Author: Courtney Summers
Published: September 4, 2018
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 3-13, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Sadie hasn’t had an easy life. Growing up on her own, she’s been raising her sister Mattie in an isolated small town, trying her best to provide a normal life and keep their heads above water.
But when Mattie is found dead, Sadie’s entire world crumbles. After a somewhat botched police investigation, Sadie is determined to bring her sister’s killer to justice and hits the road following a few meagre clues to find him.
When West McCray—a radio personality working on a segment about small, forgotten towns in America—overhears Sadie’s story at a local gas station, he becomes obsessed with finding the missing girl. He starts his own podcast as he tracks Sadie’s journey, trying to figure out what happened, hoping to find her before it’s too late.
Sadie is very unique and I mean this in a good way. You can really see how society is changing with the way books are now being written; and Sadie is the perfect example of this change. We have two narrators: Sadie and a podcaster.
Sadie is a YA novel as in the character is YA in age (Young Adult) but for me she was more of a NA(New Adult) character with the themes in the novel. This one is definitely NOT for younger YA readers. It deals with difficult subject matter: abuse, murder, and revenge.
The narrations go back and forth between Sadie and podcaster West McCray. He gets pulled into Sadie’s story and really does want to find her. Without West McCray Sadie would have just been ‘another missing girl’. As West is determined to find her, we the reader also want to find her! Sadie’s pov is not an easy one to read as she has had a very difficult life. Sadie believes she knows who murdered her sister and relentlessly tries to find him at all costs.
For most of the novel I thought it was going to be a 4 or 4.5 star read for me until it got to a certain point and then I had different feelings! It’s hard to say too much about Sadie without giving spoilers.
There is also a ‘real’ podcast that enhances the read! You can search for The Girls podcast on Apple Podcast. If you are an Android user, don’t feel left out: You can get The Girls via Google Podcasts. This was how I was able to access the podcast. There are six episodes then a Courtney Summers interview. I recommend reading the novel and then listen to the podcast when each ‘episode’ finishes in the novel. The audio podcast really adds to this experience. A great job was done with the podcast to make it feel ‘real’. If this is the future of books, bring it on!
Sadie is highly recommended. Thank you to Wednesday Books for the copy I was sent!
Author: Jennifer A. Nielsen
Published: August 28, 2018
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Chaya Lindner is a teenager living in Nazi-occupied Poland. Simply being Jewish places her in danger of being killed or sent to the camps. After her little sister is taken away, her younger brother disappears, and her parents all but give up hope, Chaya is determined to make a difference. Using forged papers and her fair features, Chaya becomes a courier and travels between the Jewish ghettos of Poland, smuggling food, papers, and even people.
Soon Chaya joins a resistance cell that runs raids on the Nazis’ supplies. But after a mission goes terribly wrong, Chaya’s network shatters. She is alone and unsure of where to go, until Esther, a member of her cell, finds her and delivers a message that chills Chaya to her core, and sends her on a journey toward an even larger uprising in the works — in the Warsaw Ghetto.
Though the Jewish resistance never had much of a chance against the Nazis, they were determined to save as many lives as possible, and to live — or die — with honor.
This book blew my socks off! I’ve read Nielsen before and enjoyed her books, but this one takes the cake and the icing and the candles and all the presents too! I’ve been reading a lot of Holocaust fiction lately and I had my eye on this book for a while. It was released just last month and I picked it up almost as soon as Amazon delivered it.
At first, I was nervous that I wasn’t going to like Chaya. She seemed to have an air of superiority about her that didn’t suit her. She was quick to acknowledge her own service and sacrifice. That did get much better the further into the book I got. She became believable and realistic with her fear and courage. Esther was more pitiful than anything but it was nice to see her grow and mature throughout the story. The resistance network in Poland was impressive and even though I knew the history and what happened, I found myself hoping that just this once, things would turn out differently. I’ve been thinking a lot about the Jews and other victims of the Holocaust, that something like that would never happen in America because our mindset is completely different from Europeans. I am by no means victim-shaming, I’m simply pointing out that Americans, with our guns and natural rebelliousness, would have put up far more of a fight. This book showed that there were many people who showed that “not all sheep go like lambs to the slaughter.” I loved seeing how people refused to be cowed and exterminated without resisting.
The Warsaw Ghetto Uprising, though technically a failure, is shown to be such a heroic effort in this book. I’ve never studied it in detail, but the people involved in the Uprising were people of courage and hope and I was so inspired by their sacrifices. I also appreciated how Nielsen showed the impact of young people in the resistance. In the face of such evil and the slaughter of their people, even teens took up arms and were willing to sacrifice themselves to save the lives of people they didn’t know. This is another book that every single middle and high school history teacher should have on his or her shelf as required reading. I found myself tearing up at the end and then wanting reread it all over again! I cannot say enough good about this book and I recommend it to everyone, especially any teen!
The Fixer Upper
Author: Mary Kay Andrews
Narrated by: Isabel Keating
Published: June 23, 2009
Today Kim and I bring you a double review of The Fixer Upper by a favorite of ours: MKA (better known as Mary Kay Andrews). We both really enjoyed this one!
After her boss in a high-powered Washington public relations firm is caught in a political scandal, fledgling lobbyist Dempsey Jo Killebrew is left almost broke, unemployed, and homeless. Out of options, she reluctantly accepts her father’s offer to help refurbish Birdsong, the old family place he recently inherited in Guthrie, Georgia. All it will take, he tells her, is a little paint and some TLC to turn the fading Victorian mansion into a real-estate cash cow.
But, oh, is Dempsey in for a surprise when she arrives in Guthrie. “Bird Droppings” would more aptly describe the moldering Pepto Bismol-pink dump with duct-taped windows and a driveway full of junk. There’s also a murderously grumpy old lady, one of Dempsey’s distant relations, who has claimed squatter’s rights and isn’t moving out. Ever.
Furthermore, everyone in Guthrie seems to know Dempsey’s business, from a smooth-talking real-estate agent to a cute lawyer who owns the local newspaper. It wouldn’t be so bad if it weren’t for the pesky FBI agents who show up on Dempsey’s doorstep, hoping to pry information about her ex-boss from her.
All Dempsey can do is roll up her sleeves and get to work. And before long, what started as a job of necessity somehow becomes a labor of love and, ultimately, a journey that takes her to a place she never expected–back home again.
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
Mary Kay Andrews is easily one of my all time favorite authors. She has a way of capturing real Southern towns filled with real Southern people faced with outrageous, hilarious problems. Her characters are some of the funniest I have ever read about and the situations they find themselves in are unforgettable and crazy, yet totally believable.
Poor Dempsey Killebrew (MKA creates the awesomest names) finds herself in the middle of a federal investigation as the scapegoat for a rich and powerful DC lobbyist. She goes from sleek executive to house flipper in overalls all in a week. By the time I finished this book, I was ready to go flip a house. And you gotta understand, I am the least creative, crafty, construction minded, practical person you will ever meet.
Enter father-son, small town, legal team of Carter and Tee Berryhill and now you’ve got the elegant Southern gentleman factor. And, of course, Tee, fabulous man that he is, throws Dempsey’s world even more askew. But my favorite character of all, Ella Kate Timmons. Old, crotchety, and set in her ways Ella Kate and her yippy cocker spaniel, Shorty. If for no other reason, y’all need to read this book simply to meet Ella Kate. I normally listen to the audiobook, and the narrator brings such life to each character. Isabel Keating narrates several of MKA’s books, and if I see that she’s the narrator for a book, I don’t even read the synopsis, I just buy it.
This is such an awesome book and I recommend it to anyone who wants a fun, hilarious, heartwarming read.
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: August 28- September 8, 2018
Mary Kay Andrews (MKA) is a ‘go to’ author of mine; her books are always so much fun and The Fixer Upper is another of those! She really captured the genuine small town feeling for me with Fixer Upper. I could picture everything she wrote as I listened to the audiobook. Everything was very descriptive and even the descriptions of Birdsong (the house) are well written.
I felt for Dempsey in her situation that she goes through. She’s an innocent (situationally and in life) and you want her to pull through everything successfully. It is crazy to believe how quickly she goes from a high class junior lobbyist to an overall wearing ‘do it yourself’-er in a small town. She obviously missed her calling in life!.
The heart of the novel is Ella Kate! She is an older woman very much set in her ways and tells it like it is and does not care what you think! She was my absolute favorite character and I would love to read more books with Ella Kate! You just have to read Fixer Upper to understand….
As previously mentioned, l listened to the audiobook version of Fixer Upper. I would recommend listening to the audio version as the narrator, Isabel Keating, does a superb job. Her portrayal of Ella Kate is 100% spot on!
The Fixer Upper is recommended.
**If reading The Fixer Upper gets you in the mood to buy a house that needs fixing up, we would be willing to sell ours…..