REVIEW: The Forgotten Woman by Angela Marsons

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Published July 11, 2016

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This is the first book I’ve read by Angela Marsons. Coincidentally it’s also the first novel she wrote. It was previously published as “My Name Is” in 2013.  I thought it sounded like something I would enjoy, and I was right!

As the book opens we meet 23-year-old Kim Mason as she’s on her way to her very first AA meeting. She’s late and thinks about turning around and going back to the safety of the hostel. But she knows she HAS to do this. In her rush she doesn’t check closely for traffic and is splashed and almost hit by a very fancy car. She finally gets to the meeting and she’s surprised by all of the different people she sees. There are people from all walks of life, including doctors and lawyers. “Miss Fancy Pants” the driver of the BMW that almost mowed her down is also there to Kit’s dismay.

Kit had an extremely difficult childhood. After an extremely traumatic experience, Kit left home for good. However, it wasn’t long before she was locked into another nightmare. A nightmare that lasted eight years. Three months ago she was finally able to escape. Kit reassures herself that she’s safe now. But when she sleeps she still sees the face of pure evil that doesn’t want to let her go. While the bruises have faded, the mental scars and physical scars are still there, making sure she never forgets. And now that she doesn’t have the escape of alcohol, she has to find a new way of living with the memories of all that she’s been through.

Frances Thornton is a lawyer and hasn’t ever lost a case. Fran had the best of everything growing up… food, clothing, a great education. But the things that Fran needed more than anything, acceptance and love were never available. As she got older she found that a drink or two (or more) could make some of those bad feelings go away. She could forget about things that caused her so much pain. She functioned quite well for a long time. Even though she drank she was still great at her job. That is until she passes out while defending a client in a very important case.

It’s at the first AA meeting that Kit and Fran meet. They come from completely different backgrounds but share the common bond of struggling with alcoholism. While their first meeting doesn’t go well, it’s not long before they realize they just may be exactly what each other needs.

But secrets and demons from their past threaten to come forward and destroy the lives they are both trying so hard to re-build.

This book isn’t just about one person’s story. We have Kit’s story, Fran’s story as well as the story of their friendship. The author told these stories so well. The challenges and struggles that they faced, as individuals and within their friendship.

***Warning*** There are parts of the book that are very violent. These could be triggering for some readers. However, I don’t feel like the author went overboard with the descriptions of what happened, but provided enough detail for the reader to understand just how horrible these situations were.

I had a lot of trouble putting this one down. It was well-written and incredibly gripping. I was so emotionally invested into these characters, I wanted so badly for them to succeed. You can be sure I am now a huge fan, and I look forward to reading more from Angela Marsons.

Review: Poison by Galt Niederhoffer

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Published: November 21, 2017

St. Martin’s Press

 

“Something delicious simmers on the stove. The dishwasher murmurs. Laundry circles. The daily rotation of domestic life rolls on, as with any perfect machine, until a circuit breaks and the machine ceases to function.”

Cass and Ryan Connor are living the dream. A wonderful marriage and a happy life with their three children. Cass has two children from a previous marriage and she and Ryan have a two-year old child together.  After her first husband passed away, Cass didn’t think she’d find a man willing to accept her children from another man. But then she met Ryan. Cass tells us that Ryan is a wonderful father and step-father.

Life is grand.  Cass revels in the fact that she has it all….

But does she?

It starts with late nights and little lies.  There is a feeling that something isn’t quite right.

Everything is perfect in the Connor household. So what if Ryan has been coming home late more often? It’s okay that he’s increasingly moody and short-tempered. It’s no big deal when he doesn’t show up to pick up their son and Cass has to take the baby to class with her.

Cass tries to explain things away. Ryan is an architect and it’s not uncommon for him to work late. He has been stressed because he’s under a lot of pressure so that’s why he’s moody. And it’s not his fault that an important meeting ran late so he couldn’t pick up their son.

But then Cass catches Ryan in a lie. Suddenly everything is most certainly NOT perfect.

“Life as you know it is over”

But could Cass be overreacting? She keeps questioning herself. Maybe there is a reasonable explanation for everything. Perhaps her mind is playing tricks on her, she wonders if she can trust her own judgment.

Is she being paranoid?

I am conflicted in my feelings about this book. I was totally gripped by the story and honestly hated putting it down.  I was bouncing with apprehension and nervousness. I know one of the big signs of a good book is its ability to make a reader feel things. But it was almost too much for me at times. I spent quite a bit of the book in a state of anxiety. However, I had to see how things were going to pan out.

The plot was interesting and thought-provoking, but at times I found the writing a bit wordy and overly descriptive. There are definitely a lot of important messages and issues addressed in this book. But I did wonder if some of the messages could get lost in some of the repetitive writing. That being said, I really was obsessed and desperate to find out what was going to happen next.

I look forward to reading more from this author.   

Thank you to NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.

 

Without Trace (Morgan Vine #1) by Simon Booker

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Published June 16, 2016 by Twenty7

 

Morgan Vine and Danny Kilcannon were close childhood friends. When Danny is accused of murdering his 14-year-old step-daughter, Morgan refuses to believe he’s guilty. She is Danny’s biggest supporter and she even starts a prison book-club in order to keep regular contact with him. Many people think her belief in Danny is misguided, that her judgment of him is clouded by what she knew of him when they were young. Danny was there for Morgan during a very chaotic time in her life. His support back then is a huge part of why she is so supportive of him now.

Morgan is thrilled when Danny is released from prison after serving four long years. However, she’s also extremely anxious as someone has been leaving her anonymous notes and she has a strange feeling she’s being followed.

Morgan and her daughter have had a difficult relationship since her divorce from Lissa’s father. As a teenager Lissa decided she had enough of Morgan’s rules and went to live with her rich and easy-going father. Eighteen year old Lissa returns to live with her mother the day Danny is released from prison.

Nine days later, Lissa goes missing….

Is Danny responsible for Lissa’s disappearance? Was he responsible for his step-daughters murder? Is someone framing him? While Danny was in prison Morgan’s faith in him had never wavered. However, with Lissa missing, that faith is put to the test.

For the most part the book is easy to follow as it alternates back and forth between the present and past. We are given bits and pieces of Morgan’s childhood. The past I could follow with no problem. However, I had a harder time keeping track of everything happening in the present. The amount of characters occasionally caused a bit of confusion and I had to go back and re-read a few parts.

Overall, I thought this was an interesting psychological thriller. There were a few really good twists and turns and I was very surprised at the ending!

I would definitely consider reading more from Simon Booker.

Throwback Thursday: While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

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Throwback Thursday is a meme created by Renee at It’s Book Talk to share old favorite books rather than just the new shiny ones. This is a great idea to bring back to life some much-loved books. Please feel free to join in.

My choice for this week is: 

While My Sister Sleeps by Barbara Delinsky

 

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Published February 17th 2009 by Doubleday

 

Goodreads Description:

World class runner Robin Snow is at the top of her game when her heart inexplicably fails and she sinks into a coma.

As hope for her recovery fades, her family is left with a terrible choice, one no-one should ever have to make. Faced with a heartbreaking decision, it is quiet, younger sister Molly who finds herself stepping out of Robin’s shadow and into the heart of the family’s terrible dilemma.

Will they have the courage to do what is right?

 

My Thoughts:

I read this novel in one sitting on a beautiful day at the cabin a few years ago. It grabbed me within the first few pages.

The Snow family have a very tangled relationship filled with secrets, rivalries, and resentments. Robin Snow is the star athlete of the family and her younger sister, Molly has always felt second best. Even as an adult, Molly struggles with living in Robin’s shadow. But when tragedy strikes and Robin ends up in the hospital, the family must come together and make some tough decisions.

This was a great read that held my interest from start to finish with some twists and turns that I never saw coming. Heart-breaking and bittersweet, this is a well-written novel that I highly recommend.