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review 2018-03-20 20:39
Unsettling, entrancing tale of escaping the traps we're born to
Along the Indigo - Elsie Chapman

Disclaimer: Reviewing pre-publication proof via NetGalley


I loved this. Vivid, strong character writing and a fully fleshed-out sense of place from the first page made this an engaging story, and the dark fantasy/paranormal elements, while light, tinted the story with a deliciously creepy atmosphere.


Marsden is saving up to skip town with her 8-year-old little sister before one or both of them get roped into joining Nina's girls like their mom. Their dad died (or killed himself) when she was her sister's age, and their mom started working the not-so-secret nightshift in the boarding house they live in/brothel.


Being pressured toward sex work isn't the only source of Marsden's misery. She's half Chinese in a white, rural American town. Her mother's job - and her likely future - are an open secret, and the predatory, bullying behaviour of her peers and neighbours has her self-isolating to survive. And she can't hear the voices of the dead - despite regularly visiting the covert behind the boardinghouse to strip the bodies of the dead for cash. It's the last remaining piece of family property, a sort of suicide forest, tainted by the murder spree of a mad ancestor.


So there's a lot going on here. The visible minority/POC/mixed ancestry thing is handled well and comes up in Mars & her sister's experience, as well as another boy in town's story. The absent/abusive parent thing is troubling but very well handled, as is the dysfunctional community. And the suicides. There's heaps upon heaps of messed up in this book, but the author doesn't bury you in it. It's an engaging read, atmospheric and challenging without feeling hopeless. It reminds me of Brenna Yovanoff's books, and Kendare Blake's Anna Dressed In Blood just a touch. I think it's set in eastern Oregon or Washington maybe, or one of the prairie/desert states further east of there, but it has more in common with Southern Gothic paranormals. Creepy, foreign and familiar at the same time, unsettling and entrancing. Will circle back to this author's earlier works and follow her future books with great interest. Highly recommended read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-27 03:06
Review: The Sometimes Sister
The Sometimes Sisters - Carolyn Brown

This was my first book of Ms. Brown’s, I fell in love with the characters immediately.  I love Annie, Zed and the girls, Dana, Tawny, Harper and Dana’s daughter, Brook.  They all come together after Annie, their grandmother passes away. Zed is Annie’s friend. In her will, Annie gave each of the girls a job in order to keep the hotel that she and Zed ran open and in the family.  Dana is considered the black sheep of the family as she’s the daughter conceived in an affair her father had while married to her mother. 


    The girls get together to say goodbye to their grandmother, Annie.  Tawny tells Dana that she’s a good mom to Brook.  Tawny told Dana that she thought Harper was sent away to boarding school because she might have been pregnant.


 Harper and Tawny get into a bar fight because Harper took another woman’s bar stool and sat down.  In return, the sister of the woman scorned cut a beer bottle and cut Harper’s chin.  Tawny then proceeded to knock the woman out onto the cold hard floor.


The girls got together to talk and spill secrets after Harper tried to drown herself. Harper revealed that she was pregnant at sixteen and her mom sent her away to an unwed mother’s home.  Her daughter, Emma Joanna was 9 on 3/30 and Wyatt was the father.  Dana revealed that Brook’s father cheated on her and hit her and Brook.  She left him.  Tawny has yet to reveal her secret that she was kicked out school for holding drugs for an ex boyfriend.


Brooke was on in school suspension because Ryson wanted her to hold drugs for him but she wouldn’t so she punched him after he said something derogatory about her friend, Cassidy.  Flora, their cleaning lady retired sooner than expected because Cassidy and Ryson were caught in a compromising position  after Cassidy’s mom was babysitting a client’s children and was taking care of Cassidy, her granddaughter while Cassidy’s mom worked.


I absolutely loved this book.  It will definitely not be my last of Ms. Brown’s books   

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review 2018-02-26 15:44
Two Sisters and A Daughter
Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay) - Susan Mallery

"Sisters Like Us" focuses on two sisters (Harper and Stacey) and Harper's daughter, Becca. This book picks up more than a year after the events in "A Million Little Pieces." There is a connection via the hero in this book to the characters in the last book, so you do have a tenuous connection there. I think that my problem with this one is that the transition from Harper to Stacey's POVs don't work. You honestly did not need Becca included in this. And I still don't know if Stacey had Asperger's Syndrome or what. Mallery is not clear about that and it just felt like it was something that someone would mention. There is also unresolved tension from Harper and Stacey's mom that I wish had been actually worked out. She acts like a jerk and everyone ignores it.


Stacey is the top in her field and now that she is expecting her first child, she and her husband agree that he will be the one to stay home while she continues to work. Though Stacey gets science, she doesn't get how having a baby is going to change her and she honestly doesn't want it to. Stacey is also hiding her pregnancy from her mother because she's terrible. I honestly didn't get why anyone was even dealing with the mom in this story, she's a nasty piece of work and I was not a fan.


Harper is still trying to recover after being left and divorced. Running her own virtual assistant business (which I was very intrigued by) doesn't leave her with a lot of time to be there to listen to her daughter Becca, but she is trying. Harper has a long time client, Lucas, that definitely seems to be sniffing around her and she's wondering if she is ready to give romance another go.

Becca's story should have been another book since it didn't fit well in here that much. Becca is dealing with losing her friends during the school year when she finally admits a secret to her best friend. Falling for her aunt's nephew, Becca starts thinking about having sex for the first time and what to do about her lack of a relationship with her father. 


Stacey's husband was not really there at all in this book. Lucas was up front and center in the story and I am sorry, I was over that clown after he pulls a BS move after forcing his way into Harper's life. The whole thing left a bad taste in my mouth and I did not find myself rooting for him at all. The only saving grace was Becca told his tiresome butt off and he deserved it. 


Most of Stacey's POV is oddly flat and it's so jarring to go from her to Harper. When we jump into Becca it becomes a bit worse. I think if we either focused on the two sisters the book could have been stronger or just have a stand alone book with Becca. 

The ending was abrupt as anything and I was surprised there was not more to the story. There was so much left unresolved regarding Becca and her father that if Mallery does another book in this series, I hope she follows up with her. 


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review 2018-02-26 04:46
My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult

Jodi Picoult has a talent for making her readers consider, and reconsider, issues they’ve never thought much of before. At the center of this, perhaps her most famous novel, is medical emancipation: a thirteen-year-old girl wants to have control of her own body; she doesn’t want to leave decisions up to her parents.


Anna’s older sister, Kate, has fought Cancer since the age of two. She is doing badly, nearly dead, when Anna has had enough and consults a lawyer about filing a petition to emancipate herself. She’s had to donate body organs to her sister time and time again, from birth, with no say.


This book is competently written, but I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I expected to. The first half dragged; Julia and Campbell’s relationship seems forced; the ending is tragedy porn. The topic at the novel’s center is intriguing, as is always the case with Picoult . . . This one just didn’t entirely get off the ground, for me. I found myself indifferent to the plight of this family. I never felt I was in their heads.


I can recommend this to fans of Picoult, but no one else.

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text 2018-02-25 14:18
Reading progress update: I've read 100%.
Sisters Like Us (Mischief Bay) - Susan Mallery

I only got the last book because it was $2.99 and bought the follow up because I'm stupid sometimes when it comes to books. This title should really be called Two Sisters and a Daughter since we get one of the main character's daughter's POV too. This was just okay. I found myself bored. You get a look back at the previous books character's which I didn't care about at all. One of the heroes acts like a jerk and I wish Mallery had the heroine kick him to the curb. 

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