The Girls of August: A Book Review

16131115Every August, four women would gather together to spend a week at the beach, renting a new house each year. The ritual began when they were in their twenties and their husbands were in medical school, and became a mainstay of every summer thereafter. Their only criteria was oceanfront and isolation, their only desire to strengthen their far-flung friendships. They called themselves the Girls of August. But when one of the Girls dies tragically, the group slowly drifts apart and their vacations together are brought to a halt. Years later, a new marriage reunites them and they decide to come together once again on a remote barrier island off the South Carolina coast. There, far from civilization, the women make startling discoveries that will change them in ways they never expected.

My Review: I love the premise of this book. A group of women who even though life has taken them different directions, they continue to make their friendships a priority and gather together every summer to spend quality time together and strengthen their bond. Sadly, after the tragic loss of one of their own, they drift apart for a few years, only to be reunited again with an new addition to the group.

I really loved the idea of this book, but I had a hard time loving any of the characters. I tried really hard to get to know them and to care about them, but they weren’t nearly as developed as I would have liked. Even though there were only four girls in the group, I kept getting two of them mixed up for the first half of the book because none of them really stood out.

What I enjoyed about this book is that it was a light, summery read and it didn’t take long to finish. I enjoyed reading descriptions of their daily meals and activities, but I really would have liked to have seen more character depth. Two of the ladies were very catty and mean toward the newcomer to the group and it felt overly dramatic. The newcomer, whose nickname annoyingly was “Baby” was a very strange character. She did and said some rather odd things throughout the book, and yet she was more likable than most of the others.

About halfway through the book, the author attempts to add character depth by giving each of the girls some “situation” she is dealing with. Instead of adding depth, it made the story more predictable and rather depressing. If the characters were going to be so one-dimensional, I would have preferred the story-line remain light as well.

There were some odd moments in this book and the ending was rather strange as well. This is one of those reads that is good if you want something light and predictable and quick to get through, but don’t expect it to leave any lasting impressions.

  • I received this book from Goodreads Firstreads program. My review was optional and all opinions are my own.
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The Curse of Crow Hollow: A Book Review

_140_245_Book.1654.coverStories are told of a witch who lives in the woods outside of town. But where does truth end and legend begin?

A group of teenagers find strange prints seared into the ground around their campsite. They follow the tracks, thinking it will lead to fun.

But it doesn’t. They eventually arrive at the edge of Alvaretta Graves’s property-house of the legendary Riverwood Witch. When an agrument that arises turns violent, Alvaretta places a curse on them. The sickness comes the next day, gripping residents one by one. Fear overtakes the town, and panic soon follows. 

The posse that makes its way back to the witch’s home is armed with guns and Bibles and is searching for an end to the sickness and violence. But they are in no way prepared for what they discover there.


My review: This book has so many thoughts rolling around in my head, I’m not sure where to start. I think it is one of those books that could spark many an interesting conversation. It is a very well written story, but there is a lot to digest in it. The biggest problem I had with this book is that it introduced so many characters, that I felt bombarded and distracted trying to keep them all straight. By the time I really got a good grip on who everyone was, I was halfway through the book and felt like I missed out on a lot because of that. Now that I’ve finished the book, I almost feel like re-reading it so that I can better comprehend the story.

And, what a story it is! The story is told by an unnamed narrator, who is revealed at the very end. On the surface, it’s a story about a town full of people, a history full of secrets and a curse that affects them all. At it’s very core, it’s a story about human nature, sin, good vs. evil, God vs. the devil, lies, deceit and betrayal.

This book and it’s author do an excellent job at depicting how things can spiral out of control when people let sin, guilt, shame, fear, paranoia and judgement take over and don’t look to God for guidance. People have a tendency to blame God and each other for things they can’t control or understand. The author has created a town full of multi-dimensional characters, and it was really interesting seeing the layers of each character unfold. This book showed how our own sinful nature works against us and how easily we can be led astray if we aren’t careful to be aware of it, and to remain close to God when life starts to unravel.

Once I got to know the characters, I really started to understand and relate to certain ones. My favorite characters were Bucky, Scarlett and John David. I also thought Chessie was an interesting and strong character. I don’t know if the author will revisit these characters in future novels, but I would love the opportunity to get to know them better.

This book is dark, complicated and chilling. It serves the reader to make them more aware of their humanity, natural inclination toward sin and ultimately their desperate need for God. It’s a sad tale, but a satisfying one, and one that thankfully, does not leave the reader without hope. I am definitely curious to read more by this author in the future.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from Thomas Nelson and BookLook Bloggers, in exchange for my honest review.


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Second Street Station: A Book Review

9780553418927A historical mystery featuring the witty and wily Mary Handley, the first woman detective in Brooklyn, as she tries to prove herself in a man’s world while solving a high profile murder.
Mary Handley is a not your typical late-nineteenth century lady. She’s fiery, clever, daring—and she’s not about to conform to the gender norms of the day. Not long after being fired from her job at the hat factory for insubordinate behavior, Mary finds herself at the murder scene of Charles Goodrich, the brother of a prominent alderman and former bookkeeper of Thomas Edison. When Mary proves her acumen as a sleuth, she is hired by the Brooklyn police department—as the city’s first female policewoman—to solve the crime. The top brass of the department expect her to fail, but Mary has other plans. As she delves into the mystery, she finds herself questioning the likes of J. P. Morgan, Thomas Edison, and Nikola Tesla. Mary soon discovers the key to solving the case goes well beyond finding a murderer and depends on her ability to unearth the machinations of the city’s most prominent and respected public figures, men who will go to great lengths to protect their secrets.

Much like Mr. Churchill’s Secretary and Maisie Dobbs, Second Street Station presents a portrait of a world plunging into modernity through the eyes of a clever female sleuth. Mary Handley is an unforgettable protagonist whose wit, humor, and charm will delight readers from the very first page.

My Review: This book was right up my alley. It had all the elements I love in a cozy mystery. A likable, feisty amateur detective, an intriguing plot and a great setting. I thoroughly enjoy books set in this time period and location.

Mary Handley is a strong, clever and witty character. She is quite likable and often surprised me with her quick wit and sense of humor. She is a bit bolder than characters I’ve read in similarly-styled novels. I suspect that she will be quite entertaining to follow throughout this series! I thought it was an intriguing twist to include historical figures such as Thomas Edison in this novel. I loved that element of weaving a bit of reality into a work of fiction. It definitely makes you pause to consider how true to character these real-life historical figures might be.

The rest of the characters were well developed and interesting. The mystery itself had many layers, and I can say that I was a bit surprised by the outcome. I think the author did a great job with attention to detail and in describing scenes so that you can really visualize them as you are reading. A very well written debut and a great mystery. I look forward to continuing in the series.

* I received a copy of this book free of charge from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review.



LAWRENCE H. LEVY is a highly regarded film and TV writer who is a Writers Guild Award winner and two-time Emmy nominee. He has written for various hit TV shows such as Family Ties, Saved by the Bell, Roseanne, and Seinfeld. Second Street Station is his first novel.


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