Thursday, April 28, 2016

Book Review: Leaving Blythe River by Catherine Ryan Hyde

Hi all,

I’m already a big fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde and this novel solidified it. Here we go…

Leaving Blythe River
Catherine Ryan Hyde


Book Description:

Seventeen-year-old Ethan Underwood is totally unprepared to search for his father in the Blythe River National Wilderness. Not only is he small, scrawny, and skittish but he’s barely speaking to the man after a traumatic betrayal. Yet when his father vanishes from their remote cabin and rangers abandon the rescue mission, suddenly it’s up to Ethan to keep looking. Angry or not, he’s his father’s only hope.

With the help of three locals—a fearless seventy-year-old widow, a pack guide, and a former actor with limited outdoor skills—he heads into the wild. The days that follow transform Ethan’s world. Hail, punishing sun, swollen rapids, and exhausting pain leave him wondering if he’s been fooled yet again: Is his father out here at all? As the situation grows increasingly dire, Ethan realizes this quest has become about more than finding his dad.

From the bestselling author of Pay It Forward comes a story of nature revealing human nature—the trickiest terrain. Navigating an unforgiving landscape, Ethan searches himself for the ability to forgive his father—if he finds him alive.


Publish Date: May 24, 2016

Lake Union Publishing

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My Five Star Review:

Leaving Blythe River is the third book I’ve read by author Catherine Ryan Hyde, and I have to say, I enjoyed it as much as I have her others. She writes strong stories that delve into the hearts and minds of her realistic characters. These characters aren’t perfect people—as none of us are—and that makes her stories even more intriguing.

Seventeen-year-old Ethan is not a smooth-talking, overly confident teen. Unlike his good looking, athletic father, Ethan is small in stature and not very brave. The night he discovers his father’s betrayal, he has an incident that causes him to become even more timid. But when his mother, now separated from his father, needs Ethan to stay with his father for the summer in the wilderness—far from the city life Ethan is used to—Ethan is even more anxious. He doesn’t want to spend time alone with his father or be anywhere near the bear-infested wilderness. And then his dad disappears.

Ethan musters all his courage to go into the mountains with three very colorful characters and search for his father. Along the way, he finds that he is braver and stronger than he thought.

Leaving Blythe River is an unforgettable story of courage, strength, and mending broken relationships. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I believe that readers of compelling women’s fiction will love it, too. If you aren’t already of fan of Catherine Ryan Hyde’s novels, then this book will make you one.

(I received a complimentary copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)


About the Author:

Catherine Ryan Hyde is the author of thirty published and forthcoming books. Her bestselling 1999 novel Pay It Forward, adapted into a major Warner Bros. motion picture starring Kevin Spacey and Helen Hunt, made the American Library Association’s Best Books for Young Adults list and was translated into more than two dozen languages for distribution in more than thirty countries. Her novels Becoming Chloe and Jumpstart the World were included on the ALA’s Rainbow List; Jumpstart the World was also a finalist for two Lambda Literary Awards and won Rainbow Awards in two categories. More than fifty of her short stories have been published in many journals, including the Antioch Review, Michigan Quarterly Review, the Virginia Quarterly Review, Ploughshares, Glimmer Train, and the Sun, and in the anthologies Santa Barbara Stories and California Shorts and the bestselling anthology Dog Is My Co-Pilot. Her short fiction received honorable mention in the Raymond Carver Short Story Contest, a second-place win for the Tobias Wolff Award, and nominations for Best American Short Stories, the O. Henry Award, and the Pushcart Prize. Three have also been cited in Best American Short Stories.

Ryan Hyde is also founder and former president of the Pay It Forward Foundation. As a professional public speaker, she has addressed the National Conference on Education, twice spoken at Cornell University, met with AmeriCorps members at the White House, and shared a dais with Bill Clinton.


More reviews of books by Catherine Ryan Hyde:

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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Book Review: Before The Fall by Noah Hawley

Hi all,

I don’t read the suspense/thriller genre often, but when I read the description of this novel, I had to read it. I’m so glad I did, too. Before The Fall by Noah Hawley was definitely a page-turner. Here is more about the book and my five-star review.


Before the Fall

Noah Hawley

Book Description:

On a foggy summer night, eleven people-ten privileged, one down-on-his-luck painter-depart Martha's Vineyard on a private jet headed for New York. Sixteen minutes later, the unthinkable happens: the plane plunges into the ocean. The only survivors are Scott Burroughs-the painter-and a four-year-old boy, who is now the last remaining member of an immensely wealthy and powerful media mogul's family.

With chapters weaving between the aftermath of the crash and the backstories of the passengers and crew members-including a Wall Street titan and his wife, a Texan-born party boy just in from London, a young woman questioning her path in life, and a career pilot-the mystery surrounding the tragedy heightens. As the passengers' intrigues unravel, odd coincidences point to a conspiracy. Was it merely by dumb chance that so many influential people perished? Or was something far more sinister at work? Events soon threaten to spiral out of control in an escalating storm of media outrage and accusations. And while Scott struggles to cope with fame that borders on notoriety, the authorities scramble to salvage the truth from the wreckage.

Amid pulse-quickening suspense, the fragile relationship between Scott and the young boy glows at the heart of this stunning novel, raising questions of fate, human nature, and the inextricable ties that bind us together.


Pre-order on Amazon Kindle or Hardcover

Also available at your favorite bookstore after the publication date

Publication Date: May 31, 2016

Grand Central Publishing


My 5 Star Review:

Eleven people board a private plane on a foggy night heading for New York City. Sixteen minutes later, the plane crashes into the ocean and there are only two survivors. Suspicion, speculation, and accusations follow as the media questions why these two are the only ones to survive such a tragic crash.

In Before The Fall by Noah Hawley, the author brings up the question of fate and destiny. Why did fate place the one starving artist on a plane otherwise filled with people of wealth and privilege? How can one simple choice cause your entire world to collapse? This suspenseful thriller will have you questioning if you control your own destiny – or is it a matter of fate?

In the aftermath of the crash, we follow each passenger’s life in a separate chapter to learn more about them as we try to find out why the plane crashed. We learn a little more about the last minutes of the flight through each character, as each one is a piece of the puzzle. In-between, we also follow the survivors who are being scrutinized by the press. Their lives change drastically, all because they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

I was deeply enthralled by this story and had a hard time putting it down. It's an excellent suspense/thriller novel that is sure to be a bestseller! If you love a good suspense novel – this is the book for you.

(I received an advance copy of this novel from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review.)


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About the Author:

Noah Hawley is an Emmy, Golden Globe, Critics' Choice, and Peabody Award-winning author, screenwriter and producer. He has published four novels and penned the script for the feature film Lies and Alibis. He created, executive produced and served as showrunner for ABC's My Generation and The Unusuals and was a writer and producer on the hit series Bones. Hawley is currently executive producer, writer, and showrunner on FX's award-winning series, Fargo.