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review 2017-03-21 20:41
The Hope Chest
The Hope Chest: A Novel - Viola Shipman

 

By:  Viola Shipman

ISBN: 1250105072

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

Format: Other

My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Master storyteller, Viola Shipman (Wade Rouse) returns following the heartwarming debut, The Charm Bracelet (2016) and nostalgic Christmas novella Christmas Angels with the latest love story— THE HOPE CHEST, poignant and beautifully crafted, a story of hope, faith, memories, second chances, life’s special moments and surprises.

Emotionally rich, heartbreaking, and yet inspiring and warm-spirited— Shipman once again demonstrates the impact of family, history, and friends. Life is precious. Life is a gift. Time. How do we choose to use it? A legacy to be continued through others. To be passed along. You can utilize what time you have, or lose it all in a blink of an eye.

Thought-provoking! One man may be losing his wife, but through her strength—he may discover a new family. From family heirlooms, nostalgia, grief, sadness, to inspiration and hope for the future.

“ . . . Hope is something you carry with you forever, not only this chest but also in your heart. So look inside it and inside yourself when you need hope the most, and it will guide you, and remind you of what was and what is to be. . . “

Set in idyllic and charming small town of Michigan, Don and Mattie Tice have had a happy life. They have been in love since they first met many years earlier. They promised one another, till death do us part. They are approaching their fiftieth wedding anniversary. Don wishes more than anything he could freeze time. Just a little longer.

They had their cottage at Hope Dunes. Their history. However, the house was big and now Don needed help with Mattie. They now required a caregiver. Mattie has ALS— for five years, and now they are forced to move to a smaller place. Are they really ready to give up a big part of their past? What about the future?

Mattie is multi-talented. She was a successful landscape designer, with many famous clients over the years. She was also a painter. Don was an executive at Herman Miller furniture, and they both love the beauty and importance that objects and plants hold in people’s homes and lives.

Now they are left with no children and only a faithful dog, Mabel. What will he do when his loving faithful wife passes on. How will he go on? He is clinging to every moment.

Enter Rose Hoffs, and her charming, "larger- than- life" daughter, Jeri. Rose lost her parents to cancer and her husband left years ago. A divorced single mom, her parents had left her their family home; however, she is struggling to make ends meet.

She needs full-time hours versus part time in order to survive without using all her savings and her inheritance, which was dwindling quickly. She needed to hang on to her family home. She was too young to have no help. She is excited to get an opportunity to work for this couple through the service, There’s No Place Like Home, the senior care group as a caregiver.

Little does she know how she and her daughter’s life will be enhanced by this wonderful caring couple, and the impact she and her daughter will have while based on this newfound relationship.

In the years following Mattie’s diagnosis, Don had been angry, with God and at every person so insinuated that his wife would one day be better off dead. However, Mattie made him aware his anger was misplaced. It was not all about him. She told him he was being selfish and wasting his strength and emotion over something he could not control. Time will march on. Life will continue.

. . . “We get one chance on this earth. One short little stop to get things right, and too few of us do. We focus on everything that is unimportant.”

Special keepsakes. A special hope chest for a special history. Everything has a story. Each of the heirlooms in the hope chest teaches something about one’s self. Past, present, future. Living lessons. A hope chest once filled with hope and now there is none.

From a cedar chest, scents, fragrances of the past. Filled with memories such as scrapbooks, heirlooms, family pictures, teddy bears, family bibles, special mementos, rag dolls, aprons, dishes, jewelry—precious items to be passed along to a family. Connecting the past with the future. Filled with love, hopes, and dreams.

“Hope is only one short letter from home.

H is for Hope Now and for always.
O is for the Overwhelming love I have for you.
P is for the Practical items that will make your house a home.
E is for the Eternal memories this chest will provide every time you open it up.

You are my hope, and my home, in this world, My daughter, my love. . . ”



Beautifully written, I bookmarked so many passages. Shipman has a way with words and vivid descriptions—predict he will be the next Nicholas Sparks! Loved everything about this charming story! Readers will fall in love with the characters, as well as the comforting words to those who have recently lost loved ones or those left behind trying to make sense of their loss. You will smile and cry at the same time. No chance encounters. An ideal book for book clubs and further discussions.

Another element which was nicely done— the way Shipman used the different timelines. Often an author will spend more time with the secondary story than the main one. I liked the fact, Don and Mattie's touching and the timeless story took center stage, as well as their background history. Rose’s life intersected perfectly, without taking away from the couple's journey.

For fans of Nicholas Sparks, Fredrik Backman, Debbie Macomber, Joanne Demaio, Sally Hepworth, Zoe Fishman, and Charles Martin.

Highly Recommend!

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Hope-Chest
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review 2017-03-20 21:35
The Cutaway
The Cutaway: A Novel - Christina Kovac

By:  Christina Kovac

ISBN: 9781501141690

Publisher: Atria / 37 INK

Publication Date: 3/21/2017

Format:  Hardcover

My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

Christina Kovac delivers an intriguing suspense; highly-entertaining action debut, THE CUTAWAY —a brilliant and tenacious TV news and producer uncovers a video and sets out to discover the whereabouts of a missing female attorney while discovering something even more sinister.

From power, greed, dirty politics and corruption in Washington, this heroine will not stop until she has uncovered this dangerous web of deceit.

The author brings a wealth of her own experience managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories as well as a TV journalist from the top networks to the pages as her story comes alive.

A beautiful woman, Evelyn Marie Carney an attorney; has gone missing in Georgetown. The Metropolitan Police Department is looking for this woman, last seen on Sunday.

TV news producer Virginia Knightly thinks she may have seen this young attorney somewhere. Most likely not in person; perhaps a cutaway shot, one of those quick flashes of video used to show a reaction. She was uncertain.

Evelyn was a recent law school graduated and worked at a prestigious firm. On the night she disappeared, she had dinner at a restaurant in Georgetown. She left alone. Police recovered her car abandoned not fifty yards from the restaurant.

Knightly has a memory, which is not exactly photographic; however, things, places, details, and events burn a permanent place in her memory, which is a gift at deadline. She can recall the angle of every frame, where it was shot, and what time of year, and the specifics. Armed with this kind of information can also be dangerous.

She loves telling stories, on or off camera. However, she may get more than she bargained for. Dark money.

Soon Knightly suspects foul play and begins her own investigation. Investigators seemed more interested in Evelyn’s martial problems. A martial separation was requested by Evelyn the night of the disappearance. What about her war-hero husband, Peter? Who was romantically involved with Evelyn?

What did Ian Chase’s official portrait from the Department of Justice have to do with the missing woman? Who was Evelyn looking at in the video? Was someone expected to turn a blind eye to illegal activities?

Virginia becomes enthralled and caught up in a high-stakes case, murder, greed deceit, dark money, power, and corruption. Hot on the trail, she soon realizes for every great story, there is a risk. Some far greater than others.

She discovers road blocks every way she turns, even in her own backyard, plus Michael Ledger, the detective which she had a relationship. Also PACs, political fundraising with anonymous donors (so-called dark money) to nonprofit groups, made in secret.

Money missing from the fund. Was Evelyn being set up? By whom?

Compelling! An edgy mystery with "behind the scenes" intensity in a contemporary suspenseful cutthroat news business. An intense tightly wound debut suspense. Looking forward to more from this author, who definitely knows her way around a story.

For fans of authors, Neely Tucker, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Lis Wiehl, and Jennifer Vaughn (some of my top favorites).

A special thank you to Atria and NetGalley for an advanced reading copy.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

About the Author

 

Photograph by Tina Krohn 

 

Christina Kovac worked for seventeen years managing Washington, DC newsrooms and producing crime and political stories in the District. Her career as television journalist began with Fox Five’s Ten O’Clock News, and after that, the ABC affiliate in Washington. For the last nine years, she worked at NBC News, where she worked for Tim Russert and provided news coverage for Meet the Press, the Today show, Nightly News, and others. 

Christina Kovac lives with her family outside of Washington, DC. The Cutaway is her first novel. Read More

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/The-Cutaway
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review 2017-03-18 18:21
The Themis Files --Part 2
Waking Gods: Book 2 of The Themis Files - Sylvain Neuvel

Book Title:  Waking Gods

Author:  Sylvain Neuvel

Series:  The Themis Files #2

Genre:  Science Fiction, Fantasy

Publisher:  Del Ray

SourceI received an ARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

 

 

 

⇝Add to Goodreads⇜

 

 

 

 

♪♫My Pick For Book Theme Song♫♪

It Has Begun by Starset  --If a book or series has anything to do with outer space, aliens, or just persevering…than Starset wrote the soundtrack for it.  This lyric video is awesome…like Themis herself is stomping around.♫

 

 

⇝Ratings Breakdown⇜

 

Plot:  5+/5

Characters:  5/5

The Feels:  5/5

Addictiveness:  5+

Theme:  5/5

Flow:  5/5

Backdrop (World Building):  5/5

Originality:  5+/5

Book Cover:  5/5

Ending:  5/5  Cliffhanger:  …you could say that.

 

Will I continue this series?  Umm…YEAH!  This is a must read series for anyone, at least I think so.

 

 

 

⇝My Thoughts⇜

 

I wished for this on Netgalley, right after I did that; I thought I really would rather listen to this on Audio.  Since I listened to the first book in the series, Sleeping Giants, on Audio and it was one of the best audiobooks ever.  I figured I wouldn't actually win the chance to read this one, and I was okay with that…guess what…I won.  I never win anything.

I missed the full cast of characters giving each person their own voice, but I still was freaking totally engaged in this story.  It Rocks!  I'm fairly certain I will still have to listen to this on Audio, maybe, right before the 3rd book comes out.  Overall, I'm not disappointed I won this and had the opportunity to read this before it releases in April 2017.

There is some buzz out there about Sony Pictures adapting this series to film.  I really hope it happens, because it will rock as a movie series.  I also fervently hope they make it everything that it can be…

 

 

 

If you click the pic above it will link to the source of the movie info.

 

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review 2017-03-14 23:16
A Bridge Across the Ocean
A Bridge Across the Ocean - Susan Meissner

By: Susan Meissner

ISBN: 9780451476005 
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: 3/14/2017 
Format: Other 
My Rating: 4 Stars

Susan Meissner returns following (2016) Stars Over Sunset Boulevard with her latest, A BRIDGE ACROSS THE OCEAN — a character-driven tale of three women from modern day to the past of the 1940s, of fear, courage pain, love, and loyalty.

From the past to present, lost souls who had to cross many bridges from pain and suffering on their journey to self-discovery.

Brette Caslake, present day lives in the present. She has a gift. She sees spirits, the ones which linger. She is drawn into a mystery which began with the RMS Queen Mary brought thousands of War brides to the US.

Annaliese Lange, who is escaping from a marriage to a Nazi, and Simone Devereux, who lost her family in the war.

"Life will send us across a bridge we did not want to cross, but when we finally open our eyes on the other side, we see that there had been nothing to fear after all."

Brette becomes drawn into the lives of three women from the past. Two of the women are escaping the horrors of war and a brutal past of pain and suffering. Brette tries to solve the mystery of the death of one of the war brides when traveling to America on the Queen Mary in 1946.

Three women shared a cabin; however, one did not leave the ship when it arrived in America. Brette connects with the lost souls while struggling with her own abilities. The Drifters or spirits. The author unravels the events while connecting the stories of past and present.

While I enjoyed the stories of the courageous women from the past, the present day Brette was not as intriguing.

As always, Meissner has a unique way of transporting you to another time and place re-living the past which lives on. Timeless. With well-researched topics and interesting stories of strong yet complex women, family, and relationships.

Lovers of historical fiction, a little mystery, and complex multi-layered stories will appreciate as well as enjoying the special twist!

A special thank you to Berkley and NetGalley for an early reading copy. An elegant cover!

JDCMustReadBooks
Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/01/A-Bridge-Across-the-Ocean
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review 2017-03-14 12:58
Never Let You Go
Never Let You Go - Chevy Stevens
ISBN: 9781250034564
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Publication Date:  3/14/2017 
Format:  Other
My Rating: 5 Stars

 

Chevy Stevens returns following Those Girls (2015), with yet another top notch Sleeping with the Enemy psychological domestic suspense thriller on steroids!

A long-time Stevens fan, reading every book she creatively crafts, and anxiously awaiting the next — Stevens once again showcases her highly creative plotting skills, an engrossing narrative, and her "signature ingredient" of keeping readers surprised, with her famous twists, while moving seamlessly between timelines.

Starting in November 2005, we meet Lindsey, married to Andrew and daughter Sophie. She knows one thing: She had to leave her husband. There was no more time. No matter what it took, no matter how risky it was, she had to get Sophie away from him. She needed to protect her daughter. She is terrified.

As with all domestic abusers, they remove all their victim's friends and financial resources, to keep them under their thumb.

Flash forward to 2016. Lindsey and Sophie are now living in Dogwood Bay. She has started a new life. She hopes the past is in the past. Or is it? Andrew has spent time in prison. He wants her to suffer. He was going to make her pay for every year he spent behind bars. He was now a free man and he was going to find her.

Is someone watching? Is Andrew back to act out his revenge?

Stevens flashes back and forth from between these two timelines and even further back to 1997 when the couple met. We hear from Lindsey and Sophie’s POV. The master manipulator. Is there more than one? Who can be trusted?

When she left him years ago, after drugging him, to enable their escape—there was a car accident. A young woman was dead. Someone had to pay.

From Sleeping with the Enemy, The Perfect Guy, Fatal Attraction and more, we always love the intensity of unfortunate protagonists finding themselves stuck with Mr, Crazy. Intense. The man masked behind the chilling monster inside. Unfortunately, not until too late, does he reveal his true self. Then the victim finds themselves risking their lives and others to escape.

As always, a master storyteller, Stevens adds her own clever twist. There is nothing ordinary or similar to this tale. A cautionary tale screaming “Do not trust anyone.” When you least expect someone, crosses your path. When you are most vulnerable, most trusting. They may seek you out for their own revenge.

Stevens delivers her most riveting grip-lit yet. The brutality of domestic violence. Frighteningly real, and all too familiar for many. In addition, it is among the hardest to witness, as for why many are free to continue on their destructive path, until it is often, too late.

The author knows how to build suspense, and keep readers on the edge of their seat From the darkest obsessions, the entrapment, control, and evil.

By adding Sophie’s POV, she reaches outside the couple to hear the fear of a child, a sense of loyalty, the consequences, and strong pull between the troubled parent's abusive relationship.

If you enjoy the TV series, Big Little Lies —you will be thinking of Celeste (Nichole Kidman) and Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård). This guy totally gives me the creeps. He reminds me of my ex-husband. Rich, powerful, and crazy.

Highly recommend. For all my Chevy Stevens' GR Book Reviews. Trust me, you will want to read this one. Mark out the time. Unputdownable.

A special thank you to St. Martin's Press and NetGalley for an early reading copy.

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/09/30/Never-Let-You-Go
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