Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak

Before We Were Strangers - Brenda Novak

Brenda Novak is a name you’ll have seen on my blog before, I’m a huge fan of her Evelyn Talbot chronicles, so I jumped at the chance to read her latest standalone novel, Before We Were Strangers, which is publishing on 4th December.

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Something happened to her mother that night. Something no one wants to talk about. But she’s determined to uncover her family’s dark secrets, even if they bury her.

Five-year-old Sloane McBride couldn’t sleep that night. Her parents were arguing again, their harsh words heating the cool, autumn air. And then there’d been that other sound—the ominous thump before all went quiet.

In the morning, her mother was gone.

The official story was that she left. Her loving, devoted mother! That hadn’t sat any better at the time than it did when Sloane moved out at eighteen, anxious to leave her small, Texas hometown in search of anywhere else. But not even a fresh start working as a model in New York could keep the nightmares at bay. Or her fears that the domineering father she grew up with wasn’t just difficult—he was deadly.

Now, another traumatic loss forces Sloane to realize she owes it to her mother to find out the truth, even if that means returning to a small town full of secrets and lies, a jilted ex-boyfriend, and a father and brother who’d rather see her silenced. But as Sloane starts digging into the past, the question isn’t whether she can uncover what really happened that night…it’s what will remain of her family if she does? Continue reading “Book Review: Before We Were Strangers by Brenda Novak”

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Nonfiction Audiobook Review: I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart

I Can't Make This Up - Kevin Hart

I’m a huge fan of Kevin Hart’s stand-up comedy, I even saw him live in Wembley, which was awesome, so when I found out he narrated his own audiobook, and while I currently have an audible membership, it became top priority listening.

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Superstar comedian and Hollywood box-office star Kevin Hart turns his immense talent to the written word by writing some words. Some of those words include: theaforabove, and even even. Put them together and you have the funniest, most heartfelt, and most inspirational memoir on survival, success, and the importance of believing in yourself since Old Yeller.

It begins in North Philadelphia. He was born an accident, unwanted by his parents. His father was a drug addict who was in and out of jail. His brother was a crack dealer and petty thief. And his mother was overwhelmingly strict, beating him with belts, frying pans, and his own toys.

The odds, in short, were stacked against our young hero, just like the odds that are stacked against the release of a new book in this era of social media (where Hart has a following of over 100 million, by the way).

But Kevin Hart, like Ernest Hemingway, J.K. Rowling, and Chocolate Droppa before him, was able to defy the odds and turn it around. In his literary debut, he takes the listener on a journey through what his life was, what it is today, and how he’s overcome each challenge to become the man he is today.

And that man happens to be the biggest comedian in the world, with tours that sell out football stadiums and films that have collectively grossed over $3.5 billion.

He achieved this not just through hard work, determination, and talent: It was through his unique way of looking at the world. Because just like a book has chapters, Hart sees life as a collection of chapters that each person gets to write for himself or herself.

“Not only do you get to choose how you interpret each chapter, but your interpretation writes the next chapter,” he says. “So why not choose the interpretation that serves your life the best?” Continue reading “Nonfiction Audiobook Review: I Can’t Make This Up: Life Lessons by Kevin Hart”

Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (The Shining #2)

Doctor Sleep - Stephen King

Just the other day, I was saying that sequels are not normally as good as the first book, well, Doctor Sleep completely disproved that theory. It far exceeded The Shining, in my opinion, and has become one of my favourite King novels!

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Following a childhood haunted by terrifying events at the Overlook Hotel, Danny Torrance has been drifting for decades.

Finally, he settles into a job at a nursing home where he draws on his remnant ‘shining’ power to help people pass on.

Then he meets Abra Stone, a young girl with the brightest ‘shining’ ever seen. But her gift is attracting a tribe of paranormals. They may look harmless, old and devoted to their Recreational Vehicles, but The True Knot live off the ‘steam’ that children like Abra produce.

Now Dan must confront his old demons as he battles for Abra’s soul and survival… Continue reading “Book Review: Doctor Sleep by Stephen King (The Shining #2)”

Nonfiction Audiobook Review: We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

We're Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union

“Stories That Are Funny, Complicated and True”

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In the spirit of Amy Poehler’s Yes Please, Lena Dunham’s Not That Kind of Girl, and Roxane Gay’s Bad Feminist, a powerful collection of essays about gender, sexuality, race, beauty, Hollywood, and what it means to be a modern woman.

One month before the release of the highly anticipated film The Birth of a Nation, actress Gabrielle Union shook the world with a vulnerable and impassioned editorial in which she urged our society to have compassion for victims of sexual violence. In the wake of rape allegations made against director and actor Nate Parker, Union – a 44-year-old actress who launched her career with roles in iconic ’90s movies – instantly became the insightful, outspoken actress that Hollywood has been desperately awaiting. With honesty and heartbreaking wisdom, she revealed her own trauma as a victim of sexual assault: “It is for you that I am speaking. This is real. We are real.”

In this moving collection of thought-provoking essays infused with her unique wisdom and deep humor, Union uses that same fearlessness to tell astonishingly personal and true stories about power, color, gender, feminism, and fame. Union tackles a range of experiences, including bullying, beauty standards and competition between women in Hollywood, growing up in white California suburbia and then spending summers with her black relatives in Nebraska, coping with crushes, puberty, and the divorce of her parents. Genuine and perceptive, Union bravely lays herself bare, uncovering a complex and courageous life of self-doubt and self-discovery with incredible poise and brutal honesty. Throughout, she compels us to be ethical and empathetic and reminds us of the importance of confidence, self-awareness, and the power of sharing truth, laughter, and support. Continue reading “Nonfiction Audiobook Review: We’re Going to Need More Wine by Gabrielle Union”

Book Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2)

Waking Gods - Sylvain Neuvel

After a successful buddy read of Sleeping Giants with Beth @ Bibliobeth, we decide to read the second book in the trilogy together, Waking Gods.

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Who made Themis?

It’s been ten years since Themis – a giant alien metal robot – was revealed to the world by Dr Rose Franklin. It now stands at the heart of the Earth Defense Corps – in case the makers of Themis return to claim it.

Why did they leave it here?

Rose and her team are still seeking answers to Themis’s origins when a second and even bigger robot appears in London’s Regent’s Park. A military response backfires, reducing half the city to bare earth.

And what if they come back?

As more robots appear across the world, Rose knows it’s a race against time to discover where they’ve come from, what they want and – most importantly – how to stop them . . . Continue reading “Book Review: Waking Gods by Sylvain Neuvel (Themis Files #2)”