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#BookReview & #BESTBOOK2020: The All-Night Sun by Diane Zinna ~5⭐️

Date of Release: July 14th, 2920

Summary:

A lonely young woman gets too close to her charismatic female student in this propulsive debut, culminating in a dangerously debauched Midsommar’s Eve.

“Memorable and meaningful.”—Claire Messud, New York Times bestselling author of The Burning Girl

Lauren Cress teaches writing at a small college outside of Washington, DC. In the classroom, she is poised, smart, and kind, well-liked by her students and colleagues. But in her personal life, Lauren is troubled and isolated, still grappling with the sudden death of her parents ten years earlier. She seems to exist at a remove from everyone around her until a new student joins her class: charming, magnetic Siri, who appears to be everything Lauren wishes she could be. They fall headlong into an all-consuming friendship that feels to Lauren like she is reclaiming her lost adolescence.

When Siri invites her along on a trip home to Sweden for the summer, Lauren impulsively accepts, intrigued by how Siri describes it: “Everything will be green, fresh, new, just thawing out.” But once there, Lauren finds herself drawn to Siri’s enigmatic, brooding brother Magnus. Siri is resentful, and Lauren starts to see a new side of her friend: selfish, reckless, self-destructive, even cruel. On the last night of her trip, Lauren accompanies Siri and her friends on a seaside camping trip to celebrate Midsommar’s Eve, a night when no one sleeps, boundaries blur, and under the light of the unsetting sun, things take a dark turn.

Ultimately Lauren must acknowledge the truth of what happened with Siri and come to terms with her own tragic past in this gorgeously written, deeply felt debut about the relationships that come to us when things feel darkest–and the transformative power of female friendship.

Review:

To say that Diane Zinna moved me with her story would not be fair, because it was more than that. She stood above every other book I read this year!!

She writes about grief with an original way to approach it.

The “All-Night Sun” is a lyrical journey that promises to open your heart! Even open your eyes to new ways of seeing the English language!

Diane gave words new meanings.

You will see things differently; they’ll be brighter! Whisper louder! Call to you!! Because you’ll notice even the small things…Diane has taught us how to look through life with a new lense of appreciation.

The world opens up without edges because her story feels so smooth and utterly beautiful!

Let me be blunt –

This book excited me! I tell everyone about it!! Diane is breathtakingly talented!

This may be her debut novel, but the essence screams she has been writing successful Literary Fiction novels for years!

5 Stars. My Favorite Book this year!

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, book review, Fiction, Literary Fiction, William Morrow, womans fiction

#BookReview: You and Me and Us by Alison Hammer ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: April 7, 2020

Summary:

The heartbreaking, yet hopeful, story of a mother and daughter struggling to be a family without the one person who holds them together—a perfect summer read for fans of JoJo Moyes and Marisa de los Santos.

Alexis Gold knows how to put the “work” in working mom. It’s the “mom” part that she’s been struggling with lately. Since opening her own advertising agency three years ago, Alexis has all but given up on finding a good work/life balance. Instead, she’s handed over the household reins to her supportive, loving partner, Tommy. While he’s quick to say they divide and conquer, Alexis knows that Tommy does most of the heavy lifting—especially when it comes to their teenage daughter, CeCe. 

Their world changes in an instant when Tommy receives a terminal cancer diagnosis, and Alexis realizes everything she’s worked relentlessly for doesn’t matter without him. So Alexis does what Tommy has done for her almost every day since they were twelve-year-old kids in Destin, Florida—she puts him first. And when the only thing Tommy wants is to spend one last summer together at “their” beach, she puts her career on hold to make it happen…even if it means putting her family within striking distance of Tommy’s ex, an actress CeCe idolizes.

But Alexis and Tommy aren’t the only ones whose lives have been turned inside out. In addition to dealing with the normal ups and downs that come with being a teenager, CeCe is also forced to confront her feelings about Tommy’s illness—and what will happen when the one person who’s always been there for her is gone. When the magic of first love brings a bright spot to her summer, CeCe is determined not to let her mother ruin that for her, too.

As CeCe’s behavior becomes more rebellious, Alexis realizes the only thing harder for her than losing Tommy will be convincing CeCe to give her one more chance.  

You and Me and Us is a beautifully written novel that examines the unexpected ways loss teaches us how to love.

Review:

Tissues! Intensely powerful story about losing your “anchor”! Both Individually and for the family. Alison Hammer draws a beautiful scenario of loss within a family and how it effects them, and how they work through it. This is a lesson on grief! This is a love letter to those left behind, those feeling less whole when they lose someone.

“You and Me and Us” will bring you to tears. It will make you examine parts of your life. It will help you see the beauty left in still learning to really live!

I received a copy of this book by the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Algonquin Books, annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, book review, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

#BookReview: The Mountains Sing by Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai ~ 5⭐️

Date of Release: March 17, 2020

Summary:

With the epic sweep of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko or Yaa Gyasi’s Homegoing and the lyrical beauty of Vaddey Ratner’s In the Shadow of the BanyanThe Mountains Sing tells an enveloping, multigenerational tale of the Tran family, set against the backdrop of the Viet Nam War. Tran Dieu Lan, who was born in 1920, was forced to flee her family farm with her six children during the Land Reform as the Communist government rose in the North. Years later in Hà Noi, her young granddaughter, Hương, comes of age as her parents and uncles head off down the Ho Chí Minh Trail to fight in a conflict that will tear not just her beloved country but her family apart.

Vivid, gripping, and steeped in the language and traditions of Viet Nam, The Mountains Sing brings to life the human costs of this conflict from the point of view of the Vietnamese people themselves, while showing us the true power of kindness and hope. This is celebrated Vietnamese poet Nguyen Phan Que Mai’s first novel in English.

Review:

“The Mountains Sing” is a glorious novel which sweeps across land, generations and hearts. This is a novel you must open and absorb and get to know. Intimately!

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai is someone you must get to know because you can feel the pulse of her novel being of generous mind and spirit, even though it is about her families experience with the Vietnam War!! To be a witness was a privilege!

Both Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai & “The Mountains Sing” will leave you feeling inspired!

Nguyễn Phan Quế Mai writes this story as if she is making a call to your soul to bring peace to the world! She wants us to read between the lines, and see and feel even more than her words! It is her writing that grabs you and won’t let go!

She pours this very essence onto her pages! You walk this journey with her. You weep, you bleed, you ache, yet….you still look up at the sun!

Quế Mai’s call to peace is heard as we flip the pages!! I trust that as her novel made its way around the globe, hearts are being moved like mountains and they are singing!!

“The Mountains Sing” has a clear message.

I believe this book is a gift to those who read it! To know more about Quế Mai is an honor! She is an entrancing author!

“The Mountains Sing” needs to be read by everyone!

It is a rare gem that I will never forget.

5 Stars.

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, author spotlight, Book Release, book review, Fiction, Harper, Literary Fiction

#BookReview: Before You Go by Tommy Butler ~ 5⭐️

7F6CC716-6314-4A78-8FA6-9B6642D506FCReviewer: Annie McDonnell

Summary:

A big, rich, life-affirming debut that explores the most perplexing questions of existence: purpose, the pain of loneliness, the desire for happiness, and the price we pay as we search for fulfillment.

In the Before, humankind is created with a hole in its heart, the designers not realizing their mistake—if it was a mistake—until too late.

Elliot Chance is just a boy, and knows nothing of this. All he knows is that he doesn’t feel at home in this world, and his desire for escape becomes more urgent as he grows into adulthood, where the turbulence of life seems to offer no cure for the emptiness. Desperate and lost, he stumbles upon a support group on the edge of Manhattan. There he meets two other drifting souls—Sasha, a young woman who leaves coded messages in the copy she writes for advertising campaigns, and Bannor, whose detailed depictions of the future make Elliot think he may have actually been there. With these two unlikely allies, Elliot launches into the business of life, determined to be happy in spite of himself.

Yet the hole in the heart is not so easily filled.

Profound yet playful, Before You Go is a beautiful, imaginative journey into the ache and wonder of being human, and the quest for a meaningful life.

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Review:

So Many New Releases Today, but Tommy Butler has released “Before You Go”!!

A novel that has truly resonated with me and touched me beyond measure! I truly believe I was led to this book! I invited Tommy to The Write Review months ago, because I believed this book had to be shared with my Book Club and my desire to read it was so strong. Sadly, the interview didn’t transpire, due to my illness. But, I needed this book now. 

I have always “lived” to read. It is actually the fiber of my being! I see that clearly now. 

“Before I Go” is a novel that helped me see that before I go, I must be sure that this is never forgotten! 

Sometimes a book changes your life! Tommy Butler’s “Before You Go” has certainly changed mine! Little did I know that when I read it I would be in a place that I’d be considering the meaning of my life! With his words crashing into me, as if he was reaching into my heart and speaking it’s very language.

This story is truly breathtaking. A compelling journey I began and never wanted to end! 

His words are poetry! He is absolutely beautiful in his prose and he took me to wonderful places. 

He has me taking my present journey and seeing it with fresh eyes, and it is wonderful! With each tear stained page in this book, I know I’ve left my a piece of heart behind.

What a Story!!  Finally! You are so imaginative! Thank you, Tommy!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.
5 Stars.

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About the Author:

Tommy Butler was raised in Stamford, Connecticut, and has since called many places home, including New Hampshire, San Diego, Boston, New York City, and San Francisco. A graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School, he was a Peter Taylor Fellow at the Kenyon Review Writers Workshop and is an alumnus of the Screenwriters Colony. His feature screenplay, Etopia, was the winner of Showtime’s Tony Cox Screenplay Competition at the Nantucket Film Festival.

 

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Author interview, book review, Fiction, Friendship Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction, Southern Fiction, womans fiction

#BookReview & #AuthorInterview: Little Tea by Claire Fullerton ~ 5⭐️

43D35A14-A0F5-4CB5-8E15-74C27DA1D80EReviewer: Annie McDonnell

Date of Release: April 28th, 2020

Summary:

Southern Culture … Old Friendships … Family Tragedy
One phone call from Renny to come home and “see about” the capricious Ava and Celia Wakefield decides to overlook her distressful past in the name of friendship.
For three reflective days at Renny’s lake house in Heber Springs, Arkansas, the three childhood friends reunite and examine life, love, marriage, and the ties that bind, even though Celia’s personal story has yet to be healed. When the past arrives at the lake house door in the form of her old boyfriend, Celia must revisit the life she’d tried to outrun.
As her idyllic coming of age alongside her best friend, Little Tea, on her family’s ancestral grounds in bucolic Como, Mississippi unfolds, Celia realizes there is no better place to accept her own story than in this circle of friends who have remained beside her throughout the years. Theirs is a friendship that can talk any life sorrow into a comic tragedy, and now that the racial divide in the Deep South has evolved, Celia wonders if her friendship with Little Tea can triumph over history.

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Review:

I’ve just discovered a rare gem!

Beloved author, Pat Conroy left behind a legacy that weaves it’s way through so much of southern fiction, but I trust he stopped by Claire Fullerton’s pen and whispered some of his wisdom! The proof is in her novel “Little Tea”!

She has that same knack of real-life, honest storytelling wrapped in beautifully eloquent prose.  Every word being composed so harmoniously with the next.

So refreshing!

Speaking of racism and social issues with both gentle heart and pulsating tension.

Love and relationships are lovely, exuberant, determined and even heartbreaking. When everything is cracking open like a broken glass on the hot Memphis asphalt, the sun is still shining through it.

Claire Fullerton speaks of the South and being a Southerner as a status only a few can attain. Almost a deserving right! The highest of honors! I love that she reveres the South so deeply and sincerely. She writes about the South with such love, you can sense her devotion! She elevates the Southern voice!! Claire is a true gift to both Southern and Literary Fiction!

I was completely enamored and enraptured with this story and each of characters. I even found myself beginning to put the book down one night, only to chose not to because I was just too captivated with even the places and more!! I just couldn’t sleep!

That same night, I found I was reading the last sentence, and I knew without a doubt I had been introduced to one of the most talented writers of our time!

In closing, I look forward to reading Claire Fullerton’s Collection! Time to order every single book!

I received this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Look, I GOT THEM!! I am all set now!

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Author Bio:

Claire Fullerton is the author of Little Tea, which is set in the Deep South and concerns female friendship, Southern culture, healing the past and the changing times of the racial divide. Little Tea is a Faulkner Society finalist and the August 2020 book club selection of the Pulpwood Queens book club. Her novel, Mourning Dove, is a 9-time award winner set on the genteel side of 1970’s Memphis, Claire’s novel, Dancing to an Irish Reel, a Kindle Book Review and Readers’ Favorite award winner is set on the west coast of Ireland, where she once lived. Claire’s first novel is a paranormal mystery set in two time periods titled, A Portal in Time, set in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Claire contributed to the book, A Southern Season with her novella, Through an Autumn Window, set at a Memphis funeral. She writes of the Deep South, the family dynamic, and the hidden emotions that motivate a character. She hails from Memphis, and lives in Malibu, CA. with her husband and 3 German shepherds. Claire is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Literary Agency. https://www.clairefullerton.com

Order Here:

 

 

Live Interview:

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#BlogTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway: Dignity and Grace by Alison Ragsdale

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Dignity & Grace by Alison Ragsdale

Date of Release: July 27, 2020

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Summary:

On her 21st birthday, gifted cellist Iona Muir receives a package from her estranged father containing a letter from her mother, Grace, a talented musician who tragically died ten years earlier. Reeling from what she reads, Iona soon discovers a mysterious, faded photograph of Grace, hidden inside her cello case.

Honoring her mother’s request, Iona visits Grace’s beloved music teacher, taking the first step on an emotional trail of discovery that has been left for her. As Grace’s story unfolds, Iona gains a deeper insight into the mother she lost and the heartbreaking truth about Grace’s last months. The more Iona learns, the more she is drawn back to her family home, on the remote Scottish island of Orkney, and to her father.

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Serena visited Scotland, too! She Loved Edinburgh Castle!

Reviewer: Serena Soape

Alison Ragsdale has touched my heart deeply with this poignant, heart-wrenching novel.

With recently losing my mom, “Dignity & Grace “ evoked many emotions from the very first page when Iona received the package from her Dad about the things that her mother wrote her so many years ago.

The characters were magnificently interesting as they were introduced during Iona’s emotional journey. I felt like I was sitting next to Iona as she traveled from place to place.

Alison Ragsdale has a brilliant writing style that never disappoints, through both the smiles as well as the tears.

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

I never visited Scotland! But, Alison Ragsdale truly had the Orkney Islands and the Ring of Brodgar to Edinburgh Come alive for me!

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

Every once in a while I meet a book that stops my heart from beating so often I find myself actually catching my breath! Stirring my Soul a bit Loose!

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale moved me, both profoundly and evocatively! I was enamored with the British vernacular and sharp writing! All of the Characters I adored! I was taken away completely, from place to person to emotion! All levels! I was deep into this novel!

Losing her Mum’s very essence changed the vibration of Iona’s life. This is the story of Iona’s aching reach to regain it once again. Iona is coming full circle with a wondrous guide in Grace!

I was capturing the very heartbeat of this experience! Extremely palpable! From Orkney to Edinburgh! From first learning to play the cello to becoming a gifted cellist, Iona played her way into my heart!

I was drawn to the Cello because it was such a huge character! I felt it’s cries!! Such Aloneness….It’s unbearable aches!! It’s Pains…it’s relief!! It’s Release….It’s love for its owner! The Cello has a voice and a heart like a human, and the way Alison used this instrument and its music is breathtaking! It came alive!

Rhythmically, Alison’s story moved me gently between tears of anger and laughter and sadness. Like the cello playing it’s own life’s song!

Written with tender hearted story-telling and super smart accuracy for its serious subject matter, Alison Ragsdale scores a standing ovation from me!

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Side-bar I must include for myself outside of my review, Annie:

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You see, this story was personal for two reasons.

First, I was my (step)Mother’s caregiver for the last nine months of her life. She had decided both graciously and heroically that it was time to stop her treatments for Breast Cancer. I had already been a volunteer for years at Hospice, so I was well-equipped at end-of-life care with Dignity. I was determined that my Mom was going to have the very best End-of-Life experience! Each day was anew for us. It was beautiful. Poignant yet celebratory. She actually thanked me for creating an extremely special time for her. Fun! She called it! It has been my highest honor. I felt as though Grace was my Carmela. The letters evoked extreme emotions from me. Iona laying her head in Grace’s lap was truly my experience in life! #TissuesToTheMax

Alison truly understands the end of life experience.

Secondly, I have a neurological disorder, which I am now in the “tremor”, and “in-bed-all-the-time” phase. I understand choosing to remain in the heart of my home, as a Grace did. While it’s not ALS, it is in the same classification, and they are both on the Compassionate Allowance List for Social Security Disability. My end of life will be quite similar, and knowing this is difficult. Reading Alison’s book, I’m realizing my truth, I also have a lot going through my head. I believe if I had a daughter, I would have chosen to leave something like letters. “Dignity & Grace” has me realizing, my heart breaks that there is no one I’m leaving behind, so I need to find my persons! I’m thinking my nephews Xander & Adam will be my Legacy’s! I realized no one will be looking in the mirror and seeing my image, or missing much of anything about me because I haven’t accomplished much. So, I’m determined to write a story!

Alison hit the nail on the head with neurological changes in the body, and what it does to the people around you.

I also googled a lot of the places in the story! It was too overwhelming not too! I had to know if they were real.

Dignity & Grace” is a call to action for me! I’m on it!!

I’m going to leave part of me somewhere! Thank you, Alison Ragsdale for this reminder!

E96AFACA-0D25-46BE-B16F-E35BF7A47DC3Author Bio:

Originally from Edinburgh, Alison now lives in the US with her husband and dog. Educated in England, she holds an MBA from Leicester University.

Alison’s Amazon best sellers include: TUESDAY’S SOCKS, THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB, FINDING HEATHER, A LIFE UNEXPECTED, THE ART OF REMEMBERING and THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES.

THE FATHER-DAUGHTER CLUB was awarded the 2016, IPPY Bronze medal for Best regional fiction – Europe.

A LIFE UNEXPECTED, was awarded a 2018, IPPY Bronze medal in the Popular Fiction category.

THE ART OF REMEMBERING, debuted as an Amazon best seller, was honored as a finalist in the 2019 American Fiction Awards, was a finalist in the 2020 Eric Hoffer Award, was a BookBub Best Book Club Book pick and was nominated for the Goodreads Readers Choice Award.

THE LIAR AND OTHER STORIES, a collection of short stories was released on May 12th, 2020.

Ms. Ragsdale’s seventh novel, DIGNITY AND GRACE, will be released on July 27th, 2020.

For more information: www.alisonragsdale.com.

 Order Here:

Or, From Annie’s Local Indie Bookshop, Book Hampton:

B5CD78DD-27AB-4EE9-BD31-EF8A75FC6AFE

https://www.bookhampton.com/book/9781733037754

Giveaway:

0B335780-BF64-4039-9A45-2B124EC4B838Tell us one thing you’d like to pass on, or leave to the next generation! Words of wisdom! Please post directly in the comments!

*One “Dignity & Grace” EBook winner will be announced when Annie returns from her temporary leave of absence.

Thank you!

The Write Review loved

“Dignity & Grace” by Alison Ragsdale!!!

and we really appreciate you stopping by our

Blog Tour Stop

FOR KATE ROCK BOOK TOURS.

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Book Giveaway, Book Tour, Contemporary Fiction, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized, womans fiction

#BookTour, #BookReview & #Giveaway – Wildland by Rebecca Hodge

E495379A-6C23-43A4-A836-EAD0D2C84F49I’m so honored to be part of Kate Rock Book Tours for “Wildland” by Rebecca Hodge! Such a pleasure and amazing opportunity! Thank you Kate Rock and Rebecca Hodge!

Date of Release: February 11, 2020

75019EE2-2254-4E9E-ADEE-6F9E30445867Rebecca Hodge is giving away an awesome Prize Package (see graphic):  

Here is the link to share:

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/52592b2c7/?

Order link: https://amzn.to/34DLPq6

Website: https://www.rebeccahodgefiction.com/

Instagram: @rhodge.fiction

Review:

Everything in “Wildland” by Rebecca Hodge screams “Fervent”!

From the wild fires that began raging in the mountains to the deep, hot, and burning desire for Kat Jamison to determine her life’s next chapter; every moment was so deeply experienced.

As I joined Kat on her path and those of the other characters, I was so immersed I could not let go! I turned the pages with the same sense of urgency I’m sure each character was either trying to escape the Blue Ridge Mountains or rescue them!

Intense, powerful, inspirational!

Wildland left me breathless. Holding my dogs tighter! Appreciating my life!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

Summary:

For fans of Jodi Picoult and Anita Shreve comes an exhilarating debut novel of one woman’s courage in the face of catastrophe.

She’ll do anything to save them.

But what will she do to save herself?

When Kat Jamison retreats to the Blue Ridge Mountains, she’s counting on peace and solitude to help her make a difficult decision. Her breast cancer has returned, but after the death of her husband, her will to fight is dampened. Now she has a choice to make: face yet another round of chemotherapy or surrender gracefully.

Self-reflection quickly proves impossible as her getaway is complicated by a pair of abandoned dogs and two friendly children staying nearby, Lily and Nirav. In no time at all, Kat’s quiet seclusion is invaded by the happy confusion of children and pets.

But when lightning ignites a deadly wildfire, Kat’s cabin is cut off from the rest of the camp, separating Lily and Nirav from their parents. Left with no choice, Kat, the children, and the dogs must flee on foot through the drought-stricken forest, away from the ravenous flames. As a frantic rescue mission is launched below the fire line, Kat drives the party deeper into the mountains, determined to save four innocent lives. But when the moment comes to save her own, Kat will have to decide just how hard she’s willing to fight to survive–and what’s worth living for.

A heart-pounding novel of bravery, sacrifice, and self-discovery, Wildland will keep you on the edge of your seat to the very last page.

Praise for Wildland:

“Heart-stopping…Hodge shows great skill in writing a story that’s both touching and exhilarating.”

—Diane Chamberlain, New York Times bestselling author of The Dream Daughter

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, book review, Fiction, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized

#BookReview: The Shape of the Atmosphere by Jessica Dainty

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Date of Release: November 2016

Summary:

Gertie MacLarsen believes she was given ugliness at birth. Growing up in an estranged home, the only times she feels beautiful are the nights her father comes in to show her the stars. The day of her 16th birthday, the same day that Sputnik traverses the sky, Gertie’s life is irrevocably changed. After a family

tragedy, her elusive and alcoholic mother sends her to Willow Estate, a private mental institution, where she is thrown into a world of harsh therapies, dangerous hospital politics, and, surprisingly, a sense of family.

Within the walls of Willow Estate Sanatorium, Gertie finds awfulness and grace, terror and family. From hydro and shock therapy, to first love, to rape and suicide, the only thing Gertie is sure of from day to day is that growing up is not a choice and that forgiveness and acceptance are perhaps the greatest gifts anyone can give. As Gertie learns her fellow patients’ stories, she realizes she is not the only one alone in this giant universe and that finding yourself sometimes means letting the past versions of yourself go and letting others help you define your own center of gravity.

Set against the historical backdrop of the early space race, THE SHAPE OF THE ATMOSPHERE features a spectrum of supporting characters that bring the dramatic setting to life and a plot that explores what it means to know yourself in a world that never stops expanding and changing, and that humanity is possible, in any universe.

Review:

Meeting one of the strongest young characters I have in a long time in Jessica Dainty’s “The Shape of Atmosphere” was one of the best surprises. This is a coming of age novel set in the 1950’s wrapped around history learning more about the Universe and the Mental Health Institutions that existed at the time.

Gertie MacLarsen is a complex teenager that I fell in love with from the first page. I was her champion right through to the last page. This is a truly compelling, provocative and enlightening read.

It made the size of my room actually pulsate and sound louder than it was, because this book gave all I had more meaning.

I highly recommend this story to anyone that likes to read about a character that struggles to grow to become themselves. Knowing your heart breaks wide open..Trust there is hope on the other side.

For the fighting spirit!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.

 

 

 

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Book Release, book review, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized

#BookReview: How Fires End by Marco Rafalà

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Reviewer: Annie Horsky McDonnell

Release Date: October 15, 2019

Summary:

A dark secret born out of World War II lies at the heart of a Sicilian American family in this emotional and sweeping saga of guilt, revenge, and, ultimately, redemption.

After soldiers vacate the Sicilian hillside town of Melilli in the summer of 1943, the locals celebrate, giving thanks to their patron saint, Sebastian. Amid the revelry, all it takes is one fateful moment for the destiny of nine-year-old Salvatore Vassallo to change forever. When his twin brothers are killed playing with an unexploded mortar shell, Salvatore’s faith is destroyed. As the family unravels, and fear ignites among their neighbors that the Vassallo name is cursed, one tragedy begets another.

Desperate to escape this haunting legacy, Salvatore accepts the help of an Italian soldier with fascist ties who ushers him and his sister, Nella, into a new beginning in America. In Middletown, Connecticut, in the immigrant neighborhood known as Little Melilli, these three struggle to build new lives for themselves. But a dangerous choice to keep their secrets hidden erupts in violence decades later. When Salvatore loses his inquisitive American-born son, David, they all learn too late the price sons pay for their fathers’ wars.

Written with elegiac prose, How Fires End delves into the secret wars of men; the sins they cannot bury; and a life lived in fear of who will reveal them, who will survive them, and who will forgive them.

Review:

Marco Rafalà’s “How Fires End” is a Triumph! It is a powerful ache that you read until you find relief.

Rafalà puts his emotion on the pages; poignant moments shared between the characters and across seas and continents. He literally leaves your heart to cry or pound! All wrapped up in the hope I trust he wants us to believe in.

“How Fires End” is more than a story, it is an absolute truth being shared after generations of secrets.

Do not miss this debut novel, for I am sure this is the first of many evocative, strong, and must read novels by Rafalà.

 5 Stars.

annie mcdonnell, Annie’s Favorites, Contemporary Fiction, Literary Fiction, Uncategorized, womans fiction

#BookReview: Beneath Pale Water by Thalia Henry

Reviewer: Annie McDonnell

8ED82A28-4526-48C3-8832-0F2790B71019Summary:

Set amidst the physical and psychological landscapes of New Zealand’s southern hills and grasslands, Beneath Pale Water is a social realist and expressionistic novel that follows a triangle of three damaged individuals – a sculptor, a vagrant and a model – who have grown calcified shells against the world. Their search for identity and belonging leads them into dangerous territory that threatens both their sanity and lives. As their protective shells crack they are left vulnerable – both physically and emotionally – to the high country winds and their own conflicts that, ultimately, might free or destroy them.

Review:

I found this to be one of the most lyrical novels I have read in a long time. It was quite refreshing to read a book that I actually had to decipher the underlying meaning to.

The imagery was just stunning. I felt totally transported. It stirred my soul.

It was truly a beautiful dance between these characters that had me guessing right up until the end. I absolutely hated to put it down when necessary.

I highly recommend this book to anyone that wants to take a break from the everyday story.

This Novel will win awards, and the author is going to write wondrous stories!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

5 Stars.