BOOK REVIEW – The Swap by Robyn Harding

The Swap

Expected publication: June 23rd, 2020 by Gallery/Scout Press

 

A dark and intriguing story. A wild ride!!

17-year-old, Swallow (Low) Morrison is graduating in three months but she could care less about prom, parties, or even college. As usual, Low is sitting by herself the day Freya Light walks into the high school and posts an advertisement for pottery classes. Low feels a magnetic pull towards this woman. She texts Freya about the classes. It takes a while but Freya finally responds saying classes start the following Monday.

This woman is going to change her life in a big way.

Soon Mondays are Low’s favorite day of the week. Every Monday she heads to Freya’s after school. Freya is patient and encouraging when teaching pottery to Low.  She tells Low how much she enjoys her company.

“Her attention nourished me“

Freya loves the fact that Low so obviously adores her.

Freya and her husband, Max moved to Hawking after a very public incident turned everyone they knew against them.  They’ve had to deal with a lot of online and real-life harassment.

Jamie Vincent and her husband, Brian also moved to Hawking for a fresh start. Jamie and Freya became friends and their friendship quickly became Janie’s lifeline. They went out regularly and even their husbands got along.  One night while partying a suggestion is made that takes them places they never expected.  We all knew what we were getting into. At least we thought we did“.  There’s some confusion about what actually happened that night. However, there is one person who knows exactly what happened.

It seemed like that night was going to haunt them forever.

Whoa!

I flew through this clever and unique novel.

I thought this was a great read. The story is told from multiple perspectives. We learn a lot about Low and her home life. We also learn about Freya and Jamie and their past and backgrounds. The characters were well-developed and though I may not have liked some of them (and occasionally felt the need to shout at them), they were definitely memorable. There were many intense moments that had my heart beating double time.
A thrilling and intense story about jealousy, sexuality, obsession, and toxic relationships.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

BOOK REVIEW – What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

What Unbreakable Looks Like by Kate McLaughlin

Expected publication: June 23rd 2020 by Wednesday Books

 

A gritty, honest, and raw story that I couldn’t put down!

“We never asked for this”

This book opens as police raid a motel; rescuing girls trafficked by a local pimp. The motel is both a prison and a home for Poppy (Lex) and Mitch Anderson’s other “nighttime girls”.

The noise wakes Lex who then wakes Ivy. They both rush to get dressed. When the cops break the door down, the girls try to run but they don’t make it far.  The police tell them they aren’t in trouble and take them to the hospital.

Mitch liked to name his girls after flowers. Alexa Grace (Lex) was given the name Poppy.

Lex tells the police that Mitch Anderson is her boyfriend. Then they ask about Frank. Frank is her mother’s boyfriend.  He’s also one of Mitch’s associates.  The police want to send her to rehab for trafficked girls. But after that where will she go? She can’t go home to her mother and HIM. Where do all unwanted kids go? But it turns out; someone DOES want Lex, her Aunt Krys and her husband, Jamal.

When she sees her Aunt Krys the tears finally come…

Ivy wants Lex to leave the hospital with her. Lex is ready to go but then she sees her Aunt. She has to make a choice.  Ivy or her Aunt?  Lex or Poppy?

She just wants someone to tell her everything is going to be okay. She wants to believe that her aunt and uncle really want her. She worries she’ll disappoint them or they’ll disappoint her. She worries they’ll discover she’s not worth it.

Lex begins to settle in but it’s not easy. She makes some new friends and soon she even has a boyfriend. But then she is horribly betrayed once again.

At first, Lex is ashamed. But another part of her wants to fight! She wants to help others see that this is NOT okay.

Will Lex find the strength to stay? Will she be able to confront her past and the monsters in it?

 

Wow!

What an incredible debut novel!  Gut-wrenching and emotional, it’s going to stay with me for a very long time.

A great story with amazing characters. This novel may be a tough read for some as it deals with many significant and relevant issues like sexual assault, violence, and human trafficking.

We need Detectives like Detective Marianne Willis. We also need fewer people who look the other way.

The story is told from Lex’s point of view.  Alternating between the past and the present, we learn about Lex’s life with her mother and what she endured as Poppy.

Insightful and realistic, this was an incredibly moving and powerful story of survival.

 

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

 

REVIEW – Big Summer by Jennifer Weiner

Big Summer

Published May 19th 2020 by Atria Books
.
An entertaining, thought-provoking, extremely satisfying read.

 

Six years ago, nineteen-year-old, Daphne Berg was out with friends for a night of fun and dancing. The night ended with Daphne making a vow to never see her “friend”, Drue Lathrop Cavanaugh ever again.

Six years later, Daphne is an up and coming influencer. She is excited to be starting a  collaboration with another influencer. This opportunity means she will gain more followers. At the same time, she knows that more followers mean more attention and scrutiny which is hard on any woman but extra hard for overweight women.

Daphne is surprised when Drue Cavanaugh gets back in touch. She’s shocked when Drue asks her to be her maid-of-honor.  Daphne had read about Drue’s upcoming wedding in the papers and online, but she never expected this. Daphne knows she shouldn’t do it. She’s still so angry but she does remember having some very good times with Drue. But the hurt goes deep.

Drue seems to have it all. She’s beautiful, she’s rich, and she has a wonderful fiancé.

But Drue’s life may not be as great as Daphne thinks it is.

Will Daphne give Drue another chance?  If she does, will she regret it?

One crazy summer filled with secrets, lies, and surprises!

I really enjoyed this novel. The story is told from Daphne’s perspective and alternates between the past and present. I was gripped.

Jennifer Weiner is such a talented storyteller. I thought “Big Summer” would be an entertaining summer read and it was, but it also went further than I expected. It touches on many issues and I thought the author handled them brilliantly. This was a well-paced read with terrific characterization and I was surprised by the well-timed unexpected twists.

An engrossing story of friendship, betrayal, forgiveness, and more

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a copy of this novel. All opinions are my own.

Music Monday – Good Mother by Jann Arden

musicmondayMusic Monday is a meme that was created by Drew from The Tattooed Book Geek. You pick a song and/or video and share it on Monday.

Today I am sharing: Good Mother by Jann Arden

I have a good mother and I’ve been missing our weekly hangouts and sleepovers.  I have a great stepfather too and I’m glad they are taking good care of each other. My daughter and I are very thankful for both of them.

I know many of you are missing your mothers, fathers, and other family members and friends. I hope we all get to see those we care about very soon. And if you’ve lost someone you care about, my thoughts are with you too.

 

 

Good Mother.

I’ve got money in my pocket
I like the color of my hair
I’ve got a friend who loves me
Got a house, I’ve got a car
I’ve got a good mother
And her voice is what keeps me here
Feet on ground
Heart in hand
Facing forward
Be yourself
I, I’ve never wanted anything
No I’ve, no I’ve, I’ve never wanted anything
So bad, so bad
Cardboard masks of all the people I’ve been
Thrown out with all the rusted, tangled
Dented, God damn miseries
You could say I’m hard to hold
But if you knew me, you’d know
I’ve got a good father
And his strength is what makes me cry
Feet on ground
Heart in hand
Facing forward
Be yourself
I, I’ve never wanted anything
No I’ve, no I’ve
I’ve never wanted anything so bad
So bad
I’ve got money in my pocket
I like the color of my hair
I’ve got a friend who loves me
Got a house, I’ve got a car
I’ve got a good mother
And her voice is what keeps me here
Feet on ground
Heart in hand
Facing forward
Be yourself
Heart in hand
Feet on ground
Facing forward
Be yourself
Just be yourself
Just be yourself
Feet on ground
Heart in hand
Feet on ground
Heart in hand
.
Songwriters: Jann Arden Richards / Robert Foster
Good Mother lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group