Day: August 26, 2017

Book Review: If the Creek Don’t Rise by Leah Weiss

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3 out of 5 stars to If The Creek Don’t Rise, an historical fiction novel set to be published in August 2017, written by Leah Weiss. I enjoyed reading the book, selecting 3 stars because it had several strong parts but also some concerns that I’ll share later. Overall, I’m glad I read it.


Why This Book 
I read the description of this book via NetGalley, where I search for all my ARCs, and thought it would be a great read prior to my upcoming trip to North Carolina, where I may be stopping in the same rural mountain area.

Plot, Characters & Setting 
This is an ensemble book about a cast of 10 characters in the mid 20th century who live in the rural area of the Appalachian Mountains in North Carolina. It covers a few events that occurred to some of the townspeople in Baines Creek, providing the view points from different sides of the story. It centers around Sadie Blue, a 17-year-old girl who marries the man who has just gotten her pregnant. From there, the book covers domestic abuse, murder, religion, family, love and friendships. At its core, the novel covers the various relationships built in the town, understanding who sits back doing nothing versus who takes action when they are passionate about the outcome and protection of life.

Approach & Style 
I read the electronic version on my Kindle via an iPad over the course of five nights. The book is about 300 pages, each 20 pages long across 15 chapters. Each chapter is told from a different character’s point of view, written in the first person perspective. Dialect is important given the book is recreating life during a historical time period in a very specific region where culture and society are quite different.

The characters are very clear and distinct. Each of the major players has a voice you will recognize and understand. Sometimes you will love them and sometimes you will hate them, but each one will leave an impression.

The setting is quite strong. You will feel transported to this rural town in the mountains. From the description, to the dialect and to the way the story unfolds, it matches what you’d expect from the constructs of this type of environment. You will feel like you are in the town.

It deals with very specific personal and family issues that will resonate will a lot of people. From a social perspective, it highlights things that happened in the past that were almost condoned or allowed to happen, due to people’s fears and lack of education or knowledge.

When I read the description, I thought it would be a great plot and story. But when I read the book, it was quite different. This is not a novel where a primary plot point drives the chapters. It’s a character-driven story that tells of the happenings in a small town. The plot isn’t as important as the way each of the characters interpret it. I found myself skimming pages to get to the crux of the story, but it never happened. It’s a preference style, and I think the book should be marketed differently and have an alternative description or cover summary. It would help find a different set of readers who enjoy this type of book. Had I known, I might have spent more time investing in the characters in the beginning rather than trying to piece together a plot that wasn’t going to become any more clear. That said, it’s still a well-written book and will appeal to a wide audience.

Author & Other Similar Books 
Although they are not of the same caliber, it reminded me of the book Beartown by Fredrik Backman. Both books cover highly controversial social issues within a small town, telling the story of how everyone reacts to a few critical events. Where Beartown brings a focus on plot, this book is more about how people interpret society’s values and actions.

It’s the author’s first book, but she shows a lot of promise. I would read another of her books, but I’d want to be careful to understand the plot and approach to telling the story to verify it matches with the way I like to read a book.

Final Thoughts 
In my world, a 3 is a good review. It means you had good elements and a few things I didn’t quite latch on to. If this had a little more action and some clarity around the plot and point of the book, I might have given it a 4. That said, it will definitely resonate with many readers given it has a strong pull to connect you to the characters and the setting. Hope you enjoy it.

About Me 
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I read A LOT. I write A LOT. And now I blog A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge and lots of blogging about places I’ve visited all over the world. And you can find all my social media profiles to get the details on the who/what/when/where and my pictures. Leave a comment and let me know what you think. Vote in the poll and ratings. Thanks for stopping by. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.


365 Challenge: Day 167 – Destiny

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Destiny: the events that will necessarily happen to a particular person or thing in the future; the hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate


Destiny and fate. Two words that often come up in conversation with friends when you are thinking about the future. Maybe you’re drunk and pondering the purpose of life. Perhaps a child has just asked you about it and you wonder how to respond. Or you wake up screaming from a nightmare wondering what will happen in your future. Curiosity whether someone greater than us is controlling all the movements or it’s fully a free will situation. Today’s 365 Daily Challenge word is not about religious beliefs, nor whether or not evolution has an impact. It’s about whether or not you believe in the concept of destiny. I felt like it was something to share with all my online friends… curious what everyone believes for a couple of reasons I’ll mention a bit later.

Destiny is often mistaken for an extreme wish that something will happen. I want to be a writer, I was destined to be a writer. I’m not sure if that’s true. I know that’s what I’ve wanted to do for as long and as far back as I remember. But whether that’s what was meant to be is definitely not a concept I truly understand.

What about two people whose paths cross several times without realizing it before they are finally introduced and fall in love. Were they meant to be together or did it just happen that way because they live in close proximity?

We all make choices in our lives, constantly changing the path and the direction we follow. Is destiny navigating behind the scenes or are we just making decisions as they are presented to us with whatever knowledge we’ve amassed up until that moment?

I would totally say something wrong like this!

Quite a philosophical post today. Not a long one either. Just something to get us thinking over the weekend… why do we do the things we do? how much control do we have over what happens around us? do we believe in fate or destiny? Or even more introspectively… do we want to believe in destiny?

I would like to think that I have some control over my path and my decisions. And I think I do. I am fine living in NYC but if W said tomorrow let’s move to California, I’d be fine with that, too. And if I decided to give North Carolina a chance after that, I’d be fine. If I am good living in all those places, where does destiny fit in? Is it controlled by your surroundings, e.g. the place you live? If so, does that then limit the people you interact with who can be part of your life? Or the jobs you can hold? Or the activities you engage in?

So many questions involved to try and understand whether destiny controls us in the background. It really makes you realize that with so many potential combinations of how things come together, it’s actually infinite. And if something is infinite, can there really be any control over the outcome? So… before any of us get caught up in trying to solve this little dilemma, maybe I should keep myself on a bit of a straighter path with the point of this post.

While I often encounter this conundrum in my own life and brain, it was on mind this week not because of me… but because of a character in my book. She’s been through a lot. And as I decide the ending to the character’s story and the novel, I find myself asking on her behalf if the following statement is true:

Destiny. Do you believe in it? I’ve love to hear everyone’s opinions. Thanks in advance for sharing.


About Me & the “365 Daily Challenge”

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. I’ve always been a reader. And now I’m a daily blogger. I decided to start my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge” where since March 13, 2017, I’ve posted a characteristic either I currently embody or one I’d like to embody in the future. 365 days of reflection to discover who I am and what I want out of life.

The goal: Knowledge. Acceptance. Understanding. Optimization. Happiness. Help. For myself. For others. And if all else fails, humor. When I’m finished in one year, I hope to have more answers about the future and what I will do with the remainder of my life. All aspects to be considered. It’s not just about a career, hobbies, residence, activities, efforts, et al. It’s meant to be a comprehensive study and reflection from an ordinary man. Not a doctor. Not a therapist. Not a friend. Not an encyclopedia full of prior research. Just pure thought, a blogged journal with true honesty.

Join the fun and read a new post each day, or check out my book reviews, TV/Film reviews or favorite vacation spots. And feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Note: All written content is my original creation and copyrighted to me, but the graphics and images were linked from other sites and belong to them. Many thanks to their original creators.