Posted in book reviews

Star Bright by Anne Richmond Wakefield

Star Bright by Anne Richmond Wakefieldstar bright by Anne Richmond Wakefield
ISBN: 1732565015
Genres: General (Adult) Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 231
Source: the author
Goodreads
four-half-stars

This post contains affiliate links you can use to purchase the book. If you buy the book using that link, I will receive a small commission from the sale.

Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Bright runs to stay alive. Her dad left before she was born, her mom died of cancer, and she’s spent years trying to numb her pain. She’s on the road to recovery when she decides to run an ultra-relay race in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It doesn’t hurt that Levi, gorgeous and nineteen, is on her team.

One terrible decision during the race changes everything. Soon, Bright must call upon strength she’s not sure she has and decide she is worth fighting for. To survive the wilds of the Blue Ridge, she’ll have to rely on the one person she's spent her entire life battling: herself.

I received this book for free from the author. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Buy on Amazon

My Thoughts on Star Bright:

I LOVED this book!!! But before I go on to talk about why, there are some triggers associated with the content. While I’ll do my best to not touch on them much in this review, Star Bright does contain the following triggers and, therefore, may not be suitable for everyone: cutting, self-harm, attempted suicide, depression, severe trauma.

The Story:

Guys, this story is crazy amazing!!!

Actually, my biggest issue with the entire book is that the synopsis does not do it credit. The pages of Star Bright contain this fierce story about a teen who’s kidnapped during an ultra marathon race. The kidnapping might not be enough to make the story amazing, but add in all the stuff Bright’s been dealing with before the race: the loss of her mother, her inability to connect with her step-father, bullying at school, depression, self-harming, etc. and you’ve got to wonder – is she even prepared to want to escape??

The thriller aspect of the book has so many different levels to it! You’re not just wrapped up in the kidnapping… Because the story flashes back and forth between “before” and “after” you find yourself panicked for Bright in the past both before, during and after the kidnapping! And just when you think she’s safe…

Well, you’re just gonna have to read the book!!!

The Characters

I was immediately connected to Bright. The first chapter is only 3 pages long and by the end of those 3 pages, I knew I was fully into this story with her!

There are some books you just can’t put down because you don’t want to leave the characters alone and Star Bright was one of those for me. I drove my husband crazy for two days because I was literally feeling bad for setting the book down and leaving Bright alone.

Something I didn’t expect, was how I felt about Bright’s captor. When she’s kidnapped, you don’t feel sorry for the person who kidnaps her at first, but after a while I really felt pity for her, even though she was doing some pretty awful things!

So the characters are well-written and relatable!

Final Thoughts

I wish I could say more about Star Bright, but I don’t want to give away any spoilers, so I’m just going to wrap up here by saying PLEASE go read this book and then e-mail me so we can talk about it!

If you’ve already read it, let me know what you thought in the comments below (and then e-mail me so we can talk about it without ruining it for everyone else!).

Thanks for visiting and happy reading! If you’ve got a book suggestion, leave me a link below!

four-half-stars
Posted in book reviews

The Sun King by Allison Lee Palmer – BOOK REVIEW

the_sun_king_by_allison_lee_palmer_200Title & Author: The Sun King, Allison Lee Palmer
Publication Date & Publisher: October 2017, Open Books
Genre(s):  General (Adult) Fiction
ISBN: 9781370072774
My Rating: 4.0/5.0

Description (from Goodreads):

A mother, her son, and mania.
In this fictionalized memoir, a mother recounts the emotional journey she and her son take when he becomes mentally ill.
Jack is known as the Sun King because as a child he resembled the illustrated boy in his mother’s deck of tarot cards. Already on the verge of madness, Jack leaves for college in Ohio but secretly decides not to take his medicine. When Jack becomes manic, his mother must retrieve him from a psychiatric hospital and bring him home to Oklahoma. She and Jack spend the next year dealing with court hearings, doctor appointments, and counseling sessions precipitated by his bipolar disorder and resultant psychosis.
Guiding Jack back to sanity leads his mother to a fateful decision—one that brings about her own emotional unraveling. In the end, it is the Sun King who must save his mother.

My review: 

This book started out absolutely amazing!!! By Chapter 3, I was beginning to send out texts and Snaps to my friends letting them know they NEED to read this ASAP! It’s a story about a very serious issue and situation that’s told in a way that’s sometimes hilarious, other times serious or sarcastic, and always deeply emotional.
The Sun King tells the story of the narrator and her only son, Jack, who is suffering from mental illness. The story begins with his latest stint in a mental hospital after he’s stopped taking his meds (again.)
When Jack’s mom discovered he wasn’t taking his medicine, she began searching for ways to help her son. She searched the internet and tried, unsuccessfully, to help with the herbal remedies she bought at the local health store.
The entire story is told from Jack’s mother’s perspective. I found myself laughing often at her view of the days when Jack’s illness was just starting to manifest itself. Having a daughter who recently graduated high school and began her first year of college with extreme, almost crippling anxiety, I related to her a lot. At times, she seemed to be too close to the situation to recognize the signs that her son was ill. I know I’ve been in that same situation… too close to my daughter to see clearly that she’s about to break down on me.
So I was emotionally attached to both Jack and his mother very early on in this story! When I read this:

In retrospect, I would argue that not only should the purchase of copious amounts of aluminum foil and cardboard be a warning sign at least mentioned in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, but the constant need for high drama should also be noted in the DSM, because all together they can only lead to the building of this spaceship that matches the criteria for Bipolar Disorder I. But I didn’t know that until later.

I knew this mother and I were the same… I could hear my daughter explaining the need for the materials and my response being “Yeah, that seems legit, baby. Of course… here’s some more foil.”
Despite Jack being the one with the illness, his mom’s life is also flipped completely upside down and she herself begins to spiral out of control. At times, she thinks she’d be happier if Jack had cancer or was missing an arm instead of suffering the way he is. What makes it even harder to bear, is the fact that she’s doing so much and constantly sacrificing for son, and he doesn’t even seem capable of caring or understanding what she’s going through herself.
To give you some kind of an idea on how much I loved this book, let me explain how my reading speed varies between books… Basically, the speed at which I read is entirely dependent upon my enjoyment level of the material being read. So a book I’m kinda into, but not exactly thrilled with might take me weeks to read, while the same length book that I AM thrilled with might take a day or two…
I read  The Sun King in about 6 hours… a good indication that I LOVED the book! But…
the end… it…
Let me down.
HARD.
I’m not completely sure what I expected, or what I wanted, or how I saw things ending, but the way it actually ended was definitely not satisfying for me. I still want to know what happened…I feel like without that knowledge, the story just isn’t over. Perhaps that’s what the author intended, but unless it’s a series, I just hate these type of open-ended, no indication of  happily ever (or never) after, vague endings.
So overall, I still recommend reading The Sun King. I enjoyed the majority of the book so much that even the ending didn’t make me regret reading it.

I received a review copy of this book from Open Books. This in no way influenced my review.

What do you think of my review of The Sun King? Have you read it or are you planning on reading it in the future? Have a suggestion for my next read? Leave me a comment below!
Affiliate Links: Purchase The Sun King on Amazon or Book Depository