Friday, January 23, 2015

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES by Sally Hepworth


A novel about three generations of midwives (a woman, her mother, and her grandmother) and the secrets they keep that push them apart and ultimately bind them together

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES tells the story of three generations of women devoted to delivering new life into the world—and the secrets they keep that threaten to change their own lives forever. Neva Bradley, a third-generation midwife, is determined to keep the details surrounding her own pregnancy—including the identity of the baby’s father— hidden from her family and co-workers for as long as possible. Her mother, Grace, finds it impossible to let this secret rest. For Floss, Neva’s grandmother and a retired midwife, Neva’s situation thrusts her back 60 years in time to a secret that eerily mirrors her granddaughter’s—a secret which, if revealed, will have life-changing consequences for them all. Will these women reveal their secrets and deal with the inevitable consequences? Or are some secrets best kept hidden?

My thoughts...I loved THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES! This is a book you'll want to cuddle up on the couch and fall in love with. The novel is told in alternating voices of Neva, Grace and Floss. Each woman struggling to understand the others. I love books with alternating voices I feel it really allows each character to come alive for me and Hepworth did exactly this in her novel. I loved each of these women. Each of these characters have stories you are going to want to see how they come together or come to an end. The novel moves at a very nice pace just getting to know them and has a steady and slow build to the climax of the story--actually I would say there are really two climaxes! Floss has a life long secret and let me just tell you I was stunned! I mean really stunned! I never saw it coming. There was nothing about this book I didn't love. I could hardly put it down. A perfect weekend read!

You are not going to want to pass this novel up! Such a good good book I know you won't want to put this one down. THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES will surely be one of my favorites this year. I am highly recommending!


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Praise for The Secrets of Midwives

With empathy and keen insight, Sally Hepworth delivers a page-turning novel about the complex, lovely, and even heartbreaking relationships between mothers and daughters.  THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES is that rare tale that weaves together the past and the present in a totally absorbing narrative.  Sally Hepworth illuminates one of the most important moments in a woman’s life--when she becomes a mother—and spins a story  that will hold you captivated till the very end.

 – # 1 New York Times Bestselling author of The One and Only, EMILY GIFFIN

THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES is women’s fiction at its finest. Sally Hepworth has written a wonderfully satisfying story about three generations of midwives. It’s touching, tender and obviously meticulously researched,  giving the reader a fascinating window into the amazing world of midwifery. A delightful read.

-#1 New York Times Bestselling author of THE HUSBAND'S SECRET, LIANE MORIARTY


"THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES is a compelling exploration of life, loss, and love. Family secrets test the bonds between three women - Neva, her mother Grace, and her grandmother Floss - as they bring babies into the world and navigate their own complex paths. The story deepens and enlarges as it moves through their varied perspectives to its powerful  conclusion."

- #1 New York Times Bestselling author of Orphan Train, CHRISTINA BAKER KLINE

"From the first page, I could not put THE SECRET OF MIDWIVES down. Sally Hepworth delves into family secrets and family love in two different eras, adding mystery and plot twists at a breathless, exhilarating pace. I simply love this book!"  

- Bestselling Author of The Knitting Circle, ANN HOOD

Hepworth’s debut enchants from the first page, as three midwives—mother, daughter, and grandmother—defend their profession and unravel their secrets in the path of a classic New England storm. THE SECRETS OF MIDWIVES is that rare novel that combines vibrant and nuanced characters with a breathtaking plot, and an almost mystical reverence for the magic of childbirth. I couldn’t stop until I’d turned the last page.

- New York Times Bestselling author of A Hundred Summers, BEATRIZ WILLIAMS

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

THE FIVE W’S and HOW Of Colleen Oakley + giveaway

Colleen Oakley's articles, essays, and interviews have been featured in The New York Times, Ladies’ Home Journal, Marie Claire, Women’s Health, Redbook and Martha Stewart Weddings. She lives in Atlanta with her husband, two painfully cute kids and a huge lapdog named Bailey. Before I Go is her debut novel.


THE FIVE W’S and HOW
Of Colleen Oakley

WHO? Who are you besides a writer? 
A mom to two adorable kids (with two more on the way!), a wife to a handsome and far-too-logical man, a maker of peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches, a drinker of margaritas, vodka tonics and wine (when I’m not pregnant), a Scrabble champion (most years, though sometimes my Mom steals the crown) and a French fry connoisseur.

WHAT? What do you enjoy doing other than writing in your spare time?
Reading! A perfect day to me is hours of uninterrupted time with my nose in a book. Preferably while lying on sand and looking at water. I watch the Food Network religiously and often cook meals that look nothing like they did on TV. I also train for 5Ks, 10Ks and triathlons that I have no hopes of winning.

WHEN? When did you know you wanted to be a writer?
Early. Ever since kindergarten, I’ve been making up stories, and often dreamt of seeing my name on the front of a book. To be fair, at that age I also wanted to live on a Care Bear cloud and marry Bo from Dukes of Hazzard, so it was a little unclear which dreams I was actually going to make good on.

WHERE? Where do you write? 
Well, each time I’ve thought that I was finally getting a home office, we’ve found out that we were pregnant and had to turn that office into yet another nursery. So I’ve been relegated to the armchair in the den. But sometimes I write in bed, next to my snoring husband or at the kitchen table while my kids do arts and crafts and pepper me with questions every five seconds that I can’t possibly begin to know how to answer. (What is the Internet? Why are there stars in outer space? Why can’t Elsa freeze things through her gloves, if she’s so magical?)

WHY? Why do you write?
So that I’m an easier person to live with. I’ve found that days where I haven’t made time to write (and the times when those days have turned into a week or more), I’m kind of unbearable (as my husband would gladly attest to). When I write, I’m a better mom, wife, friend, daughter— just happier in general. Unless my fantasy football team loses. And then I’m kind of unbearable again.

How? Has your writing success changed your life?
Yes! Our new private jet and weekend trips to St. Tropez have been especially nice. Just kidding. Getting my first book deal has been exciting, thrilling— a real honest-to-goodness dream come true. But on a day-to-day basis, my life is pretty much the same. I write, I eat (a lot, since I’m pregnant with twins) and I make more peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwiches then I ever thought would be possible in a single lifetime.



Before I Go
by Colleen Oakley


A heart-wrenching debut novel in the bestselling tradition of P.S. I Love You about a young woman with breast cancer who undertakes a mission to find a new wife for her husband before she passes away.

Twenty-seven-year-old Daisy already beat breast cancer three years ago. How can this be happening to her again?

On the eve of what was supposed to be a triumphant “Cancerversary” with her husband Jack to celebrate three years of being cancer-free, Daisy suffers a devastating blow: her doctor tells her that the cancer is back, but this time it’s an aggressive stage four diagnosis. She may have as few as four months left to live. Death is a frightening prospect—but not because she’s afraid for herself. She’s terrified of what will happen to her brilliant but otherwise charmingly helpless husband when she’s no longer there to take care of him. It’s this fear that keeps her up at night, until she stumbles on the solution: she has to find him another wife.

With a singular determination, Daisy scouts local parks and coffee shops and online dating sites looking for Jack’s perfect match. But the further she gets on her quest, the more she questions the sanity of her plan. As the thought of her husband with another woman becomes all too real, Daisy’s forced to decide what’s more important in the short amount of time she has left: her husband’s happiness—or her own?

I know I can't wait to read Before I Go! Well the publisher has offered me one copy to giveaway to someone with a US address! Just comment below telling me why you'd like to read this book and leave me your email address. I will pick a winner by random draw. You can earn a second chance by tweeting about the giveaway and leaving me a link to your tweet in the comment section and tag me @anovelreview1 in the tweet. Good luck!

Thanks everyone for entering! Congratulations to Connie for winning!

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Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A Sister to Honor by Lucy Ferriss

Afia Satar is studious, modest, and devout. The young daughter of a landholding family in northern
Pakistan, Afia has enrolled in an American college with the dream of returning to her country as a doctor. But when a photo surfaces online of Afia holding hands with an American boy, she is suddenly no longer safe—even from the family that cherishes her.

Rising sports star Shahid Satar has been entrusted by his family to watch over Afia in this strange New England landscape. He has sworn to protect his beloved sister from the dangerous customs of America, from its loose morals and easy virtue. Shahid was the one who convinced their parents to allow her to come to the United States. He never imagined he’d be ordered to cleanse the stain of her shame...

My thoughts...I could hardly put this book down. My heart was racing during a good part of this novel. I am familiar enough with some of the ideas of Honor codes many groups have. The novel is really of a story spiraling out of control. You are sitting there on the sidelines wanting to yell at the characters before it is too late!

Lucy Ferriss tells A Sister to Honor in alternating perspectives, so you get to know a few of the characters pretty good and some just enough. The story mostly centers on Afia and Shahid. I really liked both of them and wanted so much for them to be open and really discuss what was going on, but with a culture like theirs it seemed almost impossible. I felt like if they just spoke up everything could have been cleared up...

I felt a multitude of things while reading A Sister to Honor. I mean here these two young people were from home and it seemed like it was ok for Shahid to live an American lifestyle and no one would really hold it against him, yet Afia could not. Nor was anyone really helping her like they were helping him.

An amazingly good novel, peeking into another culture that will set your heart racing! I'm highly recommending A Sister to Honor!

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Friday, January 2, 2015

Saving Grace by Jane Green

Grace and Ted Chapman are widely regarded as the perfect literary power couple. Ted is a successful novelist and Grace, his wife of twenty years, is beautiful, stylish, carefree, and a wonderful homemaker. But what no one sees, what is churning under the surface, is Ted’s rages. His mood swings. And the precarious house of cards that their lifestyle is built upon. When Ted’s longtime assistant and mainstay leaves, the house of cards begins to crumble and Grace, with dark secrets in her past, is most vulnerable. She finds herself in need of help but with no one to turn to…until the perfect new assistant shows up out of the blue.  To the rescue comes Beth, a competent young woman who can handle Ted and has the calm efficiency to weather the storms that threaten to engulf the Chapman household. Soon, though, it’s clear to Grace that Beth might be too good to be true. This new interloper might be the biggest threat of all, one that could cost Grace her marriage, her reputation, and even her sanity.  With everything at stake and no one to confide in, Grace must find a way to save herself before it is too late.

Powerful and riveting, Saving Grace will have you on the edge of your seat as you follow Grace on her harrowing journey to rock bottom and back.

My thoughts...there is a reason Jane Green has published so many books, she is fantastic. Saving Grace is an I can't put this book down kinda novel! I really liked Grace. At first, I wasn't sure what to make of her relationship to Ted...I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see where it would lead. Then we meet the new assistant and I never trusted her, but Grace really wasn't a fool--but then the story just explodes in a way I really wasn't expecting. Wow. I mean wow. I was really proud of the leaps Grace went through and how wonderfully Green pulled everything together. Nothing felt rushed, Grace always seemed true to who she was. I would love to mention another character who I totally loved, but that would be a spoiler! I will also mention Green brings about a discussion of medication in this novel that should be a discussion we should be having in our society.

I believe the books description really gives you a good idea of what the novel is about, so I am really just letting you know this was a great read. I highly recommend Saving Grace.

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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Another Night, Another Day by Sarah Rayner




Three people, each crying out for help.There’s Karen, about to lose her father; Abby, whose son has autism and needs constant care, and Michael, a family man on the verge of bankruptcy. As each sinks under the strain, they’re brought together at Moreland’s Clinic.Here, behind closed doors, they reveal their deepest secrets, confront and console one another, and share plenty of laughs. But how will they cope when a new crisis strikes? From the international bestselling author, Sarah Rayner, Another Night, Another Day is the emotional story of a group of strangers who come together to heal, creating lifelong friendships along the way.

My thoughts...In some ways, this is a difficult book to review. The storyline is dealing with depression, not a story to get all excited about. Another Night, Another Day is a very well written character driven story following the lives of three individuals fighting very real demons in their lives. They find themselves in a clinic facing the truth of the lives they've been fighting. I found myself particularly drawn to Karen. I could relate to her grief process and some of her feelings and questions about her grief. Having lost my own dad two years ago, I found myself feeling as if I had no right to really grieve him since I had grieved so hard for my mom and because I knew it was coming. Another Night, Another Day brought out some of my own emotional baggage. Rayner really touched on a subject rarely talked about, but one we should...The story really opened my own eyes to the emotional toll others are going through around me that I have really never thought  about. I found the novel very eye opening. I walked away with a better understanding--I mean, wouldn't it be nice if you could have someone to talk to and to help us process our emotions before they get to be too much? Instead, we have a stigma attached to going off and talking to someone or taking a medication to help us when we have emotional overload. We view needing help as weak and yet walking though your emotional pain is extremely brave and far better for us then putting it off.

While reading Another Night, Another Day I really was rooting for all the characters. Wanting them to find their footing again. I cheered for them and I cried with them.



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