amanda prowse

Book Review: The Coordinates of Loss by Amanda Prowse

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I was randomly searching on NetGalley one day when I saw The Coordinates of Loss show up in my feed for recommended books. I’m a big fan of Amanda Prowse, but she has so many previous novels that I hadn’t been paying attention to new releases. Since it was on NetGalley, and the publisher had auto-approved me, I downloaded the book and put it in my queue. I wanted an author I could count on this week and began the read assured it would be the perfect choice. It delivered and I’m very happy with Prowse’s latest story.

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Rachel Croft and her husband James are sleeping on their boat in the Caribbean when they discover one morning that their young son, Oscar, isn’t in his bed. They search and search, but he’s gone. No one saw any boats nearby and there’s no sign of any struggle or injury. He had fallen overboard and likely drowned. With no body, how does a family move on? There’s always the question of “what happened” and “could he be somewhere else” and this is what haunts the young couple. Another story about CeCe, their housekeeper, parallels the Croft family pain. CeCe lost a child years ago, too. Through a series of letters, CeCe tries to help Rachel get through the pain. The story chronicles a few years in everyone’s life ultimately culminating in what happens to the family years later after all the pain and struggle seems to come to a head between Rachel and James over who’s at fault.

Prowse is killer when it comes to packing gut-punching emotion. At many points in the story, a rip current tore through me wondering how I’d handle such a situation. While it was powerful and painful, I didn’t feel the normal devastation I’ve previously felt when reading a Prowse novel in the past. It’s not to say say the book isn’t great, as it really is. I devoured it in two days, but parts were less emotional and more matter of fact, and the occasional sense of repetition. At times, Rachel seemed too spoiled and independent, pulling away from James. I got angry with her for not turning to her husband, but then again, it’s a phenomenal author who can make readers angry at good characters for some of their decisions. So truth be told, it’s actually a good thing the way it’s written.

All in all, it’s a prime example of why Prowse’s books always impact me. I will finish them all, but I’m glad to know even her most current ones are still strong contenders for favorite stories each year. A solid 4 stars with a beautiful balance and tone.

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read 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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

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Book Review: Will You Remember Me? by Amanda Prowse

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4.5 stars for making me cry through the last few chapters of Will You Remember Me? by my new Queen, Amanda Prowse— and it was even sweeter knowing this was a signed copy that my friend Claire secured for me. I make no pretense here: I waffle back and forth between Amanda Prowse and Kate Morton as my favorite contemporary fiction female storyteller but it always comes down to who makes me tear up the most… Wow, this was quite a story and I can’t wait to devour another one of her books next month.
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Although part of a series, it can definitely be read standalone as the series seems to jump around from character to character. I didn’t read the first book, Poppy Day, which focuses on the same lead but I have a feeling it’s okay to go out of order. Poppy is 32, married to the love of her life, has two wonderful children and a great sense of happiness for the future — until she finds a small lump in her breast, and nothing is ever the same again. Prowse takes us thru the journey as Poppy begins to realize everything she will lose. From telling her husband to searching for her unknown father, finding a new family member and saying goodbye to people for the final time… this tale will have you holding your breath, tearing up, and gritting your teeth with anger and disappointment. Things don’t always work out. Sometimes they do but on a different level. What fine balance in this beautiful and heartwarming piece of brilliance.

My only minor hesitancy in giving a full 5 stars is that there were a few moments where I wanted more details about her relationships with her mother, doctor, and son. There was a lot to cover in the book, and it was the right page count but it was a tad short on some details and a bit full on others that didn’t add 100% value. All very, very minor and just a personal taste for me. I definitely recommend this book especially with the sea of stories out there probably full of similar tones and styles. What’s different for me in a novel by Prowse is the genuine understanding of what the person is suffering from. It’s not just words strung together to make a reader sad and empathize. It’s as if you’re sitting there with the same pains and wishing only for a way to make it better for both you and the one suffering in the book. That’s an author I respect and plan to read her full canon as quickly as I can!

 

About Me
For those new to me or my reviews… here’s the scoop: I’m Jay, an author who lives in NYC. My novels, Watching Glass Shatter and Father Figure, can be purchased on Amazon as electronic copies or physical copies. I write A LOT. I read 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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll find the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge – words and humor. You can also 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. 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. Follow my blog with Bloglovin.

My Very Own “Book Bucket List” – August 2017

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It’s been 2 months since I started my Book Bucket List and I’ve knocked the third novel off the list:  The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse. You can see the review here. In its place, I’ve added Carnegie’s Maid by Marie Benedict to round out the 12 options for the next vote.

 

 

The book you chose for me to read in September is Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo. Congratulations to everyone who voted last week for this book. Once I’ve completed reading it, I will post a book review and the September Book Bucket List update post. The target to be complete is 9/23.

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Now it’s time to select the book I will read for October 2017. Below is the poll with 12 options, which will be open until September 6th, 2017 for you to choose. Good Luck!

 

Below is the link to the on-going Book Bucket List and a background on what it’s all about. My Very Own “Book Bucket List”  —  Click the link to access everything since the beginning of this post series.

 

About Me
I am a writer and have signed a publishing contract to launch my first book, Watching Glass Shatter, in November of 2017. To see more, please check out the website for this novel where you will find the first 3 chapters, character bios and sample quotes.

I am writing my second novel, Father Figure, with plans to finish it in November, 2017. As part of the process to engage with my fans and followers, I am publishing a weekly status on the progress of this second book. For a description of this book, check out the post where my friends and followers voted for this book as my second novel.

Beyond these two books, I have a number of short stories, poems and other novels in various shapes and forms. I also read A LOT. First the book review goes on Goodreads, and then I send it on over to my WordPress blog at https://thisismytruthnow.com, where you’ll also find TV & Film reviews, Tags, Awards, Age/Genre/Book Reads and Author Spotlights, as well as the revealing and introspective 365 Daily Challenge.

You can also access 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.

Book Review: The Art of Hiding by Amanda Prowse

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4 out of 5 stars to The Art of Hiding, a family drama novel published in July 2017 and written by Amanda Prowse. I adored this book and am so glad I read it; let’s get right into the review.

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Why This Book
A few months ago, I’d finished reading ‘The Idea of You,’ by this author. I really enjoyed the book, and when ‘The Art of Hiding’ showed up on my NetGalley feed, I had to request it. I forgot that they approved my request until last week, when I went to select whatever was next to be published as my next book to start reading. I’d been so busy writing my own novel, I missed the publish date for this one. So I quickly read it in 2+ days to get caught up.

Plot, Characters & Setting
Nina McCarrick, a mid-30s mother of two boys, 10 and 14, lives a wonderful life on a beautiful Southampton, England estate. That is, until her husband unexpectedly dies and she learns all was not what he’d been telling her. Suddenly losing her life high up on the hill, she’s forced to turn to all her friends and family for assistance. One person takes her in, helping re-build a life for both Nina and the boys. Nina begins to learn the difference between losing your own identity and being part of a married couple. Sometimes, it isn’t a good idea to give up control of all aspects of your life, as when it comes crashing down, you’ll have no idea what to expect.

Approach & Style
I read this novel through Kindle Reader on my iPad over the course of two and a half days. It is about 300 pages long, divided into 15 chapters, all told from Nina’s perpsective in third person point of view. The language is simple but meaningful; it reads itself as you feel immersed in the world Prowse has created for her readers. You could probably read this all in one day over 4 to 5 hours if you kept focused, and it would definitely be an enjoyable read.

Strengths
Prowse tells intricate family stories full of complexity and drama; not so much with everyone around the main characters, but within their small family unit. I felt the same way about one of her other books, and I’ve now come to realize this is her style; this is who the author is and what she excels at.

Nina is easy to relate with, given she is a new widow and has young boys to care for. She has no job, her skills are mostly outdated according to anyone she runs into. You immediately feel a strong connection with the woman, wanting to see her succeed. She’s a wonderful mother. She doesn’t sugarcoat the truth either. She dances around it a bit, hoping not to devastate her children, but she also knows hiding their situation will do more harm than good.

It’s not a suspense story, yet I only put it down because it was midnight and had to wake up early the next morning. You feel as though the events unfold right in your own living room as you are reading, and simply do not want to miss a moment of the beauty and pain inside this family.

Concerns
Very little with this book. It wasn’t a huge and amazing story that captures a tremendous amount of ground. It’s simple and thought-provoking. I felt it could have used a little more clarity around the death of the father and the days leading up to it. At the same time, it all came as a shock to Nina, so why shouldn’t it come as a shock to readers, too. But in the end, I would have connected a bit more strongly if I had some current history. Just a smidge.

On occasion, the relationship Nina had with others felt a bit fake. I thought it was necessary to the plot in some places, but it was a little too much in other places. Sometimes the balance between her being a lonely and hidden wife versus a lonely and hidden widow losing everything wasn’t as clear as I’d have liked it to be. A few extra paragraphs explaining how she interacted with her ‘friends’ before she became a widow might have helped give it more substance and a range between the two people she needed to be during the course of the book. I also think her ‘lows’ weren’t low enough, meaning she needed to struggle more in finding a job, not being able to pay bills. There was some of this impact, but a few things were a little too hunky dory for my taste.

Final Thoughts
Amanda Prowse is quickly becoming 1 of my top 10 favorite authors. I actually marked five more of her books as ‘to-read’ today since I’ve read two and given then both 4’s. I’m going to search NetGalley after I post this review to see if I can get my greedy little hands on more. This woman can really write stories that straddle that line between heartbreak and the promise of a better day.

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 https://thisismytruthnow.com, 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.

TAG: Mid-Year Freakout Book

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Thanks to Steph @ LostPurpleQuill for tagging me! What a cool way to celebrate the middle of the year in our book challenges. I appreciate it. And to any readers on my blog, please go check out Steph’s blog. She posts regularly and has great things to say, also poetry, photography, and fantastic book reviews.


1 – THE BEST BOOK YOU’VE READ SO FAR IN 2017

You by Caroline Kepnes. It was a fantastic surprise with its different perspective, how it drew me in and the eerie sensation of rooting for the stalker. I must read the sequel this summer.

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2 – YOUR FAVORITE SEQUEL THIS YEAR

It’s not a sequel, but the third book in a series that I love. I cannot wait until Ken Follett releases A Column of Fire, part of the “Pillars of the Earth” historical fiction series. I love the characters and the plot so much.

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3 – A NEW RELEASE THAT YOU HAVEN’T READ BUT REALLY WANT TO

I want to read Paula Hawkins’ Into the Water, but the reviews are mixed. I put it on this summer’s Book Bucket list. If you’re not sure what that is, click to find out.

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4 – MOST ANTICIPATED RELEASE FOR THE SECOND HALF OF THE YEAR

Dan Brown’s Origin. I would have picked Ken Follett’s book, but I already chose that above. Many folks don’t care for Brown, but I love this series. Can’t wait to see the complexity he brings in this plot.

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5 – YOUR BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT

Lisa See’s Peony in Love. I really thought the description on the book cover would be a beautiful tale with lots of emotional heartache and connection. For some reasons, I found myself uninterested in Peony’s plight and thought it was way over-written for what its goal was.

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6 – BIGGEST SURPRISE OF THE YEAR

Sally Hepworth’s The Mother’s Promise. I wasn’t sure I’d enjoy the book, given it hit a little too close to home with someone you love dying of cancer. But it was written in such an intricate way that I couldn’t put it down. I certainly felt a lot of emotion and really had a connection with several of the characters.

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7 – FAVORITE NEW TO YOU OR DEBUT AUTHOR

Caroline Kepnes because of You. The style was fantastic. The way she draws you in, encourages you to love and root for the guy who’s a psycho stalking a woman. It took careful planning and I admire her skills as an author, especially with the point of view and perspective she chose to write it in.

 

8 – YOUR NEW FICTIONAL CRUSH

It would be scary if I chose Joe from You, given he’s a stalker. {But it is} So… from something I read this year… Patrick, the main character’s best friend, in Single Malt Murder, a new mystery series based in Scotland. He’s caring, loving and well-traveled.

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9 – NEW FAVORITE CHARACTER

Lucy from Amanda Prowse’s The Idea of You. Lucy desperately wants a child, but it doesn’t seem to want to happen for her. She is courageous and strong, especially when her husband’s daughter from a previous marriage causes some trouble. Lucy has a few flaws, but in the end, she really steps up and does the right thing to make the best of the entire situation.

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10 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU CRY

Gayle Forman’s If I Stay. The hospital scenes. The paradox of being alive yet being comatose. Having to learn what happens to the rest of your family. Making a choice of whether to let go or try to hold on. It grabs you by the throat and holds on for way too long. I couldn’t keep it in and had a few moments.

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11 – A BOOK THAT MADE YOU HAPPY

Richard Jay Parker’s Be My Killer. This will probably come across the wrong way, but I loved the systematic tracking of all the people involved in this social media serial killer twisted thriller… simply to torture and kill them. I wasn’t happy because they were murdered, but I absolutely love horror and whodunits, so I was smiling the whole way thru, trying to figure out what was going on in this book. A Twitter killer. Sounds hilarious!

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12 – YOUR FAVORITE BOOK TO MOVIE ADAPTATION THAT YOU’VE SEEN THIS YEAR

Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind. I finally saw the whole movie and it was fantastic. I’d only seen a few scenes in the past. I know, crazy!

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13 – FAVORITE BOOK POST YOU’VE PUBLISHED THIS YEAR

The Book Bucket List post where I list the 12 books I must read this year in case I die. You can see it here.

 

14 – THE MOST BEAUTIFUL BOOK YOU HAVE BOUGHT/RECEIVED THIS YEAR

Hmm… are we talking cover or story? I’m gonna go with story and say Kate Morton’s The Distant Hours. It is fascinating and has an incredibly beautiful but scary story inside its covers. I found it on the bookshelves in my apartment building’s library, quickly grabbing it to put on my TBR.

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15 – WHAT ARE SOME BOOKS THAT YOU NEED TO READ BY THE END OF THE YEAR

Ha! I could direct you to my book bucket list, or to some I listed above, but the two that come to mind that are must-reads for me in the near future:

Kate Mosse’s Citadel, as it’s the third and final in a historical fiction trilogy set in France. The story is amazing and is sure to have a fantastic conclusion.

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Kate Morton’s The Lake House, as I love her writing… and this needs to find its way into my hands soon.

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I TAG:

And anyone else who’d like to participate…


 

About Me

I’m Jay and I live in NYC. By profession, I work in technology. By passion, I work in writing. Once you hit my site “ThisIsMyTruthNow” at https://thisismytruthnow.com, you can join the fun and see my blog and various site content. You’ll find book reviews, published and in-progress fiction, TV/Film reviews, favorite vacation spots and my own version of the “365 Daily Challenge.” 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… see how you compare! Each month, I will post a summary of a trip I’ve taken somewhere in the world. I’ll cover the transportation, hotel, restaurants, activities, who, what, when, where and why… and let you decide for yourself if it’s a trip worth taking. Feel free to like, rate, comment or take the poll for each post. Tell me what you think.

Review: The Idea of You

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The Idea of You
The Idea of You by Amanda Prowse

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4 stars to Amanda Prowse‘s book The Idea of You, a fictional story about a women craving motherhood but facing many barriers to success. I was offered this book through NetGalley and Lake Union Publishing in exchange for a fair an honest review. I am glad I read it and had a positive reaction. On to the review…


Story

Lucy has wanted to be a mother for a very long time, but she’s about to turn 40 and was recently dumped by her boyfriend who went on to marry Lucy’s own cousin. At a christening, she meets Jonah and he proposes within a few months. He has a 16-year-old daughter, Camille, who lives with her mother and stepfather, but plans to come visit for a summer before her final year at boarding school. Lucy and Jonah have several miscarriages before Camille arrives, and it’s starting to put a small strain on their marriage. Lucy struggles at work and with her family, unwilling to tell anyone about the pain she’s going through, secretly hoping the next time she gets pregnant, she won’t miscarry. Along her journey, she writes notes to each of her lost children, pining away for a little girl of her own. She and Camille do not get along well for the most part, but do find a few things that help bond them little by little. When the past comes back to haunt everyone, and new obstacles are thrown in front of the whole family, Lucy is forced to decide between what is best for everyone and what is best for her. And as the story comes to end, Lucy finds a way to make peace with her decision, understanding the impact it has on everyone involved.


Strengths

Lucy’s story, an all-too-common one, is a strong and beautiful journey not only for the woman who has miscarried several babies, but for the family around them who don’t always know what’s truly happening. The pressure from friends and siblings to get pregnant before it’s too late… the comments from people at work about having difficulty dividing time between family and your career…. the doctors who try to comfort you but really can only do and know so much. Lucy’s a very likable character. She has flaws and makes mistakes. She’s a bit immature in such situations but she’s handling all the emotions with great strength and fervor. I felt a strong urge to want to hug her.

There aren’t always fairy-tale endings in life, and I really enjoy when books face those consequences. I’m not giving away any spoilers as to whether she eventually has a baby or not, but regardless, her situation is not one anyone would envy. I felt privileged to watch the struggle, especially being so far removed from it, by being neither a mother nor a father. The author, who has mentioned her own struggles at conceiving and keeping pregnancies, puts a lot of emotional connection into the words and the scenes.

While it’s a sad story, there was a fine balance in pushing readers to tears. Perhaps because I’ve never been in any type of a similar situation, I held back some of my emotion; however, there were just enough points where you felt the pain and felt the emotions come full force. But not so much that you had to put the book down and take a break. Good balance.


Suggestions

While I understood it was important to get to the point where she has a husband and and her time is running out to have her own baby, starting the book when she’s 39 and then rushing thru the first year may have caused a few moments of less than helpful separation. I care about her as the story unfolds, but when you know little about her first 39 years, other than she wants to be a mother, you have a few questions that linger. Most are answered eventually, and possibly this is a “point in time / life” story, but… it could have used a little tidying up in this respect.

I wanted to see more about Lucy’s life with her sister and mother. I understand with some of the reveals that come later in the story why it wouldn’t exactly be easy, but it would have helped give her more depth.


Final Thoughts

I’ve read a few stories with this theme, and this is definitely one of the stronger ones. I like the author’s style and would want to read some of her other books. It’s not a major stand-out where I feel compelled to buy her next one immediately, but it’s got all the qualities of a good book you will enjoy. I pushed it to a 4 because it’s much higher than an average / OK book with a few good parts at a 3.

If you like strong female characters, this one’s for you. Lucy’s remarkable in her strength and only had 2 or 3 moments where I thought she was being a little too immature. Enjoy.

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