Wednesday 26 March 2014

The Blackberry Island Trilogy by Susan Mallery


Source: Books provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review


These books make me want to move to Blackberry Island! It is a small island where everyone seems to know everyone, and that is where I long to live. This was my first experience with Susan Mallery, and will not be my last, I loved the writing style, the characters, and the plots in all three novels, but the second in the series was my favourite.

The first of the series follows Michelle and she had moved away from the island years before and was in the military. After her Mothers death, she had to return to the island and take control of the family business which is not in a state that she was prepared for. She comes back to her ex-best friend managing the business and they have not spoken since an incident that happened between the two of them that ruined the friendship, and now they have to find a way to work together for the sake of the business.

The second in the series follows Andi and she had been jilted at the alter, so she decided to move to the island and buy a house that needed some major renovations which included a practice on the first floor (she is a pediatrician). The house is on a road with just three houses in a row, and a history behind each one. This one is the favourite in the series for me because of the characters and plot line, it kept me wanting to read the most so much so that I finished it in one sitting.

The final novel in the series surrounds Nina and she is a nurse at Andi's office. She still lives with her Mom and her partner, and finds herself wanting more. What she didn't count on was suddenly having two men to choose from and on top of that having her sister move back to the island and she was always the "Mom" in their house, and does not want to be put in that position again.

If you are looking for a series that will take you on ups and downs and keep you guessing to the end, this is the one for you. Each book carries on some of the same characters from the previous ones so you get to see how everyone's story develops even after that novel may be over. I give this series as a whole a 5/5.

Thursday 6 March 2014

Necessary Lies by Diane Chamberlain

Source: ARC provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review


Bestselling author Diane Chamberlain delivers a breakout book about a small southern town fifty years ago, and the darkest—and most hopeful—places in the human heart

After losing her parents, fifteen-year-old Ivy Hart is left to care for her grandmother, older sister and nephew as tenants on a small tobacco farm.  As she struggles with her grandmother’s aging, her sister’s mental illness and her own epilepsy, she realizes they might need more than she can give.

When Jane Forrester takes a position as Grace County’s newest social worker, she doesn’t realize just how much her help is needed.  She quickly becomes emotionally invested in her clients' lives, causing tension with her boss and her new husband.  But as Jane is drawn in by the Hart women, she begins to discover the secrets of the small farm—secrets much darker than she would have guessed.  Soon, she must decide whether to take drastic action to help them, or risk losing the battle against everything she believes is wrong.

Set in rural Grace County, North Carolina in a time of state-mandated sterilizations and racial tension, Necessary Lies tells the story of these two young women, seemingly worlds apart, but both haunted by tragedy.  Jane and Ivy are thrown together and must ask themselves: how can you know what you believe is right, when everyone is telling you it’s wrong?


This is the first book that I have read by Diane Chamberlain, and it certainly will not be my last! The writing was absolutely stunning. I got so immersed in this story that I didn't want it to end, however, the ending was perfection. 

The setting that she describes puts you right there with the characters in their homes, and their work environment, and it is not all roses and sunshine. You really get a feel for what it was like back then and just how hard things really were for a lot of people.

The characters are flawless, and the way that she was able to switch points of view between the two main characters and give each their own distinctive voice was something that I have not read in a long time. Everything from the way that they walked, talked etc was different from one another but each was so fascinating at the same time, I just cannot sing enough praise for this novel.

I have read a few novels set in the same time period, however, nothing that included the governments sterilization project and this was so moving as even though this is a work of fiction, these things really did happen, and it just makes me so sad that someone would or could be tricked in to something like that and having all of their rights taken away from them is just sickening.

If you are looking for something that will move you and make you think about how lucky we really do have it these days, this is for sure the book for you, it is an incredible piece of art is the only way for me to explain it, absolute 5/5!