Tag Archives: fiction

Review – The Edge of Lost – Kristina McMorris

the edge of lostThe Edge of Lost
Author: Kristina McMorris
Rating: ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ½

Review Copy provided by Author

On a cold night in October 1937, searchlights cut through the darkness around Alcatraz. A prison guard’s only daughter—one of the youngest civilians who lives on the island—has gone missing. Tending the warden’s greenhouse, convicted bank robber Tommy Capello waits anxiously. Only he knows the truth about the little girl’s whereabouts, and that both of their lives depend on the search’s outcome.

Almost two decades earlier and thousands of miles away, a young boy named Shanley Keagan ekes out a living as an aspiring vaudevillian in Dublin pubs. Talented and shrewd, Shan dreams of shedding his dingy existence and finding his real father in America. The chance finally comes to cross the Atlantic, but when tragedy strikes, Shan must summon all his ingenuity to forge a new life in a volatile and foreign world.

Skillfully weaving these two stories, Kristina McMorris delivers a compelling novel that moves from Ireland to New York to San Francisco Bay. As her finely crafted characters discover the true nature of loyalty, sacrifice, and betrayal, they are forced to confront the lies we tell—and believe—in order to survive.

There are some authors when a new book comes out that you drop everything and read, Kristina McMorris is one of those authors and added to that, its been a LONG two years since her last book was released. So when the Edge of Lost popped as a author donated book in one of my Goodreads groups, there was almost virtual bloodshed over who got to read it first (unfortunately, I lost out and had to wait not so impatiently). So when it finally showed up in the mail, I gazed in adoration at it and then couldn’t convince myself to pick it up and actually read it (yeah, you read that right). I probably have it in my hot little hands for close to 2 weeks before I read it – I think it was trepidation of knowing once I finish it, then there would be a long wait for her next book and I just couldn’t do it…but anyways, earlier this week, I found myself in a situation where I had time to just sit and read (while waiting for my cell phone to charge) and damn, if I didn’t devour it (i mean, I read nearly the whole entire thing in about 2 hours).

As with her previous books, Kristina draws you into the time period for the book, this time the 1920’s and 1930’s which is a bit of a departure from her previous World War 2 focused books. In the beginning, we met Shanley Keagan, a young child in Ireland. As I was reading these chapters, I felt like I was reading (in part) a fictionalized version of Angela’s Ashes (Frank McCourt) – the similar descriptions of life in Ireland just resonated through me. I’ll admit this isn’t an area of history that I’m familiar with, but after finishing the Edge of Lost, I want to read some more about it.

As the story progresses, we get to experience the trials of being an immigrant through the eyes of an Irish family in New York, the daily struggle to survive and to make something of themselves in the Land of Opportunity. But for me, the best part of The Edge of Lost was when Kristina transitioned to telling the story of Tommy Capello, a prisoner on the rock (also known as Alcatraz). Alcatraz is a place that even now, 80 years after the setting of this book that still brings shivers to peoples spines. Many of us probably grew up hearing stories about Alcatraz and the prisoners that were houses there and how it was believed to be inescapable (but is it really?). Its one of those places that is on my bucket list to visit (I was bummed when I was just in San Francisco and didn’t get a chance to go out there).

The Edge of Lost kept me on the edge of my car seat (as I sat there reading) and I was kind of unhappy when I had to go back to work and couldn’t finish reading it (that’s the sign of a good book right?). 4.5 stars for the Edge of Lost and now begins the waiting game for her next book.

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Posted by on October 30, 2015 in Book Review


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Audiobook Review – The Lifeboat – Charlotte Rogan (@charlotte_rogan @RebeccaGibel)

The Lifeboat
Author: Charlotte Rogan

Narrator: Rebecca Gibel
Run Time: 7hrs and 47 minutes
Publisher: Hachette Audio

Book Description:
Grace Winter, 22, is both a newlywed and a widow. She is also on trial for her life.

In the summer of 1914, the elegant ocean liner carrying her and her husband Henry across the Atlantic suffers a mysterious explosion. Setting aside his own safety, Henry secures Grace a place in a lifeboat, which the survivors quickly realize is over capacity. For any to live, some must die.

As the castaways battle the elements, and each other, Grace recollects the unorthodox way she and Henry met, and the new life of privilege she thought she’d found. Will she pay any price to keep it?

So I have to say upfront, that I originally started reading this book in print and kept getting distracted. I know that it wasn’t a very long book, but for some reason at that time, it just wasn’t clicking. But after seeing the good review that my friend Naomi gave it, I decided to give it another try and put my name on the reservation list for the audiobook (and FWIW, having to wait for it to come in when you are 45th on the list sucks! I think it took about 4 months for it to come in…).

Being a psychologist in training (if I ever finish this damn PhD), I loved the way that the author managed to intersperse different ideas into the novel. Yes, it was a story of survival – but there were so many other elements – the idea of hope and giving up – can you survive when you think there is nothing more out there? How various people emerge different roles in situations of high stress. The notion of group think in a scenario like this? Stockholm syndrome and how it can affect people’s behavior, both during and after events. And so many more – but don’t worry, I won’t be too much of a dork – but it did hit my enjoyment button in all the right places. I enjoyed how she used flashbacks to tell most of the story – it is often a hard writing style to pull off, but it was well-done. My only gripe I had was the ending was fairly obvious – I was able to figure out what was going to happen about half-way through – but that didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the book.

Rebecca Gibel is a brand-new audiobook narrator to me, and I can tell you for sure that it won’t be the last time I listen to something done by her. There was something melodic about her voice, that I was just sucked in. It was a relatively short audiobook and because I enjoyed the narration so much – I sat in my car at work one morning and listened to like another 15 minutes of the book (much to my co-workers disgust because she was waiting for me to get coffee – don’t worry, she gave up and went by herself ;) ) I did like how she was able to draw on a variety of accents that encompassed the different countries of origin of the passengers. As the majority of the book was told from Grace’s perspective, I wasn’t really able to tell how well she did male voices, so that is going to be something that I am looking out for in the future listens. But overall, totally worth it. I would give both the narration and the book itself 3.5 stars, but rounding up to 4.


Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Audiobook Review


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Audiobook Review – Circle of Quilters – Jennifer Chiaverini (@jchiaverini)

Circle of Quilters
Author: Jennifer Chiaverini
Series: #9 in the Elm Creek Quilts series

Narrator: Christina Moore
Run Time: 10hrs and 12 minutes
Publisher: Recorded Books

Book Description:
Elm Creek Quilts, the thriving artists’ retreat at Elm Creek Manor, is a place that stakes its sterling reputation on the palpable creative energy and collective goodwill of its teachers and students. But when two of its founding members decide to leave the fold, the Elm Creek Quilters face untold changes not only in their personal lives but also in their business. As the news spreads, a single question emerges: Who can possibly take their place?

An Elm Creek Quilter must not only possess mastery of quilting technique but teaching experience, a sense of humor, and that intangible quality that allows an individual to blend harmoniously into a group. With high hopes, Elm Creek Quilts posts an open call for applicants.

I’ll be the first to admit that learning to quilt is on my bucket list. I can already cross-stitch, crochet (to an extent – meaning that I am really good at making scarves) and other stuff like that, and while I have tried quilting in the past, I haven’t had the time to dedicate to it (as much as I would have loved). But i remember when I first came across the Elm Creek Quilts series – one of my good friends from college took up quilting (and is still doing it to this day) and for Christmas that first year (or maybe it was her birthday), I bought her the first two books in the series. And while I was at it, I bought myself the first book – and there is has languished in the TBR pile since. Then at the library one day, I saw the audiobook for one of the later books in the series (maybe book 5 or 6) and I grabbed it, thinking what the heck…I was soon hooked.

This entry into the series was slightly different from the rest, as it was told in a series of short-stories/flashbacks. The general theme was that the four people who featured predominantly through-out were being considered as staff as the quilting school. Through these flashbacks you see how they started quilting, what was their inspiration, and methods to their creativity in their own designs. However, the other characters that I have come to enjoy in the other books (Sylvia and the other quilters) also made an appearance.

For me, I think the narration by Christina Moore makes a good book all the better. I enjoy all the voices that she uses for the characters and having listened to 3 or 4 books now, she has been able to keep them consistent over the different installments. My only comment would be, that aside from this one, there are very few males who appear in the series, so i don’t necessarily have a good judge of her range with masculine voices – but what I did hear in this one, I am impressed and hope to hear more. I’m looking forward to finishing this series up next year (hopefully) and looking for more in the future. Overall 3.5 stars.


Posted by on November 19, 2012 in Audiobook Review


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Review – Forbidden – Tabitha Suzuma

Author: Tabitha Suzuma

Book Description
She is pretty and talented – sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But… they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending


“How can something so wrong feel so right?”
I actually read Forbidden back in March and yet, I still think about it periodically, that is the kind of impact that it had on me. This is also the first time that I have tried to write a review of it because there was just so much stuff that I had to think about, process and try to understand. This is one of those YA books that is written in a way that most teens could read, and yet, the subject matter is definately more on the adult side of the scale. It definately breeches the gap between the traditional YA (with 13-16 year olds) and adult fiction – I would probably call it Mature YA (which I think is the classification people are starting to use with books similar to this).

The subject matter, sibling incest, is one of the most controversial that I have encountered in fiction recently and yet, I think that the author handled it in the best way possible. I have to say going into the book, knowing what it was about, I swore up and down that there was no way I was going to enjoy it…but I was sucked in. It was, more than anything else, an exploration of relationships and how they develop. Most of us would agree that a brother and sister falling in love isn’t right, and yet, Lochlan and Maya have gone through events in their lives that most people could probably never contemplate and in all likelihood are more experienced in traumatic events that most adults.

There were so many quotes that I wanted to write down as I was reading this, and I never seemed to have pen/paper handy – so thanks to goodreads and favorite quotes, here are a few that struck me as being pivatol to the book:

“At the end of the day it’s about how much you can bear, how much you can endure. Being together, we harm nobody; being apart, we extinguish ourselves.” – to me, this brings up a good question, what is the harm? I know there are likely a variety of responses, but in all truth, what is the harm – yes, its not socially accepted by society – well, neither was interracial marriage and yet now, it is…does this mean that in the future, people might become more accepting and there is truth in the state – who is hurt when people are in the relationship like this…I can’t think of any aside from the direct family should something happen to split the individuals up

“This whole time, my whole life, that harsh, stony path was leading up to this one point. I followed it blindly, stumbling along the way, scraped and weary, without any idea of where it was leading, without ever realizing that with every step I was approaching the light at the end of a very long, dark tunnel. And now that I’ve reached it, now that I’m here, I want to catch it in my hand, hold onto it forever to look back on – the point at which my new life really began.”

This is one of those books that got a rare 5 star review from me and I seem to recommend it regularly, but only to people who I think can handle the topic, which I know isn’t everyone. I hope that anyone reading this blog, who opts to read it, will find it a thought-provoking read like I did, and I would love to hear comments on it after you have ;)


Posted by on July 8, 2012 in Book Review


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