Book Review

Book Review: Those Girls

Those Girls written by Chevy Stevens

What would you do to save your sister? The only answer is anything. In this case, the three Campbell sisters (Dani, Courtney and Jess) are physically and verbally abused by their alcoholic father – calling them names, beating them, leaving them with black eyes, cigarette burns, etc. One day their father goes to kill one of the sisters and another sister has to kill their father in order to save that sister. Then in order to save the sister who killed their father and not be separated again through foster care, all three sisters bury their father, clean up and go on the run together. Their mother died years ago in a car accident.

As the sisters are on the run, their truck ends up breaking down in a town called Cash Creek. The story is set in Canada. The sisters accept help from two brothers (Brian and Gavin Luxton) who end up kidnapping, torturing and raping the three sisters for five days until the three are able to escape. They get help from Allen and his son Owen who help them get out of town and to Vancouver, Canada. In Vancouver they are helped by Patrick (Allen’s friend) and his wife Karen. They set up a new life for themselves with new identities (they are now Dallas, Crystal and Jamie Caldwell). One of the sisters has a baby (Skylar), a product of the rape. The first part of the book is narrated by Jamie and the second part by Skylar (when she is 17 years old).

I skipped over the rape and torture, I just couldn’t, it was too much. I cried a lot throughout this book and I really identified with the oldest sister because when she was unable to protect her younger sisters, I know that she felt like she failed in her job as the oldest. At the end of the book, we hear the story told from the oldest sister’s point of view and she voices that feeling of failure and regret, and I just got it.

The themes I saw:

Sisterhood – The bond of sisters is amazing, you share the same experience growing up, the same trauma from your parents and so your sisters are the only people in the world that understand why you are as messed up as you are.

Love – Killing their dad in order to protect the sister dad was killing, that was love. Covering up dad’s murder so the sister who did it doesn’t go to jail, that was love. Keeping the rapist’s baby and never punishing the baby for it, that was love.

I would recommend this book but be warned that there is rape, torture, violence against women but if you can get passed all that you will find a story about sisterhood, surviving and making the best of your situation.

Book Review

Book Review: Someone Knows

Book Review: Someone Knows by Lisa Scottoline

SPOILER ALERT:

Allie Garvey, Sascha Barrow, Julian Brown, Kyle Gallagher and David Habrinski were fifteen years old, they participated in a prank that ended with one of them dead. The other teens hid the secret, stopped being friends and now twenty years later another one of them is dead.

Allie Garvey – Her older sister Jill died at 17 years old from Cystic Fibrosis (a disease where mucus clogs the lungs making it hard to breath). At 15 years old, Allie was overweight, missing her sister and had a huge crush on David. Twenty years later, Allie is married to Larry Luchey and Larry wants a divorce.

Sascha Barrow – At 15 years old, Sascha was the captain of the running team, had great grades, beautiful and rich. Twenty years later, Sascha did not finish college, she travels the world using her trust fund and writing PR pieces about fashion.

Julian Brown – At 15 years old, Julian’s parents are divorced, he is a peeping Tom, rich and likes Sascha. His best friend is David. Twenty years later, Julian runs part of the family business with his dad, Scott Brown (who owns Brown Land Management).

Kyle Gallagher – At 15 years old, Kyle just moved from Ohio with his mom (Barb) to get away from the scandal that happened involving his dad. Kyle’s dad is in prison for molesting children with cancer at the hospital that he worked as a pediatric oncologist. Barb changed Kyle and her name from Hammond to her maiden name Gallagher. Kyle is great at basketball and has a dog named Buddy. Twenty years later, Kyle is still dead and his mother misses him every day.

David Habrinski – At 15 years old, David has an abusive dad who called him a “faggot” and pushed him into the pool. David secretly questions his sexuality – is he gay or not? David kisses Allie to see if he is attracted to her. David’s best friend is Julian. David has three younger siblings – Jason and the twins (girls). Twenty years later, David is married with a pregnant wife and a boyfriend on the side.

Themes I saw:

Wanting to fit in – Allie wanted to fit in so she did not walk away when she felt that playing with a gun was wrong. Kyle put a gun to his own head as a dare to get in with the cool kids because he wanted to fit in.

Keeping secrets and punishing yourself – Allie felt so guilty over Kyle’s death that she stopped overeating, developed Colitis (stomach issues) and became skinny as an adult. She got married but was always distant from her loving husband (Larry) and continued to take birth control after telling her husband that she wanted children too but she felt that she did not deserve it. Sascha did not end up going to law school nor did she become a fashion designer. As an adult she would take Ambien to sleep, other medications for anxiety, alcohol, and fluttering from country to country. David did not live his truth which was he is gay, instead he married a woman and then had a secret boyfriend on the side.

It was a good book and made me think about the fact that not telling because you fear getting into trouble but then punishing yourself so much worse and in the end you don’t live your life so you should have just told in the first place.

Book Review

Book Review: The Child

The Child by Fiona Barton

This is the second book by Fiona Barton that I have read!

A skeleton of a baby is found buried in an area where a construction crew is working on in London. Reporter, Kate Waters, starts investigating, trying to figure out who the baby is and what happened. There are two women in deep pain, Angela and Emma. Forty years ago, Angela’s infant daughter Alice was stolen from the hospital as Angela went to take a much needed shower. And so anytime a dead baby is discovered, Angela follows up with the police to see if it’s her Alice. Emma has a secret that she has never told anyone, not even her husband. Emma is sure that the dead baby is hers and she is waiting for the police to come and arrest her.

The themes I saw:

A mother’s love for her child –

Angela loved her daughter, Alice even though she was with her for a very short time after she was born. The contrast is Jude’s relationship with her daughter, Emma. Emma can’t tell that her mother loves her because her mom always picks her boyfriends over her daughter.

Victim blaming –

The police blame Angela for leaving her baby unattended while she went to take a shower. Angela is the victim and the jerk who stole Angela’s baby is the only one to blame.

Will blames Emma for “tempting him”. Disgusting! Emma was a child and Will was a grown man. As a grown man it was Will’s responsibility to not look at a child in a sexual way and to definitely not act on that impulse!

Emma blames herself for getting pregnant even though she never wanted to have sex that first time that led to her pregnancy. And so Emma hid her pregnancy then gave birth alone in her bathtub. That must have been so scary and painful for her!

Motherhood –

Being a good mother isn’t something that a woman is born with and the moment she has a child – BOOM – she becomes a good mother. It is a skill that a mother works on. Jude should never have been a mother, she wanted to focus on keeping her man happy; which would have been fine but there was a child in the picture.

I cried at the end of the book! It was sad but it left me feeling good and hopeful since the ending was a happy one! Let me know what you thought.

Book Review

Book Review: The Widow

Book Review: The Widow by Fiona Barton

A baby named Bella Elliot is taken from her backyard while her mom (Dawn Elliot) went inside the house for a few minutes. Bob Sparkes, a detective is on Bella’s case. Kate Waters is a reporter looking into the case. As the investigation continues Glen Taylor becomes the primary suspect and is later charged with kidnapping Bella. When the case goes to trial, Glen is not convicted and ends up suing the police. Jean Taylor is married to Glen Taylor and she remains with her husband through this entire ordeal.

The book is told from the points of views of several characters, each chapter is from a different character’s point of view – The Widow (Jean Taylor), The Reporter (Kate Waters), The Mother (Dawn Elliot), The Detective (Bob Sparkes) and The Husband (Glen Taylor).

It was interesting to see how a reporter works a story – having a hunch, digging, talking to people and then it could turn into something or it is nothing.

I did not understand the dynamic of Jean and Glen’s marriage – from how Jean described the marriage, it didn’t feel like it was a great marriage.

There is pedophilia, child abduction and death in this book. The ending was not predictable at all and I was surprised.

Book Review

Book Review: It’s Always the Husband

Book Review:  It’s Always the Husband

By Michele Campbell

Kate Eastman, Aubrey Miller and Jenny Vega are assigned to room together as freshmen at Carlisle College.

Kate is popular and from a rich family.

Aubrey is dirt poor, at the college on a scholarship and ready to finally get a life and start living it!

Jenny is a townie from a loving family who dreams of making it big after college.

Lucas is a jock who secretly dated Jenny in high school until Jenny broke up with him. In college Lucas is one of the guys Kate dates.

Tim is Lucas’ cousin.

Griff always loved Kate but Kate only tolerates him because he is rich.

One day, Kate and Lucas get into an argument when Lucas tries to break up with her. Kate gets really angry and pushes Lucas off a bridge. Tim, Aubrey and Jenny witness it. Tim runs into the water to save Lucas, Tim gets a head injury and does not remember that night. Aubrey was there to commit suicide but changes her mind. Jenny was there to stop Aubrey from committing suicide. Lucas dies.

Twenty years later……

Kate is unemployed, married to Griff, an ex-rich kid. Kate does not love Griff. She has numerous affairs. Her most recent affair is with Ethan (Aubrey’s husband) and she ends up pregnant.

Aubrey owns her own yoga studio, she is married to Ethan, a doctor who constantly cheats. Aubrey secretly loves Griff.

Jenny is mayor and married to Tim a construction company owner. Jenny has hidden the truth of how Lucas died from Tim and Tim still does not remember how Lucas died.

Kate ends up dead and it could have ties to Lucas’ death twenty years ago or it could have been a suicide.

Owen Rizzo has just been hired as the town’s sheriff. He met Kate for a brief moment before her death. Now as sheriff he is determined to find out who murdered Kate. But he could be so fixated on saying that this was a murder when it could have been a suicide.

Themes I saw:

Loving someone who does not care about you

Aubrey loves Kate but Kate is selfish.

Aubrey loves Griff but Griff loves Kate.

Ethan loves cheating and is currently cheating with Kate.

Kate loves Ethan.

Secrets

Aubrey, Jenny and Kate hold the secret of what really happened to Lukas.

Money

Having lots of money gives the person access to the best of everything.

Kate’s dad is rich and so he was able to quickly get Kate out of the country to a place that she would not be extradited from. He then had the family lawyer handle the “new truth” of what happened to Lucas.

Money doesn’t automatically equal happiness

Kate’s family has a lot of money but Kate is a damaged kid. She lost her mom at a young age, she believes that her dad hates her and so she drinks a lot of alcohol, attends all the parties and does lots of drugs. When Kate is older she gets married to Griff a guy she does not love but he has a lot of money. Kate cheats on Griff all the time, she continues with drinking and doing drugs.  

There was friendship, murder, suicide, revenge, betrayal, love, drugs, and the ending surprised me because the explanation of how Kate died was not what I though. I loved the book!!!!

Book Review

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties

Book Review: Sleeping Beauties
by Stephen King and Owen King

Fun fact – This book was written by Stephen King and his son Owen King.

One day, all the women and girls in the world fell asleep. A mucus web like cocoon formed over each woman, this sleeping sickness is called “Aurora”. Women who were awake fought hard to remain that way but the human body can only go without sleep for so long. If you try and wake up a sleeping woman, she will get up and attack the person who woke her up, only stopping when the person dies then the woman goes back to sleep. Women who are mothers of boys fell asleep, woke up, picked up their boy children and handed them over to the nearest man then went back to sleep. Doctors cannot figure out why this is happening. Rumors begin and women hating men say that God is punishing women for “moving away from their place in the kitchen.”

The events in the book happen within a span of five days and are focused on what happened in a small town of Dooling, West Virginia. When all the women in the world fall asleep men panic since now they have to take care of their sons. Fathers flood 911 with calls asking what to do with crying boys.

The women fell asleep and woke up in Dooling in the near future, there are only women and girls there. The women name this Dooling as “Our Place”. They begin to rebuild society, everyone has a job and it is harmonious. The women are given a choice they can stay in “Our Place” or go back to present day Dooling.

List of characters:

Lila Norcross – sheriff of Dooling, West Virginia and wife of Clint
Clint Norcross – psychiatrist at Dooling Correctional Institute for Women and husband of Lila
Eve Black – she is magic
Terry Coombs – alcoholic, deputy under the sheriff later promoted to sheriff; commits suicide
Frank Geary – animal control officer, later becomes second in command under Terry Coombs; has anger issues
Warden Janice Coats – warden of the Dooling Coorectional Insitute for Women
Don Peters – rapist, guard at the prison who abuses his power as guard forcing the prisoners to sexually satisfy him; later he puts a Xanaz in the warden’s coffee forcing her to go to sleep. He murdered his mother while she slept by burning down the house with her inside. Later on he becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side and is killed.
Eric Blass – teenage boy poised to become a rapist, later becomes a deputy, helps Frank’s side, murdered the homeless woman
Jared – Lila and Clint’s son, has a crush on his friend Mary
Mary – Jared’s friend
“Our Place” – looks like the town of Dooling but maybe in the distant future
Magnificent tree – portal between the current Dooling town and “Our Place”
Elaine Nutting – Frank’s ex-wife, very religious
Jeanette Sorley – inmate
Vanessa Lampley – guard at the prison, she is an arm wrestling champion and very strong, she decides to commit suicide instead of falling asleep, ends up pushing herself to chase two criminals and take them down
Michaela – reporter, Janice Coates’ daughter
Angel Fitzroy – inmate
Willy Burke – volunteer, helps Clint’s side
Nana Geary – Frank and Elaine’s daughter, she is scared of her dad but later wants to go back home since she misses her dad

A big theme of the story was fear. When we let fear take over then we all make really bad decisions. Frank mobilizes the deputies with the goal of capturing Eve Black, torturing her until she gives them the cure for all the women. Frank is motivated by fear and believes that this will bring his daughter back.

Because men now have to take on the work women do (which they thought was not real work) they (men) were able to understand that it is work, it is hard work and it should be respected.
A few key things change in the aftermath – universal day care is passed. Women are more assertive and voice their opinions. Men have a smidge more respect for women.

I would not have chosen to come back because in “Our Place” I would have the opportunity to reach my full potential without fear, without having to disguise my ambition and having to change myself into a less threatening, smiling woman so that society (aka men and some women) can accept me. But the book was written by men and maybe that’s why the women in the book decided to come back.

I enjoyed this book and I would recommend it to others.

Book Review

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway

Book Review: The Death of Mrs. Westaway
Written by Ruth Ware

Harriet “Hal” Westaway is a 21 year old college dropout trying to make enough money to afford to pay for her apartment, pay off her loan shark and to eat. Hal took over her mom’s tarot reading booth on Brighton Beach. Hal’s mom (named Maggie) died three years ago after she was hit by a car in front of their apartment and the person left the scene.

Hal is really struggling financially and she sees no way out. One day she receives a letter from a lawyer named Mr. Treswick. In the letter Mr. Treswick tells Hal that her grandmother (Mrs. Westaway) recently passed away and left Hal some money so Hal should go there for the reading of the will. Hal believes that the letter was not meant for her but she decides to play along so that she can get a little money to help with her debt.

When the will is read, Mrs. Westaway’s grandchildren and maid are given money and the rest of the estate is given to Hal! Mrs. Westaway left nothing for her sons – Abel, Ezra and Harding. Abel is gay and his partner is Edward Ashby so Mrs. Westaway disowned him years ago and he was not surprised that he got nothing in the will.
Mrs. Westaway had a daughter named Maud (she’s also Ezra’s twin sister) who left years ago and no one knows where she is. It is important to note that Hal does not know who her father is.

Themes I saw:

Family shame – Mrs. Westaway locked Maggie up when she found out that she was pregnant. This was done in the hopes that Maggie would tell her who the baby’s father was. The pregnancy was the shame.

Friendship – Maggie and Maud are good friends and runaway together so that they can have a good life away from Mrs. Westaway.

Love – Maud loved her friend Maggie so later on when Maggie does not come back, Maud raises Maggie’s daughter as her own.
Mrs. Warren the housekeeper loved Ezra. She never told on him for the murder.
Mrs. Westaway loved her son Ezra and never turned him in.

Self-preservation – Hal found an opportunity to make some money by inheriting some money and she ran to take it. Ezra killed Maggie because she came back asking for money to raise his infant daughter. Ezra then kills Maud so she will not tell Hal that Ezra is her dad and that she suspects that Ezra killed her mom (Maggie). Ezra attempts to kill Hal because she was figuring out the truth and he kills Mrs. Warren because she knows most of the truth even though she (Mrs. Warren) would never have told anyone.

I think that Mrs. Westaway wanted to do the right thing by her daughter but still not hurt her most beloved son so she left all her money to Hal. Also, family secrets cause so much pain and they have to be addressed in order for healing to finally start – which is what ends up happening in this book.

All in all – I loved this book because in the end Ha’s situation is better than she started which I absolutely love!!!!