Sunday, October 17, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Litani, by Jess Lourey {ends 10/24}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

When I couldn’t stand it any longer, I lifted my head slowly, expecting an emotional blow. I was shocked to meet both Crane’s eyes. Blue and sincere and bare to the world.

“I’m really sorry, Frankie,” he said.

I gripped my elbows.

“I’m sorry your dad didn’t tell you everything bad that ever happened to him, but that doesn’t make what he did tell you a lie. Did he tell you he loved you?”

“Yeah.” I sniffed.

“I bet that was true. Did he stick around?”

“For sure.”

“That’s true, too.”

We were both silent for a while. I liked that Crane didn’t try and touch me and make things weird.

There’s a whole lot not right in the town of Litani, Minnesota. Unfortunately, a lot of the truth is wrapped in secrets that 14-year-old Frankie is left to untangle on her own, or she may also fall victim to the evil in the town.

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Litani, by Jess Lourey {ends 10/24}
In the summer of ’84, fourteen-year-old Frankie Jubilee is shuttled off to Litani, Minnesota, to live with her estranged mother, a county prosecutor she barely knows. From the start, Frankie senses something uneasy going on in the small town. The locals whisper about The Game, and her mother warns her to stay out of the woods and away from adults.

When a bullying gang of girls invites Frankie to The Game, she accepts, determined to find out what’s really going on in Litani. She’s not the only one becoming paranoid. Hysteria burns through the community. Dark secrets emerge. And Frankie fears that, even in the bright light of day, she might be living among monsters.

A book that isn’t written to be pleasant can still be written to be quite compelling. Reading the story of Litani, MN from Frankie’s perspective was mystifying. Everyone else in town seemed to think they knew exactly what was going on, but no one was willing to share. Frankie really just wants to keep to herself and grieve the loss of her father, but somehow the bad and good about the town engaged her anyway.

It was easy to see the shadow of guilt cast over each of the current and former town members at some point during the story. The author’s note goes a bit into the odd hysteria of child abductions, human sacrifices, and devil worship that made several headlines in the 1980s. Having lived through that time at about the same age as Frankie, there is a vague recollection of these horrifying news stories. 

While the story was not intended to be a "fun" read, it was definitely a page-turner. I’d give this book 4 out of 5 stars. The depictions of 1984 and life in a small-town in the midwest were definitely familiar. 

{click here to purchase - only $4.99 for Kindle as of this writing, and free for Kindle Unlimited!}

Becki Bayley is a midwest girl who shares some of her life in photos on Instagram as PoshBecki.

GIVEAWAY:

One of my lucky readers will win a copy of Litani!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Sunday, October 24th, at 11:59pm ET, and winner will be contacted the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Litani, by Jess Lourey

Saturday, October 9, 2021

Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Eight Perfect Hours, by Lia Louis {ends 10/16}

Guest review by: Becki Bayley

You can see for miles up here. Stretches of houses and buildings, but just on the horizon, hills and lush green trees and blue sky. There’s a particular specific smell up here. The smell of other people’s houses; evidence of other people’s lives. Freshly cut grass of someone’s garden, the smell of frying onions from another flat. I grip the balcony rail and close my eyes. Daisy and I used to do this on her balcony, or at night at a sleepover, the night silent through the open window except for the distant whoosh of motorway traffic far in the distance.

“Where are you, Elle?” she’d ask sleepily, and I’d always make her go first, because she had the best ideas—the best imagination. It’s why she took art. It’s why she wrote the best short stories and poems, in English Lit.

“Oh, I’m in Italy with you,” she’d say, closing her eyes. “We’re celebrating. I just sold this movie script and they’re saying I’m the new Nora Ephron, so I have a shitload of money to spend. We’ll pick up some hot, tortured poets at some dive bar tonight. They’ll romance us.” She would always giggle, as if with glee at the glory of her own little stories. “Come on, Elle, close your eyes. Use your imagination. What do you see?”

Noelle just hasn’t been the same since Daisy died. She can give lots of reasons for putting the needs of other people first, but is she still hesitating from moving on without Daisy?

Official synopsis:
Book Review and GIVEAWAY: Eight Perfect Hours, by Lia Louis {ends 10/16}
On a snowy evening in March, thirty-something Noelle Butterby is on her way back from an event at her old college when disaster strikes. With a blizzard closing off roads, she finds herself stranded, alone in her car, without food, drink, or a working charger for her phone.

All seems lost until Sam Attwood, a handsome American stranger also trapped in a nearby car, knocks on her window and offers assistance. What follows is eight perfect hours together, until morning arrives and the roads finally clear. The two strangers part, positive they’ll never see each other again but fate, it seems, has a different plan. As the two keep serendipitously bumping into one another, they begin to realize that perhaps there truly is no such thing as coincidence.

While the amount of coincidence in this book is truly staggering, suspension of disbelief is worth it for the abundance of warm fuzzies that go along with just believing. Daisy is gone, and Noelle struggles to keep her life and her mother’s life on an even keel. They do what they do each day, without much fanfare. Noelle cleans houses on a schedule that lets her be home to help her mom, and her mom is so appreciative, even if her dependence isn’t understandable to others in Noelle’s life. 

Noelle’s charming best friends Charlie and Theo are super-strong believers in fate and true love. As Noelle thinks back to her night spent with the American stranger, Charlie is sure that every coincidence after that is another sign that they’re meant to be. Is she right? Or is rekindling things with her ex the best safe plan for Noelle?

This was such a charming book and reminiscent of the emotionally evocative writing from Lia Louis in her previous novel, Dear Emmie Blue. I’d give this one 5 out of 5 stars. It’s a great contemporary story of families, love, loss, and trusting your heart.

{click HERE to purchase}

Becki Bayley is a Gemini who likes feta cheese with olives, Cherry Coke with Southern Comfort, and a good book with a warm blanket. She also posts reviews on her own blog, SweetlyBSquared.com.

GIVEAWAY:

Two of my lucky readers will win a copy of Eight Perfect Hours!

Enter via the widget below. Giveaway will end on Saturday, October 16th, at 11:59pm EST, and winners will be notified via email the next day and have 24 hours to respond, or an alternate winner(s) will be chosen.

U.S. residents only, please.

Good luck!

Eight Perfect Hours, by Lia Louis

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