Nov 11, 2013

Review: Someone Else's Love Story by Joshilyn Jackson

*No Spoilers!

'Do you believe in miracles'? Sounds like a simple question, but William Ashe had no idea how important his answer would be to Shandi. It would change her life. And his. Forever.

Driving to Atlanta from the small country town where she lived with her mother and her brilliant three year old son, Natty, Shandi was preparing to head to college and the next phase of her life. Her best friend Walcott was helping her move, just like he'd helped her since they were little kids growing up next door to each other. When they stopped at a jiffy store for cold drinks, there was no way Shandi could have known how much it would change her life. The moment she laid eyes on William, she felt an instant connection and knew she wanted to love him and have him love her back. The fact that he saved her and Natty's lives just made it more obvious, to Shandi anyway, that they were destined to be together. But William Ashe isn't your normal, average guy. He's exceptional and though he is oblivious to Shandi's wishes, he still has the power to make a profound difference in her life.

My Thoughts:

Plain and simple, this is my favorite Jackson novel yet.  I initially was thrown by the title of this book, but after reading it, it is absolutely perfect and I get it. That is always the icing on the cake for me when the title means more than you think it does. I thought it was ingenious. In this case, in order to tell Shandi's story, Jackson had to tell someone else's. How creative and refreshing! OK, I'll stop gushing about that and get to the meat of this review.

 I enjoyed all of the characters, even Shandi's step-mother and I felt Ms. Jackson did a great job of creating characters of various backgrounds and lifestyles. Our world is a hodge-podge of diversity and I appreciate how she brought that into the story so naturally.

The storyline of what happened to Shandi was original but one that affects many young girls in one of the most vulnerable times of their lives - being out in the world without the immediate shelter of their parents' protection while away at college. As I mentioned earlier, William's story is an impressive one and so unlikely in most love stories you run across. The unexpected connection between Natty and William was heartwarming and beautifully written. I'm having a hard time saying all I want to say without include any spoilers. All I can say is, this is not just a love story. It is so much more. I loved this book and I think it's Joshilyn Jackson's best work to date.

Though the book doesn't actually release until November 19th, visit She Reads Blog THIS WEEK for a chance to win your very own copy. I promise you won't want to miss this book! Thank you to She Reads Book Club for a fantastic November selection!

Author: Joshilyn Jackson
Publisher: William Morrow
Published: November 19, 2014
Length: 320 pp
Source: Publisher/She Reads Book Club
Recommend? Absolutely!!!

Nov 10, 2013

Audio Review: The Snowman by Jo Nesbo

Oslo in November. The first snow of the season has fallen. A boy named Jonas wakes in the night to find his mother gone. Out his window, in the cold moonlight, he sees the snowman that inexplicably appeared in the yard earlier in the day. Around its neck is his mother’s pink scarf.
Hole suspects a link between a menacing letter he’s received and the disappearance of Jonas’s mother - and of perhaps a dozen other women, all of whom went missing on the day of a first snowfall. As his investigation deepens, something else emerges: he is becoming a pawn in an increasingly terrifying game whose rules are devised - and constantly revised - by the killer.
(Summary taken from publisher)

My Thoughts: (No Spoilers)

Though THE SNOWMAN is the seventh book in the Inspector Harry Hole series, it is my first but in my opinion, it didn't take away anything for me not reading the first six books. This thriller stood on its own very well and there was no confusion regarding previous characters or storyline. One of the reasons I wanted to read this book now is that I heard Martin Scorsese is directing the film version and I always like to read books first when they're made into movies. I chose the audio version because, frankly, it was purely a time issue and also I was intrigued by the narrator's voice. Robin Sachs did an impressive job with all the characters and he sounded very believable in his interpretations. In my opinion, not just anyone could tell this story.

Since I am new to Nesbo's work, I can't compare it to previous books, but I thought it was very good. The mystery of the killer is told in an intelligent, clever way that makes you stop and follow Hole's train of thought. Hole, himself, is a no-nonsense, focused man who obviously has demons of his own but he is likable just the same. He's gruff and says what he means. I'm sure there are many layers to this character that I would have learned in the previous installments, but I do feel like I got a good understanding of this flawed man.

The storyline was very thrilling albeit a bit disturbing and I found myself turning off my iPod after dark! I tend to dream about books or TV shows that I read or watch right before bedtime. It's like my brain doesn't know when to shut down. I enjoyed the story and following Inspector Harry Hole as he followed clues and even when he made his mistakes. I don't read a lot of serial killer themed books, but if I get the craving again, I will definitely reach for another Jo Nesbo book. I'll probably start at the beginning of this series and eventually catch up. I loved the setting being in Oslo, Norway. It kind of reminded me of Stieg Larsson's trilogy that I absolutely loved! As a side note, this was the perfect time for me to read this book because of the time frame. In both the story and in real life, it's early November and the snow has begun to fall in Oslo.  .

Author: Jo Nesbo
Publisher: Random House Audio
Published: May 10, 2011
Length: 15 Hrs 38 Min
Recommend? Yes!

Nov 1, 2013

JICYMI: October

Hello November! Today I'm trying something new here on Southern Girl Reads blog. I had such a fantastic book month in October and I just want to do a quick rundown of the books and audios that I spent time with Just In Case You Missed It. 


I started off the month with a new-to-me series from Louise Penny. Its the Chief Inspector Armand Gamache Series, or you may know it as the Three Pines Series. I read the first two books in this Agatha Christie-esque series this month and got hooked immediately. I love the characters in these books and the Canadian setting only adds to its allure. There is no doubt I will be reading all of the books in the near future. Louise Penny is a terrific mystery writer and I'm just glad I discovered her when I did. JICYMI, here are links for my reviews of the first two books:
This next review was by far the most visited post for the month. It was the October Book Club pick for She Reads Book Club. THE GIRL YOU LEFT BEHIND by Jojo Moyes. I got close to 400 views on this post, which, for my lil' ole blog was fantastic! This was my first Moyes book and I LOVED it!! JICYMI, here is the link for that post:
I also listened to a couple fantastic audio books this month. I've really come to enjoy my audios and both of the narrators in these books were simply AMAZING! I highly recommend them both. 
I participated in one of Beth Fish's Weekend Cooking posts and I was completely overwhelmed by the number of visitors I received and the lovely comments, especially since I'm not a regular poster for that weekly event. I posted a simple recipe for a apple/cranberry topping for oatmeal and apparently it was  a big hit! JICYMI, you can find that recipe here:
I finished up the month with a review of a book that one of our fellow blogger friends wrote. SURE SIGNS OF CRAZY is Karen Harrington's follow-up to her first book, JANEOLOGY. I was so happy to receive an advance copy from Karen and I am thrilled to say this book was terrific! I love books told from a child's perspective and Karen hit it out of the park with this one! JICYMI, please check out my review here:
Well, that was my month and I couldn't be happier with the response and comments I received. November is shaping up to be just as good so I'm excited about whats to come. There are so many books that I can't wait to get my hands on and to share them here on SGR. I'd love to know what you think of my JICYMI idea. 

Have a wonderful weekend and Happy Reading!!