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review 2017-10-18 17:54
Before We Were Yours
Before We Were Yours - Lisa Wingate

By: Lisa Wingate

ISBN: 9780425284681

Publisher: Random House

Publication Date: 6/6/2017 

Format: Hardcover

My Rating:  5 Stars +++

 

Master storyteller, Lisa Wingate returns following her heartwarming Carolina Series The Sea Keeper's Daughters with her best yet, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS Top Books of 2017— A powerful story within a story inspired by one of American’s most horrific real-life adoption scandals. (stunning front cover)!

A haunting, beautifully written and emotional story of family, sisters, human connections and the strong bonds of love. From good versus evil, deeply-buried secrets, and injustice, to triumph in the face of adversity.

With two storylines, two families generations apart— the bridge between past and present. Before We Were Yoursalternates between the historical story of the Foss Children and the modern-day story of Avery Stafford.

Present day: We meet Avery Stafford. 30 years-old, graduated top of her class from Columbia Law and works for US attorney’s office. A successful career as a federal prosecutor, a fiance’ and an upcoming wedding. 

She returns home to South Carolina to help her father, a high-profile politician. He is up for re-election and has some health problems (cancer) and undergoing chemo. Of course, he wants Avery to step into his shoes with a political career.

Avery’s grandmother, Judy is a ghost of her former self. They are keeping it from the media due to the fact they have moved her to an upscale luxury facility. They are currently dealing with a scandal of wrongful death and abuse cases involving eldercare, so they do not want people pointing fingers. Of course, the decision to move to her this facility was not political—her doctor recommended. 

They are heartsick about her cruel descent into dementia. Before they moved her to the nursing home, she escaped her caretaker and staff and was found wandering at a business complex near a mall where she formerly shopped. Ironically, since she cannot even remember their names. 

While touring on the nursing homes (not as luxurious as Judy's), Avery encounters a woman. She calls Avery, Fern. The nurse called the woman, May Crandall. 

 




Through the mind and voice of May, she has triggers from the past. She thinks of Queenie her mother and Camellia. Thinking back to the Mississippi riverbank to Memphis. The night there was no returning. 

Past: Memphis 1939. A twelve-year-old girl Rill. She lives on a riverboat and helps take care of her four young siblings. Life is difficult. However, there are complications during the birth at the hospital and the children are snatched, while Rill was in charge. 

They are thrown into an orphanage. They are told they will be returned to their parents. Rill must keep her siblings together. However, they find evil and something more sinister than they could ever imagine. 

“I want a pain that has a beginning and an end, not one that goes on forever and cuts all the way to the bone.” 

From past to present, Avery is haunted by this woman in the nursing home. Is there a connection? She had on her grandmother’s bracelet. Her curiosity has been piqued by her sad story. Does this woman May, know her grandmother Judy? 

There is no way Avery can let this drop. Secrets from the past. She goes back to her grandmother’s letters and notes. 

Who is Trent Turner in Edisto? He does not seem helpful. What is he hiding? 

Amidst the suspense and intensity while Avery tries desperately to piece together the mystery of her family’s past, we hear the heartbreaking story of sisters and children taken against their will. Ripped from their biological parents. 

A true to life story of Georgia Tann, the director of a Memphis-based adoption organization which basically kidnapped and sold children to wealthy families for many years. Thousands of birth families would never know what became of their children.

“But the love of sisters needs no words. It does not depend on memories, or mementos, or proof. It runs as deep as a heartbeat. It is as ever-present as a pulse.” 

If you have read any of Lisa Wingate’s stories, you know she writes of family, love, and deep connections. A master storyteller, her books are thought-provoking, inspiring, emotional, and deeply moving. Her passion shines through as she shares her stories from the heart to her readers.

Normally when reading a dual time timeline story, I find the historical one the most intriguing. However, in this case, both stories are equally as compelling, since the present-day story still revolves around its own past family history. 

As in sex and child trafficking today, the abuse and devastation continue to destroy lives and futures of innocent children. The monsters target the poor, single mothers, or those on welfare. In this haunting yet true story of babies and children being kidnapped and abused, molested, and mistreated while waiting for the big payday. Some were stolen from birth and siblings and parent’s lives forever to be ripped apart. 

Well-researched, the author offers details as to the number of children who vanished under Georgia Tann’s management range as high as five hundred. Thousands more disappeared into adoptions for profit in which names, birth dates, and birth records were altered to prevent biological families from finding their children. This went on from the 1920s-1950s and was not fully brought to justice until 1996.

From the author: “If there is one overarching lesson to be learned from the Foss children and from the true-life story of the Tennessee Children’s Home Society, it is that babies and children, no matter what corner of the world they hail from, are not commodities, or objects, or blank slates, as Georgia Tann so often represented her wards; they are human beings with histories and needs, and hopes, and dreams of their own.”

Lisa Wingate is at the top of her game. Having read all 8 total works in the Carolina Heirlooms’ series, have been an avid fan of the author’s writing. 

However, BEFORE WE WERE YOURS, really showcases her strength to blend both historical with modern-day stories in a powerful way to capture the heart and most intimate feelings of her characters and the dual timelines. Resilience and the power of love. 

“The heart never forgets where we belong.”

I had the opportunity of reading this book well before its publication date in June; however, I was dealing with my dad’s illness in North Carolina, his death, funeral, and executor of his estate. Playing catch up with reviews/postings I missed this summer. A special thank you to Random House and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

I enjoyed this book so much, purchased the audiobook for my personal library and listened again this past week. Emily Rankin and Catherine Taber are ideal narrators and in sync with Lisa Wingate’s poignant story. 

“Do we carry the guilt from the sins of past generations? If so, can we bear the weight of that burden? Trent” ― Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours

Highly recommend! If you can only read one book this year, this would be the one. Wingate fully understands the power of story. If this does not win Historic Fiction of the Year, I will be shocked. Ideal for book clubs and further discussions. 

If you have not viewed the The Book Club Kit, by Random House— highly recommend, to enhance your reading experience. Well done!

For fans of Charles Martin, Susan Meissner, Kristin Hannah, Sally Hepworth, Nicholas Sparks and Diane Chamberlain. 

As the author mentions in an interview, “In the end, both the modern-day and historical characters in Before We Were Yours are willing to risk everything else for one all-important thing—a place to be authentic and people to be authentic with. That’s what I love most about the book.”

Your fans agree. Cannot wait to see what’s next from this talented author. No wonder it still ranks today as #7 Most Read book on Amazon. Totally captivating!

“No matter how much we may love the melody of a bygone day or imagine the song of a future one, we must dance within the music of today, or we will always be out of step, stumbling around in something that doesn’t suit the moment.” ― Lisa Wingate, Before We Were Yours

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/12/01/Before-We-Were-Yours
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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-10-13 13:50
Approximately Yours!!!
Approximately Yours (North Pole, Minnesota) - Julie Hammerle

First things first: I received this book through NetGalley.

This is the third book in the North Pole, Minnesota series, but can be read on it's own. Same town, different characters. But mentions of some of the characters in the earlier books.

 

In my mind, I'm actually packing my bags and moving to North Pole, Minnesota. This town just seems so damn magical and beautiful, with wonderful people in it and a christmas vibe all year long, something that doesn't sound bad to me at all. I'm writing this review while listening to christmas music (in october, gasp!!!)

 

This review is going to contain spoilers, cause I can't contain my feels!!!

 

Summary: Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.

And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.

She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.

 

I still haven't read the first book in the series but I LOVED the second one. And now the third one sucked me in right away. This series is just greatly written and so easy and fun to read.

 

The characters.
The two main characters are Holly and Danny.
I loved them both right from the start. Holly broke my heart so many times in this story, just her being super selfconsious and always thinking that she will never be good enough. And Danny, breaking his leg and having to give up on basketball for a while, finding out his girlfriend is cheating on him. Give these two a break. And then they met, and because Holly is Holly and she's thinking that he will never be interested in her, she's trying her best to set him up with her cousin, Elda. On the topic of Elda, I love that girl, she's weird, she talks about gross things. She's wonderful.

 

So this story is basically about Holly trying to set up Elda with Danny, doing everything in her power to avoid her own feelings and making things happen between these two. She's writing him texts, pretending to be Elda (who knows about it), they pretty much make him believe that Elda is the one their grandma tried to set him up with. When Elda and Danny actually have to talk to each other face to face, it's just painful and awkward. But because Holly is trying to keep her distance, he actually things that she strongly dislikes him.

 

I love this story. I love the whole thing. Yes, some lies are being told, some feelings get hurt along the way. But I was living for every little moment between Holly and Danny. These two are just such beautiful idiots that I was really rooting for. LOVE THEM.
I also really loved Elda and Dinesh. I mean things between them happened really fast, but these two weirdos work so well together that it was just so THEM to jump right into the relationship. Wedding bells and all.

 

I also very much LOVED the whole gingerbread competition. This is coming from someone who loathes gingerbread. But this element to the story was just so cute. And I loved the little moments of Tinka (from book 2) that we got through this. Girl was not happy about her placing in the competition. Haha, loved it.

 

I HIGHLY recommend this book for everyone who is in need of a little bit of christmas-y cuteness!!!

 

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review 2017-10-10 20:39
Divinely Yours - Karin Gillespie

I found this book to be a nice, lighthearted read. I thoroughly enjoyed the author's images of Heaven. It was definitely a unique idea.

A quick read which I really enjoyed.

Thanks to Henery Press and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-10-10 08:10
Blog Tour w/Review - Explicitly Yours

 

 

Mika Joie

Explicitly Yours
A Platonically Complicated Novella
Release Date Oct. 10, 2017

 

 

Marriage.

 

The final frontier. The end of dating. The number one cause of divorce.

 

I bet you every man who is about to take the plunge experiences a wide range of feelings. As a guy, whose wedding day is only seven days away, I know this.

 

Anxiety—Nerves are kicking in. Yeah, even confident, cocky guys like me are bound to face nuptial stage fright.

 

Let’s face it, forever is kind of a long time, right?

 

Excitement—Coriander and I are going to make it official. I’m marrying my best friend, the one I laugh with, live for, dream with.

 

Nothing can top this moment.

 

That is until I got the biggest surprise of my life…

 

Buy links:

http://mikajolie.com/books/explicitly-yours/

 

 

 

 

Explicitly Yours Excerpt:

All relationships have one law, never make the one you love feel alone, especially when you’re there.”

 

Dean

 

CORI AND I are waiting.

 

Waiting to see if we are bringing a new life into the world. Every second feels like an hour.

 

Two lines or one?

 

In two minutes, we will find out if a mini version of us will be calling me dad. I am hoping with every fiber of my being that the result will not let Cori down.

 

She wants this.

 

Surprisingly, so do I.

 

My stomach is a roller coaster of emotions. With each passing second my excitement builds, reaching new heights, and then fear brings me crashing back down again.

 

Cori is sitting on the bed, legs crisscrossed, chewing her bottom lip, twisting one loop of hair around her finger. “You’re okay? We’re okay?”

 

Always, Moonchild.” I’m pacing, from the wall to the door, throwing a glance every few seconds at my Rolex. One more minute to go. This reminds me of that Velveeta commercial that used to be on TV, where one minute feels like a million.

 

A part of me wants to run inside the bathroom and take a peek, but the other part of me feels heavy and scared to look.

 

Who would have thought that the possibility of becoming a father could elicit such a strong surge of emotions?

 

My phone vibrates. Time’s up. I drag my palm along my jaw, take a steady breath, and say, “I’ll get it.”

 

Okay.”

 

Here goes nothing. I stride on shaky legs toward the bathroom. Once there, I close my eyes, count to ten, then glance at the stick sitting on the vanity. My heart does a stupid somersault, and then I swear it stops . . . just fucking stops for a long second before it starts beating again.

 

 

 

 

 

Explicitly Yours - A Platonically Complicated NovellaExplicitly Yours - A Platonically Complicated Novella

by Mika Jolie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is probably what I would consider The Boy Friend #1.5. This should not be meant to be a standalone read. It takes place following The Boy Friend. I recommend reading them in order to avoid spoilers.

Coriander AKA "Cori" is going to finally marry Dean. We leave off 6 months after the last book ended, with this couple so happy together officially. Cori just has secrets she is afraid to approach with Dean.

Dean has so much love for his bride to be. All he wishes is that she would communicate with him so they can solve what is wrong. He knows he will do anything for his dear Cori.

This is such a sweet, if short jaunt back into the lives of our favorite couple. Trying to keep their bliss, they encounter some rough spots on the way to matrimony. Worth the simple and hot read.


***This early copy was given in exchange for an honest review.

View all my reviews

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About the Author:

 

Mika Jolie is the bestselling author of the Martha’s Way series. She lives in New Jersey with her Happy Chaos—her husband and their energizer bunnies. A sports fanatic and a wine aficionado, she’s determined to balance it all and still write about life experiences and matters of the heart. Let’s face it, people are complicated and love can be messy. When she’s not weaving life and romance into evocative tales, you can find her on a hiking adventure, apple picking, or whatever her three men can conjure up.

 

She loves to hear from readers.

 

 

Website * Newsletter * Goodreads * Amazon 

Facebook Twitter * Instagram

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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review 2017-10-10 03:14
Review: Make Me Yours by Rebecca Brooks
Make Me Yours (Men of Gold Mountain) - Rebecca Brooks

4.25 stars - My review cross-posted from Wit and Sin

 

Once upon a time, Claire Collins fell fast and hard for bad boy Ryan Thomas. But Ryan was an up-and-coming musician whose alcoholism was making him spiral out of control. When Claire found out she was pregnant and Ryan was too drunk to even talk to her about it, she did what was best for her child and left him. It’s been more than five years since they last spoke, but when Ryan comes to Gold Mountain on his comeback tour to find not only Claire, but the daughter he didn’t know existed, everything changes. The chemistry between Ryan and Claire is as hot as ever. But even though Ryan is Claire’s weakness, she always puts her daughter first. And if Ryan wants a chance at winning the heart of the woman he loves and the daughter who immediately grabs his heart, he’s going to have to prove that he has changed.

There’s nothing I love more than a good second chance romance and Make Me Yours is exactly that. Rebecca Brooks has a talent for delivering wonderfully human characters which is what makes this story compelling.

Ryan is a recovering alcoholic who lost everything. He’s worked hard to remain sober and rebuild his career, and I respected the hell out of that. Ryan is a flawed hero, one who makes a number of mistakes. But he’s also incredibly loving and is working to be a better man. Claire’s life was turned upside down when she got swept up in Ryan’s world the first time. Since leaving him, the businesswoman and single mother has worked her butt off to build a life for herself and her daughter. She’s strong and protective and definitely wary of letting Ryan in her heart again. Upon seeing each other again, the two of them strike sparks. Their romance is both emotional and incredibly sexy (I’ll never look at rock climbing the same way again). I liked that Ms. Brooks didn’t make things easy on them; there are a couple of ups and downs and even when the characters messed up, I could understand why they made the mistakes they did – there’s no false drama in this book.

Make Me Yours is by turns sexy and sweet and I may have sniffled a time or two. I adored Claire and Ryan together and I loved catching up with Claire’s friends, the previous Men of Gold Mountain heroines. All in all, Make Me Yours is an engaging story with characters who grab your heart and don’t let go.


FTC Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Source: witandsin.blogspot.com/2017/10/review-make-me-yours-by-rebecca-brooks.html
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