Review: When We Were Sisters

When We Were SistersWhen We Were Sisters by Emilie Richards

Published May 31, 2016

Mira

 

My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

 
When We Were Sisters is the first book by Emile Richards that I have read and it definitely won’t be the last. I read the description and thought it sounded like something I would enjoy reading and I was right. It didn’t take long for the story to pull me in. It kept me on my toes and held my interest throughout the entire book.

Cecilia and Robin met in a foster home when Robin was nine and Cecilia was thirteen. Right away they clicked, they filled the need for the love that they both lacked in their lives. Their relationship grew and they have grown even closer over the years. They are, “true sisters, joined at the hip and the heart”. Now years later, these sisters are taking an emotional journey together back to their childhoods.

The book starts in present day from Robin’s point of view. After a devastating accident, Robin is re-evaluating her life. Once a busy professional photographer, she has been solely focused on her family for the last decade. Robin has begun to feel like she’s being taken for granted.

Cecilia has also had a recent incident that has caused her to take a look at her own life. Both sisters at a point in their lives where they realize that there may still be some demons they need to face from their past.

They will be working on a documentary about Cecilia’s personal life growing up in the foster care system and her subsequent rise to fame as a famous singer/songwriter. Cecilia wants Robin with her, on this journey as her photographer and for emotional support. For Robin this opportunity to dust off her camera and take some time for herself couldn’t have come at a better time.

This story is about much more than the making of a documentary.

“Love and loyalty made them sisters. Secrets could still destroy them.”

The author knows her stuff. Although it’s a fictional story I still learned a lot about how the foster system works (and doesn’t work) for foster children, both then and now. How things like the government, policies, funding, and so much more is behind how the system is run. I’ve always wondered how often is a child taken out of one bad situation and put into another. But there are also many good people who truly want to help children.

I enjoyed how the story was told from multiple points of view. It was very emotional. I cared about all of the characters and liked knowing what they were thinking and feeling. The relationships felt quite realistic in many ways. I think the author did a great job of showing the different relationships and the challenges that come along with them.

Although some of the subject matter is sensitive and hard to read at times, the author does a great job of helping the reader understand the experience and feel for the characters, without going overboard on the details.

A wonderful story about secrets, family, love, loss, strength and forgiveness.

I really enjoyed this book and I am looking forward to reading more from Emilie Richards.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Emilie Richards for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review – The Sister

The SisterThe Sister by Louise Jensen

Published July 7,2016

Bookouture

 

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The Sister begins in the present. Twenty-five-year old Grace Matthews is digging up an old time capsule that her and her best friend Charlie buried ten years before.

She never thought she would be alone opening the box that contained all of their hopes and dreams. Things that were important to both of them as well as a bright pink envelope that Charlie slipped in right before they buried it. Grace doesn’t know what’s in the envelope but hopes if it will give her some answers to all the questions she has. Questions that Charlie can’t answer herself since she passed away four months earlier.

Charlie’s last words go around and around in her head.

“I did something terrible, Grace. I hope you can forgive me.”

When she opens the envelope she realizes just how little she knew about her best friend. Since Charlie’s death, Grace has become even more determined to find out what Charlie did that was so terrible. These thoughts occupy so much of Grace’s time that she feels she won’t be able to move on until she knows everything. It’s even affecting her relationship with her boyfriend.

When Grace met Charlie in middle school she instantly felt like she could trust her. The book delves into the friendship between her and Charlie as well as their close friends and the drama surrounding them all. There are many references made to Grace’s parents and her past. We are aware that something tragic has happened and Grace seems to feel very guilty. She refers to it as the day she’s tried to forget.

“Am I really to blame? Am I always to blame?”

When Grace starts an online search for Charlie’s father, someone else from Charlie’s past shows up. At first Grace is really happy, but it’s not long before strange things start happening. She begins receiving strange phone calls, things start to go missing, and she feels like someone might be following her. She wonders if she’s in danger or if she’s making a big deal about nothing.

When things start to take an even darker turn, Grace doesn’t know who to trust. Is this all related to Charlie and the past? Grace feels like someone is playing with her life and she’s terrified to find out what they’ll do next.

I thought “The Sister” was a good psychological thriller. It was easy to follow as it alternated between past and present. The story line and characters were interesting. However, there were a few times that Grace REALLY annoyed me. She would be overly paranoid about some things but didn’t seem to notice things that seemed glaringly obvious. A few of the decisions she made really baffled me, but it wasn’t enough to dissuade me from continuing on. I did have a few questions but still felt the book ended pretty strong.

Although I had to suspend belief occasionally I tried to stop analyzing (so hard for me sometimes) and just enjoy the book. Honestly, all in all it was a pretty good ride. The author did a great job of keeping me in suspense, and there were some good twists that I did not see coming! It was a very hard book to put down.

I think this is an very good debut novel and I look forward to more from Louise Jensen.

Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher, and Louise Jensen for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Someone Else’s Child / What Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

someone else's child

 

 

 

 

 

 

I read this novel last year under the title “What Was Mine” It was recently released under the new title “Someone Else’s Child”. I really enjoyed the book and posted my original review below.

What Was MineWhat Was Mine by Helen Klein Ross

Published January 5, 2016

Gallery Books

 

 

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I do try my best to not spoil anything in the story but if you don’t usually read the entire book description (which is how I base how far to go) then proceed with caution.

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When I first read the book description I felt like it almost told the whole story. But honestly this book is about so much more than a kidnapping. Obviously that is a huge part of it. But it’s very different from any other kidnapping story I have read. Right off we know who did it. But we also see how everyone is affected by it. We see time passing and how everyone tries to cope. It is about a kidnapping but It’s also about the power of a mothers love, family, the connection between mother and daughter, loss, anger, reunion, forgiveness and so much more.

We first meet Lucy Wakefield. Lucy tells us she can’t tell her story straight. She has to tell it in circles, like rings of a tree that signify the passage of time.

Lucy starts by saying how badly she wanted a child. She is very successful in business but what she wants most is a child. She is devastated that she’s been unable to conceive a child after years of trying both naturally and with medical help. When having a child consumes all of her thoughts and time, her husband eventually leaves her. She knows that her chances of adopting as a single mother are very slim. On one of her frequent trips to IKEA she makes a split second decision that will change her life and the lives of so many others. She sees a baby sitting alone in a cart. She picks the baby up and leaves the store.

Just like that she’s kidnapped a baby……and she gets away with it for 21 years.

Marilyn has relived the day that her daughter was stolen from her over and over. She remembers that she overslept that day. She remembers that the babysitter had to cancel and she was anxious as she was supposed to deliver a report at work that afternoon.

“Without a babysitter, I was in trouble or so I thought, then unaware of what real trouble was.”

I can’t even imagine going through something like this.

I loved that the chapters were labeled clearly as there were many points of view. It just made the alternating perspectives of Mia, Lucy, Marilyn and so many others involved easier to keep up with. An easy read in regards to the way it was written. But it was also emotional, heartbreaking and devastating. I felt all kinds of things reading this powerful book! All of the characters were very well developed. The author writes about what the characters go through so well. The passing of time and how differently people adapted to what had happened. I was interested in everything the author was writing about. As much as I wanted to see what was going to happen I was still enjoying everything I was reading, learning about meditation and yoga, the reunification process, China and Chinese culture and more.

I felt the author ended the book fairly well. A bit open to interpretation but I was okay with it. I can’t even imagine how hard it was to try to write an ending to a story like this.

I highly recommend this engrossing read. I look forward to more from Helen Klein Ross. I hope she is hard at work on her next novel.

Thank you to Helen Klein Ross, Meagan Harris, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read this advanced copy in exchange for my honest review.

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Review: Watching Edie

Watching EdieWatching Edie by Camilla Way

Published July 28, 2016

Harper Collins UK

 

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

 

My legs were really bothering me yesterday and so I spent a lot of time with my feet up reading. I was so into this book, that I ended up staying up late to finish it.

Pregnant and alone, thirty-three year old Edie has a lot on her mind. So when the doorbell rings and she opens the door one day, she is completely surprised when she sees who’s standing on the other side. It’s her former best friend, Heather. They haven’t seen each other in almost seventeen years. Edie has imagined and dreaded this reunion over the years. Now that the moment has arrived, she is in shock and has no idea what to say to the one person she hoped to never see again.

Edie and Heather met when they were sixteen. While Edie had an easy time making friends, this wasn’t the case for Heather. When Edie shows an interest in being friends, Heather can’t believe it. Quickly they become close, but the friendship is always a bit lopsided with Heather a bit needier. Her home life is no better. They had moved to the town when Heather was ten for a “fresh start” after a tragedy rocked their family.

For awhile things are better for Heather, her friendship with Edie makes her so happy. But when Edie finds a boyfriend and starts hanging out with him and his friends, things start to change. But Heather doesn’t want things to change, she doesn’t want to lose Edie. Heather will do anything to keep from losing her.

However, not only do things change but everything goes horribly wrong. Betrayal and anger sets things in motion that changes both of their lives completely. Secrets that they have both kept all of these years. But who betrayed who? Why has Heather chosen to find Edie now?

What exactly happened all those years ago?

After that first visit, Edie avoids Heather but feels like she sees her everywhere she goes. But a few months later, Heather returns just when Edie has sunken far into feelings of hopelessness as a new mother. Edie doesn’t understand the feelings she’s having and why motherhood is so hard. Helpless to refuse the help that Heather offers, she even begs her to stay. But when she starts to come out of the black hole she had fallen into and her thinking clears, she starts to wonder about the timing of Heather’s return. Was it coincidence or was she just waiting for the perfect moment to come back? After everything that happened in the past, what does she truly want? And now that she’s back in her life, will Edie be able to get her out of it?

The book alternates between Before and After and is told from both Edie and Heather’s point of view. In the beginning I had a bit of a hard time figuring out who’s point of view it was but it didn’t take very long to catch on.

I think this is a really good psychological thriller. Full of suspense, with a clever and unique plot. Lots of little twists throughout the book made it even more enjoyable. It shows the darker side of friendship, obsession, and betrayal. That not everything is always what it seems. I would be positive I had figured something important out and and the author would throw a curve-ball into the mix and I would be back to trying to figure out just what was going on. I did not see the ending coming at all.

A gripping book. I was captivated by the story from start to finish. I hope to read more from Camilla Way very soon.

Thank you to NetGalley, Camilla Way, and Harper Collins for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

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