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review 2018-02-20 22:32
Intense But Not enjoyable
The Crooked Staircase - Dean Koontz

Fast, violent, deadly, with intense suspense.
I think an ultimate fear is losing control of our own minds, or choices. This book dives into that fear and drags it into that dark place, then it adds rape, torture, sex salvery, and running for your life. It is intense. Jane the main character, rams though her targets, try to find her husbands killer, and save her son from an unspeakably horrific threat. The bad guys are so ruthless, my stomach churned during several scenes. Jane is an incredible character, smart, and twisted enough to do what needs to be done.
Why only 3 stars ? Several reasons. One, it was too dark, there was so little hope and too much taken away. It left me with a hopeless feeling, I didn't want to continue many times. Oi, to feel such despair it hurts. The threat to the child, was too much for me. I will not continue the series for fear of where Mr. Koontz will go with that. I can't go there, can't fear for that happening. Then there was the fact that this book had two separate time lines going on switching back and forth with each short chapter. I found that really disruptive. Finally the ending, it just stoped, like mid breath just stoped-cliffhanger extreme.
I think it did what it was ment to do. It shocked, upset and drove adrenaline rushing through my body. It just wasn't my idea of an entertaining read.

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review SPOILER ALERT! 2018-02-17 01:47
{ARC} Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan

Forgive the lateness of this review and I hope that it does not give the impression that it’s because I hate the book. As a matter of fact, the Hollow Girl is the best book that I’ve read in 2017. If you know me, I don’t normally read horror stories because it’s not just my genre and you know, nightmares. But after reading the synopsis, I knew that I had to pick it up and told myself that “Let’s try this for once.” And so I did.

 

Oh boy, no regrets so far because after page 1, there was no turning back. The story consumed me, the characters captivated me and the twists shook me. Hillary Monahan really took her time in fleshing out the characters and in weaving the story that it wasn’t cumbersome or convoluted but not simple either. The story centers on a Romani Gypsy, Bethan, who’s being groomed by her grandmother to succeed the latter as the tribe’s green healer. Her life is pretty much alright except for one thing: the tribal leader’s son, Silas, is trying his damnedest to harass Bethan. And then, one night, what Drina (Bethan’s grandmother) and Bethan dreaded happened. Bethan got raped and her friend died protecting her.

 

The incident was the turning point for Bethan. Though she and her grandmother were peace loving individuals, they did not hesitate in deciding that Silas and the boys who played accomplices must pay. So the tale of darkness and revenge began. And it was damn satisfying seeing Bethan and her grandma made corpses out of the boys. Cue evil laugh. Kidding aside, there was more to this book than the killings. Rape is such a delicate subject, even more so the aftermath. The victim traumatized and stigmatized while the suspects go seemingly underpunished. With the Hollow Girl, my heart really cried for Bethan and her grandmother but I literally rejoiced as they sought retribution from Silas and his friends. Happiness that turned into awe and sadness again when the twist was revealed.

 

This book, essentially, has all the things that I love in a story despite it being horror. There’s heart, darkness, revenge, and nuanced characters that will surely make your reading experience a memorable one. Cheers to you, Hillary Monahan.

Source: waywardkitsune.com/2018/02/arc-book-review-hollow-girl-hillary-monahan
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review 2018-01-21 21:40
Book Review for Garrett by Jessie Cooke
 
 
 
 

                            Title: Garrett
Series: Southside Skulls Motorcycle Club
Author: Jessie Cooke
Genre: MC Romance
Release Date: January 15, 2018 
 
 
 
 

Garrett “Bear” Banks, has the stealth of a sniper and the strength of a viper. but the bad things he’s done, have taken their toll, and now… a life changing decision will free him from his demons.

 

What he hasn’t planned on, is a woman getting in the way. 

 

Paige is ready to put her demons to rest, when a giant of a man appears just at the wrong time to make the right decision.

 
Two tortured people standing at the same place in life, at the start of a journey that will change both of their lives, and those they love…forever.
 
This is the 8th book in the Southside Skulls MC Series. It is a Standalone Romance Novel but characters from the previous novels, DAX, CODY, GUNNER, ZACK, LEVI, KAT & HUNTER are included in this story too.
 
The Southside Skulls MC Series is about members of the MC club, their associates, and friends. 
 
Each story, while focused around one or more main characters, is not necessarily about a Southside Skulls club member, but the story is related to Skulls members and the club. 
 
HEA and No cliffhanger. 
Intended for Mature Readers
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
For me this series just gets better.As the series progresses I keep finding more and more story characters to be my favorite but, I think Garrett has turned into my absolute favorite character.This story was a pager turner and we loved it from cover to cover and we couldn't put it down.For me there was always so much going on in the story emotional as well as the continuing club drama making it intriguing and suspenseful.
 
I loved both the main characters as you were at times overwhelmed with their pain and sorrow that both carried within them.For this couple you had to believe in fate as Garrett and Paige were put in one another's path for sure each becoming the others savior.
 
One thing that I love about this club and its members is that they are trying to make right the wrongs others are doing to innocents.This club has been trying to take down as many human traffickers as possible who are dealing in women and children.You got to loved them for their cause .Being in this position of saving innocents Garrett was able to relate to Paige in more ways than one.
 
This tale really touched my heart and tugged at your emotions. Paige's pain was due to the fact that she believed she was responsible in some way for her sister death.Garrett's pain was due to the loss he suffered from being at war and protecting our country and a rights as well as our freedom.So many of our soldiers end up like Garrett and it breaks your heart thinking of the horrific things they have done and seen yet come away broken and unable to cope in the life they return to.For Garrett his brothers were his saviors for a really long time but, never really seeing how much pain he was really in.For me the most touching part of the story had to be the letters and the effect that it had on his loved ones.I have to say right then in there the tears started to fall and continued falling throughout the rest of the story.I love when a author is able to bring you to tears.
 
I always pick who's going to be my favorite character and mine is going to be Garrett.I just loved how protective and kind as well as loving he was.I loved how he took charge of Paige all the while putting his own life on hold as well as ending his own demons.This couple were good for one another and truly understood the kind of pain each other were in.Love was the true healing balm for this couple.
 
The chemistry between this couple was amazing.Holy hotness! These two were each others soul-mate for sure. I love being on this couples journey of healing and sacrifice.
Although the story was emotional and suspenseful it had many other secrets come to life that you were like omg! how did I not pick up on that before now!It was good to be surprised in that way and made things even more interesting.I love when you never saw that tidbit of info coming to light.
 
I love when you are able to connect with the characters that you are reading about and I was able to do that as I started loving them for the onset of the story.Let's not forget the other brothers as they made this story even more entraining as we love them as well .Each of them are so different from the other but, you see the love they share for each other how protective they are of each other and love and laughter is always guaranteed amoung this family of misfits.
 
I loved this story and I am loving this series.A recommend read to all and it series!
 
5 stars from Us
 
Another amazing read that goes onto the keeper self to be re-read again and again.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
“Winter wonderland, my ass,” Garrett said aloud as he trudged up the hill, dressed in white from his head to his toes. He blended easily with the fresh snow, so he should really be happier about it, but cold just wasn’t his thing. It wasn’t that Vegas couldn’t get cold in the winter. Those desert storms could make a man’s balls feel like frozen meatballs. But it was still not the same as winter in Massachusetts. He was anxious to finish this job for Dax and get back home. He’d been in the middle of wrapping up his business when Dax called.
Garrett had five sealed letters in the saddlebags of his bike, but for some reason he’d been carrying the sixth one around in his pocket. Maybe it was because that was the most important one. That was the one that explained to his little girl why she would be better off in a world where he didn’t exist. One last kill…one more sin to add to the list of many, and then he’d be ready to stand up and answer for them all, in front of his maker. If his mother was right with the stories she told him when he was little, and there was a set of pearly gates and a little man named Joseph who sent you up the escalator or down into the heat, he knew where he was going, and it was good that he’d rather be warm. His life hadn’t been all bad, and his sweet little Jessie was proof of that, but he had done unspeakable things and answering for them was the only part of dying that worried him.
Right now, though, he needed to put that on the back burner and concentrate on the task at hand. He kept walking, climbing steadily, and each one of his steps left an indentation in the virgin white powder that covered the earth. He was a big man, weighing in at 310 pounds the last time he checked. That number might be worrisome if he weren’t six-foot-six and the weight weren’t evenly distributed and almost solid muscle. Of course, even if it were fat, it wouldn’t matter now.  
The higher Garrett climbed, the more frigid the air became. His face was covered with a white knit ski mask, but the skin around his eyes stung from the ice that was clinging to his bottom lashes. He should be wearing his goggles, but he hated walking around in them. He’d put them on when he reached his rendezvous point. His thick, white leather gloves were heated at least, and they felt fucking fabulous. His hands were the most important tool he had besides his rifle, so he had to take care of them, but the rest of his body was fucking freezing. The thick, white coveralls he was wearing were saturated with the wet, falling snow and if he thought he was ever going to need it again, he might have worried that his dick would freeze solid and crack right off.
He pushed on. He’d worked in a lot of worse places under a lot of worse conditions. He slowly maneuvered a path that was littered with hidden bushes, stumps, and rocks, but by now he knew where every one of them was at even though the snow had blanketed them all during the night. The branches of the trees that were still visible hung heavily toward the ground, the icicles tugging at them and dangling perilously close to Garrett’s head at times. He walked the obstacle course in snow up to his knees, and it took twice as long as it would have taken in clear weather. It was easy to see why Dax hadn’t tried to take on this job himself, and despite putting his own urgent business aside to do it, Garrett didn’t really mind. This was the one thing in his life that he’d been good at. He was sure it wouldn’t be the thing that got him into heaven, but once he took his own life, that probably wasn’t going to be an option anyways.
When he finally scaled the top of the snowy ridge, he dropped the heavy rifle that had been slung over his shoulder and the backpack he carried, down into the snow, and let his heavy body fall beside them. He lay there in the snow for several minutes, creating a snow angel the size of a dragon before he finally sat up and grabbed his water bottle. As he drank, he looked in the direction of the curling smoke. He couldn’t see the cabin with his naked eye, but he’d already scoped the place out, and he knew Josiah Miller’s routines.
He reached over and unzipped the protective case the rifle was sheathed in. He pulled it out and began his safety checks. The rifle was like an old friend to him. It had taken countless lives…but it had saved countless more. He worked as part of a team in the military, with a spotter, but the truth was that he preferred to work alone. It was the same with most of the rest of his life. He preferred solitude, and he didn’t have very many close relationships. It was why he’d chosen to be a nomad, why he hadn’t seen or talked to his mother in three years, and why he knew he’d be a terrible father to his beautiful little girl—at least, it was one of the reasons. He sighed and began pulling things out of the backpack and setting up his area.
Garrett had studied aerial maps of the place before even going up the mountain for the first time. He’d looked at photographs and satellite pictures, and the first time he went up, he took photos of his own from every angle. He walked the perimeter until he found the perfect spot to stage his kill and then he’d established his own escape route. Then for the next few days he watched Josiah Miller come in and out of the cabin and he got familiar with his target’s routines. Now, he lay down in the snow, ranged the target, and adjusted the position of the gun for the wind and elevation and other variables.
Garrett didn’t like to think of himself as a killer, but he had to admit that was what he was. While he was in the Navy, he could justify what he did by telling himself it was only a job, and one that was saving humanity at that. But once he got out and his job had morphed into traveling the United States for the MC and doing almost exactly the same thing, he wasn’t able to justify it that way any longer. He kept doing it, because it was all he was good at…and he took jobs like this one for Dax because, well, there were just some people you didn’t say no to. Garrett had known Dax for so long that he knew Dax wouldn’t have faulted him for turning the job down, but Dax had been one of very few constants in Garrett’s life. Dax wasn’t frightened or fazed by the changes in Garrett’s personality when he was gone, and he was also one of a handful of people that Garrett knew would be there, saddled up and ready to ride or die, if he needed him. So, he wasn’t about to tell Dax no, even if the job did get in the way of his own plans, temporarily.
Garrett took the high-powered binoculars out of his backpack and while he sat with his back against a tree, he brought them up to his face. He adjusted them until the cabin came into focus. There were no signs of life outside, but the smoke from the chimney told him Miller was inside. It was almost time for him to rise and drink his coffee on the porch. It was what he did every day. Garrett marveled sometimes at how people were such creatures of habit. It was what had gotten a lot of them killed, and they probably didn’t even know it. Garrett had the opportunity to take Miller out many times over that week that he’d been watching him, but he had to wait until everything was in place.
This man had taken Dax’s old lady with the intention of doing her great harm. Even to a killer like Garrett, that was not okay. Miller thought he was paying Dax back for ending his old man’s miserable, hateful existence. He couldn’t see that Dax had done the world a great favor. Dax had also saved Cody and his older brother from continuing to suffer the horrors of abuse the man heaped upon them, but Josiah Miller either didn’t know or didn’t care about any of that. From what Dax told Garrett about what he’d been able to find out about Josiah’s past, the old man hadn’t been any easier on him. But the kid had watched Dax kill him, and then he had spent eighteen years locked up. He was a kid when he went to prison, and according to the prison psychologist’s notes that Dax had somehow gotten his hands on, Josiah had created a fantasy parent in his head. He’d managed to block out the broken bones that could still be seen on an x-ray. When the psychologist asked him about the knife and burn scars on his back, he’d blamed them on his mother and her “string of men.” If not for the fact that Cody had almost identical scarring on his own back, that might be believable.
Josiah had allowed his hate for Dax, Cody, and the Skulls to fester for all the years he was locked up and he’d come out mean, vengeful, and dangerous. The only way Dax could rest easy and know that his family was safe was if this man was no longer on the planet, and Garrett was okay with that. But Josiah had found a place where Dax and his crew would never be able to take their bikes to get at him, so Garrett had made a promise to Dax that before he took him out, Josiah would know who was behind the bullet. He’d set that up last night and now all he had to do was wait.
He lowered the binoculars and, with some effort, got his big hand into the pocket on the front of the coveralls. The photo he put there was hard from the cold. If he bent it in half, it would probably break. He smiled as he looked at Jessie’s little face. His daughter looked like an angel, and Garrett still marveled at how he could be any part of her. Jessie had just turned four years old. She had blonde hair and big, round brown eyes. Her eyelashes were longer than any Garrett had ever seen and all she had to do was bat them in his direction to get anything she ever wanted. She had the softest skin. Garrett had touched many women, and he loved the feel of a woman’s soft skin against his calloused fingers. But Jessie’s was even softer…it was so new. Everything about her was new, and that was a big reason why he had finally decided she’d be better off without him.
Garrett was home on leave when he met Leanne. She was the cousin of one of his brothers in the Sin City Flames and she was home from college at the same time. Garrett met her at a party at the club and by the end of the night he’d taken her back to his place. They’d spent the rest of the weekend in bed, and in the shower and on his couch and even once up against the wall in the garage where he kept his bike. She was hot, and they both consumed a lot of alcohol that weekend. A few times he remembered using a condom, but a few more times they’d gotten caught up in the heat of the moment and they hadn’t.
It was Garrett’s club brother, Leanne’s cousin, who had written to him and told him about the baby. He was in Niger at the time and the letter took months to reach him. By the time he got it, the baby was four months old and Leanne had met someone. By the time Garrett made it home again on leave, Jessie was almost a year old and Leanne was planning a wedding. The man she was marrying wasn’t in the club. He had some professional job and a big house and a nice car. He was well-groomed and educated and articulate and worlds apart from who and what Garrett was. But when Leanne asked Garrett to sign papers giving up his rights to the baby, he had flatly refused. He knew as soon as he saw her that she was his. It was some kind of unspoken bond as soon as his eyes met his daughter’s eyes. They were his eyes, and although everything else about her was her mother, he recognized the same eyes he saw in the mirror every day, looking back at him through his baby. He’d never loved anything or anyone at first sight before, but Jessie’s smile was seared into his soul, the first time she pointed it in his direction. He’d gone to his platoon leader and they’d arranged for a DNA test that proved Garrett was her father.
She was almost two by the time Garrett came home again and they met in court with their lawyers. Garrett was having second thoughts about staying in the little girl’s life until he saw her again. Most kids were afraid of him. He was like Goliath to their David, and he didn’t blame them. But Jessie had seen him that day and once again she’d smiled and stretched out her tiny little arms. Leanne cried when she saw him pick her up, and the man Leanne married had been the one to suggest they call the hearing off and share custody of the baby.
Garrett had to go back for almost another year after that and when he came home again and visited the toddler, things between them were still just as good. The difference was Garrett. He was plagued by nightmares and flashbacks. He refused to take the medication the army gave him. He’d be damned if he’d walk around drooling like a fucking zombie. He self-medicated with weed and alcohol, and sex. His life was an endless party while he was awake and a house of horrors while he slept. The only thing that brought him peace was Jessie. He was selfish enough at first to revel in that and visit her as often as Leanne would let him.
But it had only taken him a few months of visits to realize she had the kind of life he’d never be able to give her. She had a huge room and it seemed to have everything in it that any little girl could ever want or need. He would sit on the floor for hours sometimes while she introduced him to her dolls and stuffed animals and fixed them all tea with a china tea set he was afraid to touch. Or they’d sit in the backyard of the house that looked like a park. It had rolling hills and a play set unlike any Garrett had ever seen. Jessie was always smiling and she talked nonstop to him about her friends at preschool and her mommy and Jake. Jake was her stepfather, the one that worked every day to give her everything she had, everything she wanted, and everything Garrett knew she deserved. It didn’t take him long to realize that the longer he stayed in her life, the more she’d come to know that her real father was the man who tucked her in every night and told her a story…not the funny giant who just came to visit and didn’t have anything of value to offer her.
The day Garrett had that realization was the day he started planning his own death. He would have gone through with it by now, but the letters had taken him weeks to write. He wanted the people he cared about, and most importantly Jessie, to know that leaving them was a necessity, not a choice. He wanted Jessie to know how much he loved her and he needed her to know that the only thing that would ever take him from her was the knowledge that she was going to be so much better off without him. She might forget him eventually, and her mother might choose to not even give her the letter, but his soul wouldn’t have been able to rest if he hadn’t tried to explain it to her. Garrett wasn’t a talker and when he did talk, he wasn’t articulate like Jake. He’d spent hours on spell-checking the letter alone. He didn’t want his little girl to think she’d come from a man without a brain. He wasn’t stupid, but even as a kid, school had not been his thing.
Once he finally finished her letter, he’d written the rest of them, slipped them into envelopes, and was gathering what he needed for his final trip. That was when Dax called and now instead of resting in a box, he was freezing his ass off on the side of a mountain. Thankfully, that would be over soon. He saw movement near the cabin and with one hand, he tucked Jessie’s picture back in his pocket and with the other, he picked up the binoculars.
Garrett focused them on the porch and saw Josiah Miller. He was wearing a long-sleeved flannel shirt and a pair of jeans and boots. He had a coffee mug in one hand and a cigarette in the other. He was leaning up against one of the wooden beams and looking out at the snow that surrounded him. Garrett knew it would take Miller a few minutes to see what he’d left him. He lay down in the snow behind his rifle and put the binoculars down. He sighted his scope, taking his time as Miller continued to nurse his coffee. Garrett’s finger caressed the trigger and watched through the powerful scope as Miller’s eyes grew wide, his face went pale, and the mug slipped from his fingers. The bullet tore through his head before the mug even finished shattering against the wooden porch.

Garrett took his time packing his things up, making sure he didn’t leave anything behind, before walking the two miles down to where the cabin was and the dead man lay, to do the same. The first thing he did was take down the picture he’d stolen out of Miller’s things while he was sleeping a few nights before. It was one that he’d had taken of Dax with his gun to some thug’s head. It was black and white and big enough for Miller to see from the porch where he stood each day. Garrett would gather the rest of the pictures once the body was taken care of. He’d take what he found in the cabin to Dax and then he’d go home to Las Vegas…for one last visit before he met Josiah Miller in hell.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 
 
Jessie Cooke writes hot romance novels about tough guys, bad boys, bikers, fighters and lovers and the women of strong character who tame them. 
 
 

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review 2018-01-16 00:50
The Promise Between Us
The Promise Between Us - Barbara Claypole White

By: Barbara Claypole White 

ISBN: 9781542048989

Publisher:  Lake Union 

Publication Date: 1/16/2018 

Format: Paperback 

My Rating:  5 Stars ++

 

Bestselling author, Barbara Claypole White returns following (2016) Echoes of Family and (2015) The Perfect Son with her best yet, THE PROMISE BETWEEN US. 

Heart-wrenching a profoundly moving, and insightful story of OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and mental health. Relationships. Battling the monsters of the mind. Educating the family members and close friends. Deep understanding and empathy. 

Compelling, beautifully written, and emotionally-charged, you sympathize with each of the characters as they come alive on the pages. A story of shame, love, hope, and redemption. 

“Every thought is just a thought until you assign it meaning.” — Angie Alexander, founder of Friends with OCD 

Written passionately, from five viewpoints —meet Katie, Callum and Maisie MacDonald. Second wife, Lilah, and Callum’s best friend, Jake.

 

 

A post shared by Judith D Collins (@judithdcollins) on Jan 14, 2018 at 11:04pm PST




In Raleigh, NC after the birth of Katelyn (Katie) and Callum’s daughter Maisie, Katelyn begins experiencing harmful thoughts and images. As a mother, she is afraid she will hurt her child. She wants to protect her, and she doesn’t understand what is happening. She wants nothing more than to be a good mother. She worries about everything. Her daughter's safety. 

Katelyn has told no one of her private horror movies playing inside her head. Violent images. Not Cal, not the doctors. Images that play over and over. She is powerless. They may take her away from Maisie. She would lose her forever. She wants to protect her. They would lock her away and think she was crazy. 

She had told the doctor she was worried all the time and he said it was depression and PTSD. Easy fix, they say, “pills and think happy thoughts.” She knows nothing of postpartum OCD. 

Katelyn has a haunting past. According to the professional, adults never escape their childhoods. She saw her mother stab her father at the kitchen table. The dad ran off, and her mom prayed and drank, while she raised her baby sister, Delaney. She was only twelve years old. 

When she finally asks for help, her husband does not understand. He has his inner demons (which he has not shared with his wife). She senses her husband is terrified of her. 

Flash forward we hear from Callum (Professor) which is now raising ten-year-old daughter Maisie. He is newly married to Lilah which is pregnant. 

Jake (uncle J) has been a best friend of Callum’s since grade school and is single. He is a big part of their lives. We also learn later in the book; he also has secrets of the past. Why is he so engrossed in their lives?

Katie (former Katelyn) now a metal artist living in Durham, NC. She works with Ben, the star of the studio. He took her on as a project, years earlier when she became his intern. 

Her work takes her to a docent program in Raleigh, where she lived with Callum and her daughter. She is very nervous about returning to the area. Her anxiety level is high. 

A student. A talented fifth grader, Maisie. Her daughter. She believes her mother is dead. Katelyn now goes by the name of Katie Mack. She keeps quiet and enjoys interacting with the girl. Her precious daughter. However, immediately, she suspects her daughter has inherited her OCD. 

She has all the signs. She becomes concerned for her well-being. She knows what she will face and how she thinks. She will be the one to help her. However, how will she convince Cal, his new wife, and J she has Maisie's best interest at heart?

“OCD goes after what matters most." Tortures you with your worst-case scenario — Staying away from Raleigh was no different from dumping all the knives in the trash nine years earlier. Avoidance.

Katie still hears the voices inside her head. However, she has learned to deal with them differently. She knows she has OCD. OCD lies. It does not go away; however, it is up to her to manage them. 

A woman desperate, abandoned her daughter and family because she thought she, was a monster. Living with her dog in a tent for seventeen months with her dog until he died. She wanted to go home, but suicide seemed the only option. 

When that did not work, she knew she had to do something. Without the resources and money to get the help she needed. Self-directed therapy. She grew up with an unfit mother and knew she did not want that for Maisie.

She decided to tackle her fear. She had nothing to lose. Her first welding class. If she could control fire and make something beautiful of it, she could do so with her life. 

The author cleverly unravels the past and the horrific journey of Katie. From being alone, helpless, homeless, with no health insurance, or anywhere to turn. At one point she turned to suicide but was saved. With her sister’s help and her new career, she was making a life for herself. She continues to tell herself. 

“I control fire; I am strong. I’m a welder who works in a helmet decorated with Power Girl stickers.”

This time she will not leave. However, with this disease, stressful situations bring out the beast. She will help her daughter before it is too late. For nine years she had backed herself into a corner and played into the hands of OCD. Convinced herself staying away was the right thing to do. She had remained dead to both Cal and her daughter.

This time she will face her fears. She will be there for her daughter. Katie may be the one person who is instrumental in everyone facing their demons of the past. Understanding mental illness 

Riveting and thought-provoking! The author gets into the minds and hearts of each character. Each person plays an essential part in the overall storyline. (the twist with Cal and Jake) Thereby, providing further depth. Their history, tragedies, anxieties, fears (both past and present). TPBU is not a story just for women. Men play a big part and highly recommend to all readers and genders, and especially parents and grandparents. 

THE PROMISE BETWEEN US reminds me of the show (I love) This is Us. (well-received) And back for the next season. Especially this past week’s new episode with (Kevin) in therapy and the family is called in for a joint session. It is not pretty. The blame and addictions start rolling in. 

When reading, Jake strongly reminds me of Kevin in some ways. (actor, meltdown, obsessive, self-absorbed, etc.) Now in therapy. Randall is successful, has OCD, and childhood issues; Kate has an eating disorder. Jack, the dad, is an alcoholic. 

An excellent example of how those close to these persons cope and their troubled relationships. The Pearson family's generational story unfolds in this TV emotional drama. In moments of love, joy, triumph, and heartbreak; much like the MacDonalds in THE PROMISE BETWEEN US. 

An often misunderstood illness leads people to make desperate decisions, which change the course of their lives. A group of people trapped in a difficult situation with difficulties. A ripple effect on those they hold close.

Riveting, suspenseful and enlightening. Every person should read this book. You will learn something and be more sympathetic and understanding of others. The instant I finished reading, immediately called my son to discuss my grandson. 

On a personal note: I have a bit of OCD (not the voices, intrusive thoughts, or images); however, with perfectionism in work. A strong desire to have everything to carry out a certain way, home meticulously organized, disliking disruptions, and finding it difficult to stop until a task is complete. A total driven workaholic. 

This form of life causes internal and external stress and anxiety, which is not good for your health, especially your heart. Ironically my dad, myself, and my son have the heart issues, auto-immune problems, difficulties sleeping, highly creative, artistic, and Type A driven personalities. A week before my dad passed away at 84 he is worried about vacuuming the carpet and dusting the ceiling fans. 

You look at others and wonder how they can sit down and relax when something is not complete? Unthinkable. I inherited this from my dad, and have passed it down to my younger son (drives his wife nuts), and now my eight-year-old grandson (very artistic and a worrier). 

Often people without these tendencies say, "just get it over it." It will not go away, as the book reiterates. However, with the understanding of those around you, the education and proper help, it can be managed.

The author does an extraordinary job tackling the topic of mental illness with meticulous research and well-developed characters. 

 



The characters tell the story. (this must have been a bear to write). Hat's off to the author! An absorbing (inspiring) journey of one woman’s story of motherhood, love, and determination. Your heart will go out to Katie. She was the perfect person to reach out to Maisie. Often kids will shut down with their parents. If only every child had a "someone" to turn to for understanding. 

The title, THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, speaks volumes. More than one promise. More than one with mental illness in this story. Some only hide their illness. White skillfully demonstrates how everyone has a different form of the disease. Everyone handles it differently. 

When spiraling out of control, it can be devastating. From childhood to adulthood. OCD is an illness of the mind. When thoughts are not the problem, but how we deal with them. 

Written with intensity, and a mix of humor, a total package from the first page to the last. Not an ordinary family drama. It almost reads like domestic suspense. It is riveting, and readers will be turning the pages dying to discover the mystery behind Cal and Jake's personalities. 

Plus a former Piedmont Triad NC native, love, and support NC authors. 

The author is at the "top of her game." A perfect choice for book clubs with discussion question included the inspiration behind the book and additional resources for OCD.

Highly recommend! While all White's books I have read have been 5 stars; this one is on a higher level, a 5 Star + +. For fans of Jodi Picoult and Diane Chamberlain and of course, the TV series, This is Us. 

A special thank you to Lake Union and #NetGalley for an advanced reading copy. Have also pre-ordered the audiobook performed by Justine Eyre.

JDCMustReadBooks

 

 

 

Advance Praise

 

“If you leave your newborn child because you have unstoppable thoughts of harming her, are you a good mother or a terrible one? This dilemma is at the heart of Barbara Claypole White’s novel, a wrenching story of how one woman’s OCD has a ripple effect on those around her—including the people she tried hardest to protect. This is an eye-opening and realistic exploration of mental illness—a topic that greatly deserves to be front and center.” —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things

 

“Barbara Claypole White does not merely write about people with mental illness—she inhabits them; she IS Katelyn, the young mother overcome with images of killing her new baby, the mother who leaves her baby to keep her safe…Later White IS that same child, Maisie, now beginning to struggle with OCD herself—and all Maisie’s worries, all her thoughts and the details of her pre-teen life are precisely, exactly right. Perfect. White knows how to tell a story, too, how to fully create each additional realistic and fascinating character, and also how to increase suspense as the family drama unfolds. This brilliant novel about obsessive compulsive disorder is compulsively readable.” —Lee Smith, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Girls

 

“In The Promise Between Us, bestselling author Barbara Claypole White explores survival, shame, and above all, compassion. With the deft hand of a true artist, she creates complex characters, whose lives have been ravaged by mental illness—when it goes unchecked and through its tumultuous effect on generations of women from one family. Readers will be drawn into Katie Mack’s world, they’ll root for her and her daughter, Maisie. The Promise Between Us redefines motherhood and sacrifice, delivering a heartfelt story with a powerful message.” —Laura Spinella, bestselling author of the Ghost Gifts trilogy and Unstrung

 

“Barbara Claypole White knocks it out of the park with her latest family saga, The Promise Between Us. In this riveting page-turner, Claypole White digs deep into the intricacies of her characters’ lives and the devastating effects of a mental illness when left unchecked. It can easily be classified as a story about motherhood, family, and sacrifice. But mostly, it’s a tale of love, redemption, and renewal. The Promise Between Us has something for everyone: suspense, romance, and even a hint of mystery. A fast-paced read that captivates from the first word until the last. A definite book club selection that I highly recommend.” —Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal and Amazon Kindle bestselling author of Everything We Keep

 

“In The Promise Between Us, Barbara Claypole White masters the art of bringing a reader up close and personal to the influences and forces of a mental illness. In this powerhouse of a story, Katelyn MacDonald’s decision to give up the precious gift of raising her baby, Maisie, in order to protect her, makes for a compelling page-turner. This is an in-depth portrayal of what it means to live in a world where every single thought or action comes into question; it is a story for the times, a story filled with stark realities; but most important of all, it is a story about hope, healing, and the strength of a mother’s love.” —Donna Everhart, USA Today bestselling author of The Education of Dixie Dupree

 

“With The Promise Between Us, Barbara Claypole White gives us compelling characters and wonderfully complex relationships to shed important light on too little known, too little discussed challenges of mental illness.” —Laurie Frankel,bestselling author of This Is How It Always Is

 

“Some books make you stop and think, and compel you to examine your own perceptions, how you feel about an issue. The Promise Between Us is such a book. The complication at the heart of the story is riveting: suffering symptoms of postpartum OCD that could lead to her harming her newborn, a young mother does what would be unthinkable for most new mothers. She leaves her baby in order to protect her. Is it the right decision? As the consequences continue to ripple out over the next several years, lives are unraveled and rebuilt in ways that are surprising, sometimes painful, often joyful. Combining elements of suspense and romance with laugh-out-loud doses of wonderful humor for leavening, this is ultimately a story about the redemptive power of love. This is Barbara Claypole White at her finest.” —Barbara Taylor Sissel, author of The Truth We Bury

 

 

About the Author

 

 

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina, where she lives with her beloved OCD family. Her previous novels include The Unfinished Garden, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son, and Echoes of Family. She is also an OCD Advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity. To connect with Barbara, please visit www.barbaraclaypolewhite.com or follow her on Facebook. She’s always on Facebook.  Read More 

 

 

 

Source: www.judithdcollinsconsulting.com/single-post/2017/12/01/The-Promise-Between-Us
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review 2017-12-27 04:47
Man & Beast (The Savage Land #1)
Man & Beast (The Savage Land Book 1) - Michael Jensen

CW: One scene of attempted rape; discussion of rape, assault and atrocities done to Native Americans; and lots and lots of racists dirtbags. This is the frontier, y'all, and the author doesn't shy away from how icky a lot of these people were.

 

This was unexpected, and in this case that's a good thing. You do need to check your disbelief at the door on this one, at least for the climax. It was a Monty Python case of horrors, that's for sure.

I'm surprised no one yelled, "Why won't you DIE?!" at any point. ;-)

(spoiler show)

The emphasis is on horror because right away you know things just aren't quite right, and by the end you've got a Most Dangerous Game situation that'll keep you flipping the pages.

 

What I really liked about this is that it wasn't your typical M/M novel. I would even go so far as to say this isn't a romance, though there is a love story of sorts and an HFN. But this didn't follow the standard formula that has, let's be honest, become somewhat stale. And after The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue, it was nice getting an historical where the characters sound like they're in an historical. It still could've used a bit more detail than what we got, but again, still much better than Gentleman's. 

 

John's struggle to learn to speak up and act on his own behalf and those he cares about was a nice journey to watch, even though it was painful at times. He starts off as a man who just runs from everything and has to figure out through many trials what's worth standing up for. He makes a lot of bad decisions and indecisions along the way but I was never frustrated with him. It was obvious why he acted the way he did, not least because he was trying to save his own hide if people found out he's a sodomite. 

 

Gwennie, Thomas and Palmer are all great supporting characters, and even Samantha gets a point or two in her favor. The ending was a bit abrupt and the epilogue doesn't really wrap up the loose ends. Since the next book is centered around another main character, I'm not sure if we'll see these characters again or not. Hopefully we do because there is certainly more to see with these guys. 

 

For this being self-published, it was surprisingly light on typos. There were a few more near the end than throughout the rest of the book, but it's still much cleaner than most self-published books out there. The story is in first-person, if that's something that concerns you, but John has an easy and approachable POV, so the writing flows rather well. 

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