Sunday, February 28, 2016

Missing Pieces by Heather Gudenkauf


Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded. 

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Harlequin for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

As per usual with a Gudenkauf novel, this is a fast-moving novel full of intrigue. It was dark and full of twist and turns. I admit that the "twist" was a bit unbelievable to me but if you enjoy mystery, you will likely enjoy this book. 

Rating:

3.5 stars. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes. Although you may have trouble sleeping after the final page is turned. 



Saturday, February 20, 2016

What Lies Between Us by Nayomi Munaweera




Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

From the award-winning author of Island of a Thousand Mirrors comes the confession of a woman, driven by the demons of her past to commit a single and possibly unforgivable crime.
"The walls of my cell are painted an industrial white, like albumen. They must think the color is soothing. Where I come from it connotes absence, death, unrelenting loneliness."

In the idyllic hill country of Sri Lanka, a young girl grows up with her loving family; but even in the midst of this paradise, terror lurks in the shadows. When tragedy strikes, she and her mother must seek safety by immigrating to America. There the girl must reinvent herself as an American teenager to survive, with the help of her cousin. Both love and loss fill her life, but even as she assimilates and thrives, the secrets and scars of her past follow her into adulthood. In this new country of freedom, everything she has built begins to crumble around her, and her hold on reality becomes more and more tenuous. When the past and the present collide, she sees no other choice than to commit her unforgivable final act. This is her confession. 

***Many thanks to Net Galley and St. Martin's Press for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

God Almighty. I was absolutely enraptured with the story and I knew it was going to veer into tragedy at some point and when it did I could hardly bear it. This one will stick with me for a very long time. Deep  and well fleshed-out characters come together inside a deeply moving plot that rivets the reader until the end. 

Rating:

4 stars. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

Yes. Yes. Yes. 



What was Mine by Helen Klein Ross



Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Simply told but deeply affecting, in the bestselling tradition of Alice McDermott and Tom Perrotta, this urgent novel unravels the heartrending yet unsentimental tale of a woman who kidnaps a baby in a superstore—and gets away with it for twenty-one years.

Lucy Wakefield is a seemingly ordinary woman who does something extraordinary in a desperate moment: she takes a baby girl from a shopping cart and raises her as her own. It’s a secret she manages to keep for over two decades—from her daughter, the babysitter who helped raise her, family, coworkers, and friends.

When Lucy’s now-grown daughter Mia discovers the devastating truth of her origins, she is overwhelmed by confusion and anger and determines not to speak again to the mother who raised her. She reaches out to her birth mother for a tearful reunion, and Lucy is forced to flee to China to avoid prosecution. What follows is a ripple effect that alters the lives of many and challenges our understanding of the very meaning of motherhood.

Author Helen Klein Ross, whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, weaves a powerful story of upheaval and resilience told from the alternating perspectives of Lucy, Mia, Mia’s birth mother, and others intimately involved in the kidnapping. What Was Mine is a compelling tale of motherhood and loss, of grief and hope, and the life-shattering effects of a single, irrevocable moment.

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

So many emotions. As a mother, reading about a kidnapping is hard- it's my worst nightmare, after all. I was surprised to find some degree of compassion for the kidnapper, although how much compassion vacillated greatly from chapter to chapter.

Rating:

3.5 stars

Worth staying up all night to read?

You definitely won't want to put this down after the first few chapters. It is an up all night read, for sure. 


The Mountain Midwife by Laurie Alice Eakes




Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Ashley Tolliver has tended to the women of her small Appalachian community for years. As their midwife, she thinks she has seen it all. Until a young woman gives birth at Ashley’s home and is abducted just as Ashley tries to take the dangerously bleeding mother to the nearest hospital. Now Ashley is on a mission to find the woman and her newborn baby . . . before it’s too late.


Hunter McDermott is on a quest—to track down his birth mother. After receiving more media attention than he could ever want for being in the right place at the right time, he receives a mysterious phone call from a woman claiming to be his mother. Hunter seeks out the aid of the local midwife in the mountain town where the phone call originated—surely she can shed some light on his own family background.


Ashley isn’t prepared for the way Hunter’s entrance into her world affects her heart and her future. He reignites dreams of having her own family that she has long put aside in favor of earning her medical degree and being able to do even more for her community. But is it commitment to her calling or fear of the unknown that keeps her feet firmly planted in the Appalachian soil? Or is it something more—fear of her growing feelings for Hunter—that makes her hesitant to explore the world beyond the mountains?

***Many thanks to Net Galley and Zondervan Fiction for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion:

As a former OB nurse, I generally adore novels that have midwifery in them. However, this novel felt like a mix of Harlequin romance and Christian fiction and was definitely not for me. Unrealistic, cheesy at times and the ending was far too tidy for the situation. 

Rating:

2 stars

Worth staying up all night to read?

Not for me. 


Ask Him Why by Catherine Ryan Hyde



Book synopsis(via Goodreads):

Ruth and her little brother, Aubrey, are just teenagers when their older brother ships off to Iraq. When Joseph returns, uninjured, only three and a half months later, Ruth is happy he is safe but also deeply worried. How can it be that her courageous big brother has been dishonorably discharged for refusing to go out on duty? Aubrey can’t believe that his hero doesn’t have very good reasons.
Yet as the horrifying details of the incident emerge, Joseph disappears. In their attempts to find him, Ruth and Aubrey discover he has a past far darker than either of them could imagine. But even as they learn more about their brother, important questions remain unanswered—why did he betray his unit, his country, and now his family? Joseph’s refusal to speak ignites a fire in young Aubrey that results in a disastrous, and public, act of rebellion.
The impact of Joseph’s fateful decision one night in Baghdad will echo for years to come, with his siblings caught between their love for him and the media’s engulfing frenzy of judgment. Will their family ever make their way back to each other and find a way to forgive?


***Many thanks to Net Galley and  Lake Union Publishing for the advanced reader's copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review. ***

This insomniac's opinion: 

I love Catherine Ryan Hyde. She writes novels that resonate with me long after the last page is turned and this novel did not disappoint. However, this was not one of my favorites of hers. 

As always, I loved the characters deeply and the story focused on broken people and the way that coming together can make us all stronger in the end. It was highly readable, just not as endearing as I expect from this incredible author. 

Worth staying up all night to read?

A bit slow moving for an all night read, but worth reading none-the-less. 

Rating:

3 stars