The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls by Anissa Gray #thecareandfeedingofravenouslyhungrygirls @anissagray #family #mothersanddaughters @absltmom

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Family comes with its issues, its values, its love and oftentimes sadly its hate. It is the glue that binds us together, but also the sparks which split us apart. In this debut novel, due out in February 2019, Anissa Gray explores the value of family, the hurts they inflict, but also the love that beings them together to face the tragedies of the past and those that are now present.

This book, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls will allow you to see, to feel, to know the world of the Butler family. It makes their problems so real, so understandable that it allows one to realize that this family so mimics the one you might belong to.

It is often said you can’t pick your family, but you can pick your friends. In the oldest daughter of the Butler family, Althea, we see strength and determination. Left bereft so young by the death of her mother, an oftentimes cruel and absent father, she struggles to keep her younger siblings cohesive. She has been staunch and strict, so when she and her husband, Proctor, have been arrested, tried, and sent to prison for embezzlement, the family, the community in which they were held in high esteem, particularly their daughters, are shocked.

Althea and Proctor have two adolescent girls and the family, although never seeming to be cohesive before, come together to determine what to do with their nieces. Viola and Lillian, the sisters, are also carrying their own burdens as themes of bulimia and being gay are brought out in their lives. They are the ones being looked to to step up in the care of their nieces. However, with their own issues, and a brother who had mimicked their abusive father, can they possibly meet the demands of caring for these two teenagers? As the sisters and all the women in this story, confront their problems, a wonderfully intricate story develops. Ms Gray is able to weave her characters personalities, their psyche so well that you, that you feel their pain, their anguish, and their striving to move forward and find resiliency within themselves. I, too, had to think of what an appropriate title this was for this book. All the women in this book were ravenously hungry. They were hungry for the things all long for, acceptance, love, and the belief that we are valuable. How we strive for those things is truly the gist of our lives.

This was a multilayered novel. It was one that made the reader feel as if you were peeling back the layers, going deeper into an understanding of family and what it takes to make one a family. It is often not the joys that bring it together, it is its sorrows, its struggles that make one a family. Kudos to Ms Gray for writing this most moving novel, for it so well showed the ability we all have within us to become united and connected to those who share our blood.

Thank you to Anissa Gray, to Elisha of Berkley Publishing Group who sent an ARC of this fascinating book to me.

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Anissa Gray  Anissa Gray was born and raised in western Michigan, where her father pastored a Pentecostal church and her mother was a homemaker. She graduated from Western Michigan University and received her Masters in English from New York University. After graduate school, Anissa went on to work as a print reporter at Reuters in Manhattan, covering global financial news. That was followed by a move to Atlanta and the initiation of her career in broadcast journalism at CNN, where she has held roles as writer, editor, and producer, receiving Emmy and duPont awards for contributions to the network’s coverage of major stories.

After more than 20 years as a journalist, Anissa, a lifelong book lover and voracious reader, pursued fiction writing, applying her love of storytelling from the realm of real-life, newsworthy happenings to the events and encounters that shape our lives. Her first novel, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls, will be published in 2019.


The Craftsman (The Craftsman #1) by Sharon J. Bolton #thecraftsman #sharonjbolton #stmartinspress #thriller #netgalley @absltmom

“Stalking old flames has become a whole lot easier with the dawn of the Internet”

 Frightening thought right? This book will surely give you just the right amount of fright and although it has that terrifying aspect for those of us who are claustrophobic, (which I do! ), the writing and the scenes depicted will send you on a chilling ride to an ever more horrifying ending. That being said, this book was a terrific read especially since the spooky season of Halloween is upon us. So, presenting: The Craftsman

Teenagers have gone missing in a small town. It is the stuff of nightmares for the parents and the people who knew them. Where are these children and while the police are investigating, we are introduced to Florence Lovelady, a novice policewoman in Lancasire, in a town called Sabden.  The story being told  to Florence’s son, reflects back thirty years prior to a case that shocked, terrified, and shook the community. That case made Florence’s career. It was a scary tale, wonderfully Gothic with many shades of witches, both the white and the black kind, and the missing children who are grisly murdered being found eventually having been buried alive. Absolutely horrifying! …and then there is The Craftsman!

Ms Bolton was quite adept in this novel, in weaving this story into something positively chilling, while shifting focus among the many possible suspects. The book invokes pure evil, crafted so well that you will have to check under you bed and in you closets while reading. Yes, it is that frightening! The action keeps coming at you and the pacing is quick perceptive and keen. Particularly interesting was that the author used an area in England that was pretty well known for its witch trials, the Pendle witches, where twelve people were accused by ten people of witchcraft back in the 1600s. Ten of these people were convicted and executed. Old woman with taller younger woman


Two of the Pendle accused….


If you are looking for a fast paced book, told with a first person narrative that will have you right there next to Florence, this book might just be for you. I found myself flying through the pages and while I had my suspicions as to who the killer (s) was, this author kept me guessing up to the end. Definitely recommended as a dark, haunting tale that will make you feel a large sense of the eerie and macabre.

Thank you to Sharon J. Bolton, St Martin’s Press, and NetGalley for a copy of this shocking novel!

BLack magic by Baba Bangali

Firefly by Henry Porter #firefly #henryporter #groveatlantic #syrianrefugees #thriller #netgalley @absltmom

ISIS is a terrorist organization. The crimes they commit against their own people have been chronicled extensively. They kill, main, rape, and pillage scaring those who do not acquiesce into such a fearful state of affairs that they dare not disagree with the ISIS mantra. Kill the infidels, kill the unbelievers, and kill those who refuse to capitulate to their regime. In the book, Firefly we are taken to the refugee camps in Greece and travel as our young protagonist, Naji, runs from a man who is evil personified and his group of followers. Eluding capture from the refugee camp in Turkey where his family was, he traverses through many obstacles and impediments to try to survive and save his family. People in this Turkish camp and others are trying to escape the carnage, the poverty, and the war torn nations that they are from. Naji, who is thirteen, is desperately trying to bring his family to Germany. He is one among many. However, he has something stored in his phone that is his insurance that he can save his family. It is also a death sentence should he be caught by the terrorists who pursue him. Tasked with finding,Naji is Luc Samson, a former Lebanese refugee, who has to battle a numbers of things in his quest to find Naji. The terrain, the bureaucracy, and the inhuman members of ISIS are some of the things that thwart him. Will he be successful in finding this young man or will those who are intent on Naji’s destruction and that of the information he carries be the victor.

I very much enjoyed this story of intrigue, drama, and the resiliency and brilliance of Naji. He was able, through his love of family, to take the word courage and live it every minute of every day. He was a fighter, a combatant in his war against cruelty and the men who espoused acts ever so horrible to win their goal. In his travels, Naj meets many people, the good the compassionate and those who endeavor to both befriend and help this young warrior. They are the ones who are pitted against the evildoers.

The only issue, I had with the story was the length that Mr Porter went to describe each and every detail. At times, this slowed down the pace of the story telling. However, most time the story was able to mimic the anxiety, the fear, and the terror that this boy was experiencing. Other than that, this was a daring story of young gladiator who above all knew that family is a treasure and one that most would do anything to preserve.

Thank you to Henry Porter, Grove Atlantic, and NetGalley for a copy of this thought provoking novel Henry Porter  Henry Porter has written for most national broadsheet newspapers. He contributes commentary and reportage to the Guardian, Observer, Evening Standard and Sunday Telegraph. He is the British editor of Vanity Fair, and lives in London with his wife and two daughters.

The Kennedy Debutante by Kerri Maher #thekennedydebutabte #kerrimaher #berkley #kathleenkennedy #ww2 #catholic @absltmom

Lady Hartington.jpg  Kathleen “Kick” Kennedy had it all. She was beautiful, the second daughter of Joseph and Rose Kennedy and a life that was privileged where she wanted for very little. When her father was made Ambassador to the Royal Court of St James, Kick went to London with her family where she met a man she was to love and her life took a sad but inevitable turn.

In the novel, The Kennedy Debutante we take a trip with Kick to London and the years that followed. We see the effects of how in those days, religion determined one’s suitability to marry. What I liked about this story was that the theme of being brought up as a strict Catholic was well played out. For Kick, an independent soul, when women were not destined to be so,  the book portrayed what she had to contend with, the prejudices and the antipathy her father engendered while he did not support the upcoming war. We also see her portrayed with all the glitz and glamour that was afforded to the wealthy, the titled, and those who attained a certain social strata not to be enjoyed by most. I do think that there was so much more to Kick though and did appreciate her seeming to pluck up much courage to buck tradition and the tenets of the Catholic faith that seemed to hold them all in its grip in the second part of the story.

What didn’t work for me in this book was the actual telling. The first portion of the book was long and drawn out. While one certainly could appreciate the circles in which the Kennedy’s traveled, the first section seemed liked one of name dropping and parties attended. I think it was somewhat of a disservice to Kick as it seemed, at least to me, to paint her a a party girl unfortunately. There was so much more to Kick and we do see glimpses of that as the second half of the story continued. In truth, although this was about Kick’s later years, I would have liked to have seen her childhood years portrayed. How did she become the woman she eventually became? There was so much to the facets of her character and her strength and I wish the book would have accented those a bit more forcefully.

As was the case with the Kennedy’s there was a huge amount of unhappiness that seemed to follow the family. They seemed to almost have a curse upon them as one by one, they succumbed much before their time. The sadness that was leveled upon this family and the war that engulfed them was a basis for what their futures held.

This is one of those times that I wish I had liked the story better for I do think that Kick was a most admirable, brave girl who grew to womanhood in a most trying and difficult time.

As a footnote, when Kick was killed in an awful plane crush, her mother, Rose refused to attend the memorial service held in her daughter’s honor. How very very sad…..Her father, Joseph did attend.


A Spark of Light by Jodi Picoult #asparkoflight #jodipicoult #ballantinebooks #abortion #prolife @absltmom

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Abortion has divided us as a nation into what seems to be two camps, either it seems you are pro abortion or you are against it. It is an issue that has been fought over ever since the controversial Roe vs Wade decision in 1973. Never one to shy away from a contentious subject, Jodi Picoult tackles the question of abortion on in her new book : A Spark of Light

It is hard to keep your head clear and read a book such as this, and try not to judge what the author says and feels. It is quite evident that Ms Picoult falls on the side of abortion in her treatment of this topic. We do in her characters see those who are present in a clinic waiting either for their abortions or looking to prepare for one when a gunman, purported to be pro life enters the clinic kills two people and then holds the others hostage. A negotiator from the police department is called to the scene, not realizing at first that his daughter and his aunt are inside that clinic, the aunt wounded by the gunman and his daughter hiding in a closet. It is a tense climate, one where the negotiator has more than a job in his mind, his beloved daughter is inside and he must save her.

What I appreciated about the book was the handling of this disputed topic. It is one we see so often in the news as one side accuses the other with no real solutions to this quagmire we find ourselves in. Should women have rights…absolutely, should the unborn have rights..well there lies the issue does it not? “We are all drowning slowly in the tide of our opinions, oblivious that we are taking on water every time we open our mouths.”

I have always thought the strength in Ms Picoult’s writing was her ability to do just that write a story that moved you from one point to another. Unfortunately for me, this book fell a bit short in that. I found the story jumped around too much, it was like static you hear and then wonder why it happened. There was too much back and forthing in the book causing me at times to be confused, asking myself huh where are we, who are we portraying? I never expected this book to change my opinion about abortion. I don’t really think any book could. I just believe that this subject was a bit marred by the unevenness of the telling, the format not being conducive to this hot button topic, and for those reasons, I am somewhat disappointed.

Thank you to Jodi Picoult, Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy of this novel.


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Jodi Picoult   Jodi Picoult is the author of twenty-four novels, including the #1 New York Times bestsellers Small Great Things, Leaving Time, The Storyteller, Lone Wolf, Between the Lines, Sing You Home, House Rules, Handle with Care, Change of Heart, Nineteen Minutes, and My Sister’s Keeper. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and three children.

Dracul by Dacre Stoker, J.D. Barker #dracul #dacrestoker #jdbarjer #gpputnamssons #dracula #vampires #creepiness #fright #edelweiss @absltmom

“Even immortals have their beginnings.”  Battle Of The Vampires: Dracula vs. Edward Cullen ...

Talk about a perfect Halloween book! This one had it all vampires galore, unsuspecting victims, and an atmospheric persona that would frighten anyone. Make sure if you embark upon

Dracul  you have the lights on, you are not alone, and you are ready to tackle the monsters conjured up in this prequel to the novel, Dracula, written in 1897 by the Irish author Bram Stroker. Stoker, circa 1906   This original book set the scene for the many Gothic horror books and movies that followed.

This terrifying book, written by the great grand nephew of Bram Stoker and J.D. Barker used the writings and notes of Dacre’s great uncle, Bram, to amass a story of how and where this legend began. Some believed it to be a story of Vlad the Impaler, Vlad Tepes Images  a Romanian, who got his name because of his favorite method of execution. Delightful man!  However, Bram seemed to believe that Dracula was not just a figment of his mind but possibly a reality. As if vampires are not scary enough in your mind, imagine if they were real?

This book not only reveals the Count but also takes a look at Bram and his connection as well as that of his family to a woman named Ellen Crone. She is the care provider for the children and as Bram had been a sickly child, Ellen seem to provide solace, comfort and perhaps something else.

Strange murders have occurred in a nearby town, the ones where lots of blood was shed, and Bram and his sister, Matilda, are intrigued. They notice that Ellen seems strange, her behavior odd, and there is something perhaps a bit sinister about her. Bram feels it, he senses her, he hears her speaking to him even when she is not around. Who or what is Ellen? Then, Ellen disappears and when years later she is spotted in Paris by Matilda, seemingly not having aged a day, the search is on for answers. The answers they unearth, (no pun intended), are frightening and lead this crew on a fearsome chase finding not only Ellen but Dracul as well.

Written with a very high scare factor, this book will definitely creep the reader out. It has everything that ramps up the scare factor and makes the reader cringe and shudder. Not only were there vampires but there were snakes (eek!) and cockroaches (double eek!) too! This story if not for the faint of heart, but for those who enjoy a book that chills, terrorizes, and petrifies its audience, this one just might be for you!

Dacre Stoker  Dacre Stoker, a Canadian citizen and resident of the U.S., is the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker. He is also the godson of H.G. Dacre Stoker, the commander of the AE2 submarine, whose tactics were instrumental in Gallipoli in World War I.
Dracula: The Un-Dead is Dacre’s first novel.

J.D. Barker   J.D. BARKER is the internationally best-selling author of Forsaken, a finalist for the Bram Stoker Award for Superior Achievement in a First Novel, and winner of the New Apple Medalist Award. His work has been compared to Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Thomas Harris. His 4MK Thrillers, The Fourth Monkey and The Fifth to Die, were released in June 2017 and June 2018 respectively. He has been asked by the Stoker family to coauthor the forthcoming prequel to Dracula due out in fall 2018. His novels have been translated into numerous languages and optioned for both film and television. Barker currently resides in Pennsylvania with his wife, Dayna, daughter, Ember, and their two dogs, both of whom sit outside his office door daily, eagerly awaiting his next novel.



My “Supernovelistic” Week Ahead #henryporter #jodipicoult #sharonbolton #anissagray #wendyheard #kerrimayer #netgalley #ballantine #groveatlantic #minotaur #berkley #harlequinmira #library @absltmom   My week ahead looks to be filled with some excellent books and moments spent with writers who are able to mesmerize and fill my mind, not to mention some appropriate novels to go with the Halloween spirit!  Halloween PNG Transparent Images | PNG All  Here is what I am looking at reading this week:

Firefly   The hunt is on for a young Syrian boy, Firefly, who holds a deadly secret. Tracing him through the refugee camps, Paul Samson, will follow the clues to find the boy. Dangerously, members of ISIS want to stop the boy and will do anything to put an end to him. I am about 30% into this story and the action is fast paced and riveting. Looking forward to knowing if Paul can save Firefly and win the day stopping the terrorists plans for destruction. Thanks to NetGalley, Henry Porter, and Grove Atlantic for an ARC of this book.

A Spark of Light   If you want a hot button issue in today’s world just embark on the topic of abortion. Into this one at the 60% mark, as Jodi Picoult has again tapped into a topic that is ever so current and one that inflames many. A man has taken over by force an abortion clinic holding hostages as he wields a gun. A hostage negotiator rushes to the scene and eventually finds out his daughter is part of the hostages being held. As always, Picoult writes in a manner which allows you the reader to make judgements on abortion as the hostages themselves try desperately to save themselves and come to some realizations about their long held beliefs. I am totally enjoying this one. This is another ARC from NetGalley which I am grateful for. Thanks also to Jodi Picoult and Ballantine books.

The Craftsman   Reading this one with the Traveling Sisters group on Goodreads. This book looks to be a dark tale that involves an Assistant Commissioner who is drawn back into her former life where she wrestles with hidden ghosts and the fact that she might be on a killer’s list to die. Looks to be a thriller with Gothic overtones and one that has gotten quite respectable reviews. My ARC of this book is courtesy of NetGalley, Sharon Bolton, and Minotaur books.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls   Got this one in the mail today thanks to Elisha from Berkley Books. This novel is focusing on mother daughter relationship. (being a mother to four daughters this should be right up my alley), as well family relationships. Described to me as the book like the book An American Marriage, (which I loved), meets mothers, I am anxious to get to this one and it promises to be an intriguing read.

Hunting Annabelle   A man, Sean, is a killer, who has served time in a psychiatric prison. He is out now and finds himself attracted to Annabelle. Annabelle disappears and one can figure who the chief suspect is. Seems like a good frightening book, one so suited to the season. This is another ARC that I received from NetGalley, Wendy Heard, and Harlequin-Mira which I do appreciate.

The Kennedy Debutante   Lat but not least, hooping to tap into this one, as I picked it up today from my wonderful local library. I often wonder if we will ever lose our fascination with the Kennedy’s? In this book Kathleen Kennedy’s life is explored and her exploits as a rebellious daughter are brought to light. Looks great to me as I so remember the time of President Kennedy, even though I was a young girl, and the vision we had of another Camelot. Anxious to see what things I learn about this tragic family and the fame and fortune they had.

That is my “wish” list for the week. Hoping you, too, have many wonderful, exciting, and possibly terrifying books in your line up. What’s in your lineup?

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