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Top 5: Books to read for Halloween

Top 5: Books to read for Halloween!

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Hello All

Happy spooktastic season! I am a lover of Halloween and all it entails. All the scares, jumps and almost pee your pants scary moments. Movies for the visual effects are obvious favourites during this season but I have been sufficiently spooked by a good book or two! Here I offer your 5 eerie reads that are hopeful to triggers all those fears in one’s mind! As always if you have any other bloodcurdling freaky reads I would love to hear from you!!!! So sit back, relax and enjoy these top 5 reads for Halloween!!! -(insert evil laugh from tales of the crypt keeper)

  1. A Head Full of Ghosts by Paul Tremblay Goodreads 3.80

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First on the list is a ghost/ paranormal story! A Head Full of Ghosts follows a family in England as they try and navigate through their daughter’s mental health problems. The Barretts’ s 14 year old daughter faces schizophrenia issues and as per usual in these types of horror stories modern medicine fails her. The family turns to a Catholic priest for an exorcism. Sounds like the Exorcist right. The novel does stray in the storyline as the Barrett family allows a film crew to make a reality TV show of the exorcism. For the viewers what is real and what is fake TV? Fast forward 15 years and the sister if the ill daughter now does an all tell interview where the truth comes out!!!

  1. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow by Washington Irving Goodreads 3.72

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A classic gothic tale that has been made into many movies and TV shows. This novel follows the main character of Ichabod Crane who is an outsider in a Dutcvh settlement called Sleepy Hollow. Sleepy Hollow is known to be a haunted settlement. The most famous of their stories is that the ghost of a headless horseman, a previous Hessian soldier who lost his head in a canon accident rides around the area. Ichabod is a superstitious school teacher pining after the local Van Tessal daughter, as many other men are. One day at a party he gets turned down by Katrina. While riding home he encounters the headless horsemans who chases after him. The horseman then throws the severed head at Ichabod. The next morning Ichabod disappears. Is this a mystery of did the local man Brom scare him away?

  1. Caroline by Neil Gaiman Goodreads 4.05

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The famous author of American Gods brings to you this frightening dark fantasy novel. Caroline moves into a new complex of houses. She has neighbours all around her except there is an empty complex on the other side of her’s. She finds a bricked up door in between her complex and the empty one – strange dadada! She finds the new place very boring and decided to go and meet the neighbours. Mr. Babo has a circus full and mice and passes on a message from them, Caroline is warned not to go through the brick door. Don’t you love the crazy eccentric neighbours! After this ominous message of course the door would be open. Caroline goes through and finds the ‘Other world” which is exactly like hers but way more interesting. There is the Other Mother and Other Father that pepper her with love and affection- one weird thing- they have black buttons for eyes!!! This story takes a dark and spooky turn when the Other Mother turns out to be evil!

  1. Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe Goodreads 4.23

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One of Poe’s most famous short stories the tell-tale heart is sure to ensue nightmarish thoughts. It is told by an unknown narrator who is trying to convince the reader that he is in fact sane. Then he goes on to describe the murder her committed of this old man. He goes into great detail regarding the murder and reveals that he kid the body under the floorboard of his house. Of course this ‘sane’ person starts to go off his rocker. Whether it be from guilt or actual insanity the narrator think that he/she hears the beating heart of the old man under his floorboards- all over a period of time. Such a great and macabre short story it is sure to give you all the goose pimply feelings that accompany Halloween.

  1. Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark by Alvin Schwartz Goodreads 4.06

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This has been made into a movie released August 9th of this year. I haven’t read then but have heard great things! They are a collection of 3 books consist of around 30 short stories. These stories have an urban legend Brothers Grimm feel. The stories are made to scare children and are said to be violent, habe controversial content and are sick and repulsive!! What more could you ask for in a Halloween book? Some short stories include: Old Woman All Skin and Bones, The Haunted House, Alligators, The BLack Dog, Deadman’s Brain.

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So what do you all think of my creepy picks? For those of you that read them what do you think of the scare factors? I would love to hear from those of you that have read Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark! What did you all think of the short stories? I would love to hear any comment so please feel free to leave one below! I hope you all have a ghoulish holiday!

Happy Reading!

Happy Halloween!!

book blogger, book review, book review, Books, books, fiction, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

Book Review: We All Fall Down by Daniel Kalla

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Hello All

I am coming to you will a great book review for an under hyped book. I love me a pandemic, doomsday novel and this was a great pick. We All Fall Down is just the book for those like me, it follows a modern day black plague story!!! YAY – no zombies attached. I have never read Daniel Kalla but I will def read more from him ps Canadian Author and a doctor woo woo!! Also by this author includes: The Far Side of the Sky and Pandemic.

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This story starts off with Vittoria who is in charge of a construction site. She has a wet cough and boils, passes out at work. She is supposed to tear down a monastery to build new condos and shopping centers.

Now enter Dr. Nico Olivia who is involved in caring for Vittoria. He called Alana to come and help with this patient in Genoa. Alana goes on many trips for her job to outbreaks around the world looking for the contamentent. This patient has been positive for a thought it be extinct ‘disease’ the black plague.

Now the second part of this book are journal entries from a Dr. Pasqua who treated the black plague back in 1348. He goes to the monastery that is being torn down- this is where his journal is found. Somehow Dr. Pasqua is immune to the disease and this arises suspicion from the archbishop – thinking maybe it is witchcraft.

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Present day the plague is spreading outside the construction site. It is starting to hit the community and the number of sick patients is adding up. It has now started to transfer with the briefest of contact which is different from the original strand. We see Alana’s boss is having a hard time believing it is the plague and wants to pull Alana out. It is outlines that the fast spread with even with antibiotic use is happening which brings into question possible bioterrorism. It turns out that NATO has samples of the Soviet’s plague bacteria they were weaponizing back in the day, Alana wants to help ahold of these to compare to their strand.

They find rat droppings at the construction site, which is how the original black plague was spread- fleas on small animals. It seems that there is a history between Nico and ALana- they once were co-workers who fell in love. Nico now has a family and he is drunk texting Alana causing mixed feelings that make this situation harder.

Nico and Alana start to be little detective and want to find a missing construction site worker who was supposedly sick before Vittoria- possible patient zero. They meet with Emilio who knows Yasin – he believes he disappeared as well.

Back to the journals. Dr. P finds out the same monastery which is being torn down in present in the past had these rats touched by the hands of god. These particular rats are immune to the plague. He wants to make a makeshift vaccine from these rats but the monks are not allowing this as they were ‘touched by God’. He at this time is now sick and drinks the blood from these rats. And he lives – the first vaccine ! He goes back to collect more rats and now there is a rat keeper because the monks believe they are a gift from God.

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So all the results come back in the present day. It turns out that the rats are immune to the strand but the fleas they carry are not. Is this the perfect bio weapon? We learn that the monk present at the beginning of the story sitting outside the construction site is really the person releasing the ‘infected’ rats into the city. He is releasing them into the slums because he believe God is stelling him humanity needs salvation and cleansing.

Dr. P’s journals paint a picture of hysteria among man when the outbreak was at its peak. They all wanted someone to blame, just like what Alana was seeing in present day. Dr.P. learns that the monastery set up crypts for the rats in case of a future plague outbreak thus protecting the rats throughout the centuries. For the following years the monks unknowingly fed these rats as they threw their garbage down a chute that led to their crypts.

This monk who hears the voice of God – Stefano- is receiving mysterious emails from someone telling him to follow the voice he thinks is God. God is out for vengeance because so many people have fallen out of religion.

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Alana finds out that Nico really wants to work on his marriage and ends up hooking up with her co worker on this case Byron- who has given her trouble throughout.

Enter Don Arturo who spend years are the monastery and is upset it’s being torn down. Alana learns that he is the one sending the emails to Stefano. He convinces Stefano to get off his psych meds because he worked so closely with Stefano there was great trust. He justifies this so STefano can hear the Lord’s voice more clearly and he took that the treating down of the monastery was a sign that humankind needed correcting- kind of Dan Brown’s Angels and Demons style.

Alana and Byron pursue Stefano onto a ship where he was going to release the rats into Asia. He decides to hide in the food bins on the ships so the rats have food and no one would look for him there. Alana finds him and tries to convince him that what he was doing was cruel, he was hurting children. Stefano caves as he is a good person deep down.

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Overall it was kind of your typical religious doomsday novel but I enjoyed being an old plague to haunt modern day. I will look forward to reading more of his novels in the future. Have any of you read this one? What did you think? Please feel free to leave comments below. I would love to hear from you. What are some of your fav disaster books – ps look for my top 5 natural disaster and man made disaster posts in the future!!

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Happy Reading!!!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, Literature

Book Review: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

Book Review: The Lost Night by Andrea Bartz

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The Lost Night has not gotten a lot of hype around the bookish community. This was a friend’s recommendation and I must say I didn’t hate it. It was not the most mind blowing book in the world but it was an enjoyable read. Andrea Bartz was an unknown author for me to read and to be honest I don’t know if I would read anything else from her. She was originally a journalist and co-author of a book called Stuff Hipsters Hate. Her other fiction novel is the Herd and its sounds meh.

The story starts off as a self narrator Edie reveals that she is not the happy go lucky socialite everyone thinks she is. It’s a diary style entry that also tells us she is not very connected with her friend Lindsay anymore. Then bam Edie is dead, thought to be a suicide!. Fast forward to present day. Lindsay and Sarah- a friend from Edie days, reconnect around the time of Edie’s death anniversary. Lindsay finds out that Sarah didn’t think Edie’s death was a suicide. She found Edie in her underwear which was very strange to her as Edie was always put together. She also found a gin drink in her right hand however she was left handed.

This sparks Lindsay to feel nostalgic and she starts to read over all her old emails from Edie. The reader notices the power difference between the two in the friendship. Turns out Lindsay was actually going to ‘break up’ with Edie. Edie was overbearing and bossy. Lindsay then found her flip cam and watched everyone bad mouthing Edie the night she died! Alex- Edie’s ex boyfriend at the time was also vocal about his dislike for Edie. Doubt seems to be creeping up as to who was responsible for Edie’s death.

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Greg- another friend from the group- point of view comes through. He met Edie by chance and became instantly infatuated with her over Craig’s list. Greg thought that Lindsay was a creepy brunette roommate. At this point the reader is starting to get suspicious of so many people in Edie’s death, especially Lindsay. We find out that Lindsay grew up in a right wing family very comfortable with guns. The gun that killed Edie belonged to another friend from the group Kevin and was easily accessible.

We find out that Edie had a miscarriage and Kevin was the one who took her to the hospital. She was dating Alex at the time and cheated on him with Lloyd, whom Lindsay liked. Linday found out about Lloyd by talking to Edie’s mother. Lindsay is being a little detective trying to find the truth of the night no one can remember. This book outlines each circle of friends have dirty secrets and brings to light the question of how well you can really know someone.

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Edie was dating this older gentleman for along time – Greg. While Lindsay was stalking him to find out what he knew about Edie’s secrets she stumbles upon Josh. He is cute and asked her out ! More detective work goes on and Lindsay thinks that Alex is being shady when he says that he was okay with his and Edie’s breakup- especially since she has seen the lost footage of everyone trash talking Edie. Is she being paranoid as everyone seems guilty of having a beef with Edie. Which beef is big enough for murder?

So the video clip where everyone was bashing Edie had some inaudible parts in a different location. Lindsay’s friend put it through filters and where they heard’ heavy senile skies’ turns into be ‘ have you seen Alex!”. So Alex was missing the night Edie died. Now as a reader my suspicion is so confused. I started off thinking it was Lindsay and now I may think it was Alex. Great writing technique!

Talking to Kevin Lindsay found out that after her miscarraige Edie confessed to him it would suck to die young because you have not truly lived. Why would she then commit suicide. Trying to find the truth Lindsay confronted Alex. He said that Edie had flunked out of the spring term and her mother found out and showed up trying to convince her daughter to come home.

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So trying to figure out Edie’s death Lindsay, Sarah and Alex are all having lunch together. Sarah thinks that Lindsay is being paranoid. Sarah says Edie was just a shitty friend and she told Sarah Lindsay’s deepest secret. The Warsaw incident was that Lindsay clawed someone’s face while she was drunk. We also see her anger come out when Lindsay goes out with Josh gets drunk and pushes him into traffic.

Teresa is Lindsays good friend and is trying to help Lindsay with all this confusion. She helps hangover Lindsay and tries to comfort her asking her to give up this wild goose chase. Lindsay finds an email on her computer sent from Edie? Teresa puts a tracker on her computer and finds out Lindsay sent it to herself. Now Lindsay is crazy and blows up at Teresa. She is pushing people away just like Edie did. We also learn from Teresa that Lindsay was a troubled child and pushed her mother down they stairs. Seems like Lindsay has a violent past. Now my suspicion is placed back on Lindsay. The author is great at redirecting the murder suspect keeping the reader intriuged.

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We are now at the climax of this book and what a twist we read. Teresa goes all psycho on Lindsay. It seems like Teresa is trying to make Lindsay paranoid and blame herself but we learn that Teresa is really Jenna – Edies old roommate!. She killed Edie because Edie dropped her from the friend group then moved out. She started dealing drugs for a local named Anthony. This is how she was able to get close again to Edie asking for forgiveness then bam shot her staging it as a suicide.

Jenna/Teresa then befriended Lindsay to keep tabs on her- Lindsay saw everything that night but was too drunk to remember. Jenna used Lindsay’s sketchy past to keep the suspicion on Lindsay and off her. Drugged Lindsay goes to shoot Jenna and blacks out ending up in the hospital. Here is where things get really confusing for Lindsay. When she wakes up ‘Teresa’ says she had another drunken moment like Warsaw and Josh and shot Teresa by mistake. What do we believe as the reader. Is the previous event just a figment of Lindsays’ imagination or did they really happen?

Lindsay spills water on her laptop. She takes it to a Geek squad to get fixed and learned that Teresa is actually tracking her every move. She confronts Teresa about this and we learn than once again Teresa is really Jenna! Jenna is arrested and Lindsay now tries to heal from all this craziness.

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So this book was really good at confusing the reader. It made use distrust the voice of the narrator- Lindsay- by making us question the dependability of Lindsay’s perspective. By making up question the sanity of the narrator it also made us question whether she was a reliable storyteller. I really liked the twist at the end which made me even more confused and the suspension was great. What did you all think of this book. Yay or nay? Please feel free to leave comments below! I would love to hear from you!

Happy Reading!!!

book blogger, book review, Books, books, Fiction, inspiration, Literature, top 5

Top 5: Must Read Classics

                                                       Top 5: Must Read Classics

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Hello All

So here is yet again another top 5. This top 5 will outline my favourite classic fiction. Classic fiction has stood the test of time for sooo many reasons. Whether the stories can be applied to present day, how beautiful the writing is or how mind blowing the stories are, classic are timeless!!! Now I know classics are not for everyone, especially the writing styles and language but if you can get through these struggles these authors are quite brilliant for their time. The following 5 books are my favourite must read classics which you may or may not enjoy, I hope you do though.

  1. Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte 1847 4.11 stars on good reads
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So this book was the first classic I picked up to read for leisure outside of school requirements. It was also one of my first big reads as the book is on the longer side. The book is set up in 5 phases of the main character Jane’s life: childhood, education, time as a governess at the Thornfields hall, time at the Moor house and the reunion with Edward Rochester. So not going to get into too many details but this book is full of drama, hardships, love, rejection and personal growth. This is also one of the best known love stories of all time along with anything Jane Austin writes.

2. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott 1868 4.06 stars are Goodreads

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Probably one of the first women coming of age novels. Story focuses around four women which each have such different distinct personalities. They go through the trials and tribulations of leaving childhood and breach into adulthood. The story’s timeline is one year, Christmas to Christmas. I could compare this story to a modern day Judy Bloom story! It outlines a totally different view due to the era it was written. Not only do these girls go through changes but they face them in a hard financial war ridden time. The girls have to face life without their father for a year! The 2 eldest then have to work in order to make ends meet. Great story!!

3. 1984 by George Orwell 1949 4.17 Stars on Goodreads

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This is one of the first dystopian novels published, way before Hunger Game times! It touches on the social issues such as the government’s reach into people’s everyday lives, repression, and how the government wants to control thoughts so no one has an original idea. George Orwell was a brilliant author with crazy insight for his time. It is set in an imagined future where civilization was damaged beyond repair by civil unrest. The leader Big Brother- the government- tries to control any individuality and the main character wants to be an individual. Great read for anyone not yet into classical fiction.

4. Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte 1846 3.84 Stars on Goodreads

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This is a newer classic read for me. My friends all have differing opinions on this book. I thought it was kind of similar to other tragic forbidden love story books of its era. However it is still an easier classical fiction read and makes my top 5 list. Main character falls in love with a difficult and rude man who does not initially love her back or shows he loves her. Heathcliff, the poor mannered gentleman, allows Lockwood to stay at this house after seeing the ghost of his lost love Catherine. He falls ill and the love story is told by the housekeeper. Catherine loves Heahtcliff but it would have degraded her to marry him. Heathcliff overhears this conversation and runs away from the manner. She ends up marrying someone else and is unhappy. The story unfolds with a whole slew of debauchery, betrayal, revenge and mixed matched relationships.

5. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin 1813 4.25 stars on Goodreads

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This story follows 5 daughters of Mr. Bennet. He is trying to get at least one of them married off so they may inherit his house and estate as he has no sons. It follows Elizabeth Bennet and her love story. It outlines the issues of marrying for love or for wealth which surprisingly is still in the spotlight today. The story has it all, love, betrayal, loss and humor. A read all around read for anyone to enjoy. From balls to cottages the settings in this British novel are great! All you could want from a book set in this era!!!!

What are some of your favorite classic fiction. What makes you apprehensive to read them. The old language is something to get used to but the stories stand the test of time!!! Please feel free to comment on your favourites below. Or did you not like one of the ones I listed? I would love to hear why.

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Happy Reading!!!!!

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Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

Book Review: Where the Crawdads Sing by Delia Owen

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This little diddy of a book was such a great pick. We just finished this for our book club and I cannot wait to hear what all my book peeps have to say about it. Reese Witherspoon’s book club has really great picks. The author studies animals in Africa and wrote a bunch of memoirs. This is her first try at fiction and wow did she deliver. It seems I have reviewed a lot of first books for authors lately. Where is Crawdads Sing is a great coming of age wrapped up in a murder mystery with a dollop of nature! P.S. Reese is making this book into a movie !!!!

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This story takes place in the 1950s to 1970s. It starts off outlining a murder of a local boy Chase Andrews who is found in the swamp in 1969. He is the town’s golden boy. Star football jock, parents own the local automotive shop and of course he married the local pretty girl.

1953 the main character Kay is the youngest of 5 children who all live in poverty in the marshlands near Barkley Cove. Their mother leaves which puts them in the care of their drunken father. All of her siblings eventually leave so it is just her and her Pa.

Being left alone with her abusive and absent father Kay has to learn to survive on her own. What does a young girl do when she is left to her own devices? Kay learns to care for herself, stretch a penny and cook grits.

She was so alone that when she stepped on a rusted nail she had to treat it by herself. She used everything from the marsh, which became like a mother to her and the gulls became her friends.

Jump to the crime scene in 69- no fingerprints or footprints were found. Looked like the scene was wiped free or someone familiar to the marsh committed it. There was no blood on the bars and the floor door was left open.

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After Pa lest Kay as well and the money ran out Kay has to learn to make money for herself. She dug up muscles and sold them to Jumpin a local merchant. What seer will power and survival skills Kay exhibits to figure this out herself.

As time goes on she sees no one but someone keeps leaving precious feathers out for her to find. It turns out that it was a local boy Tate, who was Kay’s older brothers friend. He teaches her how to read and becomes her one true friend besides the gull and march creatures.

I love when the title is explained. Somewhere near the middle of the book Where the crawdads sing is explained – its far in the bush where critters are wild, still behaving like critters- hide there. I’m taking it as Kay living in the marsh being the truest form of a human and where humans still behave like humans. Where as in town everyone is concerned with status and money Where the Crawdad’s sing is about getting to your roots and living your most true self- feel free to disagree with me, it’s just my opinion

Kay and Tate’s relationship blooms and soon they share one of the most romantic first kisses I have ever read. In the marsh with flowers and leaves flying around in the air. 1960 Tate has to go off to university leaving Kay alone again, just like everyone else in her life. It is just as heartbreaking for the reader. All I wanted for Kay was to have someone to love her after being alone for so long but alas out heart breaks again.

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1965 enter Chase. This is when Chase firsts notices Kay now 19. He finds her wild and unconventional being intriguing and wants to be the first to ‘peg her’. It was Chase her took Kay to the fire tower where he would later be found dead. Kay gave him a shell necklace there that was not on his body when he died. He talks about marriage with Kay and strings her along for his own selfish reasons.

Tate comes back into Kay’s life to warn her about Chase’s intentions. He sees Kay’s march collection and believes she could get a book deal with all her knowledge. Tate reveals that he was selfish and scary and a coward to leave Kay. Kay not knowing how to forgive as everyone in her life has let her down and abandoned her dismisses him. But she soon finds out through the local newspaper that Chase is indeed engaged to another girl.

Tate comes back once again into Kay’s life to see her published book on local seashells. They have always shared a love for the marsh, A book about marsh books is to follow for $5000, she got to furnish her shack.

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Now this is where the book picks up and changes its feel. I’m not going to lie, I did find the beginning of the book a bit slow but still good. The second half of the book is fast paced and exciting.

The second half of the book is Kay being on trial for Chase Andrews murder. The local sheriff tried to get a motive – Chase not choosing Kay. He has her getting on and off the bus to meet her publisher but it also gives her a time frame to meet and push Chase. There are red fibers found on Chase, could be from Kay’s red hat.

1970 as the trial starts to comes to light that Chase tired to rape Kay and it was seen by local fisherman. Being an outcast it was easy for the town people to pin all the behaviour on Kay and not their golden boy Chase.

Tate continues to visit Kay while in jail. Waiting for the verdict in jail is a different kind of loneliness for Kay. She can see and smell her beloved marsh through the bars in her cell.

The verdict comes back not guilty to everyone’s surprise. Tate and Kay live out their lives in their beloved marsh together, finally. Jodie her brothers keeps in contact and visits often. Finally Kay has a loving family she longed for for so long.

Kay died in her 60’s fittingly drifting off in her boat along the waterways of her march. Take then finds the shell necklace that Kay once gave Chase and a poem outlining that she really did kill Chase.

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All in all, I really enjoyed this book. It was such a heroing tale of loneliness, survival and the importance of family ties. Not going to lie, I enjoyed the ending and finding out that Kay really killed Chase. I am not in any way condoning getting revenge but in a novel it was a nice twist. How did you like the book? How did you like the book? Please feel free to leave comments below .

Happy Reading!!!