One Minute to Midnight: A Book Review

Louis Finley wants to get married, but first, he must overcome his family’s unseemly reputation in town. Can he? Read One Minute to Midnight to find out.

One Minute to Midnight by Jessica Marie Holt continues the Unsung Legacies collection as a stand-alone story that includes characters you’ve come to love in the other books.

My thoughts about One Minute to Midnight

I originally read One Minute to Midnight, not for review, but as a beta reader. Beta readers share their opinions about a book with the author, make small suggestions, and sometimes catch minor typos.

The experience can be both daunting and wonderful. In some cases, you read books that need months to years worth of work. Other times, you read stories so well-written from the start that you immediately fall in love. Those are the kinds of beta-read books you’ll see reviewed here.

Basics of the Story

If you’ve read Sunlight and Shadows, then I only have to mention that One Minute to Midnight follows the Finley family – mainly Louis Finley. Of course, you’ll also recognize Big Jim, Betty, Dottie, Jesse, and other favorite characters from the collection.

Louis has a lot to overcome after his older brothers and depressed father created an unseemly reputation for his family. But his desire to marry the girl of his dreams fills him with determination to make a living. Unfortunately, nearly every business owner in town turns him away, despite their advertisements for needed help. In the end, Louis looks to Big Jim for work, the man hurt most by his missing brother Walter.

Set in the late 1800s, this book takes you to the South where hardworking men struggle to see people for who they really are. A trip north shows city men aren’t much different. But sometimes, when everything seems convoluted and impossible–and maybe it is–those same men discover the truth.

Only Good

Toward the end of my reading, I had to wait for Holt to write chapters as I read. That was hard–way worse than waiting for your favorite TV show. The characters attached themselves to my heart. Even better, Holt managed to twist the story just right, and it didn’t end as I expected. I definitely approved!

One Minute to Midnight comes filled with perfect sentiment and well-rounded, imperfect characters who love their family and have the desire to forgive. Holt includes some amazing and accurate descriptions of New York from this time period. But it’s the story that captured my heart.

If historical fiction with a riveting emotional pull and a touch of sweet romance (but not too much) makes you turn the pages before doing the dishes, you’ve been warned. This book will have your heart like it has mine. So, if you can manage a sink full of dirty dishes, then I highly recommend this exceptional book!

Official Blurb

North Carolina, 1875–With one brother in the grave, another on the run, and his father’s farm failing farther and farther into disrepair, twenty-year-old Louis Finley must do what he can to secure his own future and save the family he has left. But first, he has to face the past, and find out what he’s really made of.

Other Info

Purchase your copy of One Minute to Midnight on Amazon.

Follow Jessica Marie Holt on Facebook   &  Goodreads

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The Other Family: A Book Review

Ally Anderson’s daughter needs her help, especially after a peanut scare at school. But is Ally ready for all that comes her way when the doctor requests genetic testing?

The Other Family by Loretta Nyhan is book number six for this author! Nyhan’s books range from middle-age coming-of-age stories to paranormal-witchy stories. Like me, she admits to not living well without chocolate. And really, can you blame her? She also loves green tea and her Brady-Bunch family that she’s raising in the Chicago area.

My Thoughts on The Other Family

I chose to read Nyhan’s most recent novel after realizing it deals with similar topics as I NOT David. A skeptical spouse and a child with a medical condition in the same genre as my book? Yes, please! I wanted to see how her characters handled situations and familiarize myself with her writing style.

What’s the basics of the story?

The Other Family deals with main character Ally Anderson and her life as she tries to deal with her daughter’s autoimmune problems and allergies. But that’s not all she has on her plate. Her soon-to-be-ex throws a few kinks in her direction. Moreover, her daughter’s latest doctor thinks genetic testing would help narrow down the possible diagnoses. However, Ally is adopted, and her mom has never spoken of her birth family. And, of course, Ally meets some relatives and then can’t figure out how to tell her mom.

The Good

This book, written in first person, has several quirky events and characters to add just the right amount of humor. Its current Amazon rankings, which are above the top 15 books in both women’s humorous fiction and humorous literary fiction, easily prove that point.

For me, the main character’s newly found family, best described as lovingly eccentric, balances Ally’s serious mother well. But, occasionally, they seem a little over the top. Still, they know how to love life even when hardship strikes. They also understand what’s most important in life. Those things say a lot, and I’d probably invite them into my home for a short period of time.

The Not Bad

Ally, on the other hand, is one high-strung character who doesn’t give up. Many mothers of children with health conditions find themselves in similar positions. Ally takes on the world from every direction. She sets some important things on the back burner because the rest of life exhausts her. And she finds herself in a few pickles because of it. In many ways, she’s realistic.

She drives me crazy–batty.

We generally love books with characters we can relate to. Those who make us cry, laugh, and smile. Ally made me want to scream. She’s the mother who does everything for her child by running around like a chicken with its head cut off. It’s her weakness. Nyhan did a great job building her weakness. Ally knows what she wants. She’s determined to get there. But she takes some asinine steps along the way.

None of that makes her a bad character. She’s just not a character for me. I didn’t relate to any of the characters like I wanted to. So you’ll understand why The Other Family isn’t my favorite book of all time. But it could still be yours.

Clean factors

The Other Family contains a spattering of moderate curse words as well as separated-but-still-married characters who contemplate dating others. The book is clean of sexual discussion but does have one slightly funny moment of accidental nudity. The scene is harmless, but I mention it for those who might feel differently. While a book I consider clean enough for older teenagers, its subject matter is for adults.

The Official Blurb

With a dissolving marriage, strained finances, and her life in flux, Ally Anderson longs for normal. Her greatest concerns, though, are the health problems of her young daughter, Kylie. Symptoms point to a compromised immune system, but every doctor they’ve seen has a different theory. Then comes hope for some clarity.

It’s possible that Kylie’s illness is genetic, but Ally is adopted. A DNA test opens up an entirely new path. And where it leads is a surprise: to an aunt Ally never knew existed. She’s a little wild, very welcoming, and ready to share more of the family history than Ally ever imagined.

Coping with a skeptical soon-to-be-ex husband, weathering the cautions of her own resistant mother, and getting maddeningly close to the healing Kylie needs, Ally is determined to regain control of her life. This is her chance to embrace uncertainty and the beauty of family—both the one she was born into and the one she chose.

Other Info

Purchase your copy of The Other Family on Amazon.

Follow Loretta Nyhan on Facebook, Twitter, and her webpage.

I received no compensation or free merchandise for this review. All opinions are honest and my own.

Looking for your next book? Visit my recommended reads page.
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Book Review: Shin by T. Cook

What do you do when for your entire life your shapeshifting mother prepares for your ultimate mission, your death? That’s Shin’s purpose in life, to die, and most of it he’s spent hating the person intended to kill him—until they fall in love.

Book Review: Shin by T. Cook

T. Cook, author of Spinning Silk, has now added to the wondrous story of Furi and Shin. While Spinning Silk follows the life of Furi, Cook’s newest book, tells the story of the shapeshifting mortal who steals Furi’s heart and love, Shin. Shin, a story filled with the mysterious, is a fantasy loosely based on the Japanese Spirit Spider and Tanabata folklore.  Fans of the Warp, Weft, and Weapon series will happily lose themselves in its pages.

My Thoughts on Shin:

Who doesn’t like to learn more about the mysterious love interests in their favorite books? I love it! T. Cook doesn’t walk through the story of Spinning Silk from Shin’s perspective. Instead, she tells us the story of Shin.  Readers learn about his life with his uncle and his immortal shapeshifting mother. We also learn how Shin became so knowledgeable about herbs and medicine and how he climbed the ranks as a Samurai.

I enjoyed this addition to the Spinning Silk story. T. Cook’s writing is still filled with wonderful imagery capable of taking the reader’s breath away. The story includes some of the same scenes as Spinning Silk, but for the most part, the content is new and helps fans come to a deeper understanding of the turmoil Shin feels in the various missions he performs for everyone but himself.

If you haven’t read Spinning Silk, do, then move right into reading Shin. You won’t regret it!

Official Blurb:

Shin is a powerful shapeshifter, but he is yet vulnerable, and too many creatures, both mythic and mortal, have a stake in his death. Caught between his samurai uncle’s ambitions for a bloodless war and his shapeshifter mother’s immortal fight for celestial territory, Shin’s uncle gives him up as a tribute warrior for the shogunate military.

In time, Shin wins the army’s loyalty away from the shogun to a cause he can’t be sure of himself, then strikes off on a new mission to recruit an assassin for the revolution. But this assassin is unlike any he has known before. She may kill him in the bargain, but only if all goes well.

SHIN is a second- generation spin on the Japanese Spider Spirits mashed with Tanabata folklore traditions. It joins the ranks of Japanese light novels such as Goblin Slayer, and Overlord.

More Info:

Purchase your copy of Shin on Amazon.

Read my review of Spinning Silk.

Follow T. Cook on Facebook and Twitter
Visit her website: www.tcookbooks.com

Learn more about me and download your free copy of Sometimes a Bird Has to Fly by visiting my website: kameomonson.com

I received a free copy of this book in exchange for this review. All opinions are my own.

 

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Book Review: One Among Them by M.K. Dymock

Keenley grew up in the Rocky Mountains. Unpredictable and dangerous as they were, they only brought her comfort…until they didn’t.

Book Review: One Among Them M.K. Dymock

An outdoor enthusiast herself, M.K. Dymock hits this writing trail and rides it to the end. Lucky for us, we can follow along in her fictional mystery One Among Them. This novel keeps readers on their toes as they wonder if Keenley’s family will find her before her attacker or the elements of nature take her life.

My Thoughts on One Among Them:

The blurb and subject of One Among Them called to me, and I picked this book up for myself. With just enough knowledge of the Rockies to think I had a clue, I jumped into chapter one. Then I spend several days trying to figure out where in the Rockies the story took place. My small knowledge of the 3,000-mile mountain range confused me. For the record, my limited understanding comes from a very small section of the Wasatch Front, which is located in Utah. Though I understood from the start that most people think of Colorado when considering the Rockies, my mind immediately went to Utah when the author described the western slopes. I also didn’t realize there was a desert in northwestern Colorado, or that the Wasatch Front didn’t butt directly up to the mountains in the neighboring state. So much for those geography lessons! Once I humbled myself and asked people to help me locate the area I was reading about, a whole new world (enter Disney music here) opened up to me.

One Among Them starts with action and keeps it going while allowing the reader to connect with the characters. I loved the way the author helped me to connect, not only to Keenley but also to her parents and others involved in the search. Throughout the story, I wondered who on earth the attacker was. As I got closer to the end and things were wrapping up, I thought I had it all figured out—nope. The swing and a miss didn’t hurt too much, but it did smart a little. When I finished, I  thought about immediately turning to page one and starting over. Alas, too many other books await reviews. Still, this isn’t a one-time read, not by a long-shot.

Official Blurb:

Everyone in town wants to find Keenley, but someone doesn’t intend for her to come home.

The town of Lost Gorge, hidden and protected from the world by the Rockies, hides some secrets of its own. When Keenley Dawson never returns home from mountain biking, the town unites to find her. Most everyone assumes she’s lost on the rugged trails or hurt.

She is lost and hurt, but it was no accident.

After being attacked and abducted, Keenley escapes into the wilderness. She knows how to survive the wilds, but what she doesn’t know is how to live when she’s being hunted.

More Info:

Purchase your copy of One Among Them on Amazon

Follow M.K. Dymock on Goodreads

Read book reviews, flash fiction, and more at KameoMonson.com

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