Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "The Words Between Us" by Erin Bartels

Book Summary (Goodreads)...Robin Windsor has spent most of her life under an assumed name, running from her family's ignominious past. She thought she'd finally found sanctuary in her rather unremarkable used bookstore just up the street from the marina in River City, Michigan. But the store is struggling and the past is hot on her heels.

When she receives an eerily familiar book in the mail on the morning of her father's scheduled execution, Robin is thrown back to the long-lost summer she met Peter Flynt, the perfect boy who ruined everything. That book--a first edition Catcher in the Rye--is soon followed by the other books she shared with Peter nearly twenty years ago, with one arriving in the mail each day. But why would Peter be making contact after all these years? And why does she have a sinking feeling that she's about to be exposed all over again?

With evocative prose that recalls the classic novels we love, Erin Bartels pens a story that shows that words--the ones we say, the ones we read, and the ones we write--have more power than we imagine.
My thoughts... I've been branching out a little bit with a few different authors this year, and I've really enjoyed the variety of writing. This is my first book by Erin Bartels and I'm happy to say that I'm now a fan! 
The cover, title, and description of this book really drew me in. This is not your average, neat and tidy story with a happy ending. I like those kind of books, too, but this is a lot more raw and gritty. Complex characters that are each trying to navigate the trauma they experienced as children as they grow into adulthood. The story hops from one time period to another: childhood, teen years, and adulthood, all told from Robin's perspective. At times I was kind of surprised at some of the plot twists and directions the story went, but it was all part of the revelation of the trauma and coping mechanisms of the main character, Robin. Even though Robin's life has been one trauma after another, she finds acceptance, friendship, and even a degree of love through the words she shares with a young man she meets at the cemetery near her house. Later finding out that they went to the same school, him being a popular senior and she being a younger, new girl, it didn't stop them from exchanging books and poetry with one another. 
All Peter has left of his mother are the books she left behind. He shares this part of himself with Robin and she "pays" for them by writing poems to Peter, also sharing a piece of herself that no one else knows. Even though so many words are exchanged, a miscommunication drives them apart until Peter begins to reach out to Robin the only way he knows how...through the beloved books she hastily left on his doorstep before she disappeared.
This novel had a little bit of everything...all of which created stirs of emotion. I love the title...it is a perfect fit in so many ways. I would definitely recommend this book and look forward to reading more by Erin Bartels!

**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher, via Netgalley, in order to give my honest opinion and review, which I did.**

Friday, September 6, 2019

Reviewer's Bookshelf: "The Killing Tide" by Dani Pettrey

Book Summary....When one Coast Guard officer is found dead and another goes missing, Coast Guard Investigative Service special agent Finn Walker faces his most dangerous crime yet. His only clues are what little evidence remains aboard the dead officer's boat, and the direction the clues point to will test Finn and the Guard to their limits.

When investigative reporter--and Finn's boss's sister--Gabby Rowley arrives, her unrelenting questions complicate an already volatile situation. Now that she's back, the tug on Finn's heart is strong, but with the risks she's taking for her next big story, he fears she might not live through it.

Thrown together by the heinous crime, Finn and Gabby can't ignore the sparks or judgments flying between them. But will they be able to see past their preconceptions long enough to track down an elusive killer, or will they become his next mark?

My thoughts....Another great beginning and a host of interesting characters in the newest series by Dani Pettrey. And how about that awesome cover?!! After reading Pettrey's two previous series, I kind of know what to expect: suspense, romantic tension, and a subtle faith aspect. What keeps me coming back is that I love the high speed pace and the plot aspects I mentioned before. The unexpected ending was great...it was probably my favorite part of the novel. I'm not sure if it was just the digital copy I had, but there were times when the story would jump from one person's perspective to another, without a paragraph or chapter break. I had to go back a few times and reread just to follow what was going on. I also found Gabby's tendency to ignore the warnings of those who were trying to protect her and go investigate irritating. People were putting their lives on hold and willing to do anything for her, but her lack of respect for them in order to pursue her own interests left a sour taste in my mouth. She does have some positive traits that I liked, such as courage and persistence, but it was kind of overshadowed at times. Finn basically seemed like the guy who could be or do no wrong, and that made him very likable. Definitely hero material! You should also expect, as in the other series, a large cast of characters. It can seem like a lot to keep up with, but it does offer a lot of variety. Overall, I enjoyed the book and look forward to seeing what happens next!

*I received a free copy of this novel from the publisher to give an honest review, which I did. All opinions are my own.*