FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS by KAELA COBLE is a fantastic story about what friendship really means. This 5 Star Read releases on February 6th so MARK YOUR CALENDAR – You will be glad you did.

Title: FRIENDS & OTHER LIARS

Author: KAELA COBLE

Genre: FICTION

Length: 361 PAGES

Publisher: SOURCEBOOKS LANDMARK

Type of Book: SOFTCOVER

Received From: THE AUTHOR

Release Date: FEBRUARY 6, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-4926-5116-1

Price: $15.99 USD

Rating: 5 OUT OF 5 STARS ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

DESCRIPTION:

To all my old friends:
So here you all are. Nice to see you can show up for a person once he’s dead.

When Ruby St. James returns to her hometown, it is to the grave of her old friend Danny, a member of a group that was, ten years ago, Ruby’s whole world. The crew made a pact back then: stay together, stay loyal, and stay honest. But that was before all of the lies.

Because even friends keep secrets. They just don’t stay secret for long.

Now Danny has left behind a letter for each of them, issuing one final ultimatum: share your darkest betrayal to the group, or risk it coming out in a trap he has created. When past mistakes resurface, the lines of friendship blur, and four old friends are left trying to understand what it means to lie to the ones you love best.

MY REVIEW:

Beautiful Vermont

This picture is of Church Street in Vermont. This is just like the Main Street in the novel.

Set in the small town of Chatwick, Vermont, the setting of this story is much like the small town I grew up in. And the circle of friends at the center of the plot, remind me of my group of friends from early middle and high school. In fact, Kaela Coble has somehow managed to capture the essence of the universal highschool experience, as well as to accurately convey the intensity of highschool friends and romantic experiences.

New author, Kaela Coble, has a gift for understanding the complicated dynamics that often exist amongst a group of friends. Her insight into the secrets that people keep, even from those closest to them is spot on. She writes based on her own youth which I am sure is the key to the believability of the story.

Having one of the main characters die before the book even begins was a stroke of brilliance. In this way the entire story revolves around Danny (who died of a purposeful heroin overdose.) Before his death he wrote a letter and had his mother read it to his friends (during highschool they referred to themselves as “The Crew.”) Included with his final goodbye, Danny has included an envelope for each of his friends. Inside those envelopes, Danny has revealed that person’s most hidden secret along with a threat that if they don’t reveal their secrets to each other, the secret would be told through a trap Danny had engineered before his suicide.

Think about that for a minute. Do you have to tell your friends everything about you? Are you not entitled to keep some things private?

In this story, readers will find themselves pondering friendship and what it truly means to be a “good” friend.

This book is chock-full of lies, deception, anger, betrayal, love and desire, as well as moments of extreme comfort and ease, all tempered by moments of hatred and extreme violence.

Kaela Coble’s gift is both impressive and undeniable. I have read other book reviews that say things like: ‘The characters jumped off the page,” and I always thought that was a ridiculous statement to make, but now that I have finished reading this book, for the first time ever I completely understand what they mean. The characters in this book never seem like written characters, they come across as real people and long after the final page, readers will still be thinking about them.

FRIENDS AND OTHER LIARS is one of the best Coming-of-Age stories I have had the pleasure of reading. I truly hope to read more books featuring these characters and the beautiful setting of small-town Chatwick, Vermont.

Kaela has also included a Reader’s Group Discussion Guide in the back of the book. It is also available online by clicking HERE.

Aside from the plot being completely spell-binding, this book also tackles some very real and deadly serious social issues, including but not limited to: suicide, addiction, child abuse, losing your virginity, opiate addiction and the rising number of Fentanyl related deaths. The fact that Kaela Coble has been able to include these issues seamlessly into her story is just one more indication that she is an author on the verge of becoming a very big deal in the publishing world.

I rate this book as 5 out of 5 Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ and would have rated it even higher if it was possible.

Kaela Coble has made me a fan and I am fervently hoping she is hard at work on her next book.

*** I received a free copy of this book from the author. **

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Kaela Coble is an author of women’s fiction, represented by Stephanie Kip Rostan of Levine Greenberg Rostan Literary Agency. Friends and Liars is her debut novel.

Kaela earned her B.S. in Communications and completed short stints in marketing, public relations and copywriting before switching to assistant work to free up creative energy for writing. She is a member of the League of Vermont Writers and a graduate of the Womentoring Project.

She is also a voracious reader and a hopeless addict to bad television and good chocolate. She lives with her husband in Burlington, Vermont, and is a devoted mother to their rescued chuggle, Gus.

To learn more about this author, visit the following links:

OFFICIAL WEBSITE

GOODREADS

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

PINTEREST

AMAZON

CHAPTERS

LINKEDIN

VERMONT SCENERY

VERMONT MAP

Funeral Pictures

This book review is one of my contributions to the #2018AtoZChallenge on the GingermomReads Blog.

As an aside, here are some pictures I found on the web showing what heroin can do to a person’s physical appearance:

If you or anyone you know are thinking about suicide, please reach out to someone. You’ll be surprised at how many strangers will care about you.

Not suicidal, but are having a hard time with anxiety or depression, or with any other problem in your life, reach out anonymously.

Here is one of the places you can visit for help:

KIDS HELP PHONE – WEBSITE

KIDS HELP PHONE on Instagram

Kid’s Help Phone’s professional counsellors are available to talk 24/7 at 1-800-668-6868

– YOU DO NOT HAVE TO GIVE YOUR NAME – It is completely anonymous and FREE.

ISLAND OF FOG by Keith Robinson – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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ISLAND OF FOG

Author: Keith Robinson

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Fred Wolinsky

Length: 9 hours, 48 minutes

Genre: Young Adult, Middle-Grade, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Post-Apocalyptic

Release Date: March 11, 2015

Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook through AudiobookBlast dot com in exchange for an honest review.

The genre for ISLAND OF FOG is actually difficult to pin down. There are components of several different genres which listeners would at first think incompatible. Yet somehow author, Keith Robinson is able to connect these seemingly disparate genres and to combine them into a wonderfully written tale.

I believe it is targeted at Middle Grade listeners, but Young Adult and Adult listeners will enjoy it as well.

I enjoyed ISLAND OF FOG’s unique mix of characters.

On an island off the coast of the United States are a small group of self-sufficient families. Each family has one child; a boy or girl twelve years old.

The island is covered with a fog that never lifts. In fact, none of the children living on the island have ever seen the sun.

One by one each of the children start to experience weird bodily changes. These changes are definitely not the normal changes that you might expect twelve year olds to be faced with at the onset of puberty. Something very strange is happening to them. I do not want to give away too much of the plot, so I won’t tell you what the changes are.

This audiobook will grab and hold your attention and the narrator is able to voice the many characters so that each one has it’s own distinct sound. This is actually quite a feat considering the number of characters.

This book is family friendly, but still contains enough suspense and adventure to grab and hold the listener’s attention.

Since it is summertime now and many families are heading off on driving vacations, I would highly recommend listening to this audiobook with your kids in the car. It is the type of book that kids from the age of eight and up will enjoy. It also has enough plot twists and science to keep the adults interested as well. Now is the perfect time to buy this audiobook.

ISLAND OF FOG is the first book in what promises to be an entertaining middle-grade fantasy series.

I rate this audiobook as 4.5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

THE CANDLE STAR by Michelle Isenhoff — AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

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THE CANDLE STAR
Divided Decade Series – Book One

Author: Michele Isenhoff

Type of Book: Audiobook – Unabridged

Narrator: Fred Wolinski

Length: 4 hours, 32 minutes

Genre: Historical Fiction

Release Date: April 30, 2015

Publisher: Michele Isenhoff

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the narrator in exchange for an honest review.

Fourteen year old Emily Preston has grown up on a plantation in the South. Her family is wealthy and they own over 200 slaves.

She is a wild and willful child and her parent’s decide to try to curb her behavior by sending her to live with her Uncle who owns a hotel in Detroit, Michigan.

Being raised by slave owners in the lap of luxury and never having to do anything for herself, Emily is in for a huge dose of culture-shock when she arrives in Michigan.

Emily meets Malachi who is a black boy that is almost the same age as Emily. Never having met a free black person, she is shocked to discover that not only can Malachi read, but he also attends school.

Emily had always been told that black people were not capable of learning the way white people can.

As she spends more and more time in the company of her uncle as well as Malachi and a terrific cast of characters who work in the hotel, Emily starts to question everything she has ever been taught about black people.

But, being so young, what good will her changing attitudes be? Does it even matter?

This book is thoroughly researched and I absolutely loved the description of Emily’s trip to the Michigan State Fair.

The period of time this book is set in was a volatile time in American history. I liked the fact that the book is written from the perspective of a fourteen year old privileged white girl. I have read many books set during this era and this is the first time I have read a book written from this point of view, and I found it extremely well done.

The author has done a commendable job of describing the conflicting emotions that Emily goes through and I enjoyed listening to this audiobook.

Narrator Fred Wolinsky has a very expressive voice. Initially the simpering, whiny voice he used for Emily grated on my nerves and I thought it was a bit overdone. However, as I learned more about Emily’s spoiled and indulged childhood and her superior attitude I realized that the voice perfectly matched her character. I also have to give the narrator kudos for being able to perform multiple accents including both Yankee and Southern ways of talking. He also does a great job of using different accents for Zeke (the elderly black slave) and Julia and Malachi (free blacks living in Michigan).

I rate this audiobook as 4 out of 5 stars.⭐⭐⭐⭐

INSANITY TALES – AUDIOBOOK REVIEW

Image obtained from www.audible.com

Image obtained from http://www.audible.com

INSANITY TALES

Authors: Stacey Longo, David Daniel, Vlad V., Ursula Wong and Dale T. Phillips

Type of Book: Audiobook Unabridged

Narrator: Fred Wolinsky

Genre: Horror

Length: 4 hours, 15 minutes

Release Date: November 5, 2014

Publisher: Dale T. Phillips

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐

* I received a free copy of this audiobook in exchange for an honest review.

This is a collection of nine tales that deal with the depravities of the human mind.

People have been fascinated throughout history by other people’s aberrant behavior. This collection of stories caters to that fascination.

These are stories of murder, mayhem and madness.

From an old lady looking back on her life through a fog of Alzheimer’s to a young girl who is forced to move to an entirely new state and her grim discovery, these stories will grab and hold the listener’s attention.

The narrator does a good job for some of the stories, but I found the voice he used for the little girl in the third story to be very annoying. It was too high pitched and just did not seem realistic. He narrates male voices well, but his female voices leave a lot to be desired. I have never met a woman or a girl who sounded the way they are voiced in this collection. His voice is perfect for some stories and for others it is completely unsuitable. For these stories it would have been better to have separate narrators.

I rate the narration as 2 out of 5 stars and the book as 3 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐

I do not like giving low rated reviews, but when I received this audiobook free, I promised to post an honest review.

In my opinion this book would have been much more enjoyable if I had read the print version rather than listening to the audiobook version. However, you be the judge. Give this book a try.