Rust & Stardust by T. Greenwood

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5 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 7th, 2018

Genre: General Fiction, Historical Fiction

Trigger Warning: Kidnapping, sexual abuse, physical abuse

Where you can find Rust & Stardust: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Camden, NJ, 1948.

When 11-year-old Sally Horner steals a notebook from the local Woolworth’s, she has no way of knowing that 52-year-old Frank LaSalle, fresh out of prison, is watching her, preparing to make his move. Accosting her outside the store, Frank convinces Sally that he’s an FBI agent who can have her arrested in a minute—unless she does as he says. 

This chilling novel traces the next two harrowing years as Frank mentally and physically assaults Sally while the two of them travel westward from Camden to San José, forever altering not only her life, but the lives of her family, friends, and those she meets along the way.

My Review:

As I stated in another review, I do not like historical fiction. It bores me. It takes a well-written book in that genre to captivate me. That is exactly what Rust & Stardust did. Captivated me. I couldn’t put this book down. I had to read what was going to happen to Sally. I needed to know if she was ever reunited with her mother. I needed to know what was going to happen to Frank.

What I wasn’t expecting, when I started reading this book, was the connection it had to Lolita. The author explains it in the author’s note at the end of the book. That was something that made me go “Hmmmm” when I read it. Without this awful kidnapping, that book wouldn’t have happened. It would have been burned.

The plot of Rust & Stardust was rather easy to follow. Sally was caught stealing a notebook from Woolworth’s as part of a dare from a group of girls she wanted to be friends with. Frank sees her, tells her that he is with the FBI and she will go to jail if she doesn’t do what he says. Within the next few days, Sally is on a train to Atlantic City with Frank. She convinced her mother that Frank was her friend’s father and he was taken her to the shore to meet up with her. When Sally isn’t home by the time Frank said she would be, Sally’s mother becomes concerned. Then frightened when the police tell her that Frank is a bad man (read the book to find out how bad). Sally is moved across the country. She is beaten and raped. She is under Frank’s control. Until she meets Ruth. But can Ruth help Sally escape Frank? Will Sally go home?

Rust & Stardust was told from 12 different POV’s. Yes, 12 different POV’s. I usually can’t handle more than 2 before I start getting confused. But, in this case, it worked. I was able to go between POV’s fine and wasn’t lost. What I didn’t like is that some POV’s were only once. Then they were dropped from the story. But those POV’s added more insight to what Sally was going through in the book.

I felt awful for Sally during the book. She went through hell with Frank. I wish that she had been rescued earlier in the book but it wouldn’t have matched up with real-life events. She did have an inner strength that was showcased throughout the book. No matter what Frank did to her, she was able to keep a small bit of what she used to be alive.

I could not believe that Sally’s mother went with her to the bus terminal and let her get on the bus with Frank. I know that the world was different back then. There was no stranger danger. People like Frank existed but were never given much thought. Still, as a mother of a 12-year-old, I couldn’t believe that she didn’t pick up that something was wrong. That Sally didn’t want to go with him. I also thought the way she treated Sally after she came home was awful. I had zero sympathy for her.

The author did a great job of covering the abuse scenes. She gave enough detail at what was happening but didn’t get graphic. The rape scenes were tastefully written. Still shocking and left me in tears but tastefully written.

I was not expecting what happened at the end of the book. I truly wasn’t. It threw me for a loop. In the last scene (not with Ruth but before that), I was praying that what happened was to someone else. I put my Kindle down and cried when I realized who it was. Very sad.

What I like about Rust & Stardust:

A) Captivating story

B) The tie to Lolita (which I didn’t know)

C) Sally’s strength

What I disliked about Rust & Stardust:

A) Frank.

B) Sally’s mother. I had no sympathy for her

C) The end of the book.

I would give Rust & Stardust an Adult rating. There is sex but it is not graphic. There is mild violence. There is mild language. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read Rust & Stardust.

There are trigger warnings for Rust & Stardust. They are kidnapping, sexual abuse, physical abuse. If you are triggered by any of these, I suggest not to read the book.

I would reread Rust & Stardust. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

I would like to thank St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Rust & Stardust.

All opinions stated in this review of Rust & Stardust are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Broken Perfection by Heather Henle

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3 Stars

Publisher: BooksGoSocial

Date of publication: January 3rd, 2018

Genre: Romance

Where you can find Broken Perfection: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

Waking up from a coma days after what was supposed to be her dream wedding, Brianna Hough’s seemingly perfect world was shaken. From her fiancé to her friends, Brianna takes you on a journey that reveals the hidden truths in a striving for perfection. 

A story of loss, love, friends, and self.

My review:

I thought that this book was going to be one of those romances where the female main and the male main were separated by a tragedy. Then they were brought together by circumstances. So, yeah. Not quite that. What I got was a romance that was far from ordinary. I also got a book that showed me that you can find romance in the most unlikely of places.

Now onto why I gave this book a 3-star rating. There were a few reasons. I got grumpy at how forgiving Brianna was towards Kevin. He was shown to be an uncaring, controlling idiot by the end of the first chapter. My hands itched to smack some sense into him. I also got grumpy at her lack of self-esteem and her lack of self during the first half of the book. Everything she did was to please that moron. She became so wrapped up in their relationship that she was devastated when he left. She didn’t know what to do with herself. Even in the middle of the book, when she knew everything, she was willing to take him back. I was about to tear my hair out of my head in frustration. The other reason was how Jayden was treated by Brianna. Kevin trumped Jayden almost every time. I did some “Ugghs” and “Are you flipping serious” every time she brought up Kevin or Kevin showed up.

My other reason for giving it a 3-star review was the ending. Everything that happened was too fast and too sudden. If the author had done an epilogue or even started a chapter with “A few months later“, then I would have been happy. But I wasn’t. It wasn’t believable to me at all.

Of course, there were things that I liked about Broken Perfection. I did like Brianna, despite everything. I thought that her regaining her self-esteem and self-worth was beautifully written. I loved Cammy. She was a great friend to her. And let’s not forget about Jayden. I loved him!!!!

The romance between Brianna and Jayden was sweet. Brianna was still recovering from the car accident and Kevin’s dumping her, so it went slow. He didn’t push her into doing nothing that she didn’t want to do. He didn’t exactly like it when Brianna kept running back to Kevin but he let her go. I thought that she had ruined the relationship after the last time.

The end of Broken Perfection rubbed me the wrong way. Like I said above, everything happened too fast. My head was spinning by the end of the book.

What I Liked about Broken Perfection:

A) Cammy. She was a great best friend.

B) Jayden. Loved him!!!

C) Seeing Brianna’s transformation

What I disliked about Broken Perfection:

A) Kevin. He was a douche canoe

B) Brianna’s lack of self-esteem and self-worth for most of the book

C) How Brianna treated Jayden for most of the book.

I would give Broken Perfection an Adult rating. There is sex (not explicit). There is language. There is some mild violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I am on the fence if I would reread Broken Perfection. I am on the fence if I would recommend it to family and friends.

I would like to thank BooksGoSocial and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Broken Perfection.

All opinions stated in this review of Broken Perfection are mine.

**I chose to leave this review after reading an advance reader copy**

Diana Christmas by F.R. Jameson

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4 Stars

Publisher: 

Date of publication: March 21st, 2018

Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Noir

Where you can find Diana Christmas: Amazon

Book synopsis (from Goodreads):

In 1959, Diana Christmas – the beautiful, vivacious redhead – was a major star in Britain. It was her moment. She was on the cusp of making it big in Hollywood. Then, she simply walked away from the limelight. Vanished from an industry that adored her. 

Twenty years later, Michael, a young film journalist, arrives at her suburban home and discovers the still vibrant and alluring Diana. Between her sheets, he hears for the first time the reason for her disappearance – a tale of coercion, shame, and blackmail. 

To his shock, he learns that those who destroyed her career and ruined her life still have their claws in her. 

Totally smitten, he promises to help her. But Michael soon finds that the past doesn’t let go easily… 

Diana Christmas – A new thriller of desire and betrayal from F.R. Jameson.

My review:

Thriller Noir is a newer genre for me to read and review. While I have heard of it, I have seen thriller noir films and I was intrigued by a book form of the movies I have seen. I was glad that I accepted to request to review Diana Christmas. This book was an homage to the black and white thriller noir films that I watched as a child/teen.

Diana Christmas was a vivacious redhead who was about to make it big in the late 50’s Hollywood when she walked away from it all. She vanished. 20 years later, in the late ’70s, Michael tracks her down. An aspiring film journalist, he is thrilled at the chance to meet and interview Diana. He did not expect to end up in bed with her. He also did not expect for her to reveal the true reasons why she walked away from it all or that she is still being blackmailed. Michael, believing he is in love, decides to take it upon himself to help Diana get her blackmailers off her back. But Diana Christmas is not what she seems.

Michael was one of the most naïve characters that I have read to date. I liked him but I wanted to shake some sense into him. He put himself into situations that made me mentally shake my head and go “Why would you do that“. Don’t even get me started on his relationship with Diana. That relationship was doomed from the start. He fell in love with her too quickly and she, well, she was not a very nice person to him. Actually, that is an understatement. She cost him everything.

I didn’t like Diana from the minute she was introduced in the book. She saw that Michael was this naïve young man who actually knew who she was and decided to use him. I went from not liking her to hating her in the middle of the book. What she put Michael through was despicable. I was happy when she got what was coming to her at the end of the book. She deserved everything that happened to her.

The ending of Diana Christmas wasn’t a happy one. It was genius of the author to end the book in that way. It was full of regret, self-loathing and a slight undercurrent of bitterness. Which was a perfect ending for this book.

What I liked about Diana Christmas:

A) It was a new genre for me to read

B) Michael

C) The ending. Refreshing to read a book where everything wasn’t ended happily

What I disliked about Diana Christmas:

A) Diana.

B) Michael (yes, I liked and disliked him)

C) Almost too fast-moving for a book

I would give Diana Christmas an Adult rating. There is sex. There is language. There is violence. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would recommend Diana Christmas to family and friends. I would also reread this book.

I would like to thank the author for allowing me to read and review Diana Christmas.

All opinions stated in this review of Diana Christmas are mine.

**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**

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