July 23, 2012

Girl in the Glass

Title:   Girl in the Glass
Author:  Zoe Brooks
Publisher:  White Fox Books, 1 edition (March 8, 2012)
Medium:  Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:
“I will have to say it: 'I am Anya and I am nothing'. I will look down at the floor as I say it, so that I don't see the smile on my aunt's face, so she won't see the defiance in my eyes. She will get her victory. She always wins these battles. I know it, she knows it. But one day, one day she will not.”
In this Cinderella story for adults there is no fairy godmother and no handsome prince, just a girl of spirit and her strange companion.
Orphaned at the age of 10 in circumstances that she refuses to explain, Anya grows up trapped in the house of her abusive aunt where she and Eva, her Shadow, are treated as slaves. As her aunt tries to break her and the punishments become increasingly life-threatening, Anya struggles to find affection and self-esteem. When the inevitable showdown arrives, where will Anya find the strength to survive and escape? And if she does escape, what then? An arduous walk across an unforgiving desert to a city where an even worse danger lies

It doesn't happen very often, but every now and then a book comes along and I don't ever want to get to the last page.  I start getting upset when I realize that the end is near, because I don't want my time that I've spent with new people who have entered into my heart to end. Luckily for me (!!!) Girl in the Glass is the first book in the Shadows Trilogy.  Whew!  I was afraid that I'd have to head East to Czech Republic, knocking on old farmhouse doors to find Ms. Brooks and tell her that Anya and Eva's story was amazing, but I needed to know more!

Amazing really isn't the right word for Girl in the Glass.  It's heart wrenching, it's sad, it makes you angry, and it lifts your spirits and makes you cheer out loud.  It makes you cry and it makes you wonder.  It takes you on a journey with Anya and Eva through their unhappy childhood to them becoming women.  

It's a journey of epic proportions that many of us who are sitting in our comfortable air conditioned homes can't even begin to imagine.  We turn a blind eye to things like this happening as we sit in our comfy cocoons of fancy furnishings, never wondering where our next meal will come from.  We don't have to worry about keeping warm enough at night, and we certainly don't have to sell our souls attempting to make a better life for ourselves.

Ms. Brooks put so much description in Girl in the Glass that at times I could feel the sand and smell the salty air.  I could feel the snow and see the stars and smell the beautiful smells of luxurious perfume and taste the wine and feel the physical and emotional pain that Anya and Eva felt.

If you are looking for something different than what you normally read, something that will make you cry tears of sorrow and tears of joy then pick up Girl in the Glass by Zoe Brooks.  You won't be disappointed, and you'll be ready to hunt down the next book in the trilogy!

Zoe Brooks

July 17, 2012

Run to Me

Title:  Run to Me
Author:  Erin Golding
Publisher:  Erin Golding (April 2, 2012)
Medium:  Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:
What does it take to set you free?
For Abby Fox and Paul Beckett, life in the lakeside Australian town of Jungilla is far from idyllic. Running is the only thing that brings them peace.
Abby is a teacher tortured by her unfulfilled dreams. When she takes on the role of running coach at Whateley School, she never imagines it will unravel her whole life.
Paul is sick of watching his back. His father seems to hate him and he’s got a bully after him as well. All he needs is something worth fighting for.
Told in the alternating voices of Abby and Paul, this story explores what can happen when life takes us somewhere unexpected.

There is a part of all of us that beckons to watch the car accident, the train wreck, or our co-workers marriage going down the tubes.  We are quiet observers of major life events going on around us, and we sit in judgement of everyone around us, never stopping for a minute to look at the reflection in the mirror.  "That could never happen to me", we exclaim to ourselves as we look down our proverbial noses, never judging aloud, but always judging.

Truth be told, there are probably parts of each of our lives that we don't want the world, or at the very least, our friends and co-workers finding out.  We want to paint that picture of perfection, while we sit in silent shame of our wrong doings and bad habits.  We don't want our friends to see us cry over something so meaningful and meaningless at the same time, like breakfast.  We want the world observing us through rose-colored glasses, right? We never want to show shame, because shame is ugly, right?

Run to Me by Erin Golding is an interesting story, and not one that is uncommon.  I mean, as I was reading local headlines this morning, something eerily similar is going on right now, in my state, again...  I like to think that when I was in high school that shenanigans like this didn't happen, but thumbing through my yearbook years later, it makes one wonder and sends your mind into twisted tales and fits of giggles when you picture things like that.  You just never know.

Run to Me is a love story, although it's not one that you are cheering on the heroine or really keeping your fingers crossed that the guy wins his prize.  It's a heartbreaking story, and one that made me feel sadness and pity throughout.  It's not beautiful, but it is poetic.  And you will keep asking yourself, does anyone win, does everyone lose, or is there a silver lining there, somewhere?

Run to Me is a book that makes you think.  It makes you shake your head and it makes you wonder and ask the questions of how and why, over and over.  You will keep reading because it's human nature and it's okay to watch.  You aren't Abby and your child will never be Paul.

Run to Me is told from two perspectives, and that was really what clinched it for me.  I loved how both sides were similar, but the different.  I loved how Paul was always right there, in my face, but I had to dig deeper to find out what made Abby tick.  My whys were answered, though I kept up with the head shaking, because I seriously would have had to question my morals if I was cheering by the end of the book.

Ms. Golding wrote a really great book, and it was one that I wasn't sure, due to subject matter, if I would enjoy, but I really liked it.  She approached a subject that is sadly common in the headlines these days, and no longer shocking when we see them.  She gave a very interesting perspective and touched on answering those whys and hows we often ask ourselves when we see this over and over in the news.  

I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this to friends and family, and to you all here, reading this blog.  Seriously, check it out!!

Erin Golding

July 7, 2012

The Happy Housewife

Author:  Kate Cooch
Publisher:  Amazon Digital Services
Medium:  Kindle

Goodreads Synopsis:
Dateline: March 3, 2011, Woodinville, Washington. “Built green? Nope black! ELF.” The mocking sign was left at the sight of an Eco-terrorist attack on ‘green’ multi-million dollar homes which were burnt to the ground. While the incident drew headlines from local papers, it barely made the national news. No arrests have been made.
Dateline: Same day, Fairfax, Virginia. Samantha Sherman, a former Coast Guard helicopter pilot turned stay at home Mom, tries to decide between Tide 2X Ultra with Dawn Stain Scrubbers and her old standby, Tide with Bleach Alternative. She finally determines that it truly makes no difference and sighs. Little does she know that in a few short weeks her happy, but not wildly exciting life will be turned upside down by the threat of Eco-terrorism, the Weather Underground, and murder.
“The Happy Housewife” is a 200 page suburban murder mystery which involves one ordinary woman, Samantha, who finds herself drawn into a criminal investigation. In the process of solving two murders, she also struggles to overcome a mistake from her past career which resulted in her current inability to make decisions and assert herself.

I needed a good caper and a quick page turner (okay, button masher since I read this on Vinny, the Kindle) recently, and Kate Cooch's, The Happy Housewife did just the trick for me.  

I spent a couple of years doing duty as a housewife, and it was a lot of fun, though not as much fun as Sam had in the book.  No, my time as a happy housewife paled in comparison, though the neighborhood we lived in at the time had some potential for some Scooby-Doo hijinks's and action.  Now the Love of My Life works from home, takes care of my laundry, greets me with a smile when I come home every day, and allows me the opportunity to be a successful woman in today's world of hospice administration (it's not THAT glamorous, but it is rewarding).    I wonder...

When Kate asked me to review her book, The Happy Housewife, I just knew from the description that it would be one of those little mysteries that I would  probably figure out right from the beginning.  I mean, we all are the best at solving mysteries, right?  I mean, you know the crazy guy or the normal guy or the cute kid has to be the culprit, right?  

Well, was I wrong!  

One of the best things I really liked about Kate's book was that she took some examples from her real life experiences and placed them into her book.  She was a Coast Guard pilot, which is way cool!  I think it's important for writers to draw on what they are knowledgeable about in order to provide accurate information to share with readers.  That's not to say that good research can't bring about a good book, but if you have the real experience to help you sit and bang out thousands of words, no one can take those claims away from you, and you can also learn and grow from sharing experiences with readers and others like you.

If you are looking for a quick, fun, fast-paced read, get thee to Amazon today and pick up Kate's book.  It's perfect for tropical storm reading, beach bag stuffing, or something to pass along an otherwise boring Wednesday evening.  You'll be glad you did!!!

Kate Cooch