not necessarily likable, but they sure were real. Althea was very difficult for me to understand as a mother, but I did like how as the story went along we got to see a softer side of her (sort of). Lillian and viola were really so full of love and yet so broken. During the course of the story they really found their strength and voice, it gave me hope for a better healthier future for these ladies. Their brother Joe on the other hand…

A powerful debut packed with emotion sorrow and hope! Absolutely recommend!

🎵🎵🎵 Song Running Through My Head

Seems like it was yesterday when I saw your face
You told me how proud you were, but I walked away
If only I knew what I know today
Ooh, ooh
I would hold you in my arms
I would take the pain away
Thank you for all you’ve done
Forgive all your mistakes
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To hear your voice again
Sometimes I wanna call you
But I know you won’t be there
Ohh I’m sorry for blaming you
For everything I just couldn’t do
And I’ve hurt myself by hurting you
Some days I feel broke inside but I won’t admit
Sometimes I just wanna hide ’cause it’s you I miss
And it’s so hard to say goodbye
When it comes to this
Would you tell me I was wrong?
Would you help understand?
Are you looking down upon me?
Are you proud of who I am?
There’s nothing I wouldn’t do
To have…

*** many thanks to Berkley for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

in this dazzling debut novel about mothers and daughters, identity and family, and how the relationships that sustain you can also be the ones that consume you.

The Butler family has had their share of trials—as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lillian can attest—but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important. 

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

Family Trust by Kathy Wang @tlcbooktours @wmmorrowbooks #bookreview

Happy Thursday evening all!

Two weeks until Thanksgiving! Where did 2019 go? This was a well told story, it just was not the right story for me.💰

My Thoughts

This was a well told story of family drama and greed. Stanley Haung is dying of pancreatic cancer. The family is jockeying for a piece of his rumored $7 million net worth. His new wife 28 years his junior is convinced that she should at least get half, if not all his money. His ex-wife Linda is determined that he leave his money to their two grown children, after all they are blood. Stanley’s children Fred and Kate both think they need the money and what’s more are entitled to it.

I really wanted to like this book and I really thought I would. I love family dramas and I love learning about other cultures, But I could just not connect with the characters in the story. I did not care for any of these characters, with the exception of Linda and occasionally Kate. They all just were way too consumed with status and money. I realize this is Silicon Valley, but I just think so many stereotypes were perpetuated in this book. Perhaps I am the wrong audience for this book, I really have very little interest in Financial going ons and a lot of that was discussed especially early on. I think the bottom line is I needed a little more drama and a little less greed. Kind of bummed because I think Kathy Wang was a wonderful storyteller, this just was not the right story for me.

This story in emojis 💵 👨‍👩‍👧‍👦 💰 💁🏼‍♂️ 💳

*** Big thanks to William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

About Family Trust

• Paperback: 416 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 29, 2019)

Some of us are more equal than others….

Meet Stanley Huang: father, husband, ex-husband, man of unpredictable tastes and temper, aficionado of all-inclusive vacations and bargain luxury goods, newly diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For years, Stanley has claimed that he’s worth a small fortune. But the time is now coming when the details of his estate will finally be revealed, and Stanley’s family is nervous.

For his son Fred, the inheritance Stanley has long alluded to would soothe the pain caused by years of professional disappointment. By now, the Harvard Business School graduate had expected to be a financial tech god – not a minor investor at a middling corporate firm, where he isn’t even allowed to fly business class.

Stanley’s daughter, Kate, is a middle manager with one of Silicon Valley’s most prestigious tech companies. She manages the capricious demands of her world-famous boss and the needs of her two young children all while supporting her would-be entrepreneur husband (just until his startup gets off the ground, which will surely be soon). But lately, Kate has been sensing something amiss; just because you say you have it all, it doesn’t mean that you actually do.

Stanley’s second wife, Mary Zhu, twenty-eight years his junior, has devoted herself to making her husband comfortable in every way—rubbing his feet, cooking his favorite dishes, massaging his ego.  But lately, her commitment has waned; caring for a dying old man is far more difficult than she expected.

Linda Liang, Stanley’s first wife, knows her ex better than anyone. She worked hard for decades to ensure their financial security, and is determined to see her children get their due. Single for nearly a decade, she might finally be ready for some romantic companionship. But where does a seventy-two year old Chinese woman in California go to find an appropriate boyfriend?

As Stanley’s death approaches, the Huangs are faced with unexpected challenges that upend them and eventually lead them to discover what they most value. A compelling tale of cultural expectations, career ambitions and our relationships with the people who know us best, Family Trust skewers the ambition and desires that drive Silicon Valley and draws a sharply loving portrait of modern American family life.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Photo by Nina Subin

About Kathy Wang

Kathy Wang grew up in Northern California and holds degrees from UC Berkeley and Harvard Business School. She lives in the Bay Area with her husband and two children.

Visit Kathy’s website and connect with her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Posted in Blog Tour

By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank @DortheaFrank @WmMorrowBooks @TLCBookTours #bookreview #byinvitationonly

Happy Monday all!

Delighted to share with you today my review for this charming story! Many thanks to Trish at TLC Book Tours for my invitation to the tour!💐

My Thoughts

A delightful story packed with charm, humor, and heart!

Dorothea Benton Frank has constructed an engaging tale oozing with Southern charm. I really enjoy reading southern fiction, I am fascinated by the south and its history and traditions. I also really enjoy books with colorful well developed characters and this book had those in abundance! This book left me with a big smile on my face and a craving for peach pie!

Two very different women from two very different backgrounds. Diane is a single mother living on the family farm in South Carolina earning a living off the land. Susan is a socialite living in Chicago wanting for nothing.A collision of north and south occurs when Fred (Diane’s son) and Shelby (Susan‘s daughter) get engaged. What transpires is two very different engagement parties, one with a cow and sweet tea and one with champagne and glitz. A glamorous wedding with an off the charts price tag. BUT then tragedy hits both families that ultimately brings them closer together than they would have ever thought.

I loved Diane, the farm, and the sense of family. Susan was a total which, but I think this was done to show a huge contrast between these women. I would tend to believe that most people wealthy or not would not have behaved the same in the same situation, but it did make for an entertaining story. This book was really such a fun and lighthearted read. I loved the characters and the emphasis on the importance of family. Looking forward to my next book from Miss Frank.

*** many thanks to William Morrow for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range. While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.

Soon By Invitation Only zooms to Chicago, where the unraveling accelerates. Nearly a thousand miles away from her comfortable, familiar world, Diane is the antithesis of the bright lights and super-sophisticated guests attending her son Fred’s second engagement party. Why a second party? Maybe it had been assumed that the first one wouldn’t be up to snuff? Fred is marrying Shelby Cambria, also an only child. The Cambrias’ dearest wish is for their daughter to be happy. If Shelby wants to marry Frederick, aka Fred, they will not stand in her way—although Susan does hope her friends won’t think her daughter is marrying more than a few degrees beneath her socially. At the same time, Diane worries that her son will be lost to her forever.

By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard -working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate, when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

By Invitation Only is classic Dorothea Benton Frank—a mesmerizing Lowcountry Tale that roars with spirit, humor, and truth, and forces us to reconsider our notions of what it means to be a Have or a Have Not.

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

Him by Clare Empson @ClareEmpson2 @Tr4cyF3nt0n #bookreview #him

Happy Wednesday all!

Excited to share with you today my review for this twisted character study of obsessive love! Thank you to Tracy Fenton for my invitation to the tour!🖤

My Thoughts

A dark story of obsession, love, and guilt! A tale of love gone wrong, oh so very wrong! This is a slow burning in depth character study of two people and their destructive obsession with one another. This book was simultaneously fascinating and unsettling. This is not a twisted psychological thriller it is rather a character study of twisted individuals.

The story bounces around in time. We get Catherine’s past and present perspectives, as well as the perspective of Lucian in the past. Catherine and Lucian dated years ago and something happened to tear them apart, something tragic. Catherine never gets over Lucian even though she marries a different man and has children with him. Now Catherine is in the hospital suffering from selective mutism. In order to get better Catherine must face the past, but how will that impact her present and her future?

Neither Catherine or Lucian were very likable, there was a kind of shadow of doom over them. The only character in this book I found likable and very sympathetic was Sam, Catherine’s husband that poor guy. Clare Empsom was very thorough and concise in her storytelling. You really get a comprehensive picture of both Catherine and Lucian and the situation. A well told story about obsessive love.

About the Book

‘You’re stuck there, aren’t you? Right at the end. And I wonder if it might help to go back to the beginning, to put everything in some kind of order.’

Catherine has witnessed something so traumatic that she can’t speak. Or won’t speak.The doctors say the only way forward is to look into her past.

Catherine needs to start with HIM .

Fifteen years ago she met Lucian at university and fell into a passionate love affair. They were meant to be together forever. But something happened. Something that destroyed them.

Catherine married someone else. Had two children. She moved on – or so she thought. Now Lucian is back, showing her how different life could have been.

But going back to the beginning won’t change the ending.
In fact, it might be the thing that finally breaks her…

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Berit☀️✨

Posted in Blog Tour

Nothing is Forgotten by Peter Golden @petergolden32 @TLCBookTours#bookreview #nothingisforgotten

Happy Wednesday everybody!

Happy to share with you today my review for this very intriguing story! Many thanks to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for my invitation to the tour.😊

My Thoughts

Exceptionally told, expertly researched, immensely engaging!

Peter Golden has constructed a highly addictive and compelling read. This was kind of historical fiction meets spy thriller meets mystery meets romance. The writing was eloquent and descriptive. Mr. golden does a wonderful job of bringing the spirit of the cold war to the pages of this book.

This book will take you from New Jersey, to Munich, to Russia, to France, to California, and probably places I have forgotten. The story was fast paced and action packed with a large cast of unique and interesting characters. Michael host a radio show that he broadcasts from his basement, the show is far reaching and can even be heard in Russia. The success of the radio show is mostly due to Michael’s satire of the Russian president, but just as Michael begins to enjoy his notoriety tragedy strikes. Michael’s grandmother is murdered, he cannot figure out why anyone would kill his loving grandmother? Convinced that the murder had something to do with his grandmothers past( a past she rarely discusses) Michael sets off on a quest for the truth. Along the way he meets a woman named Yuli. Yuli Is a disillusioned Russian who dabbles in smuggling. We learned about Emma, Michael’s grandmother along with him, as he researches her past.

I enjoyed unraveling the past as well as the Mystery along with Michael and Yuli. I really liked both of these characters, however I have to say Yuli was one of those feisty fabulous female characters that I absolutely love! I could tell that Peter Golden put a lot of thought and research into this book giving it such an authentic feel. There is a lot of characters, intrigue and action packed into the 352 pages of this book. I’d say this is the perfect book for those who love a little action adventure with their historical fiction, along with a side of romance!

*** many thanks to Atria for my copy of this book ***

About the Book

SYNOPSIS:

From the beloved author of Comeback Love and Wherever There Is Light, comes “a sweeping tale full of humor and heartbreak” (Karin Tanabe, author of The Diplomat’s Daughter) about the life-changing journey of a young man who travels from New Jersey to Khrushchev’s Russia and the beaches of Southern France to discover long-hidden secrets about his heritage.

In 1950s New Jersey, teacher Michael Daniels—or Misha Danielov to his doting Russian-Jewish grandmother—is at loose ends, until he becomes the host of a nightly underground radio show. Not only does the show become a local hit because of his running satires of USSR leader Nikita Khrushchev, but half a world away, it picks up listeners in a small Soviet city.

There, with rock and roll leaking in through bootlegged airwaves, Yulianna Kosoy—a war orphan in her mid-twenties—is sneaking American goods into the country with her boss, Der Schmuggler.

But just as Michael’s radio show is taking off, his grandmother is murdered. Why would anyone commit such an atrocity against such a warm, affable woman? She had always been secretive about her past and, as Michael discovers, guarded a shadowy ancestral history. In order to solve the mystery of who killed her, Michael sets out for Europe to learn where he—and his grandmother—really came from.

“Both heartbreaking and mesmerizing, Nothing Is Forgotten is the sort of book you won’t soon forget…Cold War Europe, lingering Nazi secrets, and the tragic history faced by millions of families not only bring this tale to life but will keep you turning the pages” (Lisa Wingate, New York Times bestselling author) and will appeal to fans of novels by Anita Diamant and Kristin Hannah.

“Golden draws a vivid portrait of the Cold War era, but it is the complex and unexpected connection between Holocaust survivors and their descendants that turns this book into a page-turner.” (RT Book Reviews)

Nothing Is Forgotten is a Russian nesting doll of plot twists across continents and decades. This cleverly constructed Cold War tale, based on gripping true events, keeps readers eagerly anticipating what lies at its heart.” (Sarah McCoy, New York Times and international bestselling author of The Mapmaker’s Children)

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Purchase Links

Amazon | Books-A-Million | Barnes & Noble


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Berit☀️✨