Thursday, July 26, 2012

After the Fog

After the Fog by Kathleen Shoop

Paperback: 416 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (March 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1469935708
ISBN-13: 978-1469935706


The sins of the mother… In the mill town of Donora, Pennsylvania, site of the infamous 1948 “killing smog,” headstrong nurse Rose Pavlesic tends to her family and neighbors. Controlling and demanding, she’s created a life that reflects everything she missed growing up as an orphan. She’s even managed to keep her painful secrets hidden from her loving husband, dutiful children, and large extended family. When a stagnant weather pattern traps poisonous mill gasses in the valley, neighbors grow sicker and Rose’s nursing obligations thrust her into conflict she never could have fathomed. Consequences from her past collide with her present life, making her once clear decisions as gray as the suffocating smog. As pressure mounts, Rose finds she’s not the only one harboring lies. When the deadly fog finally clears, the loss of trust and faith leaves the Pavlesic family—and the whole town—splintered and shocked. With her new perspective, can Rose finally forgive herself and let her family’s healing begin?

My Thoughts

When I was first approached to review this book, I had never heard of the "killing smog" of Donora. I love learning about historical events so I knew this was probably going to be a very interesting book for me. Before I even received the book in the mail, I was looking up Donora and the horrible smog that enveloped the town. It's both shocking and interesting. Once I received the book and started reading, I was hooked!

After the Fog tells the story of Rose and her family. Rose was raised in an orphanage and has struggled to get to where she is today. She has a husband and two teenage children and she is the community nurse. She juggles being a homemaker while serving the community as the townspeople. In the meantime, the killing smog of 1948 is covering the town making people sick without them even realizing what is happening to them. As Rose tends to the townspeople while trying to secure funding for the Community Nursing Program, her past comes back to haunt her. Rose is challenged in ways she never imagined.

I found Rose to be an amazingly strong woman even though I found her difficult to like at times. At times I found her cold. Other times I felt sorry for her. I did find myself hoping all would turn out well for Rose and her family. I found myself reading After the Fog into the wee hours hours of the morning, just to find out how Rose's story would end.

While reading this book, you can tell that Kathleen Shoop has done much research on Donora and it's killing smog. My hats off to her for writing a great story set in such a horrible, historical event. It made for a great setting for the story. I felt as though I had gone back in time and was walking the smoggy streets of Donora alongside Rose. I got an eerie feeling reading the book which is how I imagined the people of Donora felt at the time. The author nailed the setting perfectly!

I really enjoyed this book and think it would make for a great and interesting book club selection. I have not yet read Kathleen's debt novel, The Last Letter but it is going on my wish list. She is an author I will be keeping an eye on in the future.

About the Author
After the Fog is the second novel by bestselling Kindle author Kathleen Shoop. Her debut novel, The Last Letter, garnered multiple awards in 2011. A Language Arts Coach with a Ph.D. in Reading Education, Kathleen lives in Oakmont, Pennsylvania with her husband and two children.

Thank you to Kim from Book Sparks PR for allowing me to read and review this wonderful book!

I received this book for my honest opinion which in no way influenced my review.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Mailbox Monday July 23

Happy Monday! I have time for a quick Mailbox Monday post before I leave for work. I had the weekend off and I set yesterday aside as a readathon day for me. I did a little cooking, a little laundry but for the most part I was reading and it felt soooo good! I am reading After The Fog by Kathleen Shoop. I was tempted to stay up all night reading it. If I didn't have to work today, I think I would have stayed up.

After The Fog by Kathleen Shoop

This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by Mrs. Q: Book Addict. Be sure to check out her blog! It is one of my favorites! I received some gems in the past two weeks.

Tumbleweeds by Leila Meacham (courtesy of Hachette Book Group)- I am so excited about this book! I love a good old-fashioned family saga!

Those We Love Most by Lee Woodruff (courtesy of Voice)

Next are a couple of bargains and a couple of books I couldn't resist after reading the reviews for them.

Queen Bee of Mimosa Branch by Haywood Smith

Winter Bloom by Tara Heavey

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison

Wallflower in Bloom by Claire Cook
-My summer is not complete unless I read one of Claire's books!

The Chaperone by Laura Moriarty

That is what treasures came into my home. What wonderful reads made their way into your home?

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

What Happened To Hannah

Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Original edition (February 7, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006208478X
ISBN-13: 978-0062084781


As a teenager, Hannah Benson ran away from home in order to save herself. Now, twenty years later, the past comes calling and delivers life-changing news: her mother and sister have passed away, leaving Hannah the guardian of her fifteen-year-old niece.

Returning home to bitter memories and devastating secrets, Hannah must overcome her painful past to pave a future with her niece, the last best chance at a family for both of them. She begins to create a new, happier life with her niece and rekindles a relationship with Grady Steadman, one of the few people she’s ever called a friend.

But she can’t forget what she cannot forgive, or lay to rest those ghosts that will not die. Will love and trust—and the truth—give her the strength to stand her ground and fight for what she deserves?

My Thoughts

This book is a good character driven novel. Those who enjoy stories of abused characters that have overcome their abuse will enjoy this book.

Hannah escapes her family and abuse as a teenager. She is a successful adult who seems very well rounded when she receives a phone call telling her her mother has passed away and she is now the guardian of a teenage niece named Anna, that Hannah had no idea existed. She returns home to take care of her family's affairs and meet and care for Anna.

As a reader, you know Hannah has been abused and she left her home but the mystery revolves around what happened to Hannah the fateful night she left. Hannah has not been back since. As Hannah cleans out her mother's home, she also cleans out the memories which seem to haunt her from that horrible night. The story goes back to when Hannah was a teenager which is intertwined with the present day story. Not to worry though. The storyline is easy to follow.

There is a romantic storyline also. Hannah is reacquainted with Grady, her high school sweetheart. Hannah is not ready to welcome back anyone from her past as she has moved on and in her eyes has put the past behind her. Grady is sure Hannah is hiding something from her past that needs to come out. There is a tension between them but is it because they still have feelings for each other or is it because Grady is just doing his job as the local sheriff?

I enjoyed reading about Hannah's life. She was a strong willed child and woman who did what she had to survive. She was an easy character to like. I felt bad that as a child, the community turned a blind eye to the abuse happening in her home. I'm sure this happens everyday but it sure was hard to stomach as I became involved with Hannah and her story.

The story kept me reading and wanting more until I got to the satisfying ending. I would recommend this book to book clubs as there is much there to discuss. It's an excellent read for those who like to read about dysfunctional families and those who have overcome abusive situations.

I received this book for my honest review from Amazon Vine

Monday, July 9, 2012

Mailbox Monday July 9

Hi everyone! I have a rare Monday off of work since my regular day off fell on the holiday. I am so happy to be able to participate in Mailbox Monday! I sure miss it and think of you all every Monday while I am working. This month Mailbox Monday is being hosted by the the wonderful Mrs.Q:Book Addict! Thank you Mrs.Q!

These first book I received for review.

I won Ninepins by Rosy Thornton from Dar at Peeking Between the Pages. I enjoyed Rosy Thornton's The Tapestry of Love so I am very hopeful that I will enjoy this book also.

The Time it Snowed in Puerto Rico by Sarah McCoy (I purchased this since it was bargain priced on Amazon! Who can pass up a good bargain?)

What wonderful reads made their way into your home?

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy 4th of July! We are in the middle of a heat wave here and it is not fit for man or beast outside! I think our 4th will be spent indoors. We broke down and bought an air conditioner which has been running nonstop since we purchased it. We are in the midst of a drought too which means many towns are calling of their fireworks displays. We still have then here since they do them over the lake but I don't think I'll be going. I enjoy the Capitol 4th of July program on PBS so I think that is what I will watch to celebrate.

It's a great day to curl up in the house and read which is my plan for the day. I am reading What Happened to Hannah by Mary Kay McComas.
I hope all my readers who celebrate the 4th have a fun and safe holiday! If you have some extra rain, send it our way. We really need it!