Book Review: Dreaming of Flight by Catherine Ryan Hyde

It’s Thursday and today, I turn 26 🥳 In this week’s post, we’re reviewing Dreaming of Flight by Catherine Ryan Hyde! I stumbled on this during a random NetGalley scrolling spree and I didn’t know it at the time, but I’d walked away with a treasure in hand!

Book Description

Title: Dreaming of Flight
Author: Catherine Ryan Hyde
Edition: NetGalley > Ebook
Length: ~304 Pages
Genre/s: Fiction, Contemporary, Family
Rating: 5 Golden Eggs

Disclaimer: An eBook copy of this book was provided to me in exchange for a fair and honest review. This did not affect my review, and all opinions are mine.

Blurb (Goodreads)

An unexpected connection becomes the saving grace for two unlikely friends in a heart-stirring novel about love, loss, and moving forward by a New York Times and #1 Amazon Charts bestselling author.

Never knowing his parents, eleven-year-old Stewie Little and his brother have been raised on a farm by their older sister. Stewie steadfastly tends the chickens left by his beloved late grandmother. And every day Stewie goes door to door selling fresh eggs from his wagon—a routine with a surprise just around the corner. It’s his new customer, Marilyn. She’s prickly and guarded, yet comfortably familiar—she reminds the grieving Stewie so much of the grandmother he misses more than he can express.

Marilyn has a reason for keeping her distance: a secret no one knows about. Her survival tactic is to draw a line between herself and other people—one that Stewie is determined to cross. As their visits become more frequent, a complicated but deeply rooted relationship grows. That’s when Stewie discovers how much more there is to Marilyn, to her past, and to challenges that become more pressing each day. But whatever difficult times lie ahead, Stewie learns that although he can’t fix everything for Marilyn or himself, at least he’s no longer alone.

Review

This was such a beautiful book. I smiled and I cried. By the time the book ended, it truly blew me away with the amount of emotions that it left me; warmth with heartbreak followed by healing. I didn’t exactly read the blurb going in nor have I ever read any other book by this author, but I may have discovered another new treasure to add to my ever-growing list of auto-buy authors!

This story revolves around an 11 year old, Stewie Little, a boy who has never known his parents and had been raised by his grandmother with his older brother and sister on a farm, that is until his grandmother, “Gam”, passed away a little while back. Stewie is what some may call a “Highly Sensitive Person” someone who feels things very deeply. As someone who is an HSP, I was immediately floored. I’ve never read a book that has described how I felt so well; happiness is elation, bad things hit hard. Sometimes bad things hit really REALLY hard.

The story is themed around Stewie’s sensitive nature, his struggles with his recent losses, and wanting to fix things wherever he goes. After school, he sells eggs in his neighborhood as a way to both justify not selling Gam’s hens and to help Stacey (his older sister who works night shift) to pay the bills. Just by chance, a few people aren’t home during his usual egg route. It’s at this time, he ventures just a little further to houses he’s never visited and meets Marilyn, a not so nice person, but not unkind either. She’s someone just like his grandmother and it’s the beginning of new friendship. Marilyn continues to be prickly, but with Stewie’s persistence, even she begins to warm up to him.

This book is wonderfully written, full of insightful moments, and is a great coming-of-age read that discusses grief, loss, and death. There are plenty of things that Stewie either learns to overcome or accept in this story, including that everyone has problems, but sometimes you may not be able to help them solve it. With the help of his new-found friend (and later, many other new friends), his sister and brother, and from a wise and very curious psychologist, Stewie begins to see a new side to life and to accept help when it’s offered.

There are a lot of characters in this story and I love most of them, especially the psychologist. Besides grief, there are other themes that this book discusses, including emotions and learning to express them, family, life and aging, death of a loved one, memory loss, as well as the feeling of lost freedom that comes with aging, elder care, nursing homes, bullying, and other important points.

The story was beautiful and heartbreaking, the characters were loving and realistic, and there were so many moments and discussions that were insightful and leaves you thinking. A fantastic read that I won’t be forgetting anytime soon, I’ll be back to check other books by Catherine Ryan Hyde.

Quotes

“’I just wish you didn’t take everything so hard. For your own sake, I mean. Sometimes I wish I could wave a magic wand over you and fix it so you didn’t have to care about everything so deeply.’

‘What’s wrong with caring?’

‘Nothing’s wrong with it. The thing about caring is you want to have some. You want to care, but in the right measure. Not too little and not too much. If you care too much, then something like this happens and it just makes you so sad.’

‘But then good things happen and they make me extra happy. Besides. If you waved a magic wand over me and made me different, then I wouldn’t be me.’

“‘The reason people are unhappy is because they’re so sure they know what they want. And then it makes them unhappy when they don’t get it. I personally think people would be happier if they weren’t so sure they knew the difference between a good thing and a bad thing.’”

“‘You just have to let them know you’re listening. That you want to hear what they want to say. If they know somebody cares how they feel, they’ll let you know.'”

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Spotlight: We Are 100 by Nathan Timmel

Wow, that was amazing!
That’s what went through my mind as I tried to stay composed after closing the book.
What I physically did was squeal until my mam looked at me like, “What’s wrong with this chick, now??”

I just finished reading “We Are 100” by Nathan Timmel and while I haven’t had time to sit and write the actual review (By the time I finish up this spotlight post for schedule, it’ll be well into the midnight of an alarm day *sob*) but hey! That means more to look forward to, after work, tomorrow! Not that anyone really needs more of an incentive to want to go home on a Monday.

So a spotlight it is.
I look forward to writing the review.
And hope it does the book enough justice without me shoving the book at people’s faces like “READ! IT!”

We Are 100 by Nathan Timmel

Bookcover of a book with multiple blank photos, one of which has a bloody red X across the profile. The author's name, Nathan Timmel, is across the upper right in all lower case while a chalk like font spells out the title of the book in upper case lettering. The title sandwiches "ARE" in between "We" and "100" totaling three lines of the title "We Are 100"
Cover is grey scale with the red X and all title and author font is in black.

Blurb (from Goodreads)

After losing his wife, Evan Francart is depressed. He has an axe to grind with the pharmaceutical company that jacked up the price of her medications, but feels powerless against a billion-dollar corporation.Then he meets Cassandra.She shows Evan a way to both end his life and become a hero. With her guidance, Evan interrupts a company board meeting and blows the building sky-high.As FBI agents Susan Chamberlain and Michael Godwin discover, Evan is the first of many. Ninety-nine more like him wait anonymously in the wings, their targets just as personal as Evan’s: the prosecutor who lets rapists walk free, the inept surgeon who maims patients yet keeps operating, the phony evangelist preying on those seeking solace… and that’s just the beginning.Will the FBI unearth Cassandra’s identity before all 100 have carried out their plans?

About the Author (from the back of his book)

Nathan has been writing since he could scribble using crayons. As a comedian, he has released six albums that can be streamed on Pandora, Spotify, or anywhere else you stream your audio-based entertainment. Should you be interested in parting with your hard-earned cash, these albums can be purchased anywhere and everywhere (e.g., Amazon, Apple Music, Google Play, etc.)

Nathan has told jokes all over the world, Iraq and Afghanistan included, for American troops stationed far from home.

Nathan currently lives in Iowa (on purpose) with his wife, kids, and cat named Turtle.

(You can thank the daughter-unit for that.)

He is an avid fan of Billy and the Boingers, and enjoys a fine pair of pants.

Nathan has written more nonsense than you can shake a stick at, including:

  • I Was a White Knight… Once
  • It’s OK to Talk to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad)
  • Hey Buddy (Dubious Advice from Dad)

Please visit nathantimmel.com for anything and everything Nathan-related. Look for his podcast, “Idiots on Parade,” wherever you find your favorite podcasts, and his vodcast, “Artificially Intelligent,” on Youtube.

If you can, go see Nathan perform live. Failing that, dial up his YouTube channel. You’ll giggle and have a good time.

Promise.

===== 🎙 =====

Esther note: Don’t worry Nathan. At least your kid was more imaginative than I was as a child. I named my pets [turtles], “Turtle A and Turtle B”…

The Existence of Amy [Book Review]

Book Name: The Existence of Amy
Series: Standalone Book: N/A
Author: Lana Grace Riva
Book Type: Physical > Paperback
Obtained: Review Request
Pages: 281
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Mental Illness
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Disclaimer: A copy of this book was provided to me, by the author, in exchange for a fair and honest review. The fact that the book was given to me did not alter my ratings/judgement of the book in any way. All opinions in this review are of my own.


TW/CW: Mental Illness > This book covers and portrays these topics: depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder.

Goodreads Link: The Existence of Amy by Lana Grace Riva
Amazon Link: Available on Kindle and Paperback

Goodreads Blurb

Amy has a normal life. That is, if you were to go by a definition of ‘no immediate obvious indicators of peculiarity’, and you didn’t know her very well. She has good friends, a good job, a nice enough home. This normality, however, is precariously plastered on top of a different life. A life that is Amy’s real life. The only one her brain will let her lead.

Review

This book is exhausting…

This book is exhausting to get through, to read, and to “experience.”

“The Existence of Amy” revolves around our main character, Amy, as she battles her hidden struggle with OCD, anxiety and depression. On the outside, with the exception of being known as a canceler, she’s perfectly fine and functional. She greets her coworkers at work, she makes small chatter, she gets through the workday, meets with clients, has work meetings, and has laughs with friends. Yet, behind each of those activities, she struggles terribly and everything gives her anxiety. Most of her day’s energy is being spent on making the right enough decision to “look normal to others.” The thoughts that run through her head are enough to make you need to sit down and breath.

Anxiety in every corner…

Amy’s OCD comes with a gang of their own lovely friends: anxiety and depression. She avoids her colleagues/friends by making up whatever excuses humanly possible to get out of a social gathering, even when every bone in her body craves to be there. Consequently, one of her friends is getting more and more upset with her for her lack of attendance in many of the events that Amy is invited but fails to show up to.

But she can’t help it. There is danger in every corner of the world and in every spec of existence. Everything gives her anxiety. The need to converse with others in a “normal way” is draining. Her mind races with thoughts when she’s boarding the bus. Flying in a plane was a terrible experience as she has to chose between being cold or using her jumper as a makeshift pillow because she didn’t want her head to touch the chair as she slept. She couldn’t even accept a gift from someone because the voices in her head told her that the object would contaminate the things in her purse and she follows up by discarding the gift and then washing her hands several times afterwards.

The first chapter was hard to get through (pacing), but when I finally settled down to read it, I found myself eating through the book and devouring it in days. I have countless sticky notes tabbing different sections and pages of the book; quotes are marked, scenes are picked out, conversations are noted. I absolutely loved this book.

I think, the worst part about this entire book was how exhausting it was to be in Amy’s head. It’s real and it’s relatable. For me, I teared up every now and then because, Hey! Sounds a bit like me… I, too, never show up to social gatherings. I crave to be hanging out with friends, but the thought of being there invites stones in my stomach. Though Amy’s reasons for avoiding gatherings and hanging out with her friends are different than mine, I found myself relating to her in a good few scenes.

Normal on the Outside…

The sad part is reading her day at work. On the outside, Amy is someone I’ve always admired and maybe been envious of. She participates in meetings, something that would nauseate me. She still makes it to some gatherings, at least. She converses and chats with her coworkers. She goes on business trips to another country! All of these I find nearly impossible to do, but she does it. On the outside, she’s that professional office worker I’ve strived to be since always! On the inside, poor Ames is on fire trying to decide which sentence to use to look normal by her standards.

“This makes me incredibly sad because people don’t understand. Why would anyone reject a kind act? It makes no sense to them. So, they can only assume I must be rude. I must be ungracious and unappreciative. I am none of those. I am. simply. scared. So. Very. Scared. All. The. Time.”

Characters…

Characters wise, I liked two of the three friends. I can tell that they all show love and worry for Amy’s odd behaviors. The last friend, I can’t tell if the author specifically wrote for them to act like so, but she felt like a very real representation of someone who is not particularly considerate of what others might be going through. Everybody in this world fights secret battles and people seem to understand that. I, for one, have never been angry for anyone’s constant cancelling on me. Well, this character was beginning to get on my nerves because they just simply never thought about “Maybe something’s up with Amy.” I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me, but I just didn’t like them. Personal opinion.

Hyperaware of every action…

This isn’t the OCD that has taken over on the internet in a meme form. This isn’t the OCD that people joke about when a tile is misaligned or you wash your hand once too many times on a single occasion. This is the OCD that begins by disturbing your life slightly, slowly creeping up and turning into destructive waves until Amy needs to call in sick to work because she can’t leave her bed.

You are taken into Amy’s mind and you experience her view on life with her. Through her eyes, you become almost hyperaware of the little actions that the average person doesn’t think about. For example, when you ride the bus, you have a very autopilot way of thinking… ticket out, scanned ticket, ticket into pocket, quick grab the pole, lemme play on my phone, my stop!, pull the bell, get off. For her, every second is filled with anxiety from having to worry about being 1 second too late to board, to bothering a fellow passenger, the looks others give to her, the choice of seats, the germs, the feeling that others are more productive than she is, silently begging someone else pulls the bell instead of her, and so on.

Beautiful, realistic, and heartbreaking, this book really draws you into Amy’s head, essentially trapping you in with her. You begin to see the warped way she views the world. Throughout the book, I had moments where I had to rationalize with her like, “Aw come on Ames! They probably aren’t thinking that about you!”

A lovely book. It was tiring to get through, not in a bad way, but in an eye opening and experiencing way.

An Invisible Client: Review

When I first got Prime, I went on a little spree to look for whichever books were “Read Now for Free” and came out with two Kindle books, one of them being “An Invisible Client.” Like the other book, “The Family Journal,” I was in a bit of a rush (it was the morning before my shift began) as I had “run out” (the fancy way of saying I’m ‘not in the mood for my current TBR’) of Kindle books and needed something to keep me company during lunch break and the commute to and from work. I normally would have pulled out Goodreads or Amazon and read a few reviews to see if a book suited my tastes or was a good enough match for me so that I wouldn’t end up DNFing, but this time I had about 20 minutes before my alarm went off again and I went with whatever looked decent.

And so…

My very first legal thriller book 😎 (I’ve watched legal dramas before, namely Suits).

Sections

Book Details

Title: An Invisible Client
Series: [Standalone] Book # N/A
Author: Victor Methos
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle (Comes with audio)
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 240
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Legal Thriller
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.12.2020

Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️


Trigger Warning: Death of a child, death, mentions of rape, childhood abuse (alcoholic parent).

Goodreads Summary

Link to Book’s Goodreads Page: >HERE<

For high-powered personal injury attorney Noah Byron, the good things in life come with a price tag—cars, houses, women. That’s why he represents only cases that come with the possibility of a nice cut of the action. But as a favor to his ex-wife, he meets with the mother of twelve-year-old Joel, a boy poisoned by tainted children’s medicine. While the official story is that a psycho tampered with bottles, the boy’s mother believes something much more sinister is at work…and the trail leads right back to the pharmaceutical company.

As Noah digs deeper into the case, he quickly finds himself up against a powerful corporation that will protect itself at any cost. He also befriends young Joel and breaks the number one rule of personal injury law: don’t make it personal. Faced with the most menacing of opponents and the most vulnerable of clients, Noah is determined to discover the truth and win justice for Joel—even if it means losing everything else.

Review Summary

When personal injury attorney, Noah Byron, gets a phone call from his ex-wife, he finds himself taking on a case that already looks like a lost cause. 12 year old Joel had taken a dose of children’s cough medicine that caused him to become horribly ill; his prognosis: poor at best. With two other children who previously came up with the same symptoms after taking the medicine, there’s no surprise a lawsuit comes up. However, Pharma-K is locked up behind doors of secrecy with the gates heavily guarded by their very own attorneys, powerful lawyers that even Noah finds hard to win against.

I loved this book and had a fantastic time with it. As my first legal thriller book, it’s worlds away from the other thrillers I have read where people are being gunned down or where the police are chasing a serial mad man. Here, the only bullets fired are the words out of attorney mouths and justice is never a guarantee. The side that wins is the side that makes the least mistakes and the side that wins the hearts of the jury. Anything can happen and solid evidence and witnesses can become trash in seconds as lawyers easily claw through people during cross-examination. This book talks a lot about how unfair the world is and just how powerful corporations can be. With the right amount of money, things can go hush hush really quickly! But as Noah slowly warms up and becomes dangerously attached to the case, things become personal and he’s not about to just let Pharma-K get away with this. Sure, there’s no solid evidence that Pharma-K has done any crimes, hiding behind the guise of “an external mad-man has tampered with our goods”, but something shady is going on behind those guarded closed doors, and Noah is going to get to the bottom of this. It’s a huge gamble with wildly unfavorable outcomes…but Noah is willing to take the case, willing to take the risk, and willing to bet his entire firm and everything else on winning.

Thoughts and Review

When 12 year old Joel takes an innocent looking enough cough medicine and ends up in the hospital, his mother, Rebecca, does everything in her power to get the corporation to answer her questions. Each time she tries to get ahold of someone from the company, there’s barely a response, but when Pharma-K finally shuts her out and begins to just direct her to their attorneys (who won’t say anything either), Rebecca has no choice and tries to get ahold of her cousin, Tia’s, ex-husband, a personal injury attorney, Noah Byron.

Initially turning down the case, after a quick calculation of just how much money this case would cost them considering how little evidence, information, and chance they have against Pharma-K, Noah slowly changes his mind after meeting Joel in his hospital room. While it’s mostly just to appease Rebecca at first, he does keep his promise and goes over to at least talk to Pharma-K. When an ambush awaits him at his meeting, Noah begins to see how sketchy and shady this company is acting. Pharma-K is scared, terrified even, and Noah knows this isn’t just a crazy man tampering with grocery store medications. It’s something internal, and it’s something bad.

“An Invisible Client” is my first audio book and first legal thriller book. I’ve passed by a good few legal fictions before, but they had mostly meh summaries and it was a genre that I didn’t particularly have a taste for. Legal dramas were okay enough, but courts were always pretty boring places (to me). So, when I was came up a little bored for the first half of the book, I wasn’t particularly surprised. I did raise a brow over how much the word “bullshit” is used in both Suits and this book and am starting to wonder if that’s just a legal drama thing…or if lawyers really throw that word out like Halloween candy.

The real heart pumping thrill comes during the final trial, as is expected. Most of the beginning of the book was just a lot of pushing between the plaintiff and the defendant. Plaintiff tries to bring the case to trial for the [internal] contamination of the drugs produced by Pharma-K and Pharma-K tries to make the case disappear from the media, and hopefully people’s memories, by trying to settle out of court. They try to push money onto the table along with a gag order, and pray that the plaintiff will take the money and go away.

For me, the first half of the book was a bit boring, seeing as the case just felt like it was going nowhere, with how strong the opposing lawyers were, but the story still kept me engaged. After the first visit, Noah begins to get attached to the case and its clients Rebecca and 12 year old Joel. Joel was already pretty bad off during Noah first visit, but as time goes on and his prognosis seeming to spell out a death sentence, the case becomes very personal to Noah and he officially takes the case on (previously mostly just investigating). Joel’s role in the book contributes as a huge factor to Noah’s growth.

Mini-Character Analysis

Noah Byron

Noah is an interesting character. In the beginning of the book, I had pegged the lawyer to be cold; in it for the money and without care or emotions. Of course, from a liability and risk standpoint, his logic on not taking a case is pretty sound; a losing case could be costly and becoming too attached to a case or client could bankrupt a company!

“I know, and I’m sorry, but the value of this case is just not very high. The loss of your income isn’t as high as I would need to take the case when liability isn’t clear. It’s true that pain and suffering and your medical bills are important, but those numbers don’t add up to much. I’m sorry—you just don’t earn enough.”

Methos, Victor. An Invisible Client (p. 18). Kindle Edition.

Noah is a man who puts a price tag on everything and understands that the world truly runs on that: money. The government, the White House and Congress, is a symbol of freedom and leadership, but the true rulers are the rich and mighty corporations, an oligarchy. When the world is a greed factory, it’s no wonder that Noah knows the limits of taking cases; he would only take a case that has a favorable outcome.

Under the law, a person was valued at exactly how much money that person could earn. Anyone who hadn’t gone to an Ivy League school, pulled in at least six figures, or had a family business waiting for them was what PI lawyers called “an invisible client”—one who lived and breathed but didn’t officially exist.

Methos, Victor. An Invisible Client (p. 17). Kindle Edition.

That’s why I felt like Noah was an interesting character; he was written in a way so that he had lots of room to grow; character development. And change he does! Noah begins to warm up and gets attached to this invisible client’s case and Joel grows on him. He see this very sick child and he sees a company doing everything in its power to hide something and he swears to get to the bottom of it.

As he begins to watch the case go downhill, almost in a losing position, Noah is risking a lot more than just a case gone wrong. Money ties to everything and so would a loss; his partners would lose everything, the firm could go bankrupt, and his employees would become displaced. So, seeing Noah pretty much gambling his all into an unfavorable case, end Noah is a quite a ways away from beginning of the book Noah.

Likes/Dislikes

Likes:

I think this book would be the third type of thriller I’ve come across. I’ve made a tiny comparison between military thrillers and mystery thrillers before, so I’m adding a new thriller to the list: legal thrillers. It’s different than the previous two in the fact that no blood is shed (sort of I guess…people are still hurt in personal injury cases afterall). The excitement of a legal thriller is in that last fight, the last trial, the “lose this and lose it all moment”. It’s watching the back and forth in that courtroom. Watching both sides go from being confident to desperate, you watch as every word is chosen slowly for fear of turning the jurynotn away from them, driving them to their opposing side and this applies to both sides.

The thrill is in watching one moment where everything seems to go your way until something is cross-examined or someone is thrown off and it’s a battle of words, no fists thrown, and the one who makes the least mistake wins. In the courtroom, nobody is spared; not the witnesses, not the lawyers, not their clients…

Olivia is brilliant and I’m pretty sure she has hyperthymesia to some extent. When questioning a witness who mentioned a date, she was able to come up with what day it was and what the weather was like that day. With an extraordinary memory and seemingly the ability to read through files in record speed, she’s whip smart and when others thought of law school as hellish, she aced through law school and treated it like it was finally time to relax and get to know her fellow students. If there’s anything I know about law school, it’s that everyone comes out looking like they are ready to drown themselves in a tub of Redbull.

While reading a book with a nearly superhuman genius is a bit cliche, I found myself kind of enjoying reading about Olivia as it’s with her crazy abilities that the case goes on well. Though a bit shy, she knows to challenge others on their views and beliefs and while she casts away her gaze at the beginning, she holds it firm as her confidence grows and it’s nice to read a little side character growth as well.

Dislikes (None really):

I didn’t have much of a dislike for this book as, for me, it’s a solid 5 star book. Relationships ran through too quickly for me, but what can I do? It’s a standalone and you don’t get to drag relationships across multiple books. I could complain that the beginning was slow, but it’s a lawsuit! Gathering evidence that’s being tightly sealed behind a sketchy company’s door is going to be painstakingly impossible to get ahold of and if I had a problem with that, well at that point I would just be nitpicking 😅 So for me, it’s a pretty solid and fantastic read that I throughly enjoyed.

5 ⭐️

Currently Reading [07.05.2020]

I was ordering something from Amazon a few days ago and finally decided to try out this Amazon Prime thing that the site kept nagging me about. Lo and behold it comes with reading benefits, though different than the Kindle Unlimited that I also see all over the site.

I ended up with two new books on my Kindle (one of which included audio which I didn’t realize until I fired up my phone Kindle app). With the book mail that I received a few days ago, this month I have three TBR/Currently Reading books and I hope that I could complete at least one of them during today’s long car ride. Seeing as I easily get “see-sick” the audio book should come quite in handy!

The Family Journal

The Family Journal
Book Cover from Goodreads.

Book Name: The Family Journal
Series: [Standalone] Book N/A
Author: Carolyn Brown
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 296
Genre: Romance, Fiction, Contemporary
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.08.2020

I didn’t realize that this was a romance when I first picked it up. All I got from the summary was how fed up a newly divorced single mother is with her teenage kids and that she needed to move back to her childhood home where she can spend more quality time with her children, hoping to improve their behavior. Somewhere between “aww family bonding” and Lily (the mother) finding an old family journal, I managed to miss the line, “The house comes with Mack Cooper, high school teacher and handsome longtime renter.” It has been a long time since I’ve read a romance as it’s my least favorite genre [of all time]. However, so far, it’s not so bad so far. I’m hoping to enjoy the book as the blurb sounded interesting enough and it’s pretty short read.

An Invisible Client

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Book Cover from Goodreads.

Book Name: An Invisible Client
Series: [Standalone] Book # N/A
Author: Victor Methos
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle (Comes with audio)
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 240
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller, Legal Thriller
Start Date: 07.02.2020
End Date: 07.12.2020

I was scrolling through the Amazon “Read Now for Free” list that came with Amazon Prime (called Prime Reading) and came across this one before I even saw “The Family Journal.” It sounded interesting enough and I can’t recall ever having read any legal thrillers before (though I have watched legal dramas before namely “Suits”). Being even shorter than “The Family Journal,” I’m hoping this will be a fun and quick read. The biggest surprise, though, was that when I went to open the Kindle book, there was an audio option. I’ll be listening to this on the road during today’s car trip.

The Eye of the World

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Book Cover from Goodreads
49128045. sy475
Most of the Mass Market Books I’ve seen had the [left] cover, but mine came having the Kindle edition [light blue above] cover art instead

Book Name: The Eye of the World
Series: The Wheel of Time Book # 1
Author: Robert Jordan
Publisher: TOR Books
Book Type: Physical > Paperback > Mass Market
Obtained: Purchased
Pages: 814
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Fantasy > Epic Fantasy, Fantasy > High Fantasy
Start Date: 07.04.2020
End Date: Currently Reading

I spent the better part of the last week deciding on what book I should get more as my first book mail [in a long time]. I was on a book mail self-ban because I couldn’t stand having to move all those books when we move houses…but…I really really missed having book mail…

The decision was between “The Thousand Names,” “The Way of Kings,” or “The Eye of The World.” I spent 90% of the time flipping between the two series latter series and ended up with “The Eye of the World.” I heard so much about this book, have passed it in bookstores several times, and have yet to actually pick it up. The deciding factor to try it out came after I finished writing my Tacticians Inspired TBR post a little while back and now…it’s arrived. It’s here. In my hands. It’s so cute…like a little blue brick :’) Out of the three, I’m most excited to dig into this one.

The Day She Came Back [Book Review]

Book Name: The Day She Came Back
Series: Standalone Book #: N/A
Author: Amanda Prowse
Publisher: Lake Union Publishing
Expected Publication Date: July 7th, 2020
Book Type: Ebook > Kindle (Doc) > ARC
Obtained: “Read Now” on Netgalley
Pages: 306
Genre: Fiction > Women’s Fiction
Start Date: 05.20.2020
End Date: 05.31.2020

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Disclaimer: I received a free ebook copy of this book [NetGalley] in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. All thoughts and opinions are of my own.
Content Warning: This book has mentions of death, drug use and addiction, and implied/mentions of sex.

Summary [Source: Goodreads]

Link to Goodreads Page: >HERE<

When her loving, free-spirited grandmother Primrose passes away, Victoria is bereft, yet resilient—she has survived tragedy before. But even her strength is tested when a mysterious woman attends Prim’s funeral and claims to be the mother Victoria thought was dead.

As the two women get to know each other and Victoria begins to learn more about her past, it becomes clear that her beloved grandmother had been keeping life-changing secrets from her. Desperate for answers, she still struggles to trust anyone to tell her the truth.

To live a full and happy life, Victoria knows she must not only uncover the truth, but find a way to forgive her family. But after so many years, is trusting them even possible? 

Summary Review:

Thoughts

Oh phew. It’s over. So where do I even begin with this book?

First thing first. I cried 18 times. I counted. I’m very serious. I cried multiple times in the first chapter and then I cried again finishing this book off. And of course, I cried throughout the entire book.

This is my first NetGalley book. I was seeing a bunch of NetGalley posts floating around book Twitter that I just needed to try it. Seeing as I started out with a feedback ratio of 0%, I figured to look for a “read now” book first (I’m pretty sure my requests wouldn’t have been approved anyways 😂 )

What Attracted Me / Expanded Plot

I was going through NetGalley and honestly (having no Currently Reading books for days) I was getting antsy and ready to pick anything up. However, I didn’t want to force my way into a book that I would potentially hate just for a free read…and eventually came across this book (as someone whose favorite colors are yellow and orange I’m pretty sure the lure was the bright yellow covers.

I mostly picked this one up because of the other feedbacks left behind on the site. Literally just that. Sure, the cover was pretty cute (lovely sunflower colors shaded by the lonely feeling of an empty chair: presumably Prim’s favorite chair), the title intriguing, and the summary drawing me in, but the cherry on top were the other feedbacks. “Beautifully written story” was listed in almost every review. And when your favorite books are murder crime thrillers, you don’t get much of a chance for “beautiful story.”

This story is about a young woman in England (The town of Epsom in Surrey, England to be exact). 18 year old Victoria goes out with her friend for a day out and returns in the afternoon to see that her grandmother has passed away, sitting in her favorite place, the Garden Room and her whole world is turned upside down. Primrose, Prim, is Victoria’s only remaining family, having lost her father, before she was even born, and her mother, shortly afterwards, both to drugs. Victoria has never met either of them.

Her next few days, she spends broken and numb, with no clue what to do next. She was young adult, new to the world, and not yet ready to go through the process of losing Prim; the lawyers, the funeral, things like what to do with the house now that she was a “young woman of means.” She knew that this day would eventually come, but not so soon…It’s an overwhelming feeling, and Amanda makes you feel that through the page.

Daksha, Victoria’s best friend, is there to comfort and be with her through this immensely tough time and eventually, the long dreaded day of Prim’s funeral arrives. It is after the funeral that Victoria meets a woman who claims to be Victoria’s mother. Having her world shattered with the loss of Prim, she’s not ready to deal with this revelation. Here, before her, was the woman that she thought, that she had been told her whole life, to be dead, very much alive. Every holiday and every birthday that she has ever spent, missing and mourning the woman she never met, Victoria feels nothing but betrayed to, lied to, and deceived; her whole life an utter lie by those she was closest too.

Naturally, she is skeptical at first, but Victoria gives this strange woman a chance. Knowing that if she were to refuse to accept what the woman says, she may forever regret it. She wanted the truth, to get to the bottom of this, and to do that, she would have to give the woman a try.

Expanded Review

This book is, as the others say, an amazing and beautifully written story. This is the story of three women. It is the story of Victoria and the two generations of women who created, cared, and loved her deeply. It is the story of tremendous sacrifice and heartbreak; A desperate mother who watched her daughter succumb to the disease of drug addiction, unable to tear her free from its grasp, and another mother who had to forfeit her daughter, even as her soul cried in agony of the separation, because she knew it would have given her the best chance at a healthy and happy life, not like of her own.

This is the first time I’ve read an Amanda Prowse book. It’s the first time in a long time that I picked up a non-thriller or fantasy book. It’s a book that talks about things that are just too hard to voice and things that nobody wants to talk about. I’ve read death. Trust me, mystery thrillers mean there are plenty of death (and in the most gruesome ways). Those authors, in their own way, portray those deaths in as horrifying of a visual as it can get, and yet this is new to me.

Prim’s death was the reason I couldn’t move on in this book for a good two days. Her death, Victoria’s nightmare, is everyone’s nightmare. Having returned from a great afternoon out and having bumped into the boy of her dreams, she comes home in great spirits. In vivid details, we watch as her life is shattered into pieces. How Victoria finds her grandmother’s body shook me hard. Because it’s just so real. It is utterly and terrifyingly real. To come home from an ordinary day, to find your loved one gone. Blue tinged lips…lifeless eyes and cold body…ears that no longer listen as you plead for them to return. To walk out promising your grandmother you’d bring back snacks only to return knowing she never was able to take that one last bite, wondering if you’d had completed that quick task for them before rushing out the door. None of their cooking ever again. None of the small things like their smell, the noise of them walking around the house. It’s shocking. It’s overwhelming. For Victoria and for the reader.

We all have that loved one, be it family or friend, that we know we will eventually lose. We don’t know when…we don’t know how and it’s something that we try to push off to the back of our minds. I think I spent a good day staring at my own parents. Death is inevitable. It will always be there, the promised end. You realize there is a very real possibility that one day you might be the one to discover your deceased loved one’s body. It just never hit me on how it would happen.

The rest of the book was stellar and amazing, but it was that first chapter that was just…extra hard for me to get over. It really shook me and reminded me of things I simply never wanted to think about, and Amanda does a brilliant job in portraying the same exact thoughts in our main character here. Being that it was her grandmother who raised her, she realized this day was bound to come, but for her and for Prim, it came just too soon.

The book was phenomenal and tackled many different topics. It discusses loss of a love one, self-confidence and insecurities and being deceived, living what feels like a lie and having what you’ve only known, ever, come unraveling around you…You read about drugs, the effects of heroin and addiction… there are tears, there is love…so so much love. We watch Victoria learn to forgive, learn to discover themselves, to heal, forge friendships and relationships, in rediscovering betrayal, and learning to move on. We watch the love between best friends, who are there for you through thick and thin, and the sacrifices of a beautiful family to make sure an innocent little girl grows up to be loved, happy, and healthy.

And as Victoria gets to know the mum she never got a chance to meet, she grows so much as a person. From what feels like the inability to trust ever again to someone who is able to forgive and give second chances. With the help of many wonderful people, she pushes through past the grief of loss and being lied to to get to know her mother. Even if it’s at an arms distance, they share tears and slowly begin to connect through the nostalgic bridge that each experience on their own to meet at the middle and eventually move on to walk together.

This was an amazing and beautifully written book. I can’t argue with that. I cried so many times throughout this book. Amanda’s writing is just…beautiful. Enchanting? She picks words that crafts and embeds magic woven into each sentence, bringing the story to life. You feel the loss that Victoria experiences. Her tears, her fears, her being overwhelmed at being suddenly thrust into unfamiliar surroundings. Amanda makes it so that you experience loneliness. The first days alone in the house without Prim…the cold emptiness of the hallways, being in a large house all alone. The first time Victoria tries to turn around to her beloved granny for help or a shoulder to lean on and finding nothing but spirits and memories.

An absolutely beautiful story 5 / 5.