Once Upon a River by Diane Setterfield

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Secrets and Folklore!
Thanks to Bookish first, Atria Books, Simon & Schuster, and NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review Once Upon A River by Diane Setterfield!
Twists and turns and many characters along with their stories bring Once Upon a River to life. The book opens with a background of the setting and builds up to the present when a four-year-old girl is found and brought to the Swan, where storytelling is at its finest. The man who brought the little girl in is very injured and he loses consciousness, so no one can ask questions. The storytelling begins by the regular inhabitants of the Swan and continues to build with speculation. Everyone falls in love with the little girl and their hearts warm to her. Because of the girl’s appearance in the community, many lives are changed and things that have been hidden for years come to light. A food for thought story full of folklore and secrets, 4 stars!

The Shining by Stephen King

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The Shining by Stephen King is a well-known horror classic in book and movie form. Jack Torrence is receiving instructions on how to take care of the Overlook Hotel for the winter. He’s just been hired as the winter caretaker and will be bringing his wife and five-year-old son along for the winter. Jack’s and Wendy’s marriage has already had struggles and Jack is lucky to have received the Overlook caretaker job because of his past drinking problems and anger issues. Danny is bright and kind and wants his parents to be happy. Little by little, Wendy can see changes in Jack. He hasn’t been drinking but he’s showing all of his old drinking signs. The story continues in much of the same way as the movie with some small differences, topiary hedges, mallet, and then the biggest difference is the ending! I like the book ending so much better than the movie ending. Classic Stephen King writing and dark imaginings create a story of possessions and seclusion in this book, 5 stars! 

A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Frost and Starlight by Sarah J. Maas is a book full of celebration and healing. Fun and lighthearted sums up the majority of this book, with the Solstice celebration and its traditions and the jovial manner of the way the Night Court members treat one another. I laughed at the snowball fight scene because I thought it was adorable and funny! Backstories are shared, which helps us understand the characters at a deeper level, with a sneak peek of the next book included at the end. 5 stars for this fun addition to A Court of Thorns and Roses series!

A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas, an exquisite addition to A Court of Thorns and Roses series! Feyre is residing in the Spring Court once again, for the sake of gathering helpful information for the Night Court. She’s hiding her true memories and feelings and has created false stories to help Spring Court residents think that Rhysand treated her horribly. This way, the Spring Court won’t suspect anything. Feyre plays her part extremely well, causing contention between Tamlin, Lucien, Ianthe and the sentries who began to lose respect for Tamlin and Ianthe. Feyre manages to get back to the Night Court and to Rhysand, with Lucien. The two of them helping each other’s survival against the Autumn Court heirs who are trying to kill Lucien and Feyre. Feyre is once again home with her Mate and friends. Now, together they must conquer Hybern and its king, who wants to control everything for his own benefit. Feyre and the rest of the Night Court finally figure out what happened to Nesta and Elain when Hybern used the Cauldron to turn the two of them into Fae. Nesta is connected to the Cauldron and can sense when it’s being used and Elain has become a seer. A menagerie of wonderfully interesting characters ally with the Night Court and together they take on Hybern and it’s king and all his evil. This third book in The Court of Thorns and Roses thrills just as much as the first two with action, romance and the beautifully created world that Feyre resides in. 5 stars!

 

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas opens as Feyre is trying to come to terms with the violence she endured and the choices she made Under the Mountain in helping rid the Faerie world of Amarantha. Tamlin proposed to Feyre, so planning their wedding has become a daily activity and she’s grateful for the help of Ianthe, a visiting High Priestess. On Tamlin and Feyre’s wedding day, Rhys bursts in and breaks up the celebration before vows are given. Rhys is there to claim the deal of Feyre spending one week out of every month with him in the Night Court. His first mission is for Feyre to learn how to read. Rhysand is priceless, with his lackadaisical attitude, cleverness and charm. He’s also showing tremendous patience, especially when he seems so alone. Tamlin has kept secrets from Feyre and has trapped her inside his manor, making her feel like a prisoner. Because of this, Feyre had an extremely dark, strong panic attack and Rhys’ cousin Mor saved her and brought her to Rhys. She’s now a resident of the Night Court. Rhysand made Feyre the Emissary to the Human Realm because she is a human that died and was given life by the seven High Fae Lords and will hopefully help bridge and build human-faerie relations. Rhys has given Feyre a specific mission to find and retrieve a special, hidden book that can give extreme power to the wielder. Rhys and Feyre become closer as they adjust to each other and try to overcome the evil threat to the Fae and Human Realms. A sequel full of action and suspense, A Court of Mist and Fury adds tremendous depth to this series and I cannot wait to start reading the next book; a well-earned 5 stars!

Little Boy Lost by J.D. Trafford

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Little Boy Lost by J. D. Trafford tells the story of a lawyer, Justin Glass, who is down on his luck, gets a visit from a young girl looking for her missing brother, willing to pay for his help with a jar full of change. He asks around and eventually discovers that the missing brother is part of a mass grave full of many murdered young men. All of the victims were criminals in one way or another and the perpetrator seems like he could be some sort of vigilante. In the meantime, Justin gets an awesome paralegal, Emma. She’s from Bosnia and was a certified lawyer there. Since she knows about the legal system, she gets Justin and his office in tip top shape.
While helping with this case, he’s dealing with being a single parent and feeling helpless when he discovers that his daughter is being bullied. Dealing with the murder case, he seems to be doing more investigating than the law enforcement is. With the help of his paralegal and her close-by relatives, Justin Glass is able to solve the mystery but this puts his life in danger also. A strong cast of characters and a suspenseful mystery that tugs at the heartstrings, 4 stars!

Mean Little People by Paige Dearth

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Heartbreaking realistic fiction.
Thanks to NetGalley, Fiction With Meaning LLC and a Goodreads giveaway for the ARC of Mean Little People by Paige Dearth.
The prologue broke my heart with the bullying of a seven-year-old boy. Tony was severely bullied by children and then he went home after being saved by a passerby and was bullied horribly by his father. The story continues on as Tony grows up, makes friends, loses friends and stands up to his father. The story jumps through Tony’s life and is somewhat choppy for a while but then finally settles and flows better. Once Tony becomes a teenager, the jumping stops and the story continues on with the tragically sad, horrifying and heartbreaking events that he’s living through. Tony sees his friend Salvatore harm someone. Vincent and Salvatore run away but Tony stays to help the injured person. A witness sees Tony by the person and tells the police that Tony was the killer when the person dies. Tony ends up in a juvenile detention center where he’s abused beyond comprehension. The only reason he was arrested is because he wouldn’t tell on Salvatore. Salvatore’s father is the mob boss but he’s cold and uncaring so he doesn’t help Tony as much or as quickly as he should. The mob eventually kills the witness and Tony is released. Now he has nowhere to go because his wretched father refuses to let him stay at home because he’s a “criminal”. He’s homeless. Tony finds a friend in a male drug addict and they share a room in an abandoned apartment building. This is the first time that he feels safe and isn’t harmed by someone he’s trusted. He also meets Donata, who owns a bakery that Tony frequently visits on the rare occasion when he has money. Donata and her granddaughter Ruth become family to Tony. His addict friend freezes to death and Tony is left on the streets alone and terrified of freezing to death too. He ends up joining the Slayers, a violent gang, just so he has a warm place to sleep. Through all of this, Salvatore begs his father to help Tony. The mob boss finally gives Tony a job, freeing him from the Slayers. He always tells Tony that he is indebted to him and the mob family and owes them, even though Salvatore continues to remind his father that he’s really indebted to Tony for saving him from the awful detention center in the first place. This story reminds me of the movie “Scarface”, with the hatred, anger and violence. I admire the author for being brutally honest with the details of the harm and violence that is predominantly portrayed throughout the book. Perseverance is strongly represented also. Tony has amazing strength and because we’re given his view of tragedies that he suffered through, his strength and perseverance become even more hard- earned and amazing because he carries on. The choppy grammar is used to make the characters real and it does work. Heartbreaking realistic fiction that’s also very eye-opening, 4 stars.

Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris

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Wonderfully informative and humorous guide to Meditation.
Thanks to NetGalley and Random House for the opportunity to read and review Meditation for Fidgety Skeptics by Dan Harris and Jeff Warren. I chuckled at the Table of Contents and how accurate the section and chapter titles were when applied to human nature. Some of the headings are “I Don’t Have Time for This”, “If I Get Too Happy, I’ll Lose My Edge” and “People Might Think I’m Weird”. So great and opens up the path for humor in its pages. I was excited to discover the app that accompanies the instructional meditation given in this book. The commentary is full of humor and deals with thoughts that swirl through our minds as we try to relax and meditate. Short and easily doable meditations are introduced along with helpful, concise cheat sheets. I love the “RAIN”, “Walking Through Sound” and “Ten Good Breaths”! This quote captures the true essence of this practical and useful book, “Meditation is basically the end of boredom.” I was surprised and disturbed by the results of the study “Pandora’s Box” where people were left alone in a room with no stimulus, except a button that produced an electric shock. Many of the participants chose to give themselves electric shocks because of their discomfort of being quietly alone. Wonderfully informative instructional guide on meditation for anyone who wants to try but is skeptical of meditating, 5 stars!

The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday

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The Darkest of Dreams by Emigh Cannaday opens with the realization that Finn has been murdered by Talvi, his own brother. After Finn’s death, the Marinossian family is distraught and in turmoil because of the loss of Finn and Talvi’s murderous act. Talvi ends up in Bleakmoor Island Prison until his trial, while Annika is sent away from the Elven world for several reasons: her safety, secrecy and to help the Marinossian family heal. An enormous turn of events changes everything and the story unfolds while continuing to build character development and the world of the Marinossians. The beloved personalities return in this sequel and the character spectrum grows larger. Another Annika Brisby story full of suspense, danger, romance and magic. 5 stars!

A River of Silence by Susan Clayton-Goldner

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A River of Silence by Susan Clayton Goldner-January 24. Detective Radhauser has been through enough tragedy personally and professionally to last a lifetime. He’s lost his wife and son in a car accident and has struggled with cases that he has taken to heart. He’s now married to Grace and they’re making a family of their own with love and happiness but he still deeply feels the loss of his first wife and their son. He’s called out around midnight to investigate a 911 call, where he helps a hearing impaired man administer CPR on a toddler, while waiting for the ambulance. The child ends up dying and Caleb Bryce, the man giving CPR, is arrested. The community seems to immediately believe that Bryce is guilty and he only has a few people who believe he’s innocent, the detective, his appointed lawyer and his elderly neighbor. This well-rounded mystery opened my eyes and heart and reminded me of how precious and fragile life is. The highly developed characters and their interwoven actions and personalities made this mystery an absolute want-to-read-through-in-one-sitting book, 5 stars!