Book Reviews–November 2018: Part Two

I have large stacks of books TBR (To Be Read) on my nightstand, plus electronic stacks of books lined up in my Kindle.  As I read these books, I love to share my thoughts and opinions of what I’ve read here in this space, because I enjoy sharing my passion for books with others.  I do have an eclectic taste in books, and will choose books based on my mood, or what’s going on in my life that week.  (Disclosure I use Amazon affiliate links to help pay for the costs of this website.  Any and all posts on this site may contain affiliate links (which will not affect your cost).  Finally, the page numbers I list here reflect the number of Kindle pages, not paper pages.  Thank you!)  I hope you enjoy this series.

Book #1: 

Tear me apart

Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison (Length: 496 pages).  This suspense novel was another fun, fast-paced read.  I absolutely wanted to keep reading to find out what happens next, which is always a delight!  I will say that this book deals with difficult subject matters for some readers (ie, suicide, molestation) but I think both topics are handled very appropriately.  The characters are developed well, even if I didn’t like all of them.  I will say there were a few factual errors in the writing itself that were disruptive to the narrative (ie, the “victim” in a capital murder case is the one who died–as well as the state, of course).   Hey Publisher–if you need a better editor with a bonus law degree, call me!  😉  Overall, I’d absolutely recommend this book!

From the publisher:

The follow-up to her critically acclaimed Lie to Me, J.T. Ellison’s Tear Me Apart is the powerful story of a mother willing to do anything to protect her daughter even as their carefully constructed world unravels around them.
One moment will change their lives forever…
Competitive skier Mindy Wright is a superstar in the making until a spectacular downhill crash threatens not just her racing career but her life. During surgery, doctors discover she’s suffering from a severe form of leukemia, and a stem cell transplant is her only hope. But when her parents are tested, a frightening truth emerges. Mindy is not their daughter.
Who knows the answers?
The race to save Mindy’s life means unraveling years of lies. Was she accidentally switched at birth or is there something more sinister at play? The search for the truth will tear a family apart…and someone is going to deadly extremes to protect the family’s deepest secrets.

Book #2: 

Red Rising

Red Rising: Book 1 by Pierce Brown (Length: 401 pages).  I enjoy a good sci-fi/fantasy/dystopian novel, and this read is absolutely on the top of my list!  This is book 1 of a five-book series, and I’d agree it’s an “adult” Hunger Games.  Set on the planet Mars well into the future, this novel is essentially about class warfare with Greek mythology references.  Excellent writing, pacing and plot.  I can’t wait to read more in this series!  (Given there are a few references–no descriptions but it is mentioned–to rape, I would only recommend to ages 14ish and up.)  Let me know what you think if you’ve read it or do read it!  It’s usually on a Kindle deal as well.  

From the publisher:


“I live for the dream that my children will be born free,” she says. “That they will be what they like. That they will own the land their father gave them.”
“I live for you,” I say sadly.
Eo kisses my cheek. “Then you must live for more.”

Darrow is a Red, a member of the lowest caste in the color-coded society of the future. Like his fellow Reds, he works all day, believing that he and his people are making the surface of Mars livable for future generations. Yet he spends his life willingly, knowing that his blood and sweat will one day result in a better world for his children.

But Darrow and his kind have been betrayed. Soon he discovers that humanity reached the surface generations ago. Vast cities and lush wilds spread across the planet. Darrow—and Reds like him—are nothing more than slaves to a decadent ruling class.

Inspired by a longing for justice, and driven by the memory of lost love, Darrow sacrifices everything to infiltrate the legendary Institute, a proving ground for the dominant Gold caste, where the next generation of humanity’s overlords struggle for power.  He will be forced to compete for his life and the very future of civilization against the best and most brutal of Society’s ruling class. There, he will stop at nothing to bring down his enemies . . . even if it means he has to become one of them to do so.

Book #3: 

Where All Light Tends to Go

Where All Light Tends to Go by David Joy (Length: 274 pages).  This book was a Finalist for the Edgar Award for Best First Novel, so I was excited to read it.  Holy cow!  This was NOT what I expected to read, at all.  It’s been described as a “Breaking Bad” of rural Appalachia, and it absolutely is this.  I’m also reminded of one of my favorite books (Hillbilly Elegy) which I reviewed in July of 2017.  In fact, after reading a quarter of this book, I had to double-check that it wasn’t actually a memoir–it’s THAT realistic.  This novel is very dark, with violent scenes, but none of the violence is gratuitous here.  And the ending is truly shocking.  Truly.  But the writing really took my breath away in parts.  I sped through some of the more violent scenes, and slowed down and reread some other passages. All of this to say, this is not a “feel-good” novel, by any means, but it’s one that I know I will never forget.  

From the publisher:

The area surrounding Cashiers, North Carolina, is home to people of all kinds, but the world that Jacob McNeely lives in is crueler than most. His father runs a methodically organized meth ring, with local authorities on the dime to turn a blind eye to his dealings. Having dropped out of high school and cut himself off from his peers, Jacob has been working for this father for years, all on the promise that his payday will come eventually.  The only joy he finds comes from reuniting with Maggie, his first love, and a girl clearly bound for bigger and better things than their hardscrabble town.

Jacob has always been resigned to play the cards that were dealt him, but when a fatal mistake changes everything, he’s faced with a choice: stay and appease his father, or leave the mountains with the girl he loves. In a place where blood is thicker than water and hope takes a back seat to fate, Jacob wonders if he can muster the strength to rise above the only life he’s ever known.


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