Tag: 4.5 stars

Book Review: Hawthorne & Heathcliff by R.K. Ryals

Hawthorne & Heathcliff
Author: R.K. Ryals
Published:  August 2, 2015

425 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: December 14-24, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars     

Book Description:

Two names that didn’t belong to us. Two shoes that did.

Intense and introspective, seventeen-year-old Hawthorne Macy knows all about being abandoned. She’s felt the stark pain of being left behind by the people who are supposed to love her the most; her parents. Raised by her caring uncle on an old plantation, Hawthorne lives her life on the fringes of her small Southern town.

Until she meets his shoe.

Senior year, last period English class, and a pair of silent tennis shoes resting next to hers in the back of the room throws Hawthorne into a world she’d learned to stay outside of.

His name is Max Vincent, but in her mind, he’s Heathcliff. The handsome eighteen-year-old boy behind the shoes will pull Hawthorne into a passionate and unforgettable adventure of self-discovery during a time when love seems impossible.

Shoes can tell a lot about a person. The journey they take you on can tell a lot about how they’ll hold up.

Jessica’s Review:

Hawthorne & Heathcliff is not my usual genre as it is romance.  In fact the only reason I picked it up was because it was my friend Beccie’s top read in 2019. But I am so glad I did pick it up as it is so much more than a teenage romance!  (Thankfully there was no love triangle as Beccie does not like those!) There is a very special relationship that Hawthorne has with her uncle which struck a chord with me.  This is also a novel where the characters grow over the entire story. 

Hawthorne (Clare) and Heathcliff (Max) meet in class in school and gradually their shoes get closer to each other until they connect and eventually a speical romance begins. Shoes are also very important to the novel: You can tell a lot about a person by the shoes they wear. Shoes hold the secrets that are not hidden and are in plain sight.

There are a variety of emotions that will be felt while reading, which may or may not include crying.  I expected myself to cry as this is a novel that also deals with grief , and if you are currently experiencing this emotion, I will say that yes, you will cry. 

If you are a reader of YA, first love, second chances and emotional reads I say pick up Hawthorne & Heathcliff!  You will be glad you did.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

Book Review: Contempt by Michael Cordell

Author:  Michael Cordell
 July 27, 2020
202 Pages

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: November 28- December 8, 2020
Jessica’s Rating: 4.5 stars     

Book Description:

Lawyer Thane Banning has just been released from prison after serving five years for a murder he didn’t commit.

A free man due only to a legal technicality, Thane must clear his name, repair his fragile marriage, and rebuild the life he once cherished. But his efforts are complicated by death threats from the father of his alleged victim and the tidal wave of public outrage at his release.

As Thane begins to find footing in the free world, a former fellow inmate is accused of murder by the same DA who put Thane behind bars. The inmate reaches out to Thane, who is unable to resist the desperate plea for help. He takes the case, thereby pitting himself against the ruthless adversary who stole five years of his life. And this adversary has a grudge to settle.

But prison has taught Thane a thing or two about survival, and the last time he played by the rules, he landed on death row. This time he’s staking it all – his marriage, his reputation, and even his life – on the outcome of the impending case. Thane is determined to do whatever it takes to uncover the truth, especially when startling links to his own conviction rise to the surface. But will he uncover the truth in time?

Jessica’s Review:

This is my first novel by Cordell and I really enjoyed it!  Thane Banning is a real estate lawyer who served five years on death row for a murder he did not commit, and he gets released on a technicality. Once he is out he is dealing with many things: People believing he got away with murder, his marriage and rebuilding his life, and the father of his supposed victim seeking retribution.  While reading the novel, it really felt like things a person would be living with in this type of situation.  I did want to see more of Thane and his wife dealing with their marriage. 

Then Thane has an inmate contact him who he was in prison with.  This inmate is also facing murder charges from the same DA who put Thane on death row.  Remember, Thane is a real estate lawyer, not a criminal defense lawyer, but he takes the case. Because of this you have to suspend your believability and go along for the ride.

I really enjoyed this novel, a lot of it was that Thane was likeable. I also wanted to see what was going to happen in this case, and it ends up going in directions I never expected.  I hope that Cordell writes future novels with Thane starring.  This is a shorter novel at just over 200 pages and it is very fast-paced. You can tell that Cordell is a screenwriter, this novel would make a very good movie or limited series. If it stayed close to the novel, I would definitely be watching it.

Many thanks to the publisher TCK Publishing for sending me a copy to read and review.

TCK Publishing Website
Michael Cordell Website

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK


A Release Day Double Review of The Companion by Katie Alender

Today is release day for The Companion by Katie Alender and today I bring you a double review for it!  This double review is not with Kim, but my friend Yami, who runs her own Facebook page: A Bookworm’s Thoughts. We received our copies from the publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers via Bookish First on the same day and I approached her on if she wanted to do a double review and she said sure!

The Companion
Author: Katie Alender

Published: TODAY, August 25, 2020
448 Pages

Book Description:

The other orphans say Margot is lucky.

Lucky to survive the horrible accident that killed her family.
Lucky to have her own room because she wakes up screaming every night.

And finally, lucky to be chosen by a prestigious family to live at their remote country estate.

But it wasn’t luck that made the Suttons rescue Margot from her bleak existence at the group home. Margot was handpicked to be a companion to their silent, mysterious daughter, Agatha. At first, helping with Agatha–and getting to know her handsome older brother–seems much better than the group home. But soon, the isolated, gothic house begins playing tricks on Margot’s mind, making her question everything she believes about the Suttons . . . and herself.

Margot’s bad dreams may have stopped when she came to live with Agatha – but the real nightmare has just begun.

Jessica’s Review:
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars
Dates Read: August 11-18, 2020

This is the first book I have read by Alender, and it will not be the last. From the beginning we are pulled in to the accident that Margot survives.  Margot tell us the story in first person, so we are along with her for the duration of the novel.  We experience everything with her from the group home to moving in with the Suttons. 

This is a standalone YA/Horror novel and you know something that is going on is just not right.  It is not gory horror, but psychological and a very quick read.  It really was one I did not want to put down! I wanted to know how this one was going to end! Yes, it is somewhat predictable but to get to the ending and then be thinking “What did I just read!?!??!?” But this is meant in a great way!  Even better is that we have a satisfying ending. 

This is one where you cannot say much as it is best to go into it not really knowing much, but do read this if you enjoy thrillers and horror.  You won’t regret it!

Many thanks to the publisher G.P. Putnam’s Sons Books for Young Readers for granting me a copy via BookishFirst.

Yami’s Review:
Yami’s Rating: 4.5 stars

Another of Katie Alender’s book that I enjoyed. This one was more of a thriller. Poor Margot went through a great tragedy in the beginning of the book. Being the only survivor from a car accident with her family is such a horrible thing. So when a family decided to take her into their home, you would hope things will get better for her but right from the start you know things are just not right. I figured out a lot of the stuff from the beginning but it was still an enjoyable, crazy ride. I don’t know how much I could say without giving anything away so I will just end it here. Also, I was very happy with the ending.

Check out Yami’s Facebook Page and give her a like if you wish!


Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK