Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Review: I See You by Clare Mackintosh

Title: I See You
Author: Clare Mackintosh
Published: February 2017, Berkley
Format: ARC E-copy, 384 pages
Source: Netgalley

The author of the New York Times bestseller I Let You Go propels readers into a dark and claustrophobic thriller, in which a normal, everyday woman becomes trapped in the confines of her normal, everyday world...
 
Every morning and evening, Zoe Walker takes the same route to the train station, waits at a certain place on the platform, finds her favorite spot in the car, never suspecting that someone is watching her...

It all starts with a classified ad. During her commute home one night, while glancing through her local paper, Zoe sees her own face staring back at her; a grainy photo along with a phone number and a listing for a website called FindTheOne.com.

Other women begin appearing in the same ad, a different one every day, and Zoe realizes they’ve become the victims of increasingly violent crimes—including murder. With the help of a determined cop, she uncovers the ad’s twisted purpose...A discovery that turns her paranoia into full-blown panic. Zoe is sure that someone close to her has set her up as the next target.

And now that man on the train—the one smiling at Zoe from across the car—could be more than just a friendly stranger. He could be someone who has deliberately chosen her and is ready to make his next move…

My thoughts: Clare Mackintosh became an immediate fan favorite for me after her debut psychological thriller, I Let You Go, last year. As soon as I saw her new book, I knew I had to read it and once again, she managed to hit it out of the park!

Having just been to London myself, I could really appreciate this story. One of the first things my husband and I noticed is that there are cameras everywhere in London - very different from here in the US. So, I could appreciate the "eyes" on you feeling that Zoe got and that is a major part of this story. It's chilling - how often do we find ourselves doing the same thing everyday - taking the same route to work, park in the same spot in the parking lot, going to the same coffee shop at the same time, etc? Could someone pin point your exact movements based on your daily routine? 

This story grabs you from the start and doesn't let up. There are two strong female leads that narrate the story - Zoe and Kelly - as well as the perpetrator, who we do not find out the identity of until the very end. And let me just tell you, the sections told by this mystery person are quite chilling! I thought I had it figured out a few times as to who was behind everything only to be completely off-base - boy was I completely surprised when I came to the end!

Clare Mackintosh has proven with this book that she is definitely not a one-hit wonder! This book is just as good as her debut and I cannot wait to see what comes never from her...this girl can spin a mean tale!!!

 

Book Spotlight: The Orphan's Tale by Pam Jenoff

Today, The Orphan's Tale, the latest book by Pam Jenoff is being published and to celebrate, I am helping the publisher get the word out. I will be reading this book soon and cannot wait! For now, please enjoy this spotlight and let me know if you plan on reading this book - it sounds like a powerful and compelling read!!!


Title: The Orphan's Tale
Author: Pam Jenoff
Published: February 2017, MIRA
Format: Paperback, 368 pages

A powerful novel of friendship set in a traveling circus during World War II, The Orphan's Tale introduces two extraordinary women and their harrowing stories of sacrifice and survival .

Sixteen-year-old Noa has been cast out in disgrace after becoming pregnant by a Nazi soldier and being forced to give up her baby. She lives above a small rail station, which she cleans in order to earn her keep… When Noa discovers a boxcar containing dozens of Jewish infants bound for a concentration camp, she is reminded of the child that was taken from her. And in a moment that will change the course of her life, she snatches one of the babies and flees into the snowy night.

Noa finds refuge with a German circus, but she must learn the flying trapeze act so she can blend in undetected, spurning the resentment of the lead aerialist, Astrid. At first rivals, Noa and Astrid soon forge a powerful bond. But as the facade that protects them proves increasingly tenuous, Noa and Astrid must decide whether their friendship is enough to save one another—or if the secrets that burn between them will destroy everything.

What readers are saying

"I read this novel in a headlong rush, transported by the relationship between two vastly different women during World War II: a Jewish circus aerialist and a teenage runaway with a baby. Deftly juggling secrets, lies, treachery, and passion, Pam Jenoff vividly brings to life the agonizing choices and life-or-death consequences for a hardy band of travelers under Nazi occupation." --Christina Baker Kline, #1 New York Times bestselling author of Orphan Train

"The Orphan's Tale is a compelling and beautifully told story about the power of female friendship, with all its complications." --PopSugar

"Readers who enjoyed Kristin Hannah's The Nightingale and Sara Gruen's Water for Elephants will embrace this novel." --Library Journal

"In prose that is beautiful, ethereal, and poignant, The Orphan's Tale is a novel you won't be able to put down." --Bustle

"A gripping story about the power of friendship to save and redeem even in the darkest of circumstances, The Orphan's Tale sheds light on one of the most colorful and inspiring stories of heroism in Nazi Germany. This is a book not to be missed." --Melanie Benjamin, New York Times bestselling author of The Swans of Fifth Avenue and The Aviator's Wife

"Jenoff expertly performs a pirouetting tale worthy of a standing ovation. A circus of hidden Jews, a powerful friendship, The Orphan's Tale proves that the human spirit defies hate, fear, and gravity with a triumphant ta-da!"  --Sarah McCoy, New York Times bestselling author of The Mapmaker's Children

"The Orphan's Tale is a wonderfully compelling story set in Europe under the Nazis, and with a beautiful, complicated friendship between two women at its heart. The story grips from the very first page, and the characters are utterly believable-flawed, yet capable of great generosity and courage, so the darkness of the setting is pierced by shafts of light. And the atmosphere of the circus is entrancing-so vividly evoked that you can smell the animals and feel all the terror and thrill of the flying trapeze." --Margaret Leroy, author of The Soldier's Wife

"The Orphan's Tale begins with the most riveting first chapter I've ever read. With deftness and emotion, Jenoff sets in motion a compelling story of friendship and courage during the Second World War." --Charles Belfoure, author of The Paris Architect and House of Thieves

"A beautiful and heart wrenching novel that weaves the story of two women's fight for survival against incredible odds, The Orphan's Tale gripped me from the first page. Jenoff mesmerizes with her ability to weave in historical detail with a story that explores love, friendship, and the endurance of the human spirit. A marvelous and satisfying read!" --Alyson Richman, bestselling author of The Lost Wife


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About the Author: Pam Jenoff is the author of The Kommandant's Girl, which was an international bestseller and nominated for a Quill award, as well as seven other novels. She holds a bachelor's degree in international affairs from George Washington University and a master's degree in history from Cambridge, and she received her Juris Doctor from the University of Pennsylvania. 

Jenoff's novels are based on her experiences working at the Pentagon and also as a diplomat for the State Department handling Holocaust issues in Poland. She lives outside Philadelphia with her husband and three children where, in addition to writing, she teaches law school.


The Orphan's Tale  by Pam Jenoff
MIRA Books
February 21, 2017 
Trade Paperback ISBN: 978-0-7783-1981-8
E-book ISBN: 978-1-460-39642-1
 

Giveaway: The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

Today, Sally Hepworth's latest book,  The Mother's Promise  is being published and I'm pleased to offer you, my readers, a chance to win a copy here! I've already read this book and really liked it - you can read my review here. You can also see what others have to say and then be sure to enter the giveaway below!!!


Title: The Mother's Promise
Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: February 2017, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher

A new poignant and breathtaking novel from the author of The Things We Keep and The Secrets of Midwives.

With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

What readers are saying:

“Part tearjerker, part celebration of mothers, this story tugs at the heartstrings…a beautiful novel of courage and love in the face of sorrow.”Booklist
 

“This bittersweet, emotionally intense novel is recommended for readers who appreciate issue-driven stories by Jodi Picoult and Lisa Genova.”Library Journal
 

“Hepworth intertwines these women’s stories, taking the notion that it takes a village to raise a child another step: it takes a village to raise each woman up over her own tribulations.”—Kirkus Reviews


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GIVEAWAY DETAILS - (US only)  
Thanks to Katie at St. Martin's Press one reader can win a copy of  The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth. To enter the giveaway, please fill out the rafflecopter by February 28th.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

This giveaway is open to US residents only and ends February 28th. 

Good Luck!!!



 
 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review: The Mother's Promise by Sally Hepworth

Title: The Mother's Promise
Author: Sally Hepworth
Published: February 2017, St. Martin's Press
Format: ARC Paperback, 336 pages
Source: Publisher


A new poignant and breathtaking novel from the author of The Things We Keep and The Secrets of Midwives.

With every book, Sally Hepworth becomes more and more known for her searing emotional portraits of families—and the things that test their bonds. In The Mother’s Promise, she delivers her most powerful novel yet: the story of a single mother who is dying, the troubled teenaged daughter who is battling her own demons, and the two women who come into their lives at the most critical moment.

Alice and her daughter Zoe have been a family of two all their lives. Zoe has always struggled with crippling social anxiety and her mother has been her constant and fierce protector. With no family to speak of, and the identity of Zoe’s father shrouded in mystery, their team of two works—until it doesn’t. Until Alice gets sick and is given a grim prognosis.

Desperate to find stability for Zoe, Alice reaches out to two women who are practically strangers, but who are her only hope: Kate, her oncology nurse, and Sonja, a social worker. As the four of them come together, a chain of events is set into motion and all four of them must confront their sharpest fears and secrets—secrets about abandonment, abuse, estrangement, and the deepest longing for family. Imbued with heart and humor in even the darkest moments, The Mother’s Promise is an unforgettable novel about the power of love and forgiveness.

My thoughts: Once again Sally Hepworth has managed to write a book that has all the feels and then some! This story is both heartwarming and heartbreaking - I had tears streaming down my face as I read the last few chapters - but it was all good. I absolutely loved this story - for the messages it conveyed, especially about love, trust and hope!

I think it's important to note here that I am not a mother, yet I could still identify with and relate to many of the characters in this book. I've been where Kate has been, going through the agony of miscarriage after miscarriage, round after round of failed IVF. I know her pain and felt that Sally Hepworth really portrayed this in an accurate and realistic way. 

I loved that the story is told from the different characters. It really gives you that insider perspective into each character and allows us to have a better appreciation for what they are going through. I don't think it would have had the same effect if it wasn't "Zoe" telling her parts of the story. Her level of maturity comes through at times, but it's just right and I appreciated it all the same. Her quirkiness and adaptability shine through at times and she is perhaps the most endearing fifteen-year-old ever!

This book will definitely tug at your heartstrings. It touches upon a whole host of issues - cancer, domestic abuse, infertility and social anxiety to name just a few. It shows that family doesn't always have to created through blood, that a support system is all about who's there when you need it, who shows up.

This emotional read is one that I have a feeling will be staying with me for some time. Sally Hepworth is definitely an author not to be missed and I cannot wait to see what comes next from her!


****Be sure to stop by tomorrow for a chance to win a copy of this book!!! 

 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

#FitReaders: Weekly Check-in February 17

 
 
My training is winding down for the BIG walk...I only have this week coming up and then I will be heading down first to NC to pick up my mom, who's doing the walk with me and then to Savannah where the walk is. I'm starting to get really excited for the walk...this week will be spent picking up any essentials I need for my walker's first aid kit (bandaids, blister kit, sunblock, lip balm, etc). Having done the walk before, I already have an idea of what I need and don't need, so that's helpful!
 
 
February Goals:

  • 10K steps M-F, at least 7,500 steps on the weekend - 5/5, 0/2
  • 30 minutes of active walking every day, M-F - met
  • Eat mindfully/eat enough (esp. in important while training!) - met
  
My training plan for the Challenge Walk MS I'll be doing in March of 2017:

  • 4 miles, 2 days a week, interval training - met
  • Distance walks (distances will vary, try to do 2 days, back-to-back ) - met!
  • Practice yoga - didn't do any full sessions this week, but got in some specific poses every day.

    
Here's how my last week went:    

Feb 11:  5,689 steps
Feb 12:  3,599 steps

Feb 13:  17,473 steps (5K+ - 5 Charity Miles for MS)
Feb 14:  10,868 steps
(30 min fitness walk)
Feb 15:  18,912 steps
(10K+ -  6.5 Charity Miles for MS)
Feb 16:  18
,158 steps (10K -  6.2 Charity Miles for MS)
Feb 17:  11
,556 steps (30 min fitness walk)

Total Steps: 86,255 steps


 
Audiobooks listened to last week (since I'm not much of a music fan, I listen to books while I walk):
  • Started & Finished The Sister by Louise Jensen, narrated by Natalie Blass

How did your week go? You can find this week's link-up here.



***In March, I'll be doing the CHALLENGE WALK MS in Savannah, GA. It is a three-day, 50-mile walk that tests your strength and your spirit, and makes an extraordinary difference in the lives of people with MS and their families.




To help me reach my fundraising goal, click here :)

 
Virtual 5K /10K Tally:
     January:                               May:                             September:   
           5K  -  4                                  5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -  7                                10K  -                                  10K  - 
     February:                             June:                            October:

           5K  -  2                                  5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -  7                               10K  -                                 10K  -   
     March:                                  July:                             November:
           5K  -                                     5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -                                    10K  -                                  10K  - 
     April:                                    August:                        December:
           5K  -                                     5K  -                                    5K  - 
         10K  -                                    10K  -                                  10K  - 


 
 

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