Moonlight on Butternut Lake by Mary McNear

May 20th, 2015

Moonlight-on-Butternut-WakeThe Butternut Lake Trilogy by Mary McNear is one of my favorites. The latest book, the third in the series, entitled Moonlight on Butternut Lake is just as wonderful as I thought it would be. It’s about finding yourself again even when you feel you are broken beyond repair, of healing a broken soul, and of family and love.

Mila hasn’t had an easy life. Her childhood was hard and now she’s trapped in an abusive marriage with no way out. Or is there? Thankfully Mila finds help from a woman who has suffered abuse herself and sends her to Butternut Lake to work as a home health aide.

Back in Butternut Lake Reid is recovering from a serious car crash in which he almost died. So far he’s managed to send two home health aides running due to his horrendous attitude. It’s understandable that Reid is angry and miserable. He’s a man used to taking care of himself. It’s just that he doesn’t seem to even want to make an effort to get better. He can’t see beyond his self pity to know how lucky he is to be alive and have the support of a loving family. Will Mila be the one to break the impossibly high wall Reid has built around himself?

Mila hopes Butternut Lake will be a new start for her. A place where she can put her life back in order. She finds Reid just as nasty as she had expected and at times it’s hard for her with what she’s dealt with in her past. She has to learn to stand up for herself. When she finally does Reid sees a different woman – one unlike any he’s known before… and she begins to inhabit a place in his heart. Will these two broken souls find peace and healing through each other?

Moonlight on Butternut Lake is a beautiful story. I loved the characters and Butternut Lake itself sounds like a little piece of heaven. While this book can stand alone I think a reader would really miss out on a lot of back story by not indulging in Up at Butternut Lake and Butternut Summer first. Highly recommended!

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

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Trail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani (Audiobook) & Giveaway (Paper copy – US/Canada)

May 19th, 2015

Trail-of-Broken-Wings_300dpiTrail of Broken Wings by Sejal Badani is an emotionally powerful book that portrays the effects of domestic abuse on a family throughout their lives.  It is an extremely well written book and despite the subject matter this is a book well worth reading.  You always think you know people but a family can look perfect on the outside and yet the inside is completely broken.  It’s a vicious cycle that destroys lives.

Sonya hasn’t been home in years and probably still wouldn’t be if not for her father being in a coma.  Sonya, a photographer, has been traveling the world and  living her life as she wishes.  It’s not as if she really cares what happens to her father having spent years living with his abuse as did her sister Marin.  Only one sister seemed to be his favorite and escape the abuse and that was Trish.  And in the background always was their mother Ranee who never lifted a finger to stop the abuse that she, along with her children, suffered.  Of course the abuser always has an excuse for his actions and in Brent’s case, having immigrated to America to give his family a better life, failed under the pressure of not fitting in and took it out on his family.

With Sonya home and the women all sitting with their father they find their memories of the past rushing to the surface.  None of them have gotten past the horrific violence they suffered at his hands and it’s invaded their lives.  Sonya doesn’t seem capable of having a relationship in her adult life, Marin feels she has to control everything in her family to the point of alienating both her daughter and her husband, and Trish is bent on destroying her marriage.  Even more disturbing both Ranee and her daughter Trish are harboring a secret that has the power to destroy them all.  As Brent’s condition worsens all of them have their own private thoughts on whether they want this man to live or die and in doing so – in bringing the past into the present – they might all be able to finally move on from the horrors of their past and look to the future.

I could not stop listening to this book.  It’s one of those books that even though the subject matter is disturbing you are still drawn into it.  The author really lets you get to know her characters so you become emotionally involved with them and the audiobook makes this story all the more real.  It is narrated by Karen Peakes who does a fabulous job of bringing all the emotion to this book that it deserves.  I highly recommend Trail of Broken Wings.

 

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GIVEAWAY – OPEN TO US & CANADIAN RESIDENTS

1 paper copy up for giveaway

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date June 3/15

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.   Audiobook personal copy.  No compensation was received.

Under the Same Blue Sky by Pamela Schoenewaldt

May 15th, 2015

Under-the-Same-Blue-SkyHaving read Pamela Schoenewaldt’s first two books When We Were Strangers and Swimming in the Moon and loving them I was excited to read her newest novel Under the Same Blue Sky. As with her other books her wonderful storytelling shines through as she weaves fact and fiction in this emotionally wrought tale.

Hazel is a German-American living with her parents in Pittsburgh as World War I begins. Life changes for Hazel and her family as they are shunned because of their German heritage. Still Hazel has her dreams – dreams where she’s at a castle. Her mother just tells her it’s a dream but Hazel could swear it’s a memory. When an old family secret comes to light Hazel realizes her dreams may be more real than she ever could have imagined.

As Hazel searches for answers to her past she first takes a teaching position where she finds a town that she feels she fits into until her gift of healing instead becomes a curse. She moves on and discovers some answers to her past as well as beginning to find her place in the world. She also finds many new friends that become a very important part of her life, especially one young man named Tom. When he goes off to war she is left worrying about him all the time. When the opportunity to take a trip across the sea with her benefactor and boss arises she take it in the hopes of being able to find Tom who has gone missing. What the trip does is bring to light the horrific effects of the war and the devastation it has left everywhere.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the historical aspect. The author vividly brings to life how the war affected people during and after it ended. I liked Hazel’s story although I never really felt a connection to her until the end of the novel. I also felt it moved around a bit too much. While the characters are well developed I felt a bit jarred with the changing scenes maybe wishing that the book had been more focused. Still the story is an excellent one that showcases just how devastating the war was and specifically how it affected German-Americans and the soldiers.

Recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction. I’ll be excitedly looking forward to Pamela Schoenewaldt’s next novel once again!

 

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Source: Digital review copy provided by the publisher for an honest review. No compensation was received.

The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight & Giveaway (International)

May 13th, 2015

antigoneI’m not sure I’ve ever fallen in love with a poetry collection but I have with this one. The Antigone Poems by Marie Slaight are hauntingly dark and beautiful and the charcoal drawings by Terrence Tasker are exquisite. I keep going back and rereading pieces from the book and I can honestly say this is a collection that I will continue to revisit.

First a little background. The collection is inspired by the story of Antigone which draws on the Greek tragedy written by Sophocles. I wasn’t familiar with this play so I looked up the story of Antigone. The short of it is Antigone is imprisoned after defying a law set by her uncle in regards to her wanting to give her dead brother a proper burial. She’s enclosed in a cave where she ultimately kills herself. The poems reflect both on her and other women’s anger, despair, and rebellion in the past and through the ages. A person could easily enjoy this collection without being familiar with the play but I think a little knowledge enriches the beauty of these poems.

A word about the book itself… It’s gorgeous. It is a small volume, paperback, with the most beautiful creamy white paper inside. The cover is amazing with its dark feel and it literally invites you to open it and indulge in this wonderful collection over and over again.

These poems aren’t long or drawn out and I loved that about them. They are short, precise, and very powerful. Here’s a favorite…

 

This voice
Is afraid to speak.

Afraid
Of the brutal metal
Of its words.

Words that scrape.
Words that scar.
Words that have no peace.

If I utter this voice
This great
Aching scream

It’s horror will echo forever.

 

This piece speaks for itself. Highly recommended!

 

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GIVEAWAY – OPEN INTERNATIONALLY

1 paperback copy up for giveaway

*CLICK HERE* and fill out the form to enter

Draw Date May 30/15

 

 

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Source: Copy provided by the publisher for an honest review.  No compensation was received.
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