Posted in Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge E-Book Challenge Reviews 2017 Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Early Review – The Mutual Admiration Society by Lesley Kagen

My First Book Read in 2017

The Mutual Admiration Society: A Novel
by Lesley Kagen
Fiction/Family Life
Setting – Wisconsin
Lake Union Publishing (February 1, 2017)
Paperback: 282 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1503941038
Kindle ASIN: B01G50QX2C

 

 

 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

FACT: Lesley Kagen captures the voices of children in a profound way.

PROOF: This story!

Set in Milwaukee Wisconsin, we meet 11 year old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, her younger sister, Birdie, and her “fiancee”, Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield. They make up the Mutual Admiration Society. Tessie is sure she saw a crime committed and the society needs to start its investigation right away. They just need to get around some house rules and Gert Klement, their next door neighbor, who is not their biggest fan. In fact, she believes they need to be sent away.

These characters were first introduced to readers in The Undertaking of Tess, released in 2014. While the author does give plenty of details so that this book can be read on its own, you may want to read the prior story first for more background on the Finley’s. 

As a mystery lover I enjoyed Tessie and her lists and methodical investigation and that Birdie found a key clue and really helped Tessie figure out the suspected murder. Through the eyes of children in the late 1950’s I was able to see things in a different way. It was quite an adventure. Tessie has already dealt with so much in her young life and is responsible for watching over Birdie every day. Her lists do get a little repetitive but through them readers clearly see the way her mind works.

Kagen has crafted a heartwarming story but at times it is heartbreaking too. Her characters are so unique and the dialogue is true to a child’s voice and sprinkled liberally with humor. The world has changed since 1959. It was wonderful to escape back in time and tag along on this adventure with the Mutual Admiration Society.

I have enjoyed everything I have read by this author. She is an extremely talented storyteller.

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Find out more about Lesley Kagen and her books on her webpage here

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood

wicked girls
The Wicked Girls: A Novel
Mystery, Thriller, Suspense
Penguin Books (July 30, 2013)
Published by The Penguin Group
Trade Paperback: 384 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0143123866
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A gritty, psychological thriller that asks the question: How well can you know anyone?

On a fateful summer morning in 1986, two eleven-year-old girls meet for the first time. By the end of the day, they will both be charged with murder. Twenty-five years later, journalist Kirsty Lindsay is reporting on a series of sickening attacks on young female tourists in a seaside vacation town when her investigation leads her to interview carnival cleaner Amber Gordon. For Kirsty and Amber, it’s the first time they’ve seen each other since that dark day so many years ago. Now with new, vastly different lives—and unknowing families to protect—will they really be able to keep their wicked secret hidden?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is an excellent read!

One day changes the lives of 2 girls who don’t even really like each other. There turns out to be so much more to the story that never saw the light of day and definitely was not brought out by the police or lawyers. Tried and convicted and locked away. Written off by their families and left on their own.

When they are released from the detention center they are given new identities and a list of rules including never seeing each other again. That shouldn’t be hard as they had nothing in common to begin with and they were locked away in different facilities.

Then again one day sends their lives into turmoil again.

The book rotates between the present and past and the reader is just given the truth about what happened on the fateful day in 1986 in small bits and pieces. This format of the story makes it virtually impossible to put down.

The story is set in the UK and is written by a successful journalist, under a pseudonym,  who has worked extensively across the British press . Other reviewers have drawn correlation to real-life cases so this author is writing what she knows or has covered. That makes this a very compelling, well written and well plotted story. It is gritty and dark and very powerful. The author made me feel a real connection with these girls. Even today, a few days after completing the book it is still giving me a haunted creepy feeling.

a perfect escape
5 STARFISH

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my Review Copy!

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You must be a Follower of this blog!

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 2, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in Giveaways Reviews 2013 Virtual Book Tour

The Rockin’ Chair by Steven Manchester Virtual Book Tour (Giveaway)

TheRockinChair_banner1

The Rockin' Chair by Steven Manchester
Book Details
The Rockin’ Chair
Genre: Fiction
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: June 18, 2013
Trade Paperback
Number of Pages: 242
ISBN-13: 978-1611880670
E-Book File Size: 548 KB
ASIN: B00CNVPHIE
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Following the death of his beloved wife, John McCarthy – Grandpa John – calls his family back home. It is time for them to face the memories they have made, both warm and cold. Only then can they move beyond them and into the future.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
It’s all about memories, good memories and bad memories. Your good memories may be others bad memories. It’s all about perspective. The Rockin’ Chair is a story that shows that vividly.

Dancing with his wife is one of John McCarthy best memories. She is now gone from this earth but he still feels her presence as he deals with his family and their memories of the more bad times than good. His has had a rocky relationship with his son and his three grandchildren have all moved away. He decides to call the grandchildren home and hopes to mend his relationship with his son too.

As the grandkids come home he quickly realizes they are all dealing with their own personal demons and painful memories. Grandpa John knows that working together as a family they can face the demons and heal. He feels it is a legacy left to him by his beloved wife that must be taken care of before they can dance off in eternity together.

His daughter-in- law Elle has been a Godsend to him. She took care of her mother-in-law as her health deteriorated and Alzheimer’s continued to take away the woman he loved more than life itself.

This is a heart-wrenching and heartwarming story that will draw you right in and will have you hugging your family tight after you reach the last page. Then you will encouraging them to read it too. It is a wonderful story of a family that worked hard day in and day out. The kids that can’t wait to get away to greener pastures only to realize they had it pretty good right where they started. It is all about FAMILY and the memories that it creates.

Wonderful story!!! Just wonderful!! I think everyone should read this book!!
a perfect escape
5 STARFISH5 STARFISH

About This Author:

Steven ManchesterSteven Manchester is the author of the #1 bestseller Twelve Months, Goodnight, Brian, and several other books. His work has appeared on NBC’s Today Show, CBS’s The EarlyShow, CNN’s American Morning and BET’s Nightly News. Recently, three of Manchester’s short stories were selected “101 Best” for the Chicken Soup for the Soul series.

Catch Up with Steven: rss_512 facebook_512

 

Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?

The author is giving allowing me to give away 1 copy.

Contest is open to anyone over 18 years old
with a US or Canadian mailing address.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End August 1, 2013 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

CLICK HERE FOR ENTRY FORM

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”