The Surrogate by Louise Jensen #Review @fab_fiction @bookouture

The Surrogate cover

Kat and Nick are on the verge of giving up on their dream to become parents. Unable to have a child of their own, they decided to adopt a baby instead—only to be crushed after the adoptions failed to go through not once, but twice. Then Kat unexpectedly sees her old friend, Lisa—whom she hasn’t spoken to in years, for reasons readers aren’t privy to until later in the book. Rather than the upset she expected, the two women fall back into their friendship as though their estrangement never happened. The despair Kat feels over not having a child changes to hope when Lisa offers to be a surrogate for Kat and her husband. Her dream is about to come true… or is it? Lisa begins to do things that make Kat suspicious, and she wonders if her past is coming back to haunt her, but she could never have foreseen the horror that awaited her.

The Surrogate doesn’t waste any time in grabbing the reader’s attention, kicking off at a crime scene with two bodies and a murder investigation. The identity of the victims, along with how (and why) they died isn’t revealed until the end, but the ultimate reveal is WELL worth the wait. Holy guacamole… what a fantastic ending!

I’ve been a fan of Jensen’s since the start, and I loved reading both The Sister and The Gift. With a twisty plot, complex characters, and a story rooted in a poignant desire for motherhood that’s guaranteed to tug at your heartstrings, The Surrogate is her best effort yet. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!

If you haven’t been reading any of these fantastic books… what are you waiting for? Like I said when she released her debut novel… you need to put Louise Jensen on your Author Radar. She is definitely deserving of a prime spot in your list!

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Bookouture via Netgalley.

 

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Author: Louise Jensen

Title: The Surrogate

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: September 27th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

book worth reading

About the Book

‘You know that feeling? When you want something so badly, you almost feel you’d kill for it?’

Be careful what you wish for…

Kat and her husband Nick have tried everything to become parents, and are on the point of giving up. Then a chance encounter with Kat’s childhood friend Lisa gives Kat and Nick one last chance to achieve their dream.

But Kat and Lisa’s history hides dark secrets.

And there is more to Lisa than meets the eye.

As dangerous cracks start to appear in Kat’s perfect picture of happily-ever-after, she realises that she must face her fear of the past to save her family…

About the Author

Author Louise Jensen
Author Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a madcap spaniel and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

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Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson #Review

Just Mercy cover

Through the years, I’ve seen several news reports of imprisoned men and women being released after they were proven to be wrongly convicted of various crimes. I was left with two strong feelings: relief that their innocence had been proven, and angry that they had spent years (even decades, in some cases) of their lives behind bars when they shouldn’t have been there in the first place. I would only know the little that was reported about their wrongful convictions—usually that their conviction was overturned by DNA evidence or whatever—without knowing how they came to be tried and convicted in the first place. After reading this book, I’m certain that knowing those details would like have left me feeling horrified, as well.

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption is a memoir about Bryan Stevenson’s work in the Equal Justice Initiative, a non-profit organization he founded in 1994.

The Equal Justice Initiative (or EJI) is a non-profit organization, based in Montgomery, Alabama, that provides legal representation to prisoners who may have been wrongly convicted of crimes, poor prisoners without effective representation, and others who may have been denied a fair trial. It guarantees the defense of anyone in Alabama in a death penalty case.

Source: Wikipedia

Several cases are discussed in the book, such as the case of an African-American man named Walter McMillian. Accused of murdering a white woman, Walter was held on death row PRIOR to being tried and convicted in a trial that lasted less than two days, despite having a solid alibi during the time of the murder—a fact ignored by the jury, who imposed a sentence of life in prison. The Alabama judge disagreed and sentenced Mr. McMillian to death instead. It took six long years of dedicated work for the EJI to prove McMillian’s innocence.

In another case, Marsha Colbey was convicted of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment after giving birth to a stillborn child. She spent 5 years in an Alabama prison before her conviction was overturned and she was released.

Several other cases are discussed in the book and, unfortunately, not all of them had successful outcomes.

After I finished reading this book, I couldn’t help but wonder how many more innocent men and women are in our prisons. However many there are, I can only hope they find someone like Mr. Stevenson who is willing to fight for them.

I highly recommend reading this one. It’s definitely a Book Worth Reading.

I received a review copy of this book courtesy of Spiegal & Grau via Blogging for Books.

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Author: Bryan Stevenson

Title: Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption

Genre: Memoir, Social Justice, Nonfiction

Published: August 18th, 2015 by Spiegel & Grau

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

book worth reading

 About the Book

A powerful true story about the potential for mercy to redeem us, and a clarion call to fix our broken system of justice—from one of the most brilliant and influential lawyers of our time
 
Bryan Stevenson was a young lawyer when he founded the Equal Justice Initiative, a legal practice dedicated to defending those most desperate and in need: the poor, the wrongly condemned, and women and children trapped in the farthest reaches of our criminal justice system. One of his first cases was that of Walter McMillian, a young man who was sentenced to die for a notorious murder he insisted he didn’t commit. The case drew Bryan into a tangle of conspiracy, political machination, and legal brinksmanship—and transformed his understanding of mercy and justice forever.

Just Mercy is at once an unforgettable account of an idealistic, gifted young lawyer’s coming of age, a moving window into the lives of those he has defended, and an inspiring argument for compassion in the pursuit of true justice.

New York Times Bestseller | Named one of the Best Books of the Year by The New York Times • The Washington Post • The Boston Globe • The Seattle Times • Esquire • Time

Winner of the Carnegie Medal for Nonfiction | Winner of the NAACP Image Award for Nonfiction | Winner of a Books for a Better Life Award | Finalist for the Los Angeles Book Prize | Finalist for the Kirkus Reviews Prize | An American Library Association Notable Book

About the Author

Author Bryan Stevenson
Bryan Stevenson

BRYAN STEVENSON is the executive director of the Equal Justice Initiative in Montgomery, Alabama, and a professor of law at New York University School of Law. He has won relief for dozens of condemned prisoners, argued five times before the Supreme Court, and won national acclaim for his work challenging bias against the poor and people of color. He has received numerous awards, including the MacArthur Foundation “Genius” Grant.

Bless Her Heart by Sally Kilpatrick #Review @SuperWriterMom @KensingtonBooks

Bless Her Heart cover

There were only three words in the English language that I hated with all of my being: bless, your, and heart—specifically in that order.

Every Southerner knows what it means when someone blesses your heart, so it’s no mystery why Posey Love hates hearing that phrase, especially after a lifetime of having her heart blessed by someone. But then, her life hasn’t exactly turned out the way she’d planned, either. She thought she would be a teacher, married with a couple of kids. At 32, she was married, had no children, and is a receptionist at her husband’s church, Love Ministries. She’s content with her life—for the most part—and feels completely blindsided when she discovers that not only is Chad having an affair, he’s also mismanaged their money and sold their home without telling her.

With no money and nowhere else to go, Posey goes home to her mother, Lark, whose lifestyle and youthful escapades were the source of most of the “bless your heart” comments Posey received throughout her life. With the help of her younger sister and her best friend, she’s able to clearly see her husband’s true character, and how he manipulated and controlled her throughout their marriage. After years spent following all the rules imposed on her by Chad, Posey is feeling more than a little rebellious. She starts breaking rules for a change—working her way through each of the Seven Deadly Sins—and starts living the life she dreamed of… on her terms this time.

The title alone was enough to spark my interest, but when the blurb mentioned it had “just the right amount of Southern sass” I was sold. How could I resist that?

Posey Love has earned a spot on my favorite characters list. She made me laugh so hard. I nearly died when she took a pole dancing lesson at the Pole Cat… SO funny! That scene is a treasure, trust me. The banter she had with her friend, Liza, always brought a smile to my face. I’m pretty fond of Liza, as well. I could completely relate to the moments when Liza is a sleep-deprived mess because her baby isn’t sleeping through the night.  New motherhood isn’t always pretty, and I loved the realism of all those scenes.

Another character I particularly liked was John. He definitely had flaws, but he was a good guy. I really enjoyed seeing how things unfolded between him and Posey, and I liked that it wasn’t always easy. Whenever there was a conflict between them, it made sense to me that (things I won’t mention) would be an issue for one of them. Chad, on the other hand, was a character I disliked him almost as soon as he appeared in the story. Later on, I came to despise him for something he did. I won’t give away what it was, but he committed a particularly heinous betrayal against Posey that made me so mad, I had to take a moment and say a few choice words before I could go back to reading.

I adored this book. All the characters (including several I didn’t mention above) are incredibly well written and (with the exception of Chad) delightful in every way.  Posey’s growth as a character was outstanding, and I loved the way she was able to take charge of her life and do what was in her best interests, and not worrying what someone else would think about it. While the ending came a little too soon for me—I wasn’t ready to let go of the characters yet—I loved the final line of the book.

Kilpatrick’s writing is superb throughout, creating a fabulous cast of characters that I won’t soon forget. This is the first book of hers that I’ve read, but it won’t be the last. She definitely has a new fan in me.

Be sure to put this one on your TBR list, folks! Trust me when I say you do NOT want to miss out on this little gem—this book is most definitely a book worth reading.

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Kensington Books via Netgalley.

 

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Author: Sally Kilpatrick

Title: Bless Her Heart

Genre: Women’s Fiction, Southern Fiction

Published: October 31st, 2017 by Kensington Books

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

book worth reading

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble

About the Book

Laugh-out-loud funny and unabashedly uplifting, with just the right amount of Southern sass, Sally Kilpatrick’s wonderful novel centers on one woman’s journey from unhappy marriage to a surprising second chance . . .

On the day Posey Love discovers that her born-again husband has been ministering to some of his flock a little too eagerly, she also learns that he’s left her broke and homeless. Posey married Chad five years ago in hopes of finding the stability her hippie mother couldn’t provide. Instead she got all the trappings of security—house, car, seemingly respectable husband—at the price of her freedom.

Posey’s mother, Lark, accepts her daughter’s return home with grace, though her sister can’t resist pointing out that being a sweet Southern wife hasn’t worked out as planned. And so, with the Seven Deadly Sins as a guide, Posey decides to let loose for once. Envy is easy to check off the list—Posey only has to look at her best friend’s adorable baby for that. One very drunken night at The Fountain bar takes care of gluttony. As for lust—her long-time friend, John, is suddenly becoming much more than a pal. One by one, Posey is bulldozing through her old beliefs about love, family—and what it really means to be good. And she’s finding that breaking a few rules might be the perfect way to heal a heart . . .

About the Author

Sally Kilpatrick
Sally Kilpatrick

Sally Kilpatrick writes southern fiction full of small towns and big hearts. She is a two-time Maggie Award of Excellence finalist, a Golden Heart® finalist, a Book Buyer’s Best finalist, and a National Readers’ Choice Awards triple finalist. Her next novel, Bless Her Heart, will be released on Halloween and explores what happens when a preacher’s wife decides to sample the Seven Deadly Sins. Sally lives with her husband and two children in Marietta, Georgia, a suburb of Atlanta. Visit her author website at sallykilpatrick.com or follow her on Twitter as @SuperWriterMom.