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review 2017-11-28 05:42
The Sisters of Glass Ferry
The Sisters of Glass Ferry - Kim Michele Richardson

By:  Kim Michele Richardson

ISBN: 1496709551

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date:  11/28/2017

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: 5 Stars +  (ARC)

 

From Kentucky’s finest Southern storyteller, Kim Michele Richardson returns following (2016) GodPretty in the Tobacco Field and (2015) Liar's Bench with her latest gripping mystery (her best yet), crime thriller: THE SISTERS OF GLASS FERRY –Rich in character, strong family bonds, suspense, and dark deeply-buried family secrets with a Southern Gothic twist. 

Set in the southern riverside town of Glass Ferry, in the heart of Kentucky bourbon—a gripping complex multi-generational tale of three families and four generations. Told from two points of view (Flannery and Patsy), and dual timelines.

From 1952 to 1972 and beyond, meet the Butler family. 

Mother Jean, father Honey Bee, and twin daughters: Flannery Bee and Patsy Jean. Their rival, The Henrys. 

Even though wise Beauregard “Honey Bee” (dad) has passed on, his legacy lives on through his daughters. A bourbon distiller, he made sure his family was taken care of and taught his daughters to be strong. 

Teaching them about guns, bullets, driving, and other things a man would teach his sons, and in particular, Flannery – the bourbon business, the river, chores in the barn, and his secrets (including his recipes) as he unburdens his soul to his thirteen- year- old daughter. 

His rules still called from the grave. 

Honey Bee had said, “Kentucky without its whiskey men, its stills, would be like New York City without business suits and buildings.” 

Flannery loved everything about whiskey. Loved that Honey Bee had taught her the secrets of its doings. " She loved the dark earth and the mystery of its scent that tucked itself into a strange sweet growing time." Her sister was more like their mom. 

Patsy had other friends besides her twin Flannery and Flannery felt betrayed and jealous. The mom referred to her husband's business as “the devil’s water.” However, Honey Bee thought his River Witch was respectable. After all, he was licensed and offered a true gentlemen’s whiskey. 

However, there was a payback. They had to keep the sheriff's pockets full of fees (taxes). Sinful bribery by the Henry brood, in more ways than one. Carried down to the next generation. 

However, Honey Bee always reminded his family the business had saved them throughout history, through the Depression and Prohibition. Only four licenses were handed out over the years in Kentucky and he was one. 

Later, in the story, we discover there were also twin sons (Paxton and Preston) which died as babies. A big mystery is unveiled near the conclusion regarding a third family and the connection to the Butlers from decades earlier. 

 



The story revolves around 1952 — the night of the prom. Patsy had a special date with her boyfriend Danny Henry. Danny the younger son. There was also the oldest, Hollis (bad news-troublemaker), and the father Jack which is the Sherriff.

The Henry’s looked down on the Butlers. Some thought being a twin was bad luck. A small town of half-truths, sadness, domestic abuse, rape, cover-ups, corruption, mental illness, and rumors. Spirits of the past. Unfinished business. 

Patsy was the beautiful and curvy sister; whereas, Flannery was the smart one and not so beautiful. Patsy was closer to her mom and Flannery her dad. They were eight minutes apart. Patsy was protective of her younger sister. The girls did not always get along. Sibling rivalry. 

However, prom night. The night it all went wrong – will haunt Flannery the rest of her life. The argument. The night Danny and Patsy went missing. From her mom’s sadness to the guilt of her sister. 

The 1950 Mercury, pearls, prom night, a gun, bullet, two different brothers, twin sisters, Hospital Curve, Ebenezer Road and the Kentucky River. 

The same river that had given Flannery so much would take yet another from her. The night Danny and Patsy went missing. They never made it to the prom. There was also the haunting day Patsy accepted a ride with Hollis three months earlier when Danny was flirting with Violet. 

Now, Patsy is gone and Jean still makes a cake each year for Patsy and Flannery on their birthday. However, this year, a car was found in the muddy Kentucky River and the secrets of the past begin to unravel. They had all hoped the two runaway lovers had been living a secret life; however, a tragedy. 

Two different twin sisters cannot seem to escape their tragedy and loss. Regrets. Secrets. One after another, trapped with no seemingly way out. 

“Reckoning Day was why Flannery stayed precisely eight minutes ahead, looking over her shoulder for those lagging minutes when the devil might try to collect." 

Flannery had the pearls. Her mom wants desperately to find the family pearls. Flannery would have to tell everything – both her secrets and Patsy’s. Flannery could only think of getting miles away from Glass Ferry. From her mom’s sadness, the rumors, and her guilt which only pushed her into yet another nightmare relationship. 

Now twenty years later she returns. 

What would Hollis do? A pact with the devil. The Henrys and their hold on this family, throughout generations. Precious moments lost. Brokenness and drowning misery. Is history repeating itself?

 
Flannery has to do something to help clear her sister’s reputation and name. The strong urge to avenge her sister. Will she have the courage, to tell the truth, or seek revenge? Justice. 

In the background, there is also another intriguing mystery (icing on the cake). The long-dead midwife Joetta, alleged to have been a witch and a murderess. Does her spirit still haunt Ebenezer Road?

However, the parents kept one big secret which is yet to be unveiled. An old family matter. A secret box. A diary. Holding the key to the past. (A nice twist)!

Will the spirits of the past, continue to hover over the lives of this family? How far will a sister go to protect her secrets and seek justice for those she loves.

Riveting. Emotional. Compelling. Haunting. Beautifully written. A mix of psychological, domestic suspense, crime thriller, mystery, historical, and Southern Gothic. 

A tale of heartbreak, and the strong bonds of family, balanced between destruction, regret, and redemption. The dark consequences that reverberate through the lives of three families, who will never be the same again. Love and loss. 

Richardson’s best yet! Once you start reading, you will not be able to put this one down. These families will draw you into their web of secrets and lies across generations, keeping you turning into the night. 

For fans of David Joy, Wiley Cash, Joshilyn Jackson, and Ron Rash.If you enjoy authentic Southern Gothic family mysteries, this one is for you. Ideal for book clubs (discussion guide included). My mom was a twin and come from a long line of family twins- always find them intriguing. 

Highly Recommend! Have read all her books and a huge fan. Anxiously awaiting the next book. I enjoyed reading what’s next for the author: Add this one to your TBR list. 

“I am currently working on my next novel The Book Woman of Troublesome Creek, and have spent countless hours researching and exploring the Pack Horse Library Project of 1935. It is a fascinating tale of tribute about the fearsome librarians who traveled on horseback and mule to provide books to the poor and isolated communities in Kentucky.”

Read More 

A special thank you to the author, Kensington, and Netgalley for an advanced digital and print copy. I have also pre-ordered the audiobook narrated by Marguerite Gavin. 

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Buy the Book

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/09/01/The-Sisters-of-Glass-Ferry
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review 2017-11-21 08:48
DNF: The Mirror Sisters
The Mirror Sisters - V.C. Andrews

No stars.

 

Possibly one of the worst books I've read from the VC Andrews ghost writer. 22% in and the thought of anymore makes me want to cringe. It's about identical twins. All I'm getting is how identical and how special they are. And I'm fed up already. The mother is an overbearing bitch who wants her super speshul twins to be identical in every way down to thoughts. She's not allowing them to play with other children because they might disrupt the twin's special identicalness. It's the same thing over and over and over. It's ridiculous and I can't stomach any more of this book.

 

Thank you to Netgalley and Gallery Threshold, Pocket Books for the chance to view the title.

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review 2017-10-30 17:18
Game review - Gone Home

 

[As usual, if games aren't your thing, feel free to skip this. I try to only post reviews on BL for the ones that are particularly story-rich and don't have much in way of what most folks would consider actual gameplay.]

 

Like Tacoma, Fullbright’s newest game, Gone Home isn’t so much an adventure game as it is an interactive story, although the story is even slimmer here than it was in Tacoma.

You play as Katie, who has just arrived home in the very early AM after a trip abroad. The family just moved to this home and I’m pretty sure Katie has never been there. At any rate, the house is empty - no one else is home, and you don’t know why. There are a few cryptic notes from your younger sister indicating that something has happened and that you shouldn’t tell your parents anything. There are also a couple phone messages, one of which is particularly worrisome. In order to find out what happened, you have to explore the house, reading any notes you find and picking up keys and combination lock codes so that you can open new doors and learn more secrets. Touching certain items triggers voiceover narration from your sister, explaining a little of what happened to her while you were gone and how things got to the point they are now.

The game’s atmosphere is top-notch. It’s dark outside, and there’s a storm going on, so your exploration is occasionally interrupted by thunder. Meanwhile, almost every room you enter is dark. When I first started playing, I turned off lights after leaving a room, but it wasn’t long before I got in the habit of turning on every single light and just leaving them on. Not only did it help make exploring slightly less scary, it helped me keep track of which rooms I’d been in and which hadn’t. However, the house’s electrical wiring was a bit wonky, so occasionally the lights flickered. And for some reason everyone left their TVs on.

Thankfully for those like me who scare easily, the flickering lights, thunder, TVs, and Katie’s sister’s notes about potential ghosts were as bad as the “horror” got. There really wasn’t anything to be afraid of. No jump scares, no monsters, literally nothing in the house but you. The house became a lot less creepy once I realized that, although there was one room I refused to explore because it didn’t seem to have a working light.

As you explore the house, you learn more about what happened to Katie’s sister, but you also learn a bit about what’s been going on with Katie’s parents. Since I’d read spoilery reviews of the game, I already knew most of what was going on with Katie’s sister, but I had no clue about what was going on with her parents. I wanted to know what they knew about what was going on, and where they were.

The final revelations were...kind of disappointing. Maybe I’d have enjoyed them more if I hadn’t come across those spoilery reviews? Or maybe not, since several things were obvious well before the game’s ending. One of the things Fullbright seems to have trouble with is story pacing. This one spread things out almost too much, while Tacoma waited until the very end of the game for almost all of its most interesting moments. Gone Home's setup also felt more contrived. Would Katie's sister really have forced her to learn literally all of the house's secrets (and at 1 or 2 AM!) before finally letting her know what had happened? That seemed...pretty awful.

Of the two games, I definitely enjoyed Tacoma more, although Gone Home was still pretty decent. Part of that might have been that I’m more of a sci-fi fan - I really enjoyed Tacoma’s world-building, the AI, and getting to explore the station. Gone Home’s benefits were its creepy atmosphere and the cassette tapes strewn about the house...which I hated. It would have been nice if the cassette players had had some kind of volume control, but even if they had, I seriously disliked Katie’s sister’s taste in music, which was a bit of a bummer since she mentioned and gushed over the music so much in her voiceovers and notes. I wasn’t really a fan of the music in Tacoma either, but at least it didn’t feel as important there.

Oh, also: although Gone Home still made me feel a bit nauseous, I found that I did better with it than I did with Tacoma. So that was something.

I don’t regret playing Gone Home, but it’s one of those games I’d be cautious about recommending. It’s very short - I finished the entire thing in slightly less than 2 hours - and the story is very, very slim. As in “I can’t say much more about it than I already have, or I’d give everything away.”

I do have one other thing I’d like to say, but it’s very spoilery. You’ve been warned.

Okay, so the one other thing I wanted to say was that it kind of bugged me that I’ve now played two interactive stories with

heavy LGBT themes and the exact same setup (not saying the title of the other one, because spoilers). There’s a person, you don’t know what happened to them and you want to find out, you do a bit of invasive exploration, and in the end you learn the person is LGBT (in this case a lesbian), has run off, and you’re supposed to leave them be and trust that everything is going just fine for them. This bugged me in the other game I played, but it particularly bothered me here. If I were Katie, you can bet I’d want to know where my little sister is. I’d want to keep in touch with her in order to make sure that she’s doing okay, and I’d want her to have more people she could depend on than some girl I don’t know who might be dependable but who also might not. It also kind of sucks that both of these games were set up in such a way that the LGBT aspects are major spoilers - they are very nearly the entire story. Tacoma was better in that respect too. One gay character and two lesbians, and you could actually talk about characters' sexuality without spoiling even a little of the story.

(spoiler show)

 

Rating Note:

 

I debated between 2.5 stars and 3 stars. I decided that the issues I mentioned slightly overshadowed the things I enjoyed about the game and finally settled on 2.5 stars.

 

(Original review posted on A Library Girl's Familiar Diversions.)

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review 2017-10-28 01:35
Cute Contemporary
Blame It on the Bet (Whiskey Sisters) (V... Blame It on the Bet (Whiskey Sisters) (Volume 1) - L. E. Rico

Hennessey O’Halloran and her sisters are trying to save their pub following their father’s death.  Bryan Truitt is a developer who want’s the land their pub sits on for land development. They make a bet that will either save the pub for the O’Halloran’s or give Bryan what he wants.

This was a cute story that was an easy quick read. The characters were likable and the story kept you entertained. I highly recommend.

**I voluntarily read and reviewed this book

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review 2017-10-16 19:45
An Epic YA Fantasy of Powerful Relationships
A Throne for Sisters (Book One) (Volume ... A Throne for Sisters (Book One) (Volume 1) - Morgan Rice

A Throne for Sisters is Book One in a new young adult fantasy series that opens with two teens stuck in a terrible orphanage. Sophia and Kate long to escape, and though they have a mutual goal and the shared experience of being unwanted in the world, each harbors different dreams of how they will find love once they leave the confines of their prison. 

 

Neither anticipates that the actions each must take to survive will bring each further from their objectives: Sophia's romantic dream of entering a privileged world, falling in love with a noble, and living the life of a court lady; or Kate's fiery passion to become a warrior woman, battling dragons and injustice alike. 

 

In reality, what transpires places each at odds not only with her goal, but with the psychic link that joins their minds and enables them to feel connected to the only person in their lives who cares. 

 

What they find in the world isn't hope, but a plodding form of despair that permeates the lives of people as much as overt oppression once ruled their own.

 

Caught up in war, court drama, and separation, the sisters must learn their own lessons about this strange new world, which is trapped in its own turmoil and its own definition of oppression. Each must make decisions about the course of her life which would seem to run contrary to all their dreams. 

 

The story line is reminiscent of Joan Aiken's Wolves of Willoughby Chase, with its brooding world of pain and change and the plight faced by two orphans who challenge both the outer world and themselves; but A Throne for Sisters is less black and white in its presentations of who is the villain and who the victim under such circumstances. 

 

One very satisfying feel to the plot lies in how the sisters' relationship to each other changes upon separation; and how they form their own identities in response to the choices and circumstances they confront in the wider world. 

 

Another fine element is how Kate and Sophia evolve in response to perceived methods of reaching their goals. Kate refines her observations of persona, for example, and this is very clear and well-described.

 

Some other stories may sound similar; but in the end it's the evolutionary process of the characters and how they define and direct their positions in the world which makes the tale - and if A Throne for Sisters is any indication, this powerful opener to the series will produce a combination of feisty protagonists and challenging circumstances to thoroughly involve not just young adults, but adult fantasy fans who seek epic stories fueled by powerful friendships and adversaries. 

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