The Year I Left by Christine Brae

The Year I Left by [Brae, Christine]

3 Stars

Publisher: Vesuvian Books

Date of publication: August 20th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Where you can find The Year I Left: Amazon | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

Carin Frost doesn’t understand what’s happening to her. A confident businesswoman, wife, and mother, she begins to resent everything about her life. Nothing makes sense. Nothing makes her feel. Maybe it’s the recent loss of her mother in a tragic accident. Or maybe she’s just losing her mind. 

Enter Matias Torres. As their new business partnership thrives, so does their friendship—and his interest in her. Carin is determined to keep her distance, until a work assignment sends them to Southeast Asia where a storm is brewing on the island. In the midst of the chaos, Matias asks her to do something unimaginable, exhilarating, BOLD. Carin knows the consequences could be dire, but it may be the only way to save herself. 

An honest look at love and marriage and the frailties of the human heart, this is a story of a woman’s loss of self and purpose and the journey she takes to find her way back.


First Line

Sometime in the late summer when the air began to tingle and the leaves started to fall, I opened my eyes one morning and my view of the world changed.

The Year I Left by Christine Brae

When I read the blurb for The Year I Left, I was intrigued. A woman suffering from the loss of her mother meets a younger man who sweeps her off her feet. That meeting sets off a series of events that turn her world upside down. That made me go “Hrmmm” and decide to read the book.

I was disappointed by The Year I Left. The book did deliver on what the blurb promised. But, it was the characters that didn’t do it for me.

I did enjoy how The Year I Left was written. It was told in 2nd person and 1st person. I have read a few books where 2nd person was used successfully. The Year I Left was one of those books. Carin’s story was written as journal entries to Matias for the year they spent together. The 1st person part of the book was told from Matias’s point of view after that year had ended. It made The Year I Left a compelling read for me.

Along with how the book was written, I did like the plotline. It was simple and to the point. The author didn’t add drama to spice the plotline up. What Carin and Matias did was enough.

The author was able to keep the plotline’s pace for the entire book. There was no lag or slowing down of plotline. There were a few minor plotlines that were merged into the main plotline throughout the book.

As much as I saw promise and like the plotline, I couldn’t stand the main characters. Unfortunately, that colored my perspective of the book.

Let’s start with Carin. I could not stand her. I understand that her mother’s death and then her dog’s death a few months later scarred her mentally. I could understand her falling into a deep depression. Heck, I could even understand her not paying her bills and ruining her credit. But what I couldn’t understand is how she checked out on her son and husband. The scenes she had with them, she barely interacted with them. When Matias came into the scene, she was all about him. When he showed up on Carin’s mother/son trip to England, she ignored her son and showered Matias with her attention. When she decided to disappear with Matias, she didn’t think about how it would affect her son. As a mother, it made me sick.

I couldn’t stand Matias either. He knew that Carin was married and he still pursued her. If it were only that, I would have been OK with him. But he border lined stalked her. He texted and called her nonstop. Even after she asked him to stop. But it was when they decided to disappear that my annoyance with him morphed into dislike. He could see how much Carin missed her son. Instead of being compassionate and urging her to contact him, he threw a fit like a toddler. I also forgot to mention that he cheated on his fiancee with Carin. All that stuff together made me not like him.

The end of the book was interesting. But, because of what I thought about Matias and Carin, I couldn’t enjoy it. Matias also started acting like he did at the beginning of the book. Again, strong stalker vibes going on. Also, the epilogue didn’t do it for me. I didn’t believe it.


I would give The Year I Left 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 don’t know if I would reread The Year I Left. I do not know if I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

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Weekly Wrap Up: August 11th through August 17th, 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Requests,and Author/Publisher Requests will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the titles under Freebies I Scored will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.



Books I’ve Read:

Song for a Lost Kingdom (Book 2)

Song for a Lost Kingdom

The Last Hope


Books with pending reviews:


Books with published reviews:

Aelia—Review Here

The Red Death—Review Here

The Last Hope —Review Here

Things You Save in a Fire —Review Here

Campusland —Review Here

Disorder —Review Here


NetGalley Requests

The Look-Alike

Fever


Author/Publisher Requests:

Evie and the Upside-Down World of Nevermore

Big Lies in a Small Town

Westering Women

The Vanished Birds

Twisted Betrayal

Small-Town Secrets


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Midnight—Book Blitz

Holding on to Forever—Cover Reveal

The Last Hope—Blog Tour

Steal My Heart—Excerpt

The Lost Girl—Cover Reveal


Giveaways I’ve Entered:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Catch Up Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday


Things You Save in a Fire by Katherine Center

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 13th, 2019

Genre: Romance, Women’s Fiction

Where you can find Things You Can Save in a Fire: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the New York Times, bestselling author of How to Walk Away comes a stunning new novel about family, hope, and learning to love against all odds. 

Cassie Hanwell was born for emergencies. As one of the only female firefighters in her Texas firehouse, she’s seen her fair share of them, and she’s excellent at dealing with other people’s tragedies. But when her estranged and ailing mother asks her to uproot her life and move to Boston, it’s an emergency of a kind Cassie never anticipated.

The tough, old-school Boston firehouse is as different from Cassie’s old job as it could possibly be. Hazing, a lack of funding, and poor facilities mean that the firemen aren’t exactly thrilled to have a “lady” on the crew, even one as competent and smart as Cassie. Except for the handsome rookie, who doesn’t seem to mind having Cassie around. But she can’t think about that. Because she doesn’t fall in love. And because of the advice, her old captain gave her: don’t date firefighters. Cassie can feel her resolve slipping…but will she jeopardize her place in a career where she’s worked so hard to be taken seriously?

Katherine Center’s Things You Save in a Fire is a heartfelt, affecting novel about life, love, and the true meaning of courage.


My Review

Cassie is a hotshot firefighter in Austin, Texas. One of the only female firefighters in a progressive firehouse, Cassie is at the top of her game. Until the night of the awards ceremony, where she attacks the presenter. Given a choice of being fired or reassigned, Cassie takes the reassignment. She is reassigned to a fire station outside of Boston, where she will be taking care of her estranged mother. Cassie is in for a huge change when she joins the department. Underfunded, with inadequate facilities and ripe with sexism, Cassie has her work cut out for her. She also has her work cut out for her in her personal life too. What will happen to Cassie? Can she overcome the odds stacked against her? Will she be able to put the past behind her and move on?

Socksmith Men’s Novelty Crew Socks

I am going to start this review with a complaint. 95% of the book takes places in a fictitious town of Lillian, Massachusetts. Lillian is located south of Rockport/Gloucester. Which would put it in the Manchester-by-the-Sea/Ipswich area. That is not the Boston area. Boston is an hour drive from there. How do I know? I grew up in that area and lived there until 5 years ago. Where I grew up was 20 mins from Boston and Rockport is 20-30 mins from there. That is not the Boston area. That is considered the North Shore/Cape Anne area. So it irked me when I read that. It was the only thing that I didn’t care for in the book.

The primary plotline of Things You Save in a Fire is forgiveness and healing. When Cassie is introduced, she had shut herself off from everything. She didn’t trust because of events that happened 10 years earlier. Cassie despised her mother and had little to do with her. She didn’t have any close relationships outside of work. After the incident and moving to Rockport, I could see her walls coming down. She started to forgive her mother for leaving. She began to come to terms with her rape. Everything came to a head when Owen was injured in the fire, and DeStasio put the blame on her. That scene with DeStasio was one of the most heartbreaking scenes I have read in a while. The details she went into broke my heart in smithereens. But talking about it helped her heal. And in a way, helped her forgive.

I liked the storyline with the rookie and Cassie. I laughed at her first reaction to seeing him the first time. I felt awful about her panicking when she realized that she like liked him. I cried when she told him (in not so many words) what happened to her. I cheered when she decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue a relationship with him. I will say that I thought it was odd that Owen was only known as “the rookie” for about 75% of the book.

The other plotline that caught my attention was the relationship between Cassie and her mother. Cassie was traumatized by her mother leaving on her 16th birthday. In the 10 years since she left, she had little contact with her. I didn’t blame Cassie for flat out saying no to her when Diana called after the incident. But with her father intervening and being forced to transfer, she had to go. Cassie was forced to face her mother. She was forced to start caring. She was also forced to listen to why Diana left. What Cassie believed happened and what she found out is two different things. Towards the middle of the book, it was revealed why Diana wanted Cassie to come to Massachusetts. I didn’t blame Cassie for her reaction.

I loved that Cassie was a firefighter. There are very few female firefighters. The author did a fantastic job of portraying what Cassie had to do to make the men of the Lillian station respect her. She also did a great job of detailing the harassment that Cassie had to deal with.

I will say that I was surprised when I realized that Cassie was the firefighter from How to Walk Away. That one sentence made me go “No way” when I realized it was her.

The end of Things You Save in a Fire was sad and happy at the same time. I was thrilled that Owen and Cassie got their HEA. I loved Cassie’s mindset at the end of the book. I LOVED IT!!! She did get the best revenge.


I would give Things You Save in a Fire an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be parental abandonment, rape, cancer, and addiction. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would recommend Things You Save in a Fire. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the publisher, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Things You Save in a Fire.

All opinions stated in this review of Things You Save in a Fire are mine.

Weekly Wrap Up: August 4th through August 10th 2019

Clicking on titles under Books I’ve ReadNetGalley Haul,and Email Haul will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on titles under Books with Pending Reviews and Books with Published Reviews will take you to Amazon.

Clicking on titles Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz will take you to that specific blog post.

Clicking on links under Giveaways I’ve Entered will take you to that giveaway

Clicking on the titles under Freebies I Scored will take you to Goodreads.

Clicking on the links under Weekly Posts will take you to that specific blog post.


Books I’ve Read:

Aelia

The Red Death

Disorder

Return of the Long Lost Earl


Books with pending reviews:

I Wanna Sext You Up—Review coming August 20th


Books with published reviews:

Dark Alpha’s Redemption—Review Here

Return of the Long Lost Earl—Review Here

The Kilwade Tragedy—Review Here

The Escape Room—Review Here

Because You’re Mine—Review Here

We Are All Good People Here—Review Here

The Perfect Wife—Review Here

Keeping Lucy—Review Here

Jake’s Redemption—Review Here

T-Minus—Review Here


NetGalley Haul:

Once Upon a Cowboy Christmas

A Hundred Suns

Cilka’s Journey

Ice Hard

The Jumbie God’s Revenge


Email Haul:


Blog Tours/Excerpts/Book Blitz:

Dirty Player—Sale Post

Reckless Love—Sale Post

The Escape Room—Blog Tour

T-Minus—Blog Tour


Giveaways I’ve Entered:


Weekly Posts:

Weekly Wrap Up

Catch Up Sunday

Music Monday

Top Ten Tuesday

WWW Wednesday

Theme Thursday

Because You’re Mine by Rea Frey

Because You're Mine: A Novel by [Frey, Rea]

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, St. Martin’s Griffin

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Mystery, Suspense

Where you can find Because You’re Mine: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book synopsis:

But it’s the lies that keep you safe. 

Single mother Lee has the daily routine down to a science: shower in six minutes. Cut food into perfect squares. Never leave her on-the-spectrum son Mason in someone else’s care. She’ll do anything—anything—to keep his carefully constructed world from falling apart. Do anything to keep him safe.

But when her best friend Grace convinces her she needs a small break from motherhood to recharge her batteries, Lee gives in to a weekend trip. Surely a long weekend away from home won’t hurt?
Noah, Mason’s handsome, bright, charismatic tutor—the first man in ages Lee’s even noticed—is more than happy to stay with him.

Forty-eight hours later, someone is dead.

But not all is as it seems. Noah may be more than who he claims to be. Grace has a secret—one that will destroy Lee. Lee has secrets of her own that she will do anything to keep hidden.
As the dominoes begin to fall and the past comes to light, perhaps it’s no mystery someone is gone after all…

Because You’re Mine is a breathtaking novel of domestic drama and suspense. 

Prepare to stay up all night.


My review:

I will start this review with a trigger warning. I am not giving anything away because the author goes into her own experience at the beginning of the book. The triggers are sexual assault, suicide, drug use, and alcoholism. If any of those triggers you, do not to read the book.

I enjoy reading mystery/thriller/suspense novels. I like the charge I get when reading them. I love not knowing what is going to happen next in the book, which is why I decided to review Because You’re Mine. I am glad I did because this book was fantastic!! It was everything I thought it was going to be.

Because You’re Mine has three plotlines. They are Lee, Noah, and Grace. When I first figured that out, I was kind of “eh” about it. If there are many plotlines, I sometimes have an issue keeping track of them. In this case, though, I was good. The author marked each chapter with who it was (Noah, Grace, Lee). She even went one step further and marked it when the book went from past to present. When I noticed that, I whispered a “Thank you.” That is a huge pet peeve of mine when reading books with numerous and intertwining plotlines. They aren’t marked and if there are changes between present and past, forget it.

I will admit, I was a little irritated by the journal entries. I couldn’t understand why they were there. But, as I got into the book, the entries started making sense. Of course, I got who was writing them wrong.


I liked Lee. Life wasn’t easy for her. Raising an autistic child was hard. She had to keep to a precise schedule for Mason, which meant no dating, no men. She was slightly selfish. When she got together with Grace, everything was about her. She never let Grace get a word in edgewise. But, then again, if my only outlet were talking about my past, I would do the same. I will say this; I was not expecting a couple of twists that popped up in her storyline.

I was iffy with Noah. I felt that he was throwing mixed signals at Lee. I didn’t understand why he couldn’t have come clean sooner to her. I did feel bad for him when his secret was revealed. I would not have been able to live with myself after that, which leads to the second secret. If the first secret hadn’t of happened, then the second one definitely wouldn’t have happened.

I thought Grace was a great friend. I felt terrible that she had to hide her secret from Lee. Her stress was palpable. I could understand why she wouldn’t have wanted Lee to know. Her other secret blew my flipping mind. I couldn’t believe it. I put my Kindle down and said “No freaking way.


I thought that Because You’re Mine was a great fit in the mystery/suspense/thriller category. The author did a fantastic job of keeping Lee, Noah and Grace’s many secrets, well, a secret until the end. I did guess Noah’s and had kind of a feel for Lee’s. But Grace’s, no way. Talk about blindsiding someone.

There are a few sex/sexual scenes in Because You’re Mine. The one involving Noah and Grace disturbed me. Not because of the rough sex but because of what Noah said. I got shivers reading it.

The end of Because You’re Mine messed with me. I was not expecting the 180 a particular character did. Talk about making my mouth drop. I was a little aggravated at the lengths that person was going to go through to get back at people. If you read the book, you know what I am talking about. Other than that, it was one of the best endings I have read in a while.


I would give Because You’re Mine an Adult rating. There is sex (not graphic). There is language. There is violence. I would reccomend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

I would reread Because You’re Mine. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.

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


Have you read Because You’re Mine?

What were your thoughts on it?

Can you keep secrets like Lee, Grace, and Noah?

Let me know!!

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

We Are All Good People Here: A Novel by [White, Susan Rebecca]

4 Stars

Publisher: Atria Books

Date of Publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find We Are All Good People Here: Amazon | Barnes and Noble | BookBub

Book Synopsis:

From the author of A Place at the Table and A Soft Place to Land, an “intense, complex, and wholly immersive” (Joshilyn Jackson, New York Times bestselling author) multigenerational novel that explores the complex relationship between two very different women and the secrets they bequeath to their daughters.

Eve Whalen, privileged child of an old-money Atlanta family, meets Daniella Gold in the fall of 1962, on their first day at Belmont College. Paired as roommates, the two become fast friends. Daniella, raised in Georgetown by a Jewish father and a Methodist mother, has always felt caught between two worlds. But at Belmont, her bond with Eve allows her to finally experience a sense of belonging. That is, until the girls’ expanding awareness of the South’s systematic injustice forces them to question everything they thought they knew about the world and their places in it.

Eve veers toward radicalism—a choice pragmatic Daniella cannot fathom. After a tragedy, Eve returns to Daniella for help in beginning anew, hoping to shed her past. But the past isn’t so easily buried, as Daniella and Eve discover when their daughters are endangered by secrets meant to stay hidden.

Spanning more than thirty years of American history, from the twilight of Kennedy’s Camelot to the beginning of Bill Clinton’s presidency, We Are All Good People Here is “a captivating…meaningful, resonant story” (Emily Giffin, author of All We Ever Wanted) about two flawed but well-meaning women clinging to a lifelong friendship that is tested by the rushing waters of history and their own good intentions.


First Line:

Daniella’s father steered the Dodge Pioneer up the serpentine drive of Belmont College, home to more than five hundred girls renowned for their Beauty and Brains, or at least that wsa what the boosterish tour guide who had shown Daniella around the previous spring had claimed.

We Are All Good People Here by Susan Rebecca White

We Are All Good People Here was an interesting read. I usually don’t like books that follow characters over the decades. Often, I find myself getting confused with what is going on and losing track of the plotline. Not in this book. We Are All Good People Here was an interesting, character-driven book that had me engrossed the entire time.

What I liked the most about this book was how the characters changed with each decade. Each decade showed a different side to Eve and Daniella. I enjoyed seeing the different sides of Eve and Daniella. I liked seeing how they related to each other in those periods of their lives. I loved seeing how their friendship evolved during the 30+ years the book covers. It made for a fantastic read.

I liked how the author had Eve and Daniella be on opposite ends of the Civil Rights movement and the Vietnam War protests. It was interesting to read about Daniella’s time in Mississippi. I was interested in how Eve was immersed in a radical group. It fascinated me.

We Are All Good People Here covers so much that this review would be forever if I wrote about them all. Racism and discrimination were two of the main things discussed. Also discussed where same-sex couples, date rape, drug use, and radicalism. All these issues combined into one book made for a great read.

What I didn’t like was how Eve changed. It didn’t sit right with me. She was immersed in the culture of the underground radicals. So, for her to marry a lawyer and become a “perfect” wife was a hard pill to swallow.

I wasn’t a fan of Eve and Daniella’s kids taking over the book. But, I understood why the author did that. She wanted to introduce the issues that my generation had to deal with growing up.

The end of We Are All Good People Here was almost anticlimactic. I figured that Eve would end up doing what she did. Daniella, I didn’t expect her life to take the course that it did. It was an excellent ending to a great story. The talk that Daniella and Sarah had at the end of the book touched me.


I would give We Are All Good People Here 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 reread We Are All Good People Here. I would recommend it to family and friends.

**I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book**

Keeping Lucy by T. Greenwood

4 Stars

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Date of publication: August 6th, 2019

Genre: Women’s Fiction, General Fiction

Where you can find Keeping Lucy: Amazon | Barnes and Noble

Goodreads synopsis:

From the author of Rust & Stardust comes this heartbreaking story, inspired by true events, of how far one mother must go to protect her daughter. 

Dover, Massachusetts, 1969. Ginny Richardson’s heart was torn open when her baby girl, Lucy, born with Down Syndrome, was taken from her. Under pressure from his powerful family, her husband, Ab, sent Lucy away to Willowridge, a special school for the “feeble-minded.” Ab tried to convince Ginny it was for the best. That they should grieve for their daughter as though she were dead. That they should try to move on. 

But two years later, when Ginny’s best friend, Marsha, shows her a series of articles exposing Willowridge as a hell-on-earth–its squalid hallways filled with neglected children–she knows she can’t leave her daughter there. With Ginny’s six-year-old son in tow, Ginny and Marsha drive to the school to see Lucy for themselves. What they find sets their course on a heart-racing journey across state lines—turning Ginny into a fugitive.

For the first time, Ginny must test her own strength and face the world head-on as she fights Ab and his domineering father for the right to keep Lucy. Racing from Massachusetts to the beaches of Atlantic City, through the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia to a roadside mermaid show in Florida, Keeping Lucy is a searing portrait of just how far a mother’s love can take her.


My review

Keeping Lucy is a tale of a mother’s love and how powerful it could be. Ginny’s heart was broken when she was told that her baby had Down’s Syndrome. It was crushed even more when her powerful father in law arraigned for the newborn to be taken to Willowridge, a school for feeble-minded people. Ginny was never allowed to see Lucy and was told that she should mourn for Lucy like she was dead. Two years pass. Then Ginny’s friend Marsha shows her a series of articles that expose Willowridge as a hell on earth for its residents. Horrified at what she saw and read, Ginny, can’t leave Lucy there. After seeing the school and the conditions for herself, Ginny is determined never to bring her back. But her actions have consequences that soon have her and Marsha racing towards Florida with the children. What will happen to Lucy? To Ginny?


Keeping Lucy was a hard book for me to read. As a mother, I couldn’t even begin to fathom what Ginny went through in the 2 years after Lucy was taken from her. I don’t know how she could live with her husband after he forced that decision on her. But, then again, this was the late 60’s/early ’70s. Men still made the decisions, and women’s feelings were not thought about.

Ginny’s character development through the book was terrific. She went from being this meek, compliant housewife to a person who stood her ground when threatened. I loved it. She became an enraged mama bear protecting her cub. The ultimatum that she threw down to Ab was epic. Even better was what she said to her overbearing, control freak of a father in law.

I didn’t care for Ab. He let his father rule his life. In doing so, he allowed his daughter to be placed in a “school” with deplorable living conditions. He did love Ginny and Peyton. I also understood where he was coming from when he made the decision to send Lucy away. But, it was everything after the fact that made me go “WTF.

Lucy was the innocent victim in all this. I shared Ginny’s horror when she saw (and smelled) the conditions of that “school.” The scene when Ginny first changed Lucy’s diaper broke my heart. How long did she sit in that diaper for the rash to get that bad?? There are other examples of the severe neglect that she endured, but I won’t go into them.

I didn’t like Ab’s father. He was a controlling jerk. I don’t understand why he thought that he could separate a mother from her child. I don’t understand why he thought that bullying his son into complying was alright. I do believe that he was one of those rich people who thought money and connections solved everything. He was a jerk and deserved a knee to the crotch.

Click N Play 18 Piece Beach Sand Toy Set

The main plotline, Ginny going on the run with the kids, was well written. It did get off to a slow start, but it gained steam. By the time everyone reached Florida, it was flowing nicely. I could taste her desperation. I could feel her horror and fear. But, more importantly, I saw the fierce love that she had for her children. She was willing to do whatever it took to prevent Lucy from going back to that hellhole.

The end of Keeping Lucy was different. All I have to say about it is that I am happy with how things ended up.


I would give Keeping Lucy an Adult rating. There are sexual references but sex is not described outright. There is mild language. There is mild violence. There are triggers. They would be extreme child neglect. I would recommend that no one under the age of 21 read this book.

FUN LITTLE TOYS Bath Boat Toy

I would reread Keeping Lucy. I would also recommend this book to family and friends.


I would like to thank the publishers, the author, and NetGalley for allowing me to read and review Keeping Lucy.

All opinions stated in this review of Keeping Lucy are mine.