The Girl Before by J.P. Delaney

Published: January 24th, 2017

Find this book here:

Rating: ★★★★★

A psychological thriller that spins one woman’s seemingly good fortune, and another woman’s mysterious fate, through a kaleidoscope of duplicity, death, and deception—and the hottest title at the 2015 Frankfurt Book Fair.

A damaged young woman gets the unique opportunity to rent a one-of-a-kind house. When she falls in love with the sexy, enigmatic architect who designed it, she has no idea she is following in the footsteps of the girl who came before: the house’s former tenant.

The eerie parallels in the two girls’ lives lay bare an enthralling story…and make this novel the must-read thriller of the season.”

Review:

Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I can already tell this is going to be one of my favorite reads of the year. This was super twisty and I couldn’t put this one down.

1 Folgate Street scared me right from the beginning. The thought of living in such a house was freaky to me even though I know it would never happen. It gave me a little bit of anxiety wondering what was going to happen in that house. Most importantly, who was making these things happen? I had to keep reading to find out. JP Delaney did a magnificent job of catching the reader’s attention and creating this curiosity of what’s to come.

The characters. THE CHARACTERS. I was interested in them right from the beginning. Emma and Jane stole my heart. It was insane to read and see the differences and similarities between each character. I loved the fact that I could watch the rise and downfall of the characters and what happened to them in the end. Edward was just as gripping. I was super interested in finding his story and what he does for 1 Folgate Street. These characters really made this book for me.

The ending was absolutely insane. Leading up to the ending, I had an idea of what I thought it was going to be. I wasn’t even close. It definitely switched it up on me and I was thoroughly surprised. I had to find out what was going to happen. I read this book in a day. I was not disappointed in the slightest.

Overall, this book won me over from the first few sentences. J.P. Delaney did a phenomenal job with everything. I can’t wait to hear more from her because this one was a knockout.

 

The Corner Shop Of Whispers by Debbie Viggiano

Expected Publication: February 14th, 2017

Romantic Florrie, scatty Daisy and snobby Alison are neighbours, living their married lives in the tiny English village of Lower Amblegate where everyone knows everybody. Together the three friends share laughter, tears, and things they wouldn’t want anybody else knowing. But unbeknownst to them, a scandal is brewing. As rumours circulate, the gossips go into overdrive, rocking marriages and revealing the women have much more in common than just neighbourly bonds…”

First, I would like to thank NetGalley, Gingersnap Books, and Debbie Viggiano for providing me with a copy of this book early so I could provide an honest review.

If you like watching your favorite tv drama/comedy every week and don’t feel like waiting for the next episode, read. this. book. I remember growing up watching Desperate Housewives every Sunday at 9 P.M. and being glued to the TV until the credits rolled. This was like all of the seasons wrapped into one book. There were so many twists and turns in this book, I couldn’t put it down! I read this book in two days because there were so many things going on that I just wanted to know what was going to happen next! This book was the perfect mix between romance, suspense, and drama! It was a quick read and is perfect for Valentine’s Day!

Rating: ★★★★★

The Things We Wish Were True by Marybeth Mayhew Whalen

Published: September 1st, 2016

“From the outside, Sycamore Glen, North Carolina, might look like the perfect all-American neighborhood. But behind the white picket fences lies a web of secrets that reach from house to house. Up and down the streets, neighbors quietly bear the weight of their own pasts—until an accident at the community pool upsets the delicate equilibrium. And when tragic circumstances compel a woman to return to Sycamore Glen after years of self-imposed banishment, the tangle of the neighbors’ intertwined lives begins to unravel. During the course of a sweltering summer, long-buried secrets are revealed, and the neighbors learn that it’s impossible to really know those closest to us. But is it impossible to love and forgive them?”

This book was very emotionally charged. It kind of reminded me of a TV Drama like Desperate Housewives. There were a lot of different things going on with a lot of different characters. The amount of characters actually confused me a little in the beginning. I couldn’t tell which character belonged to which family, who that character was married to, etc. I think that the confusion turned me off a little towards this book. It took me a few days to read it because I had to keep closing it, coming back to it, and trying again to figure out who was who. Once I got past the initial confusion, the book really did seem to pick up. It all started when “Cailey’s” brother nearly drowned in the neighborhood pool and had to be taken to the hospital unsure if he would survive or not. After this moment, there were many loaded things that occurred. Like a crazy amount of things for this little town of Sycamore Glen, North Carolina. I would recommend this book to others, just make sure to pay close attention to who is who because if you don’t, nothing will make sense at the end.

About The Author:
Marybeth Mayhew Whalen is the author of The Things We Wish Were True and five previous novels. She speaks to women’s groups around the US. She is the co-founder of the popular women’s fiction site, She Reads www.shereads.org. Marybeth and her husband Curt have been married for 24 years and are the parents of six children, ranging from young adult to elementary age. The family lives in North Carolina. Marybeth spends most of her time in the grocery store but occasionally escapes long enough to scribble some words. She is always at work on her next novel. You can find her at http://www.marybethwhalen.com.

Rating: ★★★★

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

Published: February 26th, 2013

Two misfits. One extraordinary love. Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor. Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park. Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.”

This book is extremely important for a young reader to have. I’m kind of sad it came out when I was graduating high school. If there’s one lesson I learned in life, kids can be mean. All through middle school, kids will gang up on you for the simplest yet stupidest thing in the world. For Eleanor, it was hair. Big, curly, fiery red hair. I feel Eleanor’s pain in this book because the thing in middle school kids made fun of me for was…my hair. Too frizzy, too curly, too thick. Eleanor took it much better than I did. She came to a new school while returning home with her mom, stepfather, and four siblings after being kicked out by her stepfather a year ago. She wasn’t the best looking girl, and she got made fun of on her first day. That’s when she met Park. She rode next to him on the bus to and from school. It started when Park noticed that Eleanor was reading the same comics as him, and it blossomed into this beautiful relationship. However, Eleanor wasn’t just living a rough life at school, it was a rough life at home too. Richie, her stepfather, was abusive physically to Eleanor’s mom, but also emotionally and verbally to Eleanor. He’s a real scumbag. I really, really hated him. Park and his parents come to the rescue many times when Eleanor just needs somewhere to be for a few hours…until it becomes to be too much for her. Park helps her out of Omaha and takes her somewhere safe. Thank God for Park.

I would like to say to all young-adult readers: This book will change the outlook on a lot of things. It is written beautifully and really could help a child that is getting bullied that isn’t sure of what to do. I would recommend this book to any parent that is struggling with a child getting bullied. Help them. They need it.

Rating: ★★★★★

All The Bright Places by Jennifer Niven

Published: January 6th, 2015

“Theodore Finch is fascinated by death, and he constantly thinks of ways he might kill himself. But each time, something good, no matter how small, stops him. Violet Markey lives for the future, counting the days until graduation, when she can escape her Indiana town and her aching grief in the wake of her sister’s recent death. When Finch and Violet meet on the ledge of the bell tower at school, it’s unclear who saves whom. And when they pair up on a project to discover the “natural wonders” of their state, both Finch and Violet make more important discoveries: It’s only with Violet that Finch can be himself—a weird, funny, live-out-loud guy who’s not such a freak after all. And it’s only with Finch that Violet can forget to count away the days and start living them. But as Violet’s world grows, Finch’s begins to shrink. This is an intense, gripping novel perfect for fans of Jay Asher, Rainbow Rowell, John Green, Gayle Forman, and Jenny Downham from a talented new voice in YA, Jennifer Niven.”

All I can say is wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. I did not expect this book to be the way it was. I thought it was going to be a funny, young-adult quick read that I would easily forget about. Jennifer Niven makes it so that the reader will never forget this book. It is so serious, yet comical and romantic. It was truly beautiful. It’s gripping and intense right from the beginning, and you will not be able to put it down. Violet is an ex-cheerleader/popular girl that survives a car crash that kills her sister. Theodore Finch is a kid that doesn’t have the best home life but tries to make the best out of every situation. Violet is scared to drive and bikes/walks everywhere. Finch is unstable to say the least. They meet on a bell tower where Violet doesn’t know where she is, and Finch wonders what it would be like to jump. Finch ends up saving Violet’s life, but as word spreads around school, it seems that people think it’s the other way around. Theodore Finch is also known as ‘Freak’, so Violet knows that they both have baggage. They find love, and find the power over fear. This book grabbed my attention from the start, and I would recommend this book to a young-adult that is looking for a quick read with a fascinating story.

Rating: ★★★★★

Faithful By Alice Hoffman

Published: November 1st, 2016

“Growing up on Long Island, Shelby Richmond is an ordinary girl until one night an extraordinary tragedy changes her fate. Her best friend’s future is destroyed in an accident, while Shelby walks away with the burden of guilt. What happens when a life is turned inside out? When love is something so distant it may as well be a star in the sky? Faithful is the story of a survivor, filled with emotion—from dark suffering to true happiness—a moving portrait of a young woman finding her way in the modern world. A fan of Chinese food, dogs, bookstores, and men she should stay away from, Shelby has to fight her way back to her own future. In New York City she finds a circle of lost and found souls—including an angel who’s been watching over her ever since that fateful icy night. Here is a character you will fall in love with, so believable and real and endearing, that she captures both the ache of loneliness and the joy of finding yourself at last. For anyone who’s ever been a hurt teenager, for every mother of a daughter who has lost her way, Faithful is a roadmap.”

This book was pretty heavy. You learn in the beginning that two friends, Shelby and Helene, are in a car accident. Helene’s life is pretty much over, bedridden and unable to move or speak. Shelby has a lot of survivor’s guilt and treats her life like it’s the worst thing in the world. She wishes it were her instead of Helene, and tries to show everyone, including her parents, that. This book does have a few triggers in it, so be careful of that. There is a rape scene in the beginning, so take care of yourselves. Alice Hoffman wrote a wonderful tale about luck running out, just to be found again. Faithful takes you through Shelby’s life as she learns to how to take care of herself. Sure, there’s a few bumps on the way, but it’s Shelby’s obligation to figure out how to overcome them. The ending of this book was the best part. I didn’t like how slow this book was in the beginning, but it did provide a moving feeling to the reader at the end. This was a powerful book to show how to rise up through tragedy.

About The Author:
Alice Hoffman was born in New York City on March 16, 1952 and grew up on Long Island. After graduating from high school in 1969, she attended Adelphi University, from which she received a BA, and then received a Mirrellees Fellowship to the Stanford University Creative Writing Center, which she attended in 1973 and 74, receiving an MA in creative writing. She currently lives in Boston and New York.

Rating: ★★★★

The Five People You Meet In Heaven by Mitch Albom

Published: September 23rd, 2003

“Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination, but an answer. In heaven, five people explain your life to you. Some you knew, others may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie’s five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his “meaningless” life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: “Why was I here?”

I had to read this book in high school my freshman year. I didn’t like reading back then, so I could barely get through it. I did get through it, and I’m glad I did. However, now as a senior in college, I decided to try it again and see if anything changed. The only thing that changed in this sense was my age, and how I took the premise of this book. When I read it the first time, I didn’t find it as spiritual then as I do now. I really feel that connection more now with religion in this book. I never really saw it before, but as I’ve grown, there’s definitely more in this book that could’ve been understood differently back then. I hate how Eddie dies, it makes me fear ferris wheels even more now. But other than that, this book was so wonderful and well-written that I’m glad I read it back then, and read it again now.

About The Author:
Mitchell David Albom is an author, journalist, screenwriter, playwright, radio and television broadcaster and musician. His books have collectively sold over 35 million copies worldwide; have been published in forty-one territories and in forty-two languages around the world; and have been made into Emmy Award-winning and critically-acclaimed television movies.

Rating: ★★★★★