logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: southern-gothic
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-28 20:06
The Beguiled
The Beguiled - Thomas Cullinan

The Beguiled is an atmopheric read and the gothic feel pulled me through this book in no amount of time. And yet this novel is too long and drawn out. My physical copy has 372 pages with a tiny font, which makes this book in reality (and with a normal font-size) a 600+ page novel.

 

So it´s a big novel, told from the perspective of eight different characters (the women in the boarding school) and everyone has their own background story. Unfortunately not every background story is relevant for the overall storyline and some things could easily have been left out of the novel.

 

It doesn´t help either that the climax of the story lies about the halfway mark of the novel and after that the story just peters out. There is a lot of quarreling and tensions arise every now and then, but most of the women/girls behaved so incredibly stupid that I had a hard time believing in the credibility of the story. 

 

Having said that, I really enjoyed reading this book. All the characters are disturbing and by omitting the point of view of the only man in the house, I had ambigious feelings towards him in the end. He is a manipulating, lying, seducing creep, who is only interested in himself. And yet I have my doubts if he deserved what he has got. And did the other characters get what they deserved? No one is clearly good or bad or without sin in this novel.

 

 Book themes for St. Martin’s Day: Read a book set on a vineyard, or in a rural setting, –OR– a story where the MC searches for/gets a new job. –OR– A book with a lantern on the cover, or books set before the age of electricity. –OR– A story dealing with an act of selfless generosity (like St. Martin sharing his cloak with a beggar).

 

 

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-12-25 00:43
The Road to Bittersweet
The Road to Bittersweet - Donna Everhart

By:  Donna Everhart

ISBN:  9781496709493

Publisher: Kensington

Publication Date:  12/26/2017

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  4 Stars 

 

Donna Everhart takes readers to Stampers Creek, 1940 North Carolina along the Tuckasegee River with the Stampers family. THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET —a gritty Southern tale of despair, family, and hope. A perfect and fitting title for this coming-of-age journey through life's ups and downs from childhood to womanhood. 

"It takes courage to find your way." 

In the Appalachian mountains, near Cashiers, NC, we meet Wallis Ann. Fourteen-years-old and wise beyond her years. She takes most of the burden caring for her sister, Laci. Her sister is two years older, yet she will never be able to read or write or solve problems. They all wondered what she must be thinking. There was also the younger brother, Seph; only three-years-old. 

Laci is "savant." Gifted. A person affected with a mental disability (such as autism or mental retardation) who exhibits exceptional skill or brilliance in some limited field (such as mathematics or music).In this case, music. The family played music, known as The Stamper Family. From the piano, banjo, fiddle, among others. 

There is a devastating flood after the waters broke over the dam. The worst this area had ever seen. Torrential rains. This event scared Wallis more than anything she had ever experienced. They are swept away by the strong currents. 

After losing everything, the Papa takes them to his brother, Hardy in South Carolina. They are on the road trying to survive by singing for money to have enough to eat. 

 



The momma depended on Wallis Ann for so much of Laci's care, and Laci experienced guilt from some of the events happening in the story. Wallis Ann feels somewhat invisible at times due to her sister's disability. 

Along the way, there are more struggles, and challenges striving for survival amid life's storms. Burdens to carry. Hearts broken. Dreams unfulfilled. Guilt-ridden. Betrayal. 

Heartstrings are pulled especially with Wallis Ann. She is brave, and resilient while suffering from hardships, hopelessness, and other situations and emotions she encounters. Deeply emotional a mix of Southern fiction/Gothic, coming-of-age, historical, and literary fiction. 

 


“Windows give you a view. Otherwise you can't see nothing, no matter how hard you try. It ain't much different in how we look at our world from inside ourselves."

I enjoyed the theme of water which is apparent throughout the novel from the river, the flood, the waterfalls and symbolic in many ways to the peaceful trickle of water sliding over the rocks. On a side note: My favorite places in the NC mountains are the Highlands and Cashiers. Beautiful waterfalls and scenic mountains. I miss my log cabin in Big Canoe, GA. 

The characters are well-drawn (as the secondary ones) and the times researched, drawing you into their world of survival and vivid settings. 

"We're going to keep on having hope until there's no possibility of having it anymore. That's all we can do."

Descriptive storytelling, a well-written emotional Southern coming-of-age novel of family, heartbreak, love, loss, and acceptance. 

For fans of Southern historical fiction and authors: Leah Weiss, Kim Michele Richardson, Wiley Cash, Emilie Richards, Diane Chamberlain, and David Joy. 

A special thank you to Kensington for an advanced reading copy and the introduction to this talented North Carolina author. Look forward to reading more.

JDCMustReadBooks

  

About the Author

 

Donna Everhart is a USA Today bestselling author of THE EDUCATION OF DIXIE DUPREE, an Amazon Best Book/Debut Spotlight, Indie Next Pick for November 2016 and longlisted for the Southern Book Prize,
(formerly the Pat Conroy Southern Book Prize)

 

Her next novel, THE ROAD TO BITTERSWEET, January 2018, is a Publisher’s Lunch Buzz Book for Fall/Winter 2017-2018 and a 2018 Southern
Independent Booksellers Alliance (SIBA) Trio pick.

 

Born in Raleigh, North Carolina, she has lived close to her hometown for most of her life. For several years she worked for high tech companies, specializing in project management and product introduction. She carries a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. She lives in Dunn, North Carolina with her husband, Blaine,
and a tiny, heart-stealing Yorkshire terrier, named Mister.

 

She is a member of the North Carolina Writers’ Network, and Women’s
Fiction Writers Association. Read More 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/11/03/The-Road-to-Bittersweet
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-10-30 13:00
Blackwater: The Complete Saga by Michael McDowell, narrated by Matt Godfrey
Blackwater: The Complete Saga - Michael McDowell,Matt Godfrey

Blackwater: The Complete Saga on audio is absolutely phenomenal! Phenomenal! That's right, it's so good, it deserves two PHENOMENALS. 

 

First-about the book itself. Michael McDowell was a force to be reckoned with as far as writing about family dynamics. If you've read The Elementals, Gilded Needles, or Cold Moon over Babylon, (and if you haven't you SHOULD), you already know that McDowell writes about families like no one else. Now imagine those books expanded to cover several generations of one family, in this case The Caskeys, and you might have an inkling of how great a work of literature, (that's right, I'm calling it literature), Blackwater really is. 

 

Starting with a huge flood in Perdido, Alabama and a mysterious woman found in a partially flooded hotel and ending with another flood in the same town, there is a symmetry here not often found in horror fiction. Perhaps it's because Blackwater isn't really a horror novel, (or series of novels, as it was originally released back in the 80's), at all. I would describe it more as a Southern Gothic soap opera or family saga, with supernatural and horrific elements.

 

One of the things I adore about McDowell, and there are many of them, (click here for my essay on McDowell's work), is how he treats horrifying supernatural events as if they were no big deal. Somehow, the way he does that makes the event even more horrifying, if that makes any sense. 

 

Of course, as I mentioned above, McDowell writes family dynamics like no one else and this book proves it. Throughout generations even, McDowell is at the top of his game writing about this family with its rich men and domineering women. Being from Alabama himself, the authenticity of the family's bearing and standing in their community of Perdido is never in doubt. His insights into human behavior are unmatched and beautifully written-without fail. Here's a quote from the first book of this novel,The Flood, (which takes place in the early 1920's):

 

That was the great misconception about men: because they dealt with money, because they could hire someone on and later fire him, because they alone filled state assemblies and were elected congressional representatives, everyone thought they had power. Yet all the hiring and firing, the land deals and the lumber contracts, the complicated process for putting through a constitutional amendment-these were only bluster. They were blinds to disguise the fact of men's real powerlessness in life. Men controlled the legislatures, but when it came down to it, they didn't control themselves. Men had failed to study their own minds sufficiently, and because of this failure they were at the mercy of fleeting passions; men, much more than women, were moved by petty jealousies and the desire for petty revenges. Because they enjoyed their enormous but superficial power, men had never been forced to know themselves the way that women, in their adversity and superficial subservience, had been forced to learn about the workings of their brains and their emotions.

 

 

I could go on and on about McDowell, as many of you already know, but now I'd like to address the narration of this story by Alabama native Matt Godfrey. 

 

I just don't have the words to describe how McDowell's words, combined with Godfrey's narration, made me feel. Together, they made a great work even greater. Godfrey's voicing was so true to the source material it made the Caskey voices come alive. ALIVE, I say! I laughed out loud many times, and I cried a few times too.

 

I most especially adored his voicing of James and of Oscar. Don't get me wrong, I loved these characters back when I first read the books a few years ago; but with Matt's voice attached to them, they became larger than life. It was easy for me to recognize who was talking just by the inflections and changes of tone. I've never listened to an audio book where it was easier for me to identify who was who, just by how the narrator voiced them. I've listened to a lot of audios over the last few years, and that's never happened to me-at least not in a book with as many characters as Blackwater. That's why I say now, with no reservations, that this is the BEST audiobook I've ever read. PERIOD.

 

I hope that I've convinced you to give this audio a try by giving it my HIGHEST recommendation. I'd love to hear your thoughts on it if you do give it a go. 

 

You can get your copy here: Blackwater: The Complete Saga

 

*I received this audiobook free, from the narrator, in exchange for my honest feedback. This is it.* **Further, I consider Matt Godfrey a friend, even thought we've never met, but this review IS my honest opinion.**

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-06-07 06:14
Secrets of Southern Girls
Secrets of Southern Girls: A Novel - Haley Harrigan

By: Haley Harringan 

ISBN: 9781492647553

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS Landmark

Publication Date:  6/6/2017 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating: 3.5 Stars

Tour Spotlight June 6-12 

 

Blog Tour Host & Book Giveaway Contest.

Haley Harrigan delivers a twisty mystery southern debut SECRETS OF SOUTHERN GIRLS – a grown woman and mother, with demons from her past which surface. . . part young adult, and coming-of-age; haunting secrets that shape lives.

Julie Portland has a secret. Years ago she escaped this small southern town; however, she has never forgotten the trauma. Now she is in New York, and the ghosts of the past stare her in the face.

Ten years earlier, Julie’s best friend Reba died after falling off a bridge in Lawrence Mill, Mississippi. Julie feels responsible. They had an argument. She killed her friend. She swore she would never return to this awful place.

Now, August Elliot shows up (Reba’s first love). A walking, talking, tangible reminder of the past.

August is African American and Reba’s dad would not have accepted a relationship. They began dating in secret.

In New York, her young daughter Beck wants to know, “who is Reba?"

Julie dreams of Reba. She has tortured herself. She knows she will have to forgive herself in order to move on with her future.

She now comes face to face with August (Reba’s love).

He wants her to return to Lawrence Mill with him. He wants the diary. She does not know about a diary. She thinks of how dangerous a journal of Reba’s could be in the wrong hands.

Who has the diary? Someone will learn the secrets of her shameful past.

Would her friend be so careless as to document the things that happened that year?

August thought Julie (Jules) had it. Now if she doesn’t, who does?

Julie finds Jules disguising.

Nell must have the diary. With Reba’s diary entries sprinkled throughout, the ghosts of the past are unraveled. What really happened?

Told from two time periods 1997/2008. Two best friends Julie had lost per parents in an accident and turned a little wild.
 
 
Secrets of Southern Girls

Reba works at Nell’s Flower Shop. Reba appears to have the perfect home life. However, her dad is a racist and Reba has her own secrets.

August never found closure after Reba died and he is convinced that someone has the old diary Reba once told him he should read.

Does anyone know the real Reba? What is the real truth behind August? Then and now?

Both Julie and August are shocked to learn the truth about Reba. Will they be able to come to terms with her death and the ghosts of the past? Things are not always as they appear.

A slow-burning suspense. I was not really connected to any of the characters and feel it would have flowed a bit easier if the chapters had been broken down the characters, for a little more organization.

However, for a debut the author clearly is a talented writer and for readers who enjoy young adult fiction, Southern Gothic, and coming-of-age mysteries.

A journey of healing and redemption. Looking forward to seeing what’s next for this newfound author.

A special thank you to Sourcebooks and NetGalley for an early reading copy in exchange for an honest review. 
 
 
Advance Praise  

 

"Harrigan is a great prose stylist who knows how to sustain the tension and tone required of a Southern Gothic novel. Her writing is evocative and atmospheric, whether the action takes place under the bright lights of Manhattan or in Mississippi's weedy heat."— ForeWord

"Harrigan's novel, part mystery and part coming-of-age, explores the process of healing from tragedies and misunderstandings." — Publishers Weekly

 

"A twisting, sensuous novel about first love and innocence lost. As mesmerizing as the Mississippi heat, Haley Harrigan’s debut weaves two tales together in time as Julie Portland seeks the truth about her childhood friend’s mysterious death–a truth Julie has hidden even from herself. Harrigan delves into Greg Iles territory, navigating racial tensions and the secret (and not-so-secret) history of the deep south. In the end, like the “oil streak” river that flows through this story, Secrets of Southern Girls reveals a stain we all would be better off examining." — Jenny Milchman, USA Today bestselling author of Cover of Snow, Ruin Falls, and As Night Falls

 

“Heartachingly beautiful, SECRETS OF SOUTHERN GIRLS is a compelling tale about lost love and childhood regrets. This is masterfully written, shifting from past to present as the story unfolds to expose the haunting truth of one girl’s desire to be loved and the dangerous secret she possesses. Harrigan’s debut is a captivating read that won’t let you go until the very last page.”—Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author

 

“Haley Harrigan takes us on a searing emotional journey to a tragic past in sensual and evocative prose. Holds you to the last word.” —Carol Goodman, author of The Widow's House

 

Haley Harrigan’s Secrets of Southern Girls is filled with evocative, poetic imagery, relatable characters, and ingenious plot twists that kept me turning pages long into the night! A beautiful, engaging debut by a delightful and talented new author. — Susan Crawford, author of The Pocket Wife and The Other Widow 

 

 

 

About the Author 

Haley Harrigan is a Women’s Fiction author represented by Suzie Townsend of New Leaf Literary & Media, Inc.

 

Haley lives in Athens, Georgia with her husband and the second-most adorable Yorkshire Terrier there ever was. She graduated from the University of Georgia with degrees in Creative Writing and Public Relations, and loved Athens too much to go anywhere else.

 

A bookworm from early on, she started writing as a kid when her grandfather introduced her to his new typewriter. Her first stories were fanfiction pieces (though she didn’t call it that, then) inspired by The Baby-Sitters Club and Sweet Valley High. These days, she’s an avid and wildly eclectic reader, with tastes ranging from Margaret Atwood to William Faulkner to Gillian Flynn to Rainbow Rowell.

 

In addition to reading and writing, Haley enjoys hot tea, college football, margaritas and Mexican food, and a good Netflix binge. She is obsessed with all things Joss Whedon and believes that she learned everything she needs to know about life from Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

 

Her novel, SECRETS OF SOUTHERN GIRLS, is forthcoming from Sourcebooks in 2017. Read More 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2016/11/11/Secrets-of-Southern-Girls
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2017-05-17 22:30
Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman, narrated by Mark Bramhall
Those Across the River - Christopher Buehlman

 

Those Across the River is my first Buehlman, but will not be my last. In fact, I downloaded another of his books just now.

 

I recently got a new phone that came with some fancy earbuds, so I decided to head over to Overdrive and check out an audio from my library, so I could try them out. I saw this book available and remembered that my friend Tressa has just recommended to me a book by this author just a few days previous. I downloaded Those Across the River knowing nothing about it, and I think that was the best way to go in to this story.

 

Set mostly in GA in the early 1930's, a damaged WWI veteran moves down from Chicago to a house he has recently inherited. In the letter he received about the inheritance he was warned not to actually live in the house, but of course, he does so anyway-along with his fiance Eudora. What follows is a well told, atmospheric and creepy story that went in a totally different direction than what I expected. There's nothing new or extraordinary here, but a well told and atmospheric story is always welcome on my Kindle, (and now on my phone!), and I enjoyed this immensely.

 

The narrator, Mark Bramhall, was absolutely phenomenal-I loved his Southern accents and voicing-they brought the story alive for me. I will be keeping an eye out for more of his work in the future. As for right now? I'm on to my next Christopher Buehlman book!

 

I highly recommend the audio of this novel!

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?