"A TOUR DE FORCE." --Kirkus (starred review)
Unpredictable. Unforgiving. Untamed.
For a family in crisis, the ultimate test of survival.
Ernt Allbright, a former POW, comes home from the Vietnam war a changed and volatile man. When he loses yet another job, he makes an impulsive decision: he will move his family north, to Alaska, where they will live off the grid in America’s last true frontier.
Thirteen-year-old Leni, a girl coming of age in a tumultuous time, caught in the riptide of her parents’ passionate, stormy relationship, dares to hope that a new land will lead to a better future for her family. She is desperate for a place to belong. Her mother, Cora, will do anything and go anywhere for the man she loves, even if means following him into the unknown.
At first, Alaska seems to be the answer to their prayers. In a wild, remote corner of the state, they find a fiercely independent community of strong men and even stronger women. The long, sunlit days and the generosity of the locals make up for the Allbrights’ lack of preparation and dwindling resources.
But as winter approaches and darkness descends on Alaska, Ernt’s fragile mental state deteriorates and the family begins to fracture. Soon the perils outside pale in comparison to threats from within. In their small cabin, covered in snow, blanketed in eighteen hours of night, Leni and her mother learn the terrible truth: they are on their own. In the wild, there is no one to save them but themselves.
In this unforgettable portrait of human frailty and resilience, Kristin Hannah reveals the indomitable character of the modern American pioneer and the spirit of a vanishing Alaska—a place of incomparable beauty and danger. The Great Alone is a daring, beautiful, stay-up-all-night story about love and loss, the fight for survival, and the wildness that lives in both man and nature.
My Review of The Great Alone
I have read hundreds of books in my lifetime and have many favorite authors, but one of my all time favorite writers of fiction is Kristin Hannah. I can remember the very first book I read of hers, The Things We Do For Love, and I was hooked. Her way of portraying human feelings and emotions just tugged at my heart and left me wanting more. I have read many of her books over the years and I jumped at a chance for an advanced reader copy of her new book soon to be released, The Great Alone, and I was not disappointed. If you are a fan you will love it, or if you have never read any of her works before, do yourself a favor and purchase The Great Alone. The following is a summary of the plot and characters.
Leni Allbright just wants to fit in, feel safe and live like a normal teenager, but her life is far from conventional. Moving frequently from place to place leaves her with no roots or place to call home. Her mom Cora has always been her anchor in life, no more so than when her dad Ernt arrives home from the Vietnam War, a changed and broken man. His nightmares and frequent outbursts make life difficult at home and nearly impossible for him to hold a job. When Ernt is willed some property from a fellow friend and veteran in Kenaq, Alaska, he jumps at the chance for a fresh start. Cora and Leni are a little leery about the prospects of living in a harsh environment they know nothing about, but no one says no to Ernt.
Arriving in Alaska, Leni immediately loves the beauty of the landscape and the raw nature that surrounds them. Their hopes are a little dashed when they see the cabin that is now theirs and the work it will take to make it habitable, but they all dig in determined to make the best of their new life. Their neighbors are friendly and willing to help them settle into their new home. Skills and safety are taught, as well as gifts brought to help them get through their first winter. Things finally seem right for the Allbrights. Leni has never seen her dad so positive, the summer is delightful despite the work and Cora remains hopeful this new beginning will keep Ernt’s behavior and nightmares at bay.
When summer is over and Leni starts school she finally makes a friend in Matthew Walker. The two are drawn immediately to each other and a strong friendship is born. Things couldn't be more perfect for Leni until the winter sets in. As the days get colder and the nights even longer Ernt becomes restless and agitated and the the two become a lethal combination. As his nightmares and rantings begin again as winter wears on, the abuse starts and Cora is the target. For years Cora hid the bruises from Leni as being her own clumsy fault, but now Leni sees the truth. And to make matters worse, Ernt has taken a strong dislike to Matthew Walker's dad, making Leni and Matthew’s friendship difficult at best. As time goes by and Matthew and Leni’s friendship turns to love, the two find they must hide their relationship from her father. Now Leni and Cora must stick together if they are to survive the winters with a husband and father who’s become a ticking time bomb. When the neighbors try to interfere for the safety of the two, Ernt enters into a world of madness and decides to barricade his family in and the neighbors out. With no hope in sight, mother and daughter now prisoners, plan an escape with disastrous results. As Cora and Leni’s world changes forever, mother and daughter are now bound by a secret that will irreparably change the rest of their lives.
This book was remarkable not only for the strength of it’s characters, but the emotions that it elicited as I was reading it. I was so frustrated with Cora. One minute I was angry with her and the next heartbroken at her situation and her inability or desire to change it. Her need to explain away the bruises and abuse was so frustrating at times. I wanted to feel for Ernt, but I couldn't. Yes, I was saddened he was broken from the war, but he seemed to take pleasure in his self-righteousness and his crazy ideologies. At times he was penitent, but most of the time he was just ugly and abusive. His intimidation of Leni and brutal treatment of Cora was indefensible.
Leni was shy and sweet and my heart ached for her. She so desperately wanted to be like any other girl her age, but her life was anything, but ordinary. Witnessing her father’s treatment of her mother, their crazy relationship, along with the brutal rantings of her father left her exasperated or hiding in fear most of the time. Her relationship with Matthew was her only lifeline. Matthew was kind and gentle and thought the world revolved around Leni. It was as if the two were made for each other. The supporting characters in The Great Alone pulled everything together. I loved Paul and Geneva Walker and especially Large Marge and although they were not in the book for long, Cora’s mother and father despite their being estranged were there for them with open arms, particularly when they needed it most. I could go on and on about the book, but suffice to say it was an emotionally haunting read and the ending was beautiful, typical Kristin Hannah style.
If you want a great novel to get you through these cold winter nights, then The Great Alone is the one for you. If you are a fan of Kristin Hannah, then you know what to expect. If you have never read any of her novels and you are a fan of women’s fiction with strong characters and a story-line with plenty of emotion and heart, then this book is for you.
I want to thank St. Martins’s Press via NetGalley for an advanced reader’s copy of The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah for a fair and honest review.
BOOK THREE IN THE SOUND OF SILENCE SERIES IS NOW AVAILABLE!!!
Did you miss Book One, STONE SILENCE?
No worries. It's FREE for five days, Jan. 1-5!!!
Grab it on AMAZON
TAYLOR DEANHothouse Flower by Taylor Dean I loved Jace Faraday with all my heart. I loved everything about him, from his huge smile to his fabulous laugh. Another man never caught my eye. It was always Jace and Shay, together forever. Until it wasn’t. He devastated me, he ruined me. I’ve never gotten over it. But, I’m a survivor. I’m not a precious flower that can only thrive if kept safe from the perils of the outside world. Except now Jace has returned home. He’s just across the street from me, so close I swear I can actually feel his presence. I can’t avoid him forever. At some point I have to face him. And when I do, I know sparks will fly. To redeem himself for his past actions, I need major remorse. I need a profuse apology and maybe even a little begging for forgiveness. I won’t settle for anything less. However, when the truth behind our break-up is revealed, I’m stunned. It leaves me reeling—and yearning for the six years that have been lost to us. The thing is, once the truth is known, there’s nothing to keep us apart. Absolutely nothing. Dear Reader: This book deals with a sensitive issue.
The Sound of Silence Series is a three book series.
Book One: Stone Silence, Spencer’s Story Book Two: Jailbird, Mia’s Story Book Three: Hothouse Flower, Shay’s Story
Each book has a happy ending and there are no cliffhangers. They are not standalones and should be read in order.Read an excerpt from HOTHOUSE FLOWER: Excerpt #1: I'LL BE RIGHT down to help with dinner, Mom,” I holler. It will just be a few minutes because I’m busy staring out the window at the man I’ve loved nearly all my life. He’s home. He’s actually home—just across the street from me, only yards away. I swear I can physically feel his presence and it’s killing me. Jace Faraday. The love of my youth. He just arrived at his mother’s house across the street. It’s early evening and I’m watching from my upstairs bedroom window just like I used to do as a teenager. All those old feelings I had for him are rushing over me just as strong as ever. Except now I’m a twenty-six year old woman and, sadly, I feel as though I’m too old to feel giddy over a man. He is the one man in my life that I have ever truly loved. I loved everything about him from his huge smile to his soft voice to his fabulous laugh. I loved his brawny physique, yet the fact that he had such a gentle touch. I loved his sense of humor the most of all. When we first started to say I love you to each other, they were serious moments and I knew he meant it as much as I did. As time went by, I would whisper I love you to him and he’d respond in a silly voice, “And I’ve grown fond of you.” It reduced me to a writhing mass of giggles every time. I was young when I first met him. His family moved in across the street when I was in kindergarten. By the time I was in fifth grade, I was sure he was the man I would marry. I was just a little girl with stars in her eyes, someone who was in love with love. By then Jace was in the eighth grade and seemed larger than life to me. That feeling of hero worship I felt as a little girl has never left me. Excerpt #2: “I apologize if that embarrassed you. That’s what creepy ex-boyfriends are for though. If you look it up in the dictionary, you’ll find that I’m right.” “That’s the exact definition?” I ask. “In a nutshell. I believe it reads: A hideous creature made to embarrass and humiliate his former girlfriend during every single moment of her life. Warning: They should all be hunted down and killed.” A half smile escapes. “That’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” “Maybe. I promise to try my best to not stand outside of your window in the middle of the night with a boom box over my head.” This time he makes me laugh aloud. “Just out of curiosity, what would the song be?” “Oh, you know, a rousing rendition of George Michael belting out Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go. After all, I’d have to wake you up before getting all romantic with my song choice.” “So . . . what would the romantic song be?” I have to know. “Don’t make me say it.” “You brought it up. Don’t leave me hanging.” “It would have to be . . . I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. Not many know it, but it’s a gem of a song. It says everything that’s in my heart.” It’s his ability to say silly things with a deadpan voice that makes him so funny. To me, at least. No one else ever laughs at his jokes quite like I do. I slap his arm playfully and Brit burrows deeper into his shoulder. “I’d go back to bed.” “I’d resort to drastic measures then.” “What drastic measures?” “I’d have to pull out the Barry Manilow. He’s only to be used in rare moments and with extreme caution.” Stone Silence by Taylor Dean Great big beautiful love. Does it really exist? Everyone tells me it does. They say, “Spencer Elliott, don’t worry, you’ll find it one day. You just have to find the right man and when you do, it will surprise the heck out of you.” I’m still waiting for that heck of a surprise to hit. It has proven to be elusive thus far. I’m pretty sure the entire world is lying about love and the joke is on me. I know I want a man in my heart and in my life. Unfortunately, most men immediately push my OFF button and I lose interest quickly. Feeling pressure to prove I’m trying to find my soulmate, I finally give in and agree to a date. Huge mistake. Afterward I find myself abandoned in the middle of nowhere, in desperate need of help. That’s when I meet Stony by chance. He’s a silent and unsmiling man who intrigues me with his ability to keep going after life has knocked him down. Suddenly the abstract notion of love becomes tangible and within my reach. Once I experience it, I wonder how I ever lived without it. That’s when I stay with Stony by choice. But when Stony’s hidden past and present-day reality collide, his silence is broken. And the truth about his life nearly brings me to my knees. I can’t compete with ghosts from the past. I refuse to fight for a man’s love. He either loves me or he doesn’t. It’s as simple and as complicated as that. My only hope is . . . he does.
Catch Book Two, JAILBIRD.Jailbird by Taylor Dean My hometown decided to rename me Jailbird. Every day I silently scream out, “My name is Mia Faraday!” My time in jail does not define me. I am so much more than one heated mistake. And yet, my slip-up weighs on me. There’s so much more to the story than anyone realizes. I must face Stony, my ex, and confess everything. I don’t want to. I’d rather have five teeth pulled. While I’m awake. Without anesthesia. But this is something I have to do, something I need to do. Not just for Stony. I need to do it for me. Especially for me. I can’t move forward with my life until I gain closure from the past. When I meet Grayson Elliott, I am easily pulled into his orbit and it’s exactly where I’d love to stay. He makes me laugh and not take life so seriously. He makes me want to live again. But I don’t love me right now, and that healing needs to come first. I’m not relationship-ready or marriage material. My mind is focused on redemption. I want it. I need it. Besides, when Grayson hears about my colorful past, I’m sure he’ll be gone before I have time to utter the word goodbye. After all, who could ever love a jailbird? Praise for JAILBIRD: Mia's story about forgiveness and redemption is packed with emotion and will leave you wanting more! -Jana, Amazon Review An adventure from start to finish, a wonderful sequel to Stone Silence. -atvtnv, Amazon Review Once I started reading, I just couldn't stop! It has been a LONG time since a book has kept me up WAY past my bedtime! -KJ's Book Nook
Author Taylor Dean Taylor Dean lives in Texas and is the mother of four grown children. Upon finding herself with an empty nest, she began to write the stories that were always wandering around in her head, quickly finding she had a passion for writing, specifically romance. Whether it’s paranormal, contemporary, or suspense—you’ll find all sub-genres of clean romance in her line-up.Blast Giveaway Details $50 Amazon Gift Card or Paypal Cash Ends 1/21/18 Open only to those who can legally enter, receive and use an Amazon.com Gift Code or Paypal Cash. Winning Entry will be verified prior to prize being awarded. No purchase necessary. You must be 18 or older to enter or have your parent enter for you. The winner will be chosen by rafflecopter and announced here as well as emailed and will have 48 hours to respond or a new winner will be chosen. This giveaway is in no way associated with Facebook, Twitter, Rafflecopter or any other entity unless otherwise specified. The number of eligible entries received determines the odds of winning. Giveaway was organized by Kathy from I Am A Reader and sponsored by the author. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. a Rafflecopter giveaway
Prepare to stay up all night with Colleen Coble. Coble's beautiful, emotional prose coupled with her keen sense of pacing, escalating danger, and very real characters place her firmly at the top of the suspense genre. I could not put this book down." --Allison Brennan, New York Times bestselling author of Shattered
“…The View From Rainshadow Bay, opens with a heart-pounding, run-for-your-life chase. This book will stay with you for a long time, long after you flip to the last page.” - 4 STARS, RT Book Reviews
After her husband, Jack, dies in a climbing incident, Shauna has only her five-year-old son and her helicopter charter business to live for. Every day is a struggle to make ends meet and she lives in constant fear of losing even more than she already has.
When her business partner is murdered, his final words convince Shauna that she’s in danger too. But where can she turn? Zach Bannister was her husband’s best friend and is the person she blames for his death. She’s barely spoken to him since. But right now he seems her only hope for protecting her son.
Zach is only too happy to assuage his guilt over Jack’s death by helping Shauna any way he can. But there are secrets involved dating back to Shauna’s childhood that more than one person would prefer to stay hidden.
In The View from Rainshadow Bay, suspense, danger, and a longing to love again ignite amid the gorgeous lavender fields of Washington State.
My Review of The View from Rainshadow Bay
Best known for her books filled with intrigue, suspense and romance, Colleen Coble’s latest novel, The View from Rainshadow Bay, is a faced paced Christian read sure to please anyone who likes mysteries with plenty of heart.
Shauna McDade lives a relatively quiet life in the town of Lavender Tides. The majority of her time is spent raising her five year old son Alex when she is not flying customers in her chopper. Since the death of her husband, Shauna is both mom and dad and breadwinner for her little family. Always stressed and short of funds Shauna does her best with what little she has. Close friends and family have been a blessing for Shauna for their help with Alex and their emotional support. Clarence Glennon is one of those friends that has been like a father to Shauna. So when she is summoned to her dearest friend’s home and given a package to deliver to his estranged wife Lucy, Shauna is convinced something is terribly wrong. He is extremely agitated and confides in her his suspicions someone is watching him. Her fears are confirmed when he is killed in an explosion that is made to look like an accident.
One of the first firemen to arrive on the scene to assist is Zach Bannister, a former friend of Shauna’s and her late husband Jack. Shauna and Zack’s relationship is strained at best as she blames Zack for her late husband’s death. Although it was a climbing accident, she blames Zack for always competing with him, egging him on to go faster and higher. Guilt ridden, Zack is desperate to get back in Shauna’s good graces, so he jumps at the chance to accompany Shauna to deliver the mysterious package. After the two console Lucy, the contents of the package is uncovered. The box contains documents and pictures showing the surrounding area of Rainshadow Bay, but nothing suspicious immediately jumps out at any of them. However, Shauna becomes upset when a necklace is discovered in the box, one she believes may have been her late mother’s. But what was Clarence’s doing with her late mother’s necklace and what if anything could it have to do with his death? Wanting to uncover the mystery, Zach agrees to take the contents of the box to the sheriff, but when Lucy turns up murdered the next day and the house ransacked it becomes all too clear the contents of the box is far more valuable than any of them realize. When Shauna becomes the killers next target, Zach is determined to protect her and her son. But can Zach protect his heart from the feelings he’s developing for Shauna and can Shauna let go of the past to envision a future with Zach. You will have to read to find out!
I have read several of Colleen Coble’s books and have to admit that The View from Rainshadow Bay will go down as one of my favorites. The suspense Colleen Coble created throughout the book kept me turning the pages. Her characters were well developed and she kept me guessing as to who the killer was. The tension between Zack and Shauna was palpable. The affection that Alex and Zach had for one another was so sweet and tender it left me wanting the three to become a family. I cheered at the bravery of both Zach and Shauna in the face of danger and loved the ending (which I won’t give away). This is a fast read that is filled with suspense and enough romance to please every reader who loves Christian and/or Women’s fiction. The View From Rainshadow Bay is a great read to get you through the winter doldrums. It will lift your spirits and leave you wanting more.
I want to thank Thomas-Nelson Fiction via NetGalley for an advanced reader copy of The View From Rainshadow Bay by Colleen Coble for a fair and honest review.
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