Revisit: Behind the Falls by Brenda Zalegowski

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No doubt you’ve heard of this book, especially if you’ve been following our little blog for awhile.  And while I don’t often do reruns of past reviews, in this case I feel it’s something I must do for our dear readers.  You see, the highly anticipated follow-up to this brilliant story is soon to hit the world.  And if you haven’t read this amazing story, now is the time to do so.  Therefore, I give you my original review of Behind the Falls…

Disclaimer #1: This book was reviewed several weeks earlier by our very own Urania. This is my perspective on it.

Disclaimer #2: The author is a friend of mine, and I’m sure she’s a friend to many of you as well. That’s both good and bad. Good because it’s an honor to share someone’s creative work. And bad because, well, if it’s really no good how do you address that? It’s like seeing someone’s really ugly baby. What do you say? But there are no such book-related worries in this case because the book truly is exceptional on so many levels.

Noah is barely sixteen but yet has faced so many issues in his young life. Burdened with panic and anxiety disorders from a very young age, he struggles with how exactly to be normal. And then his somewhat predictable world is shaken up as his family decides move to a new town. Not only that, but Noah will be going to public school for the first time. Enough to send even the most well-adjusted (if there is such a thing) teen over the edge.

Thankfully there’s a friendly face in the crowd. A hand reaches out to him on his very first day, and Noah doesn’t feel so lost anymore. When Max welcomes Noah into his world, it’s more than he could have ever hoped for. He begins to feel “normal” for the very first time in his life, whatever that word truly means.

Noah’s inner demons aren’t so easily silenced, though. His struggles continue as does his battle to hide it from his new friends. If he could only find the strength to be honest with them as well as with himself, and about so many different things.

And this is where my summary ends. Because to give anything else away would spoil it. And this is a book that you just have to read and feel for the very first time without any preconceived notions or ideas about what you’re supposed to think. I’m glad I didn’t when I read it, and I’m doing the same for you.

So the obvious…
This is a very long book, clocking in at just under 700 pages. And I admit, as have several other reviewers, that the length was a bit daunting at first. I found myself getting bogged down in the beginning, wondering if the lengthy narrative and internal dialogue were really necessary. But I felt a pull, something compelling me to keep going. And yes, part of the reason was because, well, friends.

Still, at about the halfway point I realized that it worked for this book. Noah’s story really couldn’t be told in a lesser manner. The sometimes rambling dialogue is surely reminiscent of what must be going on inside the head of somebody with a panic/anxiety disorder. And more importantly, such detailed descriptions of the characters as well as background info made me feel for them, connect with them on a level not achieved by all authors. In fact, I’m so invested with Noah and Max, even Tabitha, that several days later I still can’t get them out of my head. I want more!

And another caveat. It’s a very heavy book. Heavy on the emotions, heavy on the subject matter. But so is life. Not a reason to avoid it. Still, it’s probably a book that’s best suited for older teens and adults. Now crossing my fingers and hoping there’s a sequel in the works…

~Thalia

Buy It Now:  Behind the Falls

Review: One True Loves by Taylor Jenkins Reid

01 at You can’t capture love in a bottle. You can’t hold on to it with both hands and force it to stay with you.

This is my first Taylor Jenkins Reid book. I’ve heard many people rave about her books, but I just never got around to trying one, since she seems more like chick lit, and that’s not my usual. But I did something out of the norm and read the blurb of this book, and I was immediately punched in the gut. I knew I had to read this.

SYNOPSIS
In her twenties, Emma Blair marries her high school sweetheart, Jesse. They build a life for themselves, far away from the expectations of their parents and the people of their hometown in Massachusetts. They travel the world together, living life to the fullest and seizing every opportunity for adventure.

On their first wedding anniversary, Jesse is on a helicopter over the Pacific when it goes missing. Just like that, Jesse is gone forever.

Emma quits her job and moves home in an effort to put her life back together. Years later, now in her thirties, Emma runs into an old friend, Sam, and finds herself falling in love again. When Emma and Sam get engaged, it feels like Emma’s second chance at happiness.

That is, until Jesse is found. He’s alive, and he’s been trying all these years to come home to her. With a husband and a fiancé, Emma has to now figure out who she is and what she wants, while trying to protect the ones she loves.

Who is her one true love? What does it mean to love truly?

Emma knows she has to listen to her heart. She’s just not sure what it’s saying.

Oh my gosh!! Can you imagine this? What do you do? Here’s this poor girl faced with an impossible decision. He loves both men, but she must choose one. My nerves were all twisted up in this one. One can’t possibly just choose and be done with it. Emma has to learn who she is and what she wants before she can even think about making this choice.

From the very first sentence, I was sucked into this world. I could feel what Emma felt and it broke my heart. After missing her husband for almost three years, all those past feelings come flooding back into her. She must face her past and decide who she wants to spend her future with.

While this isn’t your traditional happily ever after, but rather a bittersweet ending, I am glad to have gone this journey of reflection and growth. I am happy to see Emma face this decision head on. While the journey did make me wince a few times, since I made my own choice, I can see that Emma did what needed to be done in order to make her choice.

There is nothing more romantic than this. Holding the very person that you thought you’d lost, and knowing you’ll never lose them again.

~Melpomene

Buy One True Loves

Review: All Summer Long by Melody Carlson 

Tia gets invited to San Francisco to work as head chef on a yacht. Little does she know that a blast from the past – former crush Leo – will be the captain.  

This is an innocent, sweet, young romance with all the silliness and heart-wrenching you’d expect from a twenty-something with a mad crush. Carlson makes no bones about providing a few life lessons throughout the story, but for the most part it’s a fun look at boating and cooking. Carlson writes in wonderful friendships and fellowship, and includes solid family relationships as well. This romance is squeaky clean – just a couple of appropriate kisses – and perfect for young adults. 

-calliope

Buy ALL SUMMER LONG

Review: Empire by Rachel VanDyken

01 aemI can barely get my thoughts together after I finished this book. I’m emotionally drained. While I’m thankful this book had the comic relief sprinkled in, it did not help the amount of tears I shed.

“His love story is going to be epic.”

Sergio, sweet Sergio. He has just suffered immensely and I didn’t how much more he could take. Another arranged marriage may very well kill this man. I mean, what was going to be left of him if this went south again? He lost the love of his life and no one was going to compare to her. The last thing he wants to do is get close to another woman and possible fall for her. He loves Andi, and he will always love her. But he will do what he’s told even if that means living a life as half a person.

I loved Val. She was innocent in all things. She has no idea what she’s getting herself into, but she soon finds out that, no matter what, she’ll never compare to Andi. This poor girl has no choice but to hold on for the ride of her life and hold her heart is still in one piece when it’s over.

Without saying spoilers, this book had quite a few surprises. Just when I thought I knew what was going to happen, Rachel pulled the rug out from under me. The raw emotions pouring through practically every scene had me clutching my stomach. The utter devastation was almost more than I could take. But as Val did, I held on and had lots and lots of tissues nearby.

Review: Better Get to Livin’ by Sally Kilpatrick


Miss Presley Cline returns home for a break from her Hollywood “career.”  Declan Anderson stayed in town his whole life, carrying on the family funeral home business he wasn’t sure he wanted. When a tornado throws them together, they have to decide where home really is — and with whom. 

I’m such a fan of Kilpatrick that I expected this to be as magical as The Happy Hour Choir (SEE MY 5 STAR REVIEW HERE). Better Get to Livin’ wasn’t quite amazing, but I enjoyed the quirky characters, southern charm, and the happily ever after. 

As far as the writing – superb as usual. I’m not even a paranormal fan, but I absolutely admire Kilpatrick’s skill in writing Presley’s ability to talk to dead people. The ghosts were fun and funny and helped explain some of the characters’ backstories. Just goes to show that a good writer can write fabulous characters, whether they’re alive or dead. Hah! 

On a side note, Sally Kilpatrick totally amuses me on Twitter. On your next reading break, take a peek. 

-calliope

Buy BETTER GET TO LIVIN’

Review: Death of a Nurse by MC Beaton

25747142This was an okay read for me. Not a brilliant read, but certainly not a rotten one either. I can easily imagine having rated the book higher if I were more familiar with Hamish and his very quirky acquaintances. I love thriller crime stories, but perhaps murder mysteries of the good old-fashioned Agatha Christie style just aren’t really my cup of tea…However, since I’ve never actually read Agatha Christie I can’t really say that for a fact…

I did read enough to know that I would like to go to the start of the series and see if I can fall in love with Hamish as I see so many other fans have. I do see his appeal, however, coming into his entire weaponry of charm (hahahahaha) unprepared was perhaps my downfalling. I think I needed to gradually introduce myself to him and all of his charms…not just jump in buck naked and unprotected**….

**I hope you note my sarcasm and see that although I didn’t rate this book as high as I might have that I am very much worthy of learning up enough to become an avid fan

Until next time…

Urania xx

Review copy provided by Netgalley for an honest review

Buy it now Death of a Nurse by MC Beaton