Pre-Release Review: Small Blessings by Martha Woodroof

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5 of 5 well-deserved stars

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

I would never have known about this book if it weren’t for NetGalley, and I’m so glad I found it. I noticed it because of the cover and title. Then I did a little research and discovered that Martha Woodroof is affiliated with NPR. I love love love NPR, so that’s all I needed. I requested and read it right away.

Small Blessings could definitely go into the literary fiction category, which isn’t usually my bag. But in this case, I really liked it because it wasn’t overly dramatic and drawn out.

This is the story of a cast of characters at a women’s college – Tom Putnam is a loyal, gentle-hearted man who has been taking care of Marjory, his mentally frayed wife, for 20 years; Agnes, Tom’s mother-in-law, is a quirky, stubborn lady who is searching for her new beginning; Russ Jacobs is a callous, egotistical alcoholic who hides behind his sarcasm and anger; Iris is a spunky red-head who likes to stir the pot but has no real friends. In walks Rose Callahan, an independent, wanderer who is so sure of herself that she makes others sure of themselves. She is the epitome of independence, but she is too guarded to let anyone really know her. Within the first few days after Rose’s arrival, Marjory dies, and Tom’s 6-year-old “son” that he never knew about turns up in town. (Don’t worry… not a spoiler… these happen at the very beginning.) What follows is a discovery of self for everyone involved and small blessings that some never thought they deserved.

This book was so beautifully written. Each and every character is so well developed, and the story line is also extremely well-developed but succinct. There are a couple of small surprises, but mostly you can tell where the story is going and where it will end up. In this case, though, the point was not the ending, the point was the journey. And it was a truly inspiring one. The title is perfect… this is a story about people saving each other, facing your demons, and finding the small blessings along the way.

And to add to that, what I love most about books are the small nuances that just make them different from all the rest, where the author puts some of their personality in. In this case, there are a lot of moments obviously dedicated to NPR. Here’s a little peek:

The Rolling Stones obligingly began shouting in her head about not always getting what you want but, provided you try, sometimes getting what you need.

As Van Morrison had put it: It ain’t why, why, why, why, why; it just is.

Plus, there’s just a lot of good old-fashioned wisdom sprinkled throughout this story too, with some slight humor to it:

“When the going gets tough, the tough suck it up,” Agnes said. “The rest get run over.”

You’ll always have a chance to give up, so why do it now?

I think what really makes this book so great is that it’s real life. It really could be someone’s true story. It’s not cheesy, it’s not far-fetched. It just is.. simple, true, and inspiring. I definitely recommend this book!! It is especially exceptional because it’s the author’s debut novel. And you don’t have to wait too long – it comes out on August 12th!!

For those of you who are audio book inclined, here is a 6-minute preview of the audio version of Small Blessings. Honestly, I’ve never listened to an audio book, but I  did  listen to this clip. Lorelei King’s voice and impression for Russ is spot on. A special thank you to  Esther with Macmillan Audio for providing the clip.

And for anyone in the Richmond, Virginia area, I found out that Martha Woodroof will be at Fountain Books on September 23 for a signing! Get excited!!


Sidenote: So I posted my review on GoodReads already. I think I was one of the first reviews, and well… Martha Woodruff actually read it and sent me a message thanking me for the “lovely review”. She also said that I completely understood her characters and motives for writing the book. Wow!!!! It makes me really excited that I accidentally made a debut author feel validated and excited about their work. I’m now even more excited about meeting her and hearing more about her book at the signing in Richmond!

Just wanted to share this with you as proof that Martha Woodroof seems like a truly genuine and awesome person. So I’m begging you… go read her book. I’m pretty sure you won’t be sorry that you did.

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All the Light We Cannot See… a 3 month journey

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3 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Here we have yet another book that EVERYONE except me loved. I’m obviously weird. I had to set this book down several times because I couldn’t get into it. But I always picked it back up, determined to finish… I guess that says something about the writer.

All the Light We Cannot See focuses on the events of World War II in Europe, specifically France. The main character is really “the war”… and there are beautifully written, snapshots that capture the true nature of the war and the emotion of those effected by the war. There are 3 storylines going on throughout: (1) A blind girl, Marie Laure, is forced to leave her hometown with her father, the security warden for The Natural History Museum, who may or may not hold the “Sea of Flames” – the most precious, most cursed, but most powerful stone ever made because the holder is said to be unable to die. (INTRIGUE!!) (2) An orphan Werner, who has a fascination with learning and engineering, specifically re-making radios so that he and his sister can listen to an old man who broadcasts “illegal” educational shows. (2) Sgt von Rumpel, a German and therefore the enemy, who is dying and is using his position to ransack homes while searching for the Sea of Flames.

Throughout the story, Marie Laure grows into a strong woman who supports the underground movement against Germany; Werner is taken to a training school for gifted boys to learn about radios/receivers and is eventually recruited into the war to help locate illegal radio broadcasts that are supporting the German opposition – he is constantly conflicted as to whether he is doing the right thing; and Sgt von Rumpel is truly scary… he searches for any people who have connection to the Sea of Flames, gets information from them, and then disposes of them all while keeping a creepily calm demeanor. 

The way that all of these stories tie together in the end is really great, almost like a true story – the ending actually felt like I was sitting next to a World War II survivor letting them tell their story. So it was very well researched and well written. However, the beginning took me a very long time to get into. I kept reading though because I could tell that this writer is truly talented. Eventually, you start seeing how everything connects and the book is much more readable.

What I disliked was the setup… the book jumps back and forth in time and also jumps from character to character, so it gets confusing. I found myself having to check the dates often. The jumping through time just feels unnecessary and does not add any suspense or glamour to the story. I think it would have been much easier to follow and get into if everything had been in chronological order and only skips from character to character. But that’s just me.

Overall, this is a beautifully written story. I would recommend it… when it starts lagging, just know that it does pick up and the ending is worth it.

New Releases: How to Tell Toledo vs. One Plus One

Hi all!! Sorry I’ve left you all so lonely for so long. I forgot how crazy the moving process is. Things are finally starting to slow down again, so I’m back to reading and reviewing. I finally got internet hook-up today, therefore we begin the long process of catching up on reviews.

First… two books released today that I realized after reading have much of the same features – a quirky girl with a different outlook on life, a nerdy but lovable guy, some family drama, and a little bit of romance – with slightly different plots. I received both of these books through NetGalley in return for an honest review. I’ll give you a little info and let you pick the better summer read for yourself.

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3 of 5 stars

How to Tell Toledo from the Night Sky is the story of Irene and George, two astronomists with completely different outlooks on life. George is a dreamer – far more than you would ever think a scientist would be – and a lover, and I mean sleezy, womanizer sleeps-with-his-students type lover because he’s searching for the girl that he “used to dream about but can’t quite remember”. Irene is an anti-lover and doesn’t believe that love even truly exists. She ran away from her drunk mother to pursue her dream of discovering the make-up of a black hole and therefore creating a black hole to revolutionize science. The only outlet she has in life is lucid dreaming where she can visit with the sober version of her mother.

Sound weird? My first thought about 5 pages in was “WHOA”. Here’s what I expected based on the book summary: a Rosie Project type story with some smart people romance and a different twist because their parents organized the entire thing. What is not mentioned in the book summary is that there is also some pretty deep philosophical details involving gods (somewhat Greek but more modern), destiny, soul twins, and other astrology related things. The story switches between Irene’s mom – Bernice, George’s mom – Sally, Irene, and George’s points-of-view to explain the set-up and key events from George and Irene’s childhoods. There are also lengthy philosophical breakdowns about the stars and destiny. I kept reading through the end of the book still trying to figure out if it is good weird or bad weird… and I finally decided – GOOD weird.

The plot, even with all the philosophical speak, is still pretty fast moving. It starts with Irene and George meeting as adults and then goes back from there to learn the details of their set up. There is a lot of adventure with George – he’s a very spontaneous and carefree man, and a lot of brooding from Irene. The love story is a bit cheesy, but this is still a good quirky read. This book is honestly the weirdest book that I have ever read.. it is unlike any other. Was it lacking in some areas? Yes. Good or bad? At the end of the day, I end up choosing good because the philosophical aspects make you think. I hear that’s good for you!!

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4 of 5 stars

One Plus One is an entirely different type of geeky love story – Ed is a wealthy half-owner of a software company who has a lawsuit looming over his head because accidently gives away insider trading details for his company. Jess is really a large mess – she has two children that she busts her butt for but just can’t make ends meet. Her daughter, Tanzie, has been accepted to attend an elite math school, and the Math Olympiad with a $5000 prize is their only hope of paying he tuition. Not to mention, the problems with her son, Nicky, getting beaten up at school over and over. Thus, ensues a brilliant adventure where Ed’s and Jess’s lives are tangled together and they go from silently tolerating one another to sparking romance in just a few days during one road trip with enough mishaps to last a lifetime.

This is the definition of a romantic comedy – and one that was well written. There is substantial character development. Jess’s life has had so many things go wrong that you can’t help but hope with your whole gut that something goes right for her. Ed also has so much riding on his shoulders – when the story begins, he is merely trying to do something to help someone else in order to forget his own troubles. And Tanzie and Nicky’s voices add perfectly to the story to bring an outside view into Jess and Ed’s world.

The only drawback to this book, is the intensity with Jess and Ed’s romance. It was 0 to 60 in about a day. I guess this is slightly excusable because they were stuck in a car together 24/7.. but it still bothers me. However, not enough to not enjoy the rest of the story. It’s just a great feel-good summer read… all the way down to retaliation against the boys who continue to beat Nicky. It makes you laugh out loud at Tanzie’s quirkiness and cry right along with Jess during her heartbreak at her life’s circumstances. I was 100% invested in all the characters. Oh and I read it in less than a day… I definitely wouldn’t mind a sequel!

Hope this helps with your New Release picks! Happy summer reading! Any other new summer books that I need to know about??

Pre-Release Review: Goodnight June by Sarah Jio

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5 of 5 stars

I received an ARC of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Goodnight June is June’s story. June inherits from her great aunt Ruby a small, cozy children’s bookstore – Bluebird Books, where June spent her happiest moments as a child and learned to love reading. As a 35 year old, June is vice president of a large bank and in charge of foreclosing many small businesses. She has few important people in her life, anxiety problems, and a severe lack of satisfaction with herself. When she inherits Bluebird Books, June goes home to Seattle for the first time in 5 years and begins to reevaluate her life. She discovers a scavenger hunt that her aunt Ruby left for her in the bookstore of letters between Ruby and Margaret Wise Brown that explain the origin of Goodnight Moon and renew June’s passion for the bookstore. June discovers what it is like to be on the opposite side of the foreclosing business while she is trying to raise funds to save the bookstore, all with the help of the charming Gavin who owns the Italian restaurant next door.

I absolutely 100 percent love when an author shows his/her fangirl/fanboy side… And in this case, Sarah Jio’s fangirl flag is waving hard. The story behind the popular children’s classic Goodnight Moon is unknown because Margaret Wise Brown died shortly after writing it. I can tell that Sarah Jio truly loved Goodnight Moon because she uses so much imagination and heart to develop a very plausible origin of Goodnight Moon and uses the letters to tell the story with passion and creativity.

Also, June’s story is one that we can all identify with and could ultimately stand alone as its own story. She has to make the choice between living a life with passion or complacency. She has to forgive, and she learns to love. And she also discovers a few things she didn’t know about herself. Yes, it’s somewhat “chick flicky”, but its inspiring and sweet. I’m an avid hater of cookie cutter chick lit, so trust me when I say that this story is not that. Jane’s story is inspiring and leaves you contemplating your own dreams.

Right now is a time of major change in my life with moving and finding new job, etc., so I feel it was the perfect time to read this book. I probably a little biased since in the past year, I’ve somehow developed a dream of owning an independent bookstore and hosting authors/holding events to inspire budding readers. Reading is and always has been a huge part of my life, so I love to see that there are others who are still so inspired by reading and would rather pick up a book than a game or show on their iPad. I think Goodnight June is Sarah Jio’s confession to also being one of these people and her charge to go do something about it.

I literally blazed through Goodnight June in less than a day. It’s an easy read and would be perfect for sitting outside on a lazy summer day. And the great news is that its release date is May 27 – TOMORROW!!! So you only have to wait 2 short hours.. or 1 if you’re on the east coast. Ready. Set. Go.

I don’t think I’ve done it justice, but if you just go read it you’ll see what I mean. Thank you Sarah Jio for such a beautiful and inspiring story. It’s been a while since I’ve read a something this great.

I’ve had a couple of other books by Sarah Jio on my radar for a while, but this is the first one I’ve read. I’ll definitely be moving her other books up on my list.

Pre-Release Review: The Opposite of Maybe by Maddie Dawson

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3 of 5 stars

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

The Opposite of Maybe is your basic chick lit… Rosie’s long time relationship is falling apart because she and her boyfriend just aren’t the same anymore. Meanwhile, her grandmother who raised her is dying, her boyfriend moves away for his job leaving her with the handsome Tony, her grandmother’s caretaker, oh, and to top it off she finds out she’s pregnant. And yes… what you’re thinking happens is what happens. But that’s why I picked this one to read – I’ve been in a book rut for the entire month. I was getting frustrated with books not being what I thought they would be and taking me forever to get through. This one I knew what to expect, and I figured it would be a quick feel good read. For those reasons, I was not disappointed.

I really loved the characters in this story. they are all very relatable with their own very unique personality. They make you mad at times, but I always appreciate when an author can do that – tells me the characters have some depth. The plot is mostly cliché, but sometimes you just need something you can trust. I’m one who loves character-driven books over plot-driven anyway.

Overall, I don’t have super strong feelings about this book either way. It doesn’t leave any major imprint, but I would recommend it if you are looking for a quick pick-me-up read like I was, or if you need a lighthearted poolside/beach read.

So pick this up if you’re looking for that on April 8th when it’s released!

Pre-release review: The Weight of Blood by Laura McHugh

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1 of 5 stars

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Weight of Blood is the story of Lucy, a girl from Henbane, Missouri (sounds like the most creepy town ever.. right?). Lucy is feels guilty for not trying harder to figure out what happened to her friend Cheri whose remains were found a year after she went missing. She starts working for her uncle and stumbles upon some evidence of Cheri’s disappearance. Thus, ensues a search for the truth that Lucy discovers is connected to her own mother’s disappearance and also very strongly incriminates her uncle.

I requested this book from NetGalley because the description sounded really thrilling and the setting of Henbane seemed like it would lead to a great edge-of-your-seat scare-the-crap-out-of-you read. Sadly, I was able to guess the ending in detail from the third chapter, and I only kept reading to see if I was right. And there was not really any suspense or thrill – this was not for lack of trying, but the author was just unable to create the mood she was going for.

There were a few things I didn’t like that I think really led to the lack of development:

  1. The chapters switched between two main characters, Lucy and her mother (Lila), and they were both in first person with the same voice. Therefore, difficult to distinguish and make into their own character. Also, because you are hearing the story from Lila’s point of view the entire time, there’s no suspense created besides the ultimate question of why she disappeared.
  2. The love interest between Lucy and the guy who is helping her investigate is extremely young-adultish and detracts from the rest of the story.
  3. The dialogue goes tries to sound hick… but it ends up being annoying. Mostly because of the phrase “fixing to”. No one says “cheer up darlin’ ” and “fixing to”. It’s “fixin’ to”. And it was all over the place.
  4. There was no resolution of what really happened to Lila’s mother. Just a vague answer to knowing whether she ran away or not. Extremely annoying!

Bottom line: This story looked intriguing and the idea behind it I still think could have been great. However, it just didn’t work. There isn’t much depth to the characters or plot. I honestly would not recommend this book.

The Weight of Blood will be released on March 11th, for anyone who dares to try it.

My Gentle Barn: Inspiration on a whole new level

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5 of 5 stars!

I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 

I’m not sure what I was expecting when I started reading My Gentle Barn – I guess I thought it would be something that only farm animal lovers would identify with… just a Yay Animals!! happy story about saving the world. But I definitely got waaayyy more and was surprised with the first chapter starting off really heavy – the story of a childhood that you thought only existed in bad movies. I literally had to stop and take a few breaths before I continued.

In these pages is one of the most inspiring and beautiful stories that I have ever read. This is a vivid story of how Ellie Lak’s life comes full circle – she had a lonely childhood, she had a dream to save the animals who had saved her as a child, she chased her dream, and she found herself along the way. There is story after story of individual animals – their situation and their healing – and of individual children that the animals in turn come to heal.

But the most remarkable change took place inside of me… I was not alone after all; I was just a tiny current in the large, gorgeous flow of life.

It’s memoirs like these that keep me coming back for more and usually get me on a memoir train for a few months. There is so much emotion and so much honesty in this story of The Gentle Barn.. it’s overwhelming at times… but in such a good way – my soul feels cleansed. And I believe there is hope for humanity after all.

When I finished reading, I immediately found The Gentle Barn’s website and read more about Jay and Ellie and what they are doing now… I guess you could say I’m an instafan. I’m pretty sure I’m going to make a special trip to California just to visit  and see this place for myself one day – to be a part of the magic for just a moment.

My husband and I have a dream to build a successful farm and produce meat in harmony… to  be a small part of taking back the food industry from factory farms and to take care of the animals who in turn take care of us… so obviously I could be biased about this book. However, I don’t think you have to be an animal activist/hippy farmer to enjoy this story about a life that comes full circle and enriches other lives in return.

My Gentle Barn releases March 25th… prepare yourself.

Glitter and Glue: Hold on to your heartstrings

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4 of 5 stars

I received this book for free from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest opinion. 

Your father may be the glitter, but I’m the glue.

Whoa…when I say hold on to your heartstrings, I mean… really tight! This book is an emotional roller coaster – but a great read for anyone who has a mom… so EVERYONE. I found myself tearing up often with memories of my own mom. Glitter and Glue is a beautiful tribute to the mother-daughter relationship.

Kelly Corrigan is a really great writer. I’ve never read anything by her, and I picked this one up solely because I love memoirs about mother-daughter relationships. She writes the story in first person, so it reads like fiction and is very entertaining. Also, Kelly Corrigan must have (1) been keeping insanely detailed journals her entire life, or (2) exaggerated some details in this story, or (3) have superhuman abilities for remembering details. I’m going to guess it’s number one. So notes to self: KEEP JOURNALS, WRITE IN FIRST PERSON – if I ever decide to write a book. Although I think I’ll just stick with blogging.

The first 85% of the book is about her experience with nannying in Austrailia and how it made her appreciate her mother. It’s vividly written with details of the Tanner family’s loss and Kelly’s emotional responses. I LOVED this part. She struggles with winning the love of Milly who just lost her mother to cancer, and she realizes that she hears her mother’s voice with everything that happens and finds herself becoming her mother – like a lot of us do.

I thought she was going to have some splendid reunion with her mom… but she didn’t. The end goes into hyper speed mode and does not give much detail about how Austrailia actually changes her relationship with her mother. It was kind of a let down, but did not ruin the beginning of the story that was so beautifully told – It reminded me somewhat of the writing style of Cheryl Strayed in Wild.

Overall, a great read that I would recommend to someone who wants to reminisce about their childhood and have lots of memories pulled out that they forgot existed

The Godborn by Paul S. Kemp – New Fantasy Authors

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The Sundering #2 – 4 of 5 stars

I received this book for free from Wizards of the Coast publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Confession: I have a problem when it comes to the fantasy genre of sticking with my tried and true authors – mainly Tolkien, R.A. Salvatore, J.K. Rowling (of course), and Terry Goodkind (although after reading what he really thinks about himself, I’m pretty sure I’m off that train – see this interview).

So after doing a little bit of research on The Sundering Series, I figured it would be the perfect way to discover new fantasy authors because (1) The series is headed off by R.A. Salvatore who I know I love. (2) The books are considered stand alone as each of them are about about a different world within the Forgotten Realms. (3) Wizards of the Coast chose the authors they consider to be their best to participate in this series. Sounds perfect to me!

The Godborn was, therefore, the first book I read by a fantasy author that I am unfamiliar with. I feel really accomplished right now!

The story starts with Varra (great name, right?) She’s running from something, and she’s pregnant. She ends up in a wildflower field where a shadowwalker touches her stomach and “changes” the baby. Then, she suddenly is able to magically wish herself to safety. The place that she unknowingly wishes herself to is 70 years in the future at the Abbey of the Rose. She dies in childbirth, and baby Vasen is left for the people of the light to raise. Skip ahead 30 years – Vasen is one of the First Blade, the protectors of the Oracle and very powerful with his gift of the light. He was born of shadow but studies the light – it is this that makes him the key to saving the world and also sought by powerful evil for an end to their means. So the journey begins with our hero Vasen Cale..

This book is extremely well written – I was literally getting a vocabulary lesson the entire time; however, it did not distract from the story. This story was darker than the typical fantasy that I go for – there was a lot of brutal and vivid killing, and the fighting scenes were explained in gory detail – but I found it essential to the story. The characters, even the small ones, were developed in such a way that you get to really know the plight of the people living in darkness and you truly understand the extent of the evil that is threatening to end the world.

I’m sure that a fantasy author trying to write a standalone novel is not an easy task, because most authors develop their world throughout several series and have so much rich, imagined history woven in. I had to read this book slowly at the beginning to make sure I wasn’t missing any details, but for the amount of backstory that had to be told, Kemp did an amazing job. I never felt lost or confused.

Vasen Cale is the type of character that draws you in and keeps you rooting for his outcome. I loved the combination of light and darkness. Vasen himself is a contradiction and proves that what is considered “bad” is not always bad. Perceptions are not always correct. There is tue evil in the world and then there are just prejudices.

He didn’t know how much more apetite he had for any of it. The things he’d seen…

The Godborn is rich in detail, action, character development, and vivid themes. It will make your soul hurt for the people suffering but smile with the victory throughout. Overall, I’m intrigued and will continue on in The Sundering series.

NetGalley Surprise: Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

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3 of 5 stars

Imagine my shock when I received an email on Thursday saying that I was approved for Lost Lake on NetGalley.. and 3 months after I originally requested it (better late than never!!). I immediately sat there in shock, texted my husband to commemorate my first approval by a large publisher, then downloaded and began voraciously reading thinking I would be done reading it that night and post my super raving review. But it didn’t work out that way because… well, you’ll see…

Lantern lights are basically my favorite thing in the entire world.. they really do create a magical atmosphere, so I was a sucker for the cover of Lost Lake and had to read it from the moment I saw it. Plus, I’m a big fan of Sarah Addison Allen. And I loooove lakes. Like heat from a fire, the closer to water you are, the stronger you feel it.

What could go wrong?

Lost Lake is set in Suley, Georgia, a middle-of-nowhere town where Eby and George decide to settle and run a summer cabin getaway. Kate, Eby’s great-neice, recently widowed, wakes up one day after being “asleep” for a year after her husband’s death and realizes that she no longer recognizes herself. She has let her mother-in-law take over her life and almost stamp out her daughter, Devin’s, creative and wild spirit. Devin finds a post card sent long ago from Eby with Lost Lake on the front, and they take off almost immediately to revisit the “last best summer” that Kate had – lost Lake was where she left her heart and her childhood. Little does she know that Eby has almost lost hope for saving Lost Lake… what follows is a story about grieving and hoping that is full of friends and magic in a serene setting. Sounds great.. right?

But… Lost Lake just didn’t do it for me. I mean, it was a good story but it just didn’t suck me in like Allen’s other stories. A couple of reasons could be:

1. Garden Spells. It’s my favorite and pretty hard to live up to.
2. The galley version was not formatted extremely well (no paragraph breaks where there should have been, misplaced words, etc.) to the point where it was kind of distracting.
3. The characters were not nearly as deep as in Allen’s other work. I think there were just too many main characters that she was trying to develop.
4. There was not one explicit element of magic that the story centered on, so I spent the entire story trying to figure out what the magic actually was.
5. I was having a lot of book feels and getting sad while reading this because everyone’s husband is dead (not a spoiler, don’t worry… that’s what the story is based on from the very beginning.)
6. All the events just seemed so surface level.. there really is so much going on – on the side of the main plot is Wes and his grieving over his brother that he lost in a fire when he was younger, Lizette who has no voice box and burns all of the notes she writes out of fear that she will break someone’s heart again, Bulahdeen and Selma (the old ladies who are complete opposites of each other) both seeking a cure for their lonliness, the “alligator” that keeps popping up and talking to Devin, Lazlo who is pressuring Eby and Wes to sell, etc. – The separate storylines just didn’t come together so seamlessly, either.

All that being said, of course, I still really liked the story. Devin is spunky, strong, and carefree. She is the character that eventually drew me in and gave me the depth that I was looking for. She’s a dreamer. Most people never get what they want because they change what they want, change it to something more practical and reachable.

And George (Eby’s late husband that you learn about through her memories) is the kind of man that is truly and purely good. The kind that everyone wishes they knew and some are lucky enough to know. I wish there had been more about him. People couldn’t help but like George. His laugh was like a barrel of whiskey… Just looking at him, you could see that his capacity to love was as wide as the world.

The theme of moving forward is also very strong..
If we measured life in the things that happened, we wouldn’t get anywhere.

Overall, I think this book is worth a re-read – of a final version to see if my opinion changes.