Monday, October 31, 2011

STRING BRIDGE - Book review

Happy Halloween, bloggy friends!

Special treat for you all: today I'm helping kick off the STRING BRIDGE (link) blog tour for our good friend, musician, and talented writer Jessica Bell, a.k.a., The Alliterative Allomorph (link).

Jessica sent me an arc of STRING BRIDGE way back at the beginning of June to read, but I have to confess. I was scared to read it.

I've known Jessica more than a year now, and I can tell you, she is an amazing, evocative writer. Her descriptions are so real and intense, and she can conjure a difficult scene and fill it with so much emotion, you'll be crawling for the door...

But I'm so glad I finally did read it. STRING BRIDGE is fantastic.

Yes, it's got a few dark moments, but Jessica has infused her debut novel with so much hope. By the time I finished it, I was squeezing my family members, telling them I loved them.

Yep. It's that good.

Here's my review:

Main character Melody is dealing with a promotion in her job as an editor, a husband who loves her, and an adorable, precocious four year-old daughter, who is just too cute.

Life is good, right? Wrong. She's miserable.

Melody decided after daughter Tessa's birth to stop playing the occasional musical gig and focus on being a good wife and Mommy. The only problem is music is her passion. It feeds her soul, and without it, the monotony of daily life is killing her.

She's spiraling into depression, every little thing her family does sends her into an internal rage, and she's battling fears that she's secretly becoming her bipolar mother.

Melody's mother is a whole other aspect of the story. She's a difficult, strong personality, who during Melody's childhood subjected her to sudden, unexpected bouts of abuse while in her dark times.

Jessica establishes Melody's inner turmoil so well. Her guilt over wanting her own life, and her relationship with her husband and her mother. Melody longs to remember the good days before her mother got sick, and her intense self-analysis is so familiar, you feel like you're working through her struggles with her.

And that's only the first quarter of the book!

There's a lovely scene where Melody recalls visiting her parents' island home while her grandparents were alive. It's so gorgeously detailed, you can feel the water on your feet.

Actually, every observation and memory Melody has ties the characters together and builds to the story's ultimate conclusion.

Jessica does this expertly. You don't even notice as you flow along with her.

The office where Melody works is a nice source of comic relief, and it helps our main character confront her problems. She finally asks husband Alex, a concert promoter, to help her start playing music again, and he agrees.

They draw closer as a result, but too bad their relationship victory is colored by a secret Melody discovers about Alex. She's still deciding what to do when she's faced with the biggest challenge of her life...

I can't tell you any more without spoiling the story, but I can say Jessica's written one of those books that's so real and familiar, it opens the door to great discussions.

For instance, how much turmoil do we create in our own lives? Are there are really any wrong choices or simply choices that lead to different outcomes? And do we control our view of the world by what we choose to focus on in our relationships?

Great stuff.

These characters are flawed, but they know they're flawed and they're trying to find a way to overcome their shortcomings, find healing, and ultimately be happy together.

I highly, highly recommend this book to adult audiences.

Jessica's a frank, realistic writer, so there are clear descriptions of real-life events and F-bombs peppered throughout. Still, I think it will make you sit and think long after you're finished reading.

Here's the links for purchase:

eBook
Amazon.com (link)
Amazon UK (link)

Paperback
Amazon.com (link)
Amazon UK (link)
Barnes & Noble (link)

On Thursday, you'll get a second treat. I'll be interviewing the author herself! So have a great week, and come on back for my chat with Jessica, reader- and writer-friends~ <3

42 comments:

Jessica Bell said...

Oh my gosh, Leigh. My insides have gone all mushy! This is such a lovely post and review. You have no idea how much I appreciate this. Um ... actually, you probably do :o) Haha! THANK YOU!!!

Laura Pauling said...

I'm really looking forward to reading this. Great review!

Natalie Aguirre said...

Thanks for the great review. So excited for Jessica!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Leigh - what a great review of what is obviously a very interesting book .. I'm so looking forward to reading it - I can feel through your words Jessica living her book .. Great - and great start to the tour

and as I haven't read the book I can enter the contest Jess is promoting - yea! .. cheers Hilary

Stina Lindenblatt said...

Great review. I can only imagine just how awesome the writing is. And now I know it's even better than that.

Susan Kaye Quinn said...

I'm a little afraid to read this too, just because I think it will hit very close to home! And I know Jess is an amazing writer, and I'll get sucked right in ... but your review makes me brave enough to give it a try!

Good luck to Jessica! (p.s. I'm hoping it will come out on Nook soon!!)

Christina Lee said...

Such a lovely review--looking forward to this one!! (GO JESS)!

salarsenッ said...

Yeah, great stuff is right. I read the book too and will release my review later on in the month, plus a character interview with Melody. Jessica did a lovely job with this story.

DEZMOND said...

nice review, Leigh, hope you're having nice Halloween with the family!

Creepy Query Girl said...

awesome review! Thanks LTM and yeah Jess!

Bish Denham said...

Well done! My review is coming up on the 3rd. Jessica has done such a mountain of hard work to co-ordinate all of us.

Susanne Drazic said...

Please stop by my blog to pick up your blogger awards. Have a great day!

Julie Musil said...

Yay for Jessica! I'm reading it now, so I'm glad there weren't any spoilers :D

You gave a fantastic review, Leigh!

Deana said...

This book sounds excellent! I'll be looking forward to the interview:)

lbdiamond said...

Lovely review!!!

Patti said...

I totally agree with you about Jessica and her use of language. Looking forward to this book.

Old Kitty said...

Yay for Jessica Bell and what sounds like a truly amazing and powerful read!! Thanks LTM for the review and links!! Go Jessica!! Yay!!! Take care
x

Rachel Brooks said...

Happy Halloween to you too! Thanks for stopping by my blog. You mentioned looking into reading Hit List, but I should tell you it is book #20 in a series! Might want to start with book #1 ;)

Carolyn Abiad said...

Virtual ((hugs)) for Jessica! This is the first review I've actually read. I haven't had the chance to read the book yet, but as soon as I get out of NaNoWriMo, I'll be sure to read it.

Lydia Kang said...

Hooray for Jess! The book looks amazing!

LTM said...

@Laura--Jessica's such a great writer. I think you'll really like it. There were times when it felt like she was in my head... :D

@LBD--Thanks, girl! :o)

@Rachel--I do check for stuff like that, but thanks for the heads up! Best~ :o) <3

Pk Hrezo said...

You are so right, Leigh! It is such a great story and Jessica is a phenom writer. I totally bonded with Melody and felt like I was in her shoes. Awesome review!
Mine's next Monday. :)

N. R. Williams said...

Hi LTM
Wow! That review is top notch. I know Jessica must be thrilled and I can tell by your enthusiasm that you meant every word. This book is on my TBR list.
Thanks,
Nancy
N. R. Williams, Fantasy Author

LTM said...

@PK--what you say is true. Can't wait to read what you thought! Yay for Jessica~ :o) <3

Southpaw said...

Wow, that is a great review. I like the details you gave to support it too!

Sarah Ahiers (Falen) said...

Nice review! Jessica's book is already on my TBR pile, natch, and now i'm even more excited!

Theresa Milstein said...

What a colorful post and thoughtful, detailed review. I'm interviewing Jessica next week, but I haven't yet read the book.

Happy Halloween!

M Pax said...

I've been reading it, it's great. All success to Jessica.

Lynda R Young said...

Fantastic review. I'm looking forward to reading this one.

J.C. Martin said...

Wonderful review! I'm looking forward to the official release party! Found you via Theresa Milstein's Halloween Haunting! Happy Halloween!

J.L. Campbell said...

I['m in the middle of reading and yes, I'm enjoying it.

Jemi Fraser said...

Yay for Jess! I love her soundtrack - it's full of emotion and passion and talent as well! :)

Tracy Jo said...

Whoa! Those questions do make you think and the book sounds fantastic. I ordered mine today and can't wait! Great review LTM!

erica and christy said...

Great review! It's on my TBR list and has been for a while. You make it sound fantastic and beautiful. I can't wait! Thanks, christy

LTM said...

@Holly--Thanks, honey! It's a tough one, but it's a good one. Hope you like it. :o) <3

@JC--Yay! Thanks for stopping by. Theresa's a great friend. Hope you like the book, and happy Halloween to you, too! :o) <3

Liz Fichera said...

I have STRING BRIDGE on my TBR. I so look forward to reading it. And I totally love Jessica's book trailer too.

Shannon said...

Excellent post. I couldn't agree with you more. String Bridge is a must read - I loved it!

LTM said...

@Liz--I think you'll like it. I know Jessica appreciates the support from everyone! Thanks~ :o) <3

Draven Ames said...

You make it sound like an excellent book. I'd love to check this one out and know more about it. I didn't read your review part because I hate spoilers. Instead, I'll look up the blurb.

Jamie Brook Thompson said...

Wow! I'm a new blogger! I love your post, can't wait to read more.
Jamie

Matthew MacNish said...

I love how String Bridge isn't really about anything happening, but just about the characters, reacting to everyday life. Only a book written with such beautiful language, and such focus on what makes a person do what they do and feel what they feel could pull this off.

Jess is a master.

Ella said...

I am reading a preview first chapter; it is really good~ I look forward to crossing the bridge into Melody's world~ Seems all creative types have a bit of dark to face, before reaching the light~

Great review!