Book Review: The Night Before by Wendy Walker

The Night Before
Author: Wendy Walker
Published:  May 14, 2019
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 20-27, 2021

Jessica’s Rating: 2 stars     

Book Description:

Laura Lochner has never been lucky in love. She falls too hard and too fast, always choosing the wrong men. Devastated by the end of her last relationship, she fled her Wall Street job and New York City apartment for her sister’s home in the Connecticut suburb where they both grew up. Though still haunted by the tragedy that’s defined her entire life, Laura is determined to take one more chance on love with a man she’s met on an Internet dating site.

Rosie Ferro has spent most of her life worrying about her troubled sister. Fearless but fragile, Laura has always walked an emotional tightrope, and Rosie has always been there to catch her. Laura’s return, under mysterious circumstances, has cast a shadow over Rosie’s peaceful life with her husband and young son – a shadow that grows darker as Laura leaves the house for her blind date.

When Laura does not return home the following morning, Rosie fears the worst. She’s not responding to calls or texts, and she’s left no information about the man she planned to meet. As Rosie begins a desperate search to find her sister, she is not just worried about what this man might have done to Laura. She’s worried about what Laura may have done to him…

Jessica’s Review:

This one had a premise that really intrigued me, but the novel itself fell flat.  I was looking for a fast moving novel where the woman seemingly is the victim but is actually not and she is holding her date prisoner and who knows what may happen next.

I was at first intrigued by Laura and Rosie being sisters and Laura’s concern and determination to find her sister, but a little later in the novel I was just not invested in their story anymore. The Night Before also has multiple povs, which I normally enjoy but this novel just didn’t agree with me. There is a twist I didn’t see coming and when it is revealed you had to take a minute and think about the reality of this scenario in regards to the story.  From that point on I was just ready to end the novel but I only had so much left that I continued.

I did listen to the audiobook version and maybe that was the problem for me with this novel.  This may be one to actually read versus have read to you.

I would give Ms. Walker another chance in reading another of her novels, but this one just didn’t work for me so I cannot recommend it.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix

Horrorstör
Author: Grady Hendrix

Published: September 23, 2014
248 Pages

Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Something strange is happening at the Orsk furniture superstore in Cleveland, Ohio. Every morning, employees arrive to find broken Kjerring bookshelves, shattered Glans water goblets, and smashed Liripip wardrobes. Sales are down, security cameras reveal nothing, and store managers are panicking.

To unravel the mystery, three employees volunteer to work a nine-hour dusk-till-dawn shift. In the dead of the night, they’ll patrol the empty showroom floor, investigate strange sights and sounds, and encounter horrors that defy the imagination.

A traditional haunted house story in a thoroughly contemporary setting, Horrorstör is designed to retain its luster and natural appearance for a lifetime of use. Pleasingly proportioned with generous French flaps and a softcover binding, Horrorstör delivers the psychological terror you need in the elegant package you deserve.

Kim’s Review:

Holy cow. I’ve read Hendrix’s other books and loved them, so I’ve had my eye on this book for a long time. I read it in one sitting and it’s easily my favorite of this quarter, so far! He describes it as “horror parody” and that’s so accurate! So many times throughout the book, I felt both creeped out and amused. The book is in a catalog-ish format, so there were furniture illustrations. So many times, I had to stop reading so I could giggle! Yet I was still scared! How he managed that, I’m not sure, but he did!

The story itself is unique and engaging. Hendrix loves a good metaphor and of all his books, this one is the most obvious, so I didn’t feel quite so stupid after I finished it. Overall, I loved this book and I would recommend it to anyone! I think even those who don’t really like horror would like this book. But those who love horror will adore this book!! I thought it was brilliant!!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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Book Review: This is My America by Kim Johnson

This is My America
Author: Kim Johnson
Published: July 28, 2020

416 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: April 19-27, 2021
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Every week, seventeen-year-old Tracy Beaumont writes letters to Innocence X, asking the organization to help her father, an innocent Black man on death row. After seven years, Tracy is running out of time—her dad has only 267 days left. Then the unthinkable happens. The police arrive in the night, and Tracy’s older brother, Jamal, goes from being a bright, promising track star to a “thug” on the run, accused of killing a white girl. Determined to save her brother, Tracy investigates what really happened between Jamal and Angela down at the Pike. But will Tracy and her family survive the uncovering of the skeletons of their Texas town’s racist history that still haunt the present?

Jessica’s Review:

I had this novel selected to read for April’s #Diverseathon prompt, which is a character who is not Caucasian. I DID finish it in April, I just did not get the review written by the end of the month.  But it still counts!

This is My America is a novel that was published last year and is very timely with what was going on with our country.  This is My America centers on Tracy and the Beaumont family.  Seven years ago her father was convicted for double murder and sentenced to the death penalty; he is innocent and has only 267 days left, so his time is running out.  Every week Tracy has written to Innocence X to try and receive help in her father’s case to no answer.  Then the unexpected happens, a white girl is killed and Tracy’s brother Jamal is a suspect. And up to this moment he has never been in trouble with the law and had a very promising future.  Jamal is on the run and now Tracy is determined to help both her father and now her brother.

This is My America is Johnson’s debut novel and what a debut it is! It shows how incarnation affects every member of the convicted’s family and the injustices of African Americans.  Johnson also shows us what it is like inside and visiting a convicted inmate in Texas.  It also shows some history into the KKK and how that organization still exists today and what they can do.  Johnson touches on so many important subjects and reaches her readers with very likable and enduring characters that you can’t help but feel emotions for.

Written in short chapters, this is one novel you don’t want to put down as the reader becomes fully invested in the story and is rooting for Tracy to succeed in both her father and now brother’s cases.    Be sure to read the author’s note at the end of the novel.  Though Innocence X is a fictional organization, Johnson mentions actual organizations out there that work to free those wrongly convicted.  I adore Tracy and her bravery at doing everything she can.  She is a character that young girls could look up to. 

This is My America is one that needs to be read by all teens and touches on so many important subjects that our nation is dealing with more every day.  This novel is up there with Dear Martin for me and may in fact even pass it in my reading. I cannot wait to see what Kim Johnson writes next!

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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