REVIEW: IF I STAY, BY GAYLE FORMAN

81JnFTWyBwL._SL1500_

 

 

The day started out happily—a snow day, with the whole family enjoying breakfast together and making plans for the day.

Seventeen year old Mia is one of those kids who actually enjoys her parents and her little brother. Unlike some girls her age, she does not dismiss them as “not cool.”

Afterwards, she would not remember what happened, only that she seemed to be detached from the scene unfolding: a car accident, ambulances, and seeing her own broken body rushed to the hospital.

Later, in ICU, Mia seems to remain detached from her body, as if looking down on it, while medical professionals work on her.

She describes the scene in her first person narrative, and as we wait to see what will happen, she flashes back in time, and we see her life, with friends, her cello music, and her boyfriend Adam, a musician. And in the present, as she listens to the visitors at her bedside, she realizes that perhaps she can decide whether to go or to stay.

If I Stay was a riveting story that is a reminder of how quickly everything in life can change, and how, when we are living it, we need to savor it. 4.5 stars.

WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES: SAVOR THE SUMMER!

PicMonkey Collage-WEEKLY UPDATES IN JULY

 

Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for  Weekly Updates.

**Mailbox Monday is now hosted at the home site:  Mailbox Monday.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I hope everyone has had a great week!  It’s been hot here, as usual, but the old temperature has descended a few degrees in the past couple of days.  Don’t forget to stop by and check out my ongoing Bookshelf Clearing Giveaway.

Meanwhile, here’s what last week looked like.

ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  A Greedy Day of Books & Movies

A Wine Train Adventure:  An Excerpt from “Interior Designs”

Creative Tuesday:  Intros/Teasers – “The Furies”

Hump Day Serendipity:  Waiting for “Falling Into Place”

Hump Day Potpourri:  Falling Into Place, Etc.

My Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Change, Etc.

Savor the Guilty Pleasures:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “Save the Date”

Creative Saturday:  Summertime Moments at the Beach

Review:  The Wrong Girl (e-book), by Hank Phillippi Ryan

Review:  Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer

Review:  The Furies, by Natalie Haynes

Review:  Dollbaby (e-book), by Laura L. McNeal

 

***

 

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

My mailbox had four review books this week!  And I downloaded three books to feed Sparky, and then bought a book at Barnes & Noble.  The stack is tall again.

 

Tears and Tequila, by Linda Schreyer and Jo-Ann Lautman (Publicist Review Request)

 

519eAHHAVVL

 

Falling Into Place, by Amy Zhang (Vine)

 

 

20306804

 

 

The Silent Sister, by Diane Chamberlain (Vine)

 

 

81zEIb1K-wL._SL1500_

 

 

An Italian Wife, by Ann Hood (Vine)

 

 

20663712

 

 

Victims, by Jonathan Kellerman (Purchase)

 

 

12022496

 

 

And now, here’s Sparky’s Food:

 

The House We Grew Up In (e-book), by Lisa Jewell

 

 

71uOvtmWDeL._SL1500_

 

 

The Perfect Stranger (e-book), by Wendy Corsi Staub

 

 

91NQ2vFbDDL._SL1500_

 

 

Wife 22 (e-book), by Melanie Gideon

 

 

81L8NyuEtXL._SL1500_

 

Whew!  Now I just have to find the time to read them all!

 

WHAT’S UP NEXT?  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

Save the Date, by Mary Kay Andrews (Vine Review)

 

 

18404093

 

If I Stay (e-book), by Gayle Forman

 

 

81JnFTWyBwL._SL1500_

 

 

Whiskey Beach (e-book), by Nora Roberts

 

 

91vtD4nQq6L._SL1500_

 

 

 

***

 

Now I plan to relax, watch some movies, and enjoy the weekend!  What about you?  Come on by and let’s chat.

 

***

Iced-Tea1

***

REVIEW: THE FURIES, BY NATALIE HAYNES

19286509Alex Morris, a theatrical director, has been happily pursuing her dream life in London with her fiancé Luke, a lawyer, when he is murdered. Trying to save a woman from a violent man.

Starting over means wrenching herself away from her former life, so she heads to Edinburgh and a job working with troubled teens in a “last chance” therapeutic environment.

Teaching them the Greek classics satisfies a need in Alex to stay connected to the theatrical world she’d loved, and she enjoys how the students begin to explore the themes, almost as if they find them relevant in their daily lives.

What she didn’t count on was how one especially troubled teen would immerse herself so fully in these themes and take obsessive actions that would change their lives forever.

The story felt like a game, of sorts, as the writer’s style keeps us guessing throughout, building to a dramatic and surprising end. Alex narrates the story in first-person perspective, but she also alternates between the present and past tense. It took me a bit to realize that when the narration is in the present tense, we are in the aftermath of what has happened. Most of the story alternates between what happened before and what is happening now. And as we see the past unfold in bits and pieces, we realize, finally, what is about to occur. And I am cringing at the level of obsession going on with one of the young characters.

Part of the story is told through the obsessed character’s diary entries, and we learn a lot about what is going on with her through this slow reveal.

A wonderfully dramatic and enticing read that kept me glued to the pages throughout, I couldn’t wait to see what would happen next. The teenage characters were complex, annoying, and also engaging. You want to give up on them, but then you realize you must keep trying. The Furies: A Novel “is a psychologically complex, dark and twisting novel about loss, obsession and the deep tragedies that can connect us to each other even as they blind us to our fate.” 5.0 stars.

HUMP DAY SERENDIPITY: WAITING FOR “FALLING INTO PLACE”

wow logo - timepieceWelcome to a special Hump Day Serendipity, dedicated to Waiting on Wednesday.  Click on over to Breaking the Spine to find all the upcoming releases shared today.

My eagerly anticipated new release is coming out on September 9, 2014:  Falling Into Place, by Amy Zhang.

20306804

I am very excited that I won’t have to wait until September.  It is coming to me this week from Amazon Vine.

Blurb:  One cold fall day, high school junior Liz Emerson steers her car into a tree. This haunting and heartbreaking story is told by a surprising and unexpected narrator and unfolds in nonlinear flashbacks even as Liz’s friends, foes, and family gather at the hospital and Liz clings to life. This riveting debut will appeal to fans of Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver, and 13 Reasons Why, by Jay Asher.

“On the day Liz Emerson tries to die, they had reviewed Newton’s laws of motion in physics class. Then, after school, she put them into practice by running her Mercedes off the road.” Why did Liz Emerson decide that the world would be better off without her? Why did she give up? The nonlinear novel pieces together the short and devastating life of Meridian High’s most popular junior girl. Mass, acceleration, momentum, force—Liz didn’t understand it in physics, and even as her Mercedes hurtles toward the tree, she doesn’t understand it now. How do we impact one another? How do our actions reverberate? What does it mean to be a friend? To love someone? To be a daughter? Or a mother? Is life truly more than cause and effect? Amy Zhang’s haunting and universal story will appeal to fans of Lauren Oliver, Gayle Forman, and Jay Asher.

***

I don’t often read YA books, but lately I’ve noticed my interest gravitating to SOME books in this genre.  This one sounds like one I’ll enjoy.

What are you waiting to receive?  Come on by and let’s chat.

***

WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES: BOOKISH DELIGHTS * CELEBRATIONS

PicMonkey Collage-WEEKLY UPDATES IN JULY

Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for  Weekly Updates.

**Mailbox Monday is now hosted at the home site:  Mailbox Monday.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

What a great week it was!  It was very hot again, but the books were so fabulous and the blogging was fun!

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Am I Procrastinating Again?

Tuesday Sparks:  Intros/Teasers – “Thursday’s Children”

Hump Day Potpourri: Waiting on “Betrayed”

My Bookish (And Not So Bookish) Thoughts:  Noise Pollution & Celebrating

Out on a Limb with Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “Belzhar”

Creative Saturday:  Enjoying Special Moments

Enter the Interior & Grab Some Giveaway Books

Weekend Potpourri: Bookshelf Clearing, Etc.

Review:  We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas

Review:  Thursday’s Children, by Nicci French

Review:  Home, by Toni Morrison

 

***

 

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

The mailbox was empty all week, but I downloaded one novel coming as a movie soon, and a novella for another book coming soon from a favorite author.

 

If I Stay (e-book), by Gayle Forman

 

81JnFTWyBwL._SL1500_

 

Larger Than Life (e-book)(novella), by Jodi Picoult (freebie)

 

81EWPINk-1L._SL1500_

 

 

WHAT’S UP NEXT? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

The Wrong Girl (e-book), by Hank Phillippi Ryan

 

 

17332262

 

 

Belzhar, by Meg Wolitzer (Amazon Vine)

 

 

20821376

 

The Furies, by Natalie Haynes (Amazon Vine)

 

19286509

 

And maybe, if I’m ambitious:

 

Dollbaby (e-book), by Laura L. McNeal

 

18693929

 

 

***

And now I must do some binge watching of movies on the DVR!

What did your week look like?  What’s ahead for you?

***

Enjoying Sunday brunch here on Sunday morning, to celebrate my daughter’s upcoming birthday:

 

home-feature-2

 

***

REVIEW: THURSDAY’S CHILDREN, BY NICCI FRENCH

20812083Can anyone ever go home again?

For Frieda Klein, therapist and woman managing in her solo existence in London, thoughts of the home she left behind in Braxton twenty-three years before have now intruded upon her, as she faces the young teenage girl, the daughter of an old school acquaintance from Braxton, who has confided a horrific secret. Something that arouses all of Frieda’s worst memories.

Young Becky has told about her rape a few months before, and how her mother, Maddie, did not believe her. Now Maddie is aware that Frieda knows the secret, and this only enrages her. Her feelings of intense dislike and fear are brought to the fore. For Frieda, the long-buried rage aroused in her by the release of this secret is like a strong gravitational pull into the past. Something Becky said to Frieda reawakened that long ago moment when she herself had been raped at sixteen, and reminded her of her own mother’s disbelief.

Can the past be repeating itself? Then, as if to ante up the stakes, Becky is found hanged in her room, presumably suicide. But the more Frieda learns, upon her return to Braxton, the more she is convinced that the man who raped her also raped Becky…and others in between. And that he has also killed.

Thursday’s Children is the story of the past, the present, and how the secrets come back to haunt us. The title also symbolizes the name of a musical group playing in Braxton on the night of Frieda’s rape. Can Frieda discover who has been raping and murdering young girls, and if she does, will the police even believe her? Her experiences with the police in this town have been less than satisfactory.

But she has her own occasional colleague, DCI Malcolm Karlsson…and seemingly the shadowy stalker presence of presumed dead Dean Reeve, that nobody believes is there–except, perhaps, Karlsson–and as time passes, her belief in his malevolent/protective presence is reinforced by events.

This fourth novel in the series is also populated by familiar faces from the previous novels, like Josef, the handyman and occasional cook; Reuben, a therapist colleague; and her niece Chloe. For the first time, we meet her mother, Dr. Juliet Klein, who is a hard, ironic, and cold presence in Frieda’s past, and with whom she now must interact. Will the ghosts of the past finally be put to rest? Will the secrets be unleashed and the perpetrators punished? And, in the end, will Frieda find peace?  Five stars.

WEEKLY SUNDAY/MONDAY UPDATES: CONTINUING TRIPLE DIGIT TEMPERATURES!

PicMonkey Collage-WEEKLY UPDATES IN JULY

 

Good morning!  Today’s post will link up to Sunday Salon, The Sunday Post,  and Book Journey, for  Weekly Updates.

**Mailbox Monday is now hosted at the home site:  Mailbox Monday.

Good morning, Bloggers!  Grab some coffee (or a mimosa), and let’s talk about our weeks.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

What can I say about life this week?  It was very HOT here, with triple digits coming every day, as predictably as the sun that rises.  A good week to stay indoors and read.  So here’s what my week looked like:

 

LAST WEEK ON THE BLOGS:

Sunday Potpourri:  Following My Moods

Monday Potpourri:  I Lost My Head!

Take a Risk on Tuesday:  Intros/Teasers – “Evergreen”

Thoughts from the Interior:  Do Numbers Matter?

Looking Back at a Memorable Read:  The Bird Sisters

Hump Day Serendipity:  Waiting for “You”

July Monthly Reading Wrap-Up

My Bookish (and Not So Bookish Thoughts) – Tidbits

Take a Risk on Friday:  Book Beginnings/Friday 56 – “We Are Not Ourselves”

Saturday Sparks:  A Cozy Saturday

Cozy Weekend Potpourri:  Devices

Review:  Final Sentence (e-book), by Daryl Wood Gerber (Mt. TBR Challenge)

Review:  All Fall Down (e-book), by Jennifer Weiner

Review:  Evergreen, by Rebecca Rasmussen

Review:  We Were Liars (e-book), by E. Lockhart

 

***

INCOMING BOOKS:  (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

I received a big box of bookish treasures from a blogoversary win over at Book Journey; and a lovely review book from Amazon Vine.

Then I downloaded FIVE e-books to feed Sparky.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Box from Book Journey, included four books, a book bag, and a notebook.  (The swan and bear were not part of the box!  LOL)

The titles, from bottom up:

When the Cypress Whispers, by Yvette Manessis Corporon

Season of the Dragonflies, by Sarah Creech

The High Divide, by Lin Enger

The Garden of Letters, by Alyson Richman

***

Then came:

Save the Date, by Mary Kay Andrews (Amazon Vine)

 

18404093

 

 

Downloads:

 

Cop Town (e-book), by Karin Slaughter

 

 

91-QUcvrJeL._SL1500_

 

 

California (e-book), by Edan Lepucki

 

 

911G6AcYY7L._SL1500_

 

 

Buried in a Bog (e-book), by Sheila Connolly

 

 

914ahjr2++L._SL1500_

 

 

The Good Girl (e-book), by Mary Kubica

 

 

81ValfAXXLL._SL1500_

 

 

Dear Daughter (e-book), by Elizabeth Little

 

 

81wMk-xe5RL._SL1500_

 

 

***

 

WHAT’S UP NEXT? (Titles/Covers Linked to Amazon)

 

We Are Not Ourselves, by Matthew Thomas (Vine Review)

 

 

91hu3hzm1PL

 

 

Thursday’s Children, by Nicci French

 

 

20812083

 

Home, by Toni Morrison (Mt. TBR Challenge)

 

 

15798977

 

 

 

***

Let’s hope the upcoming week brings pleasure in reading and blogging.  What does your week look like?

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

***